Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sessions Cafe

I live in Monrovia, California. The city has just celebrated its 121st birthday and is a charming community straddling historic Route 66 just east of Pasadena. Good schools, family values, old town, it's all here. Monrovia is a nice place to live and for many, a nice place to work. But the charm of the town is better described on an excellent blog called Living in Monrovia. I'm only trying to set the stage for my subject.

As a city wends its way through the years, there are always changes. Trends seem to come and go in cyclical fashion and yesterday's run-down areas become tomorrow's fashionable neighborhoods. We have our malls and warehouse stores nearby but I tend to support the smaller, locally-owned businesses. Monrovia also has had its share of home-grown talent in sports and in the arts.

I've been looking for a way to give something back to this town and to do it in a way that would nurture growth in the arts in general and music in particular. After a bit of brainstorming and a few creative meetings, Sessions Cafe was born.

Sessions Cafe will be a series of thirty minute music related interviews to be aired on KGEM, the local cable access educational channel. The content will also be available on the internet. My guests will range from notable producers, songwriters and musicians to local performers and educators.

The purpose of the show will be to create a buzz about music in the community. A vibrant music scene improves the quality of life and it has been shown that early exposure to music stimulates the educational process. This series will provide education, entertainment and exposure. The audience will be treated to anecdotes from some of my favorite story tellers, the people who had a hand in making some of the great recordings. I also hope to interview the local talent and the educators that work with tomorrow's talent every day.

What was it like to be on stage with a band like Canned Heat? Who are those folks that play every Friday at the street fair? What is it like to work with an artist like David Bowie? What does the high school music teacher have on his iPod? Who is giving lessons? Where can you hear live music around town?

All of these questions and much more will be answered on Sessions Cafe. I'll keep you posted as to dates and air times and if you're in the Monrovia area, please tune in to KGEM. And again, Sessions Cafe will be available on the web as well. This oughta be fun!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Lucia Iman Goes to London

Ah! The internet is a beautiful thing. If you haven't read "Critical Path" by Buckminster Fuller, get a copy and read it. Read it front to back and when you finish the last page, start at the front and read it again. One of his prognostications involves the democratization of political and artistic decisions based on a system whereby every household could vote on issues, the votes to be counted immediately and actions taken in accordance with the results. His view was that when this came about on a worldwide scale, changes could be made that advantaged the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

This is precisely what is occurring every moment of every day on the internet. As it applies to the music industry, the A&R departments of record companies are now rendered obsolete. The listening public is now the worldwide A&R staff. With the technology of the internet, anyone with internet access can affect what happens in popular music to a degree never known before. The marketplace has become truly global.

Lucia Iman studies voice with me and her story is remarkable. One of her avid fans is very web-savvy and convinced her to post her music on sellaband. It seems that this site was holding a web-based competition and the recipient of the most votes would be invited to participate in a concert in London, England.

Every day began and ended with updates on the progress of Lucia's place in the competition. Emails were sent and her popularity spread like tentacles to people and places we had never heard of. Because of the technology now at our fingertips, Lucia's music could reach an audience of worldwide proportions. The audience can now make decisions free of peer pressure or the head-pounding tactics of conventional advertising and marketing departments associated with the global marketplace. The audience has spoken...Lucia is going to London!

Ah...the internet is a beautiful thing indeed. This world and everything it has to offer is open for business and pleasure. Get online and shake hands with your fellow travelers. Look them in the eye and you will find that we have much in common. The more you realize the power at your fingertips, the degree to which YOU can affect what happens in this world, the sooner we will all live in peace.

And don't get offline before you check out Lucia's site. Listen to her music and make up your own mind.