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Friday, April 22, 2011

A Gaga Breakdown

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" sounds like Madonna's "Express Yourself." The Amp hears it. Fans hear it. Evidently Madonna hears it. But Lady Gaga... not so much.

"I am not stupid enough to put out a record and be that moronic," Gaga told the NME (via the Prophet Blog) at the top of a rant that began with denial then quickly transformed into rage, indignation, devastation, and religious pandering. It's her very own version of the Five Stages of Grief! We've helpfully diagrammed the conversation below:

"No. Listen to me. Why the [expletive]...? I'm a songwriter. I've written loads of music. Why would I try to put out a song and think I'm getting one over on everybody? That's retarded."
[We agree! Tell us more about this, Lady Gaga. Also, we know there was no room for "retarded" among "gay, straight, bi, lesbian, transgender, black, white, beige, Chola, and Orient" on "Born This Way," but it's not nice to use that term as a pejorative, either.]

"What a completely ridiculous thing to even question me about. I will look you in your eyes and tell you that I am not dumb enough or moronic enough to think that you are dumb enough or moronic enough not to see that I would have stolen a melody. If you put the songs next to each other, side by side, the only similarities are the chord progression. It's the same one that's been in disco music for the last 50 years. Just because I'm the first [expletive] artist in 25 years to think of putting it on Top 40 radio, it doesn't mean I'm a plagiarist, it means that I'm [expletive] smart."
[Actually, it's not just the chord progression, it's the melody of the chorus. Here, this video that puts the songs next to each other, side by side, will help explain their striking similarities to you. Give this mashup a whirl, too.]

"Nobody in this room at any point looked around and said, 'Oh my God, it's 'Express Yourself.' Not once. Listen. I swear to you. ... It's so funny to hear you say, 'It must have been a homage,' I'm like, NO. When I homage, I [expletive] homage with a big sign saying I've done it. Why would I not do that now?"
[Ooh, juicy stuff! So nobody on your team had the guts to mention this striking similarity to you? Because it's impossible that nobody in your organization heard it, but everyone else on Earth did. Also, tiny nit-picky thing, but we don't think homage is a verb.]

"I just don't want my fans... I don't know. This is exhausting. I just don't wanna perpetuate that [expletive]. I'm sure you want to address it but it's just so ridiculous. I was just [expletive] shell-shocked by it."
[That's fair. And frankly, we admire you for answering questions about it. Most stars would have said "no comment" or had their publicists rush to the rescue. Have we mentioned we love "Telephone"? One of our favorite songs ever!]

Religious Pandering:
[Starts crying] "I feel like honestly that God sent me those lyrics and that melody. When you feel a message to give to the world and people are shooting arrows at it... there's no way for something that pure to be wrong."
[And... you just lost us.]

Between these comments and the unpleasantly schizo "Judas," we're starting to get concerned about Gaga's hearing. But you know what really doesn't help? A few quotes from the new GagaVision video released today, in which the singer explains her writing process as 15-minute purges of creativity. "And then I spend days, weeks, months, years, fine-tuning," she adds. The real question, though, is who is Norm! And why is he filling in for Ed?! Click over to the video to see what we're talking about, and enjoy one of the "Born This Way"/"Express Yourself" mashups here:

by Caryn Ganz in Amplifier

Monday, April 18, 2011

Combining Forces = WINNING!

Being an independent artist doesn’t mean you need to take the word ‘Independent’ too literally. Chances are, you’re missing big opportunities to take your career to new levels if you’re not actively looking for chances to join forces with other artists and industry pros. A piece of something big is worth a lot more than all of little or nothing. If you feel like you’re bashing your head against the wall trying to get people to your shows or to buy your music on your own then changing your approach can make all the difference in the world.

What could you create if you partnered with the right people? For example, I have a friend who’s planning a regular monthly gig at a venue here in Los Angeles. Her husband is a world-class magician. They have friends who are world-class comedians. There’s no law that says you can’t put on a show with musicians, magicians and comedians!
Personally, I can’t wait to see these shows. I’ll go to every one. Any one of the performers individually would put on an excellent show, but combined it’s a must see. It’s an event. More people will come and people will stay longer. The audience gets more, the performers get more and the club owners get more. It creates a synergy. It becomes a combination of forces that’s greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Internet marketers are another great example. They form networks whereby they promote each other’s products to their mailing lists. The ones who do really well are the ones who find a tight group of compatible partners and generously help promote them and give them value. They know that if they help each other they can do much better than they could on their own.

When was the last time you sent out an email to your mailing list asking them to check out another artist’s new CD? I believe that in the future, there will be much more co-operation between independent artists. Some day in the not-too-distant future there will be a growing number of artists who offer commission to other artists for helping them sell their music….and they will sell more music!

Smart artists in today’s economy always keep an eye out for other bands and artists who ‘get it’ and are also looking to connect and give value to other bands. A lot of good can come when the right people get together.

With that spirit in mind, I’ve reached out to some amazing people and asked them to be a part of my blog at We’re now going to feature daily content that covers everything from fitness to contract law to marketing to website tips and a whole lot more. I’m really excited because the blog is going to become so much more than I could ever make of it on my own.

I hope you can find your own opportunities to form exciting new partnerships with other friends, artists and professionals inside and outside the music business. You just might be able to create something that’s more inspired and exciting than you previously thought possible!

Article by Scott James of The Independent Rockstar Blog.

Read more: Combining Forces = WINNING! — Echoes - Insight for Independent Artists

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jay-Z under investigation by the NBA

When Jay-Z dropped by the Kentucky locker room on Sunday after the Wildcats clinched a Final Four berth with a victory over North Carolina, the rap mogul shook hands with the players, signed autographs and posed for pictures.

It was an innocent moment in everyone's eyes except perhaps the NBA's.

According to, the NBA is investigating whether Jay-Z's presence in the Kentucky locker room is a violation of league rules prohibiting team personnel from having contact with college players before they declare for the draft. In addition to his rap career, Jay-Z is also the part owner of the New Jersey Nets.

The advantage Jay-Z could gain by mingling with Kentucky would be the chance to spend time around potential draft picks in order to make a better informed decision on whether to invest in them or not. The Wildcats have several potential lottery picks, including guard Brandon Knight and forward Terrence Jones.

The situation is reminiscent of one that occurred four years ago involving Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and then-Texas prospect Kevin Durant. Ainge was fined $30,000 for sitting with Durant's mother during a Big 12 tournament game before the freshman forward had declared his intent to enter the NBA draft.

In that case, Ainge's intent was fairly obvious considering the Celtics were certain to have one of the top picks in the draft and Durant was a potential target.

It's harder to envision Jay-Z gaining much inside information from a few minutes inside the victorious Kentucky locker room, but it's also understandable that the NBA doesn't want to set a precedent by letting this slide.

-Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

'Ready to Die' Baby All Grown Up

Besides perhaps the Nevermind baby, the child sporting a giant Afro pictured on Notorious B.I.G.'s classic debut Ready to Die is the most iconic infant in album-cover history. As the music world commemorated the 14th anniversary of Biggie's death on March 9th, many fans began inquiring about the Ready to Die kid. Diddy simply told Rap Radar, "That was a baby we just found... We did a little casting for somebody that looked like Big," and the Bad Boy offices had long lost any concrete form of documentation.
But now, the New York Daily News has uncovered the 18-year-old who claims to be the mini-B.I.G.: Bronx native Keithroy Yearwood.

"I just want people to know that's me. The truth is finally coming out," Yearwood told the Daily News, who corroborated his claim with Yearwood's baby photos. The story of how the teen landed on the cover also seems to match Bad Boy's assertion that the baby came from a modeling agency: Yearwood's mother Delcenia Burns says her son was recruited by the now-defunct modeling agency Chicky's Kids, and that she has the paperwork to prove it.
That Yearwood was a paid model would come as a surprise to two people involved in the shoot: Designer Cey Adams and the cover's photographer Butch Belair, both thought that the Ready to Die baby was the child of someone who worked at Bad Boy.
"When I first found out about it, it wasn't a big deal to me. Now, of course, it's a big deal to me," Yearwood, who plans to study sports management in college, said of his claim to fame. "It's an honor to be on this album."
Yearwood says he only received $150 for being on the cover of Ready to Die, but his place in music history is priceless.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another Legend leaves us RIP Nate Dogg

(CBS) Nate Dogg, one of the most recognizable and smooth voices in rap and R & B, has died. He was 41.

Born Nathaniel Hale, Nate Dogg suffered from ill health for years. His death was first reported in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

The cause of death is not immediately known, though the Press-Telegram reports that he suffered two strokes, one in 2007 and another in 2008. TMZ reports it's confirmed Nate Dogg's death.

The hook singer first came to national attention on Dr. Dre's 1992 masterpiece "The Chronic." Nate earned the first of four Grammy nominations in 1995 for "Regulate," a collaboration with Warren G. His fourth and most recent nomination came for Eminem's "Shake That" in 2007.

Since the news broke of Nate Dogg's death, his friends and collaborators have sent messages out about him. "We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met," tweeted Snoop Dogg, who continued on for several tweets before concluding, "RIP NATE DOGG."

On Twitter, "Nate Dogg" quickly became a trend.

Nate Dogg released several solo albums, including a self-titled effort in 2008.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

R.I.P. B.I.G.

Rest in Peace to two of Hip Hop's Legends

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Killing Music with the Kardashians

As much as I hate to even type about this, it is absolutely relevant, and it’s pissed me off enough to share with you, so here goes…

We all know that Kim Kardashian has amassed a significant, albeit completely undeserved, level of fame, we may not all know how she’s done it, so let me break it down for you.  Actually before I list her “accomplishments,” and trust me I use that term as loosely as grammatically possible, let me say this: The real reason that Kim K. is famous is because America is full of brainless zombies controlled by television.  Moving on… Miss Kardashian’s claims to fame include:
Filming an absolutely, ridiculously boring sex tape
Having a slightly larger than average butt (for a white girl)
A pointless “reality” show
Being a jock chasing slut
And a Super bowl commercial that was somehow more of a pointless bore than her sex tape and her stupid show combined.

Now with all of the notoriety that she’s gotten for basically doing nothing, you would think that would be enough, but not for our little busy bee. Now this self absorbed bitch has decided to spread her brand of idocity into the music business. BITCH!

I have a myriad of problems with this foolishness!  First off, the song is even more boring than her and Ray J rolling around in bed!  Second, this bitch can’t sing! I mean the song may have all of 8 notes, #CmonSon  The fact that she convinced The Dream to produce this garbage is a detriment to his reputation in my opinion, although after he decided to step away from the board and behind the mic, his reputation ain’t been worth shit anyway.  She says she will donate half of the proceeds to cancer research.  Now you may be asking, “What’s wrong with that?”  The answer: nothing.  Well, nothing except for the fact that the real reason she’s doing this is because her publicist needed her to do something that said “Look at me, look at me!” so she could make more money.  Because let’s be real, let’s say she sells 100,000 downloads, that’s $50,000 to cancer, and $25,000 in her pocket.  Makes her look like a saint right?  That’s the point!  Where she’ll make the real money is all of the publicity this will give her; all of the talk shows, radio shows, etc. The only thing that money is going to is the cancer that she (and those in her ilk) is contributing to the degradation of music.

But worse than ALL OF THAT is the fact that she will probably sell more than real musicians will this week. It’s no coincidence that this song, for lack of a better term, is hitting the net on a Wednesday.  She’ll probably outsell TiĆ«sto vs. Diplo’s “C’mon (Catch ‘Em by Surprise)” and they had a 3 day head start.  If that happens, it will truly show that Americans don’t actually listen to music at all.

A t this point, I’m just praying that they don’t decide to shoot a video *sigh*

Here’s the song if you feel the need to torture your eardrums: Kim Kardashian's "Jam"
-Se7en Owt