Singer Jesse Neo Launches Gemtracks

Over the years, British-Australian singer, Jesse Neo has worn many hats; that of an international DJ, music reviewer and an artist of electronic music since 2017. These experiences not only have they helped him gain popularity, but it has also helped him launch a new music platform called Gemtracks.

Jesse explained why he moved over to starting the music platform. “I want people to know that I am a versatile and flexible writer who can easily adapt to different genres,” he told us. “I started out in the electronic music scene and have worked as a beat maker for major labels and media companies within the genre. However, as my taste in music changed, I felt like I could give other sounds a go too. That’s why I created Gemtracks as a way to showcase my work in whatever genre I feel like doing at a specific moment.”

While Gemtracks was initially a repository for Jesse’s unused tracks, he eventually turned the website into a marketplace where anyone could sell beats. This means artists and labels can visit Gemtracks and purchase unused beats for their own vocal releases.

“There is so much happening in the music scene today, that leveraging technology is the only way forward to harness the multitude of talent available across the globe,” Jesse explained. “I remember when I was working with a company, before a song it releases, several contracts must be signed, along with attending several meetings. My goal for Gemtracks is to enable all these tiresome tasks to be avoided through automation so that artists can concentrate on their music.

A beat sold over Gemtracks may sometimes go up as high as $600, as it can be sold only once, and the rights are transferred to the buyer. This means the buyer can distribute as many copies of the song as they want without having to pay any royalties.

Today, almost 300 people have signed up. Some of the well-known producers like Beowülf, Taylor Carroll, Milana Leybovich, I.Y.F.F.E, and Lucas Gold, who have worked with Universal, Sony or Warner.

Besides being a marketplace, Gemtracks also has a section dedicated to educating those new the industry. For example, there is a blog filled with articles, videos and tutorials on how to make it in the industry. For those that like to read, there is also a free eBook for download on how to skyrocket your career.

“I’m actually in the process of adding new features to the website too,” Jesse continued proudly. “I have just launched a directory to hire music producers, book music studios and even contribute to a Q&A database. My goal is to turn Gemtracks into the ultimate resource destination for musicians releasing music.”

As you can see, Gemtracks is a wonderful addition to the music industry. Artists can easily find assets for their songs, and producers can make some extra income. If this sounds interesting to you, make sure you head over to buy beats now!

 

Artists Are Turning Away From Major Labels and Turning On to Indies

Somewhat surprisingly, independent music labels collectively have led the major labels in total market share since 2017, which begs the question: why are artists signing with indies instead of major labels, which still claim the most money and clout? More money means bigger promotions for an artist’s record, along with bigger advances and signing bonuses for the artist. More clout means major labels have established connections throughout the industry to grease the wheels that help artists succeed.

In addition, because the major labels collectively still have most of the total market share, the economy of scale offers lower costs of production and distribution. Despite these advantages, things are changing and indies area gaining ground. Here are a few reasons why.

Artists Who Don’t Trust the Major Labels Now Have an Option

The major labels have a scurrilous reputation for luring artists to sign with big bonuses and then, once the artists are signed, lowballing them out of the royalties they earn from the music. It’s been estimated that the average musician in a band earns $23.40 for every $1000 the music earns. Artists have repeatedly sued the labels over royalty disputes, including James Taylor, Eminem, Kenny Rogers, George Clinton.

Once artists are wined, dined, and signed, their labels might turn their backs on them as they focus on other, more established stars. Especially if the music doesn’t sell as anticipated, the labels have been known to stop spending money on promotion, leaving the artists at the mercy of the label, with little recourse to promote their product. Until the rise of independent labels, artists had little choice because, with all their clout, the majors were practically the only game in town.

Digital Streaming Technology

The rise of digital streaming technology has helped to give artists a recourse. Musicians can create their own digitized music without signing with the major labels. They can upload their digital music to streaming services such as iTunes and Spotify, which offer direct uploading of music to sell. Even stars who are signed with the major labels can use their clout to gain creative and production control by creating their own brand, known as an imprint, as a subdivision of the major label. For example, Sean “Diddy” Combs gained independent control of his projects within the umbrella of Sony Music. Combs career has been influenced by David Guillod, an accomplished talent manager and TV and film producer who has also helped to make household names of stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Katie Holmes, and Justin Long.

How Indies Rival Major Labels

Because indies have fewer employees and artists than the majors, each artist under their umbrella tends to get more personal attention. Artists have a much better chance to develop a working relationship their indie rep. Artists signed with major labels often don’t know who they are working with from day to day. Also, indies generally offer better record deals compared to the majors with a 50/50 split and a simpler contract common.

The major labels are waking up and taking notice of the changing times. They still have the money and the clout on the production and distribution sides. The question is, is it too late?

Holiday Inn is now playing at NJ’s Papermill Playhouse

I’m excited to tell you, if you don’t already know, that “Holiday Inn” is now playing at NJ’s Papermill Playhouse in Millburn. A classic film that features quite a few all time favorite songs by the beloved Irving Berlin is now on stage, and it is a delight. I’ve loved this movie since I was a child, I’ve watched it many times, with my grandparents, now with my kids. I had been looking forward to seeing it since it came out on the season’s list, and it didn’t disappoint.

holiday inn

Papermill Playhouse always has fantastic shows. I love that we can go see such quality productions without having to go into the city or fight for parking, a night at Papermill Playhouse is always one of my favorites, and I look forward to them always.

Next up will be “My Very Own British Invasion”, “Benny and Joon”, and “Beauty and the Beast”. There are quite a few children’s shows that rotate as well, take a look. They are wonderful productions, we have seen quite a few with my little ones.

In this musical based on the beloved Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film, Jim Hardy leaves behind the hustle and bustle of showbiz for a quiet life on a Connecticut farm. Jim’s agrarian efforts are a flop, but things start looking up when he falls for a talented schoolteacher, and together they infuse their sleepy rural setting with some Broadway razzle-dazzle. Fresh from a Broadway run, this heartwarming, toe-tapping production features more than 20 classic songs from the Berlin catalog, including “Easter Parade,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Steppin’ Out with My Baby,” and “White Christmas.”

Paper Mill Playhouse production of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, based on the film from Universal Pictures, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, and book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge.  Directed by Mr. Greenberg (The Baker’s Wife1776 – Paper Mill), and with choreography by Denis Jones (Mary Poppins – Paper Mill, Holiday Inn – Broadway, Tony nomination), music direction by Shawn Gough(Annie, Paper Mill), the principal cast features Paige Faure (Honeymoon in Vegas – Paper Mill) as Lila Dixon, Jordon Gelber (Avenue Q)as Danny, Ann Harada (Avenue Q) as Louise,  Jeff Kready (Thoroughly Modern Millie – Paper Millas Ted Hanover, Hayley Podschun(Peter Pan – Paper Mill) as Linda Mason, Nicholas Rodriguez (Tarzan) as Jim Hardy with Jian Harrell and Aidan Alberto alternating in the role of Charlie Winslow.  They are joined by Jordan Beall, Gene Biscontini, Colin Bradbury, Tricia DeSario, Taylor Fields, Kelly Gleason, Juliane Godfrey, Berklea GoingJoshua Israel, Julie Kavanagh, Mallory Nolting, Clifton Samuels, JT Teeling, Karl Skylar Urban, Amy Van Norstrand, Scarlett Walker, Travis Ward-Osborne, and John T. Wolfe.

Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn will run at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ) through December 30, 2018.

Greg Page, The Original “Yellow Wiggle” Has a New Project #WhatIsYourChildWatching #ad #ExploreDiscoverAndGrow

Greg Page, the origional “Yellow Wiggle” of “The Wiggles” Children’s TV show and music, recently awsnered some quesitons for us about his new project, “Explore, Discover, and Grow”. Here’s what he has to say.

greg page

What will it take to launch “Explore, Discover, and Grow”?

Explore, Discover and Grow is a massive project which is going to take a lot of passion, hard work, dedication and some money to bring it to life!  We are working at the moment to “pre-sell” as many subscription packages as possible so we can gauge the demand for the product. This will also enable us to get started on production for the series before we launch the mass-marketing campaign next year.  It is also a major objective to give the people that back the project in its development phase, a major discount on the content that will be offered when we go live with the series next year. Essentially, if you get in now, on the ground level, we will be rewarding you with the equivalent of a 50% discount on what you would otherwise be paying if you subscribe when we are live with the program next year.

What made you want to work in children’s entertainment?

It’s an interesting question – and it probably sounds a little trite, but I just had this feeling inside me from a young age that I was going to be on stage, and then as I got older, the feeling turned to being in the education field.  As the “universe” would have it, I met Anthony Field (the original, and still-current Blue WIggle) and he suggested that I get into early childhood teaching, as it involved a lot of music and creativity – for the child and also the teacher!  So I went along to check out the early childhood diploma course that Anthony was doing at the time, and that sealed it for me. I think I had found my calling, and after seeing what was achievable with The Wiggles and how we applied our teaching knowledge to entertaining children it has been a passion of mine ever since – to create entertainment that is purposeful and delivers outcomes for children.

What was life like after leaving “The Wiggles”?

Life after The Wiggles was tough – I had been removed from what was essentially all of my adult life – my passion and my driving force.  I was also going through a marriage breakdown which was affecting me greatly, so I was battling a number of factors. But, I knew that life could, and would be good again.  I met someone who I had known in school, and we started dating and then finally married. This lifted my spirits incredibly and then finally, I was able to start creating content for children again after 5 years of being out of The Wiggles.  That period where I was unable to work in the field of children’s entertainment was difficult, because that was all I had ever known. I tried other things which didn’t work out for me, and then, I got back to doing what felt right. I have now been a co-creator or creator of over 40 brands, with 2 of them being aired on national broadcasters, and 4 in co-productions with animation studios.  So, it has been a long road to get back to doing what I love, and I am SO excited to be producing content that is going to really restore a balance in children’s screen-time diets with Explore, Discover and Grow!

Are you still in touch with any of your castmates?

Not often, they are still very busy.  And the funny thing is that it was never normal, or usual for us to contact each other outside of the business of The Wiggles!  Not that we weren’t friends or friendly, it’s just that was the way it was – we spent SO much time together on the road, that when we got home to Sydney, we would just stay out of each other’s pockets.  And when I got sick and left the group, it kind of just stayed that way really – the guys were touring and they would check in on me every now and then, but then I got “better” and kept doing our own things.  I see them maybe once a year and do “reunion” shows of the original lineup of The Wiggles for the original fans who are now in their 20’s – we play at licensed venues here in Australia where our “over-age” fans can now enjoy a drink while they watch The Wiggles perform live!  I must say it is a strange thing, but it is a LOT of fun, because we just deliver a 100% Wiggles experience – keeping things on the same level that we did for these fans when they were 3 or 4 years old – and they love being able to reminisce about their childhoods.

How has life changed since your diagnoses of autonomic neuropathy/ dysautonomia?  

Things are back to normal for me.  It’s one of those things that I have had all my life, and just thought everyone felt the way I did in certain situations.  There’s no doubt that years of touring and losing sweat from my body affected me greatly toward the end of 2006, and that was undoubtedly compounded by the event so my personal life.  However, like a lot of things, once you finally get a diagnosis and you understand what you are dealing with, things can be managed, and it doesn’t affect me at all today with what I do in my life.  I am very lucky, and I believe that everything happens for a reason. That part of my life led me to a new chapter of my life where I am able to create again, with a new vigour and energy that I didn’t have before.

Was your family musical?

My mum played piano from a young age, and we had a piano in the house from the time I was about 7 years old.  My sister learned piano and did a few grade exams, but gave up. I learned guitar from age 6, but never really practiced enough , or properly which I now regret, as I am nowhere near as good on the guitar as I think I would have been had I practised harder, but hey, you live and learn – sometimes!

Have you ever performed for adults?

What was that like for you personally in comparison with performing for children? Yes, I have performed for adults, and it is a very different experience.  I enjoy it, but it is different. I am lucky that most adults know me from The Wiggles so I can fall back on my WIggles persona a little bit, which is easy to do, because it is inherently my persona I guess anyway!  But it does make it easier to break the ice in those performance situations where people might be a little bit like “OK, this guy can sing and dance for kids, but is he going to be able to entertain me?” – and hopefully I do!

What do you see yourself doing next?

I think I will always be creating for children, and trying to find ways that are enjoyable for them to learn new things – either about the world or themselves.  The world is in a funny situation right now I think. We are tying to progress things socially, culturally and technologically, and I think that sometimes we forget the basics of what makes us who we are.  There is no need for pushing boundaries for the sake of it, and I guess I a bit conservative when it comes to children’s edutainment – if it ain’t broke, then why fix it? There are a raft of educational shows that worked for children over the course of many years – shows that were not fast-paced, and allowed children to digest the content easily.  It seems that a lot of content these days is more about the quality of the production rather than the content, and I think that’s a shame, so I am going to be sticking to my path on this as I feel it si the right thing to do for the best interests of the children! I think this is my life, and my passion!

Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir Launches 2018 Tour throughout New Jersey

Award-winning Ensemble to Present Fully-staged Concerts at Eight Venues

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is pleased to announce dates and locations for the 2018 Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir tour. This season the show choir will play New Jersey venues in Millburn, Somerset, New Providence, Rahway, Metuchen, Wanaque, Kenilworth and South Orange. This fully-staged concert event called “Seize the Day” is a song and dance extravaganza featuring production numbers from popular Broadway shows includingNewsies, Frozen, Hairspray, The Wiz, Rent, Spring Awakening, Jersey Boys, Annie, Sister Act, and more. The program will also feature pop favorites from James Taylor, Lady Gaga, Otis Redding, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Pentatonix.

The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir, presented by Overlook Medical Center, has toured the area at impressive venues including Lincoln Center, The Empire State Building, Sun Arena, MetLife Stadium, NJPAC, State Theatre, Bergen PAC, SOPAC and many more. The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir is an audition based, exhibition Show Choir that stems from Paper Mill Playhouse’s award-winning Arts Education and Outreach programs. The choir consists of 70 singer/ dancers between the ages of 15 and 22. See below for a complete list of show choir performers by town.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.PaperMill.org/showchoir.

“We are thrilled to showcase our largest ensemble to date and welcome the community to join us for some inspiring performances,” commented Shayne Austin Miller, Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir Director. “The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir is a highly-competitive, audition-based, free program that showcases the best talent in New Jersey. Our fully-staged concert event, Seize the Day is perfect for audiences of all ages.”

2018 Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir Tour Schedule

SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 7PM
Saint Stephen’s Church, Millburn, NJ
For Tickets: 973.625.5726

SUNDAY, MAY 6, 4PM
Villager’s Theatre, Somerset, NJ
For Tickets:[email protected]

SATURDAY, MAY 12, 4PM
Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, New Providence, NJ
For Tickets: [email protected]

SUNDAY, MAY 20, 4PM
Hamilton Stage, Rahway, NJ
For Tickets: UCPac.org/Events or 732.499.8226

SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 4PM
Forum Theatre, Metuchen, NJ
For Tickets: [email protected]

SATURDAY, JUNE 9, 7PM
Lakeland Regional High School, Wanaque, NJ
For Tickets: 973.831.2240

SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 1:30PM
Saint Theresa’s Catholic Church, Kenilworth, NJ
For Tickets: [email protected]

SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 8PM
South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange, NJ
For Tickets: SOPacNow.org or 973.313.2787

Now Playing: THE STING – A New Musical starring Harry Connick, Jr.

HOPESFALL Announce First Shows Since 2011 Playing Brooklyn & Charlotte This July

Melodic hardcore legends Hopesfall have announced that they will be playing two special shows this July around the release of their new record, Arbiter. The band will take the stage for the first time since 2011 for Kerrang Presents on July 14th at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, and on July 21st at Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte. General admission tickets go on-sale this Friday, April 20th, with VIP tickets available now at hopesfall.soundrink.com.
Arbiter is the long-awaited follow up to 2007’s Magnetic North, and marks the band’s first record in over a decade. Fans can check out an exclusive interview, alongside a brand new video for single “H.A. Wallace Space Academy,” on LoudwireArbiter will be released on July 13th, 2018 via Graphic Nature / Equal Vision Records. Preorders are available now at hopesfall.lnk.to/arbiter.
Hopesfall formed in 1998. Over the next decade, the band would undergo numerous line-up changes but always drew from the same core group of lifelong friends to source new members. The bond between the group was so strong that even after disbanding in 2008, guitarists Joshua Brigham and Dustin Nadler and drummer Adam Morgan continued to get together on Wednesdaynights to work on new music despite having no plans to release it. It was during these jam sessions that the music that would eventually find its way onto Arbiter first began to take shape.
In 2012, Brigham and Morgan visited frontman, Jay Forrest, in Chicago culminating in the decision that Forrest would add vocals to the demos. The lineup for the band’s reformation would then be cemented in August of 2015 when bassist, Chad Waldrup, joined the group to see Hum and Failure. Still, the idea of putting out new music as Hopesfall wasn’t part of the plan. With the lineup complete, the band brought their demos to another trusted collaborator – producer Mike Watts (Glassjaw, Dillinger Escape Plan, O’Brother) whom they had worked with on two previous releases, Magnetic North and A Types. It was Watts who brought the demos to Dan Sandshaw and Will Putney of Graphic Nature / Equal Vision Records where the idea of releasing it as a Hopesfall record was finally discussed. A testament to the band’s hard-earned legacy, the famed label immediately jumped on the opportunity to release the project.
Arbiter has a decidedly unique bend to it, but Brigham points out that it is built off of the same principles as Hopesfall’s previous catalog – “big riffs and dark melodies.” Forrest adds that the driving message of Arbiter remains the same as well: “Hopes fall. Tragedies happen. But that doesn’t mean you should give up or not stay the course.
Arbiter is set for release on July 13th via Graphic Nature / Equal Vision Records. It is at once a reminder of why the band has become so influential and a beacon of the its continued evolution. Look for Hopesfall to support the release with select tour dates later this year.
For More Information, please visit:

Tips for Making Music Part of Everyday Life

Making Music a Part of Daily Life

I grew up surrounded by music – between my time learning to play the piano, my developing love of singing, and the music my tone-deaf-but-enthusiastic mother played around the house, my life was built as much note by note, as it was day by day. You may have heard that involving a child in music on a regular basis helps a child improve their mental abilities, and those musical habits can reach far beyond just a weekly lesson. Here are some ideas for using the bonus listening tracks provided by Hoffman Academy for making music a part of your daily life.

Waking Up with Upbeat and Uptempo Selections

Use an upbeat, cheerful, or rhythmic selection to help your child gear up for facing the day. Spinning Song, Yankee Doodle, and When the Saints Go Marching In are great options from the Listening Tracks. You can also find selections on YouTube or Spotify-type apps such as Sousa marches, Wagner Ride of the Valkyries, or Mars from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. These songs will get you moving, up and at ‘em, and out the door with a hopeful attitude.

Build Music Skills AND Togetherness With Sing-Alongs

Singing is one of the best ways for children to begin to train their ears and develop musical skills that will carry them through the challenges of learning an instrument. And singing TOGETHER can build some fun feelings – especially when doing other chores or household tasks. Grinding Corn, Love Somebody, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Row Row Row Your Boat are some favorites with all ages!

Focused Homework or Concentration Time

Many parents are learning that music studies impact the brain in positive ways. But additional studies show that even listening to instrumental music during homework and studying time can help improve test scores and retention. One helpful way to create a musical day for your child can be to add music in the background during study times. Avoid jarring, dissonant, or vocal songs in favor of instrumental music that will do well as background music.

Start with something that will relax and calm such as Debussy Claire de Lune, Saint-Saen’s Carnival of the Animals ‘The Swan’, or a Mozart string quartet such as String Quartet No. 17. Once you and your child are feeling less anxious, some songs that will encourage learning and retention will be appreciated. Consider slightly bolder (but still not jarring) songs like Tchaikovsky’s Concerto no. 1, Beethoven Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, and Vivaldi Five Concertos for Flute and Chamber Orchestra.

Music for Nighttime Routine and Sleep Assistance

A fun way to begin a bedtime routine is with a sing-along song from the listening tracks, Are You Sleeping Brother John. Tracks such as this can be a great addition to a bedtime routine as a child changes into pajamas and prepares for bed. Once your child is in bed, studies show that classical music with slower tempos can help a child fall asleep, and stay asleep compared to those without music. Try songs that have a regular tempo and dynamic throughout such as Enya’s Watermark, Mozart’s Canzonetta Sull’aria, and Bach: Goldberg Variations.

Making Music a Part of Daily Life

As you experiment and begin to add music to your life on a regular basis, you’ll develop a list of your favorites beyond the recommendation here. This is a great sign that your child’s musical skills and ear are beginning to grow. As their musical skills develop through their lessons, it’s only natural that music will become a larger part of their life as well. Learn more about the other resources available at Hoffman Academy and enjoy a musically rich life.

 

**Disclosure** This post is not sponsored. All text, thoughts, and opinions are always my own.

Macaroni from Monkey Monkey Music with Meredith CD Release

New music is always a great way to invigorate kids and get them up and moving. Monkey Monkey Music has a new collection of songs, Macaroni, available for sale now. Parents may already be familiar with Monkey Monkey Music and Meredith LeVande (the creator). Her songs and music videos have been featured on PBS Kids, Kids Thirteen, and over 100 public television stations across the US.

monkey music

Macaroni is the title track and like many of the other songs it touches on a hallmark of childhood and creativity, all of the uses we can find for macaroni! Whether we wear it, or use it to make music, Monkey Monkey Music points out how something as simple as pasta can be transformed by imagination and ingenuity.

Education through music is a big part of Meredith LeVande’s work. Her words invoke the joy that learning can bring forward in young children while their body moves to the beat.

kids music

As an educator and songwriter Meredith has been creating music since 2001. Her work is available on CD and DVD on the Monkey Monkey Music site, iTunes, and Amazon. Monkey Monkey Music has two previous albums you can check out as well, Monkey Monkey Music with Meredith LeVande released in 2004, and What Are the Odds released in 2010.