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Tag Archives: Music

  • Introducing 1band 1brand

    It's no secret that here at Daily Grommet, we like discovering and sharing unique gift ideas, innovative people and creative ideas. So, when we heard about 138 Music & Entertainment and the 1band 1brand platform at SXSW, we knew we wanted to share it with you. We had the pleasure of speaking with Brady Sadler, a founding partner of 1band 1brand and asked him a few questions... enjoy:

    Hi Brady, can you tell us a little about  1band 1brand?

    Sure! 1band 1brand is a free, subscription-based digital platform that introduces one emerging band along side one independent fashion label on a weekly basis. Each band offers a collection of songs for a name-your-own-price download and each brand provides an exclusive discount for seven days only.

    1band 1brand

    Since we are all about the story behind the idea, we'd love to know what was the inspiration for this company?

    Our team is made up of sales, marketing and strategy resources from ad agencies, consumer brands and technology companies. We’re all interested in new music and shopping for cool clothes, but we don't always have the time to search for it online. These days there are more independent artists and fashion designers than ever before in history. Anyone can put out an album or set up a storefront on the Web and that makes for a cluttered environment.

    We figured there were a lot of people in the same boat, so we launched 1band 1brand to help cut through the clutter and make it easier to discover great music and fashion.

    The music industry has been changing ever since Napster came on the scene. How does this impact your site?

    Linda Perry at BUZZBANDS LA / 1band 1brand Showcase

    Music and fashion have always gone hand in hand, but now the two industries are collaborating much more closely. In the past, a brand would typically wait until a band had a hit on the radio, but that’s all changed.

    Now if a band has twenty thousand followers on Twitter or ‘Likes’ on Facebook, they have direct access to a loyal audience. That’s appealing to brands and they are eager to form strategic partnerships.

    How do you find these great new bands and brands?

    That’s a secret! Actually, we spend the time researching bands and brands so our subscribers don’t have to and we have months worth of cool features already lined up.

    Now that the site is live we’re also getting a number of emails from bands, brands and users with suggestions.

    Networking is important as well. Just like in any industry, once you make a few key connections, you’re never more than one or two degrees away from someone else you might want to work with. This year, SXSW introduced a fashion component for the first time ever, so we traveled to Austin for our official launch and had a chance to interact with a lot of interesting bands and brands.

    What’s next for 1band 1brand?

    First and foremost, we want to continue building the community by signing up as many new people as we can and delivering the best bands and brands that are out there.

    We’re also beginning to facilitate band and brand collaborations that will result in exclusive products, live events and more. A number of retailers and publishers have expressed interest partnering as well, so we’ll continue to explore new and different ways to deliver this content.

    It’s an exciting time to be working in these industries because everyone is being forced to think beyond the traditional sales channels. We’re excited about the role we can play given the diverse background of our team and our experience creating unique strategic partnerships.

    Please join us to hear, wear and share by signing up to receive our weekly features at 1band1brand.com on Twitter or on Facebook.

    A big thank you to Brady for sharing 1band 1brand with us ... now, go and check them out!

  • Do Fun Stuff

    Angella Dykstra

    I first "met" Ryan after BlogHer 2009. I saw hundreds of hits to my personal blog from a blog called Pacing The Panic Room and clicked over to see who was sending so much traffic my way. He had taken a photo of me laughing with my hand by my face and, well, click on over if you want to see why it was so funny. We became Twitter/blog friends and I admire his photography and writing immensely. I finally met him at this year's BlogHer in New York and he's just as engaging in person as he is online. When I heard about this album that he had put together to raise funds for SMS (Smith-Magenis Syndrome) I wanted to highlight it here on the Daily Grommet blog. We're not the only ones to back the cause - both Dooce and The Pioneer Woman have done their part (as have others) to send traffic love his way and keep the album at the top of the charts. Let's learn more about Ryan and his cause.

    1.Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? Who you are, what you do, how you got to be so Internet famous? (*I* know it's because you're a brilliant photographer and ridiculously awesome, but maybe link to some of your fun stuff and that sweet series of Cole when she was pregnant. Or maybe it's for a whole 'nother reason altogether?)

    Internet famous? When did that happen? I thought you had to have like over a million views on “you tube” and have someone “auto tune” you to be considered internet famous. I’m just a jerk with a blog. I started Pacing the Panic Room when I got married and quit bar tending, and put my night life behind me. I wanted a way to make all my friends feel okay about married life, so they would want to quit partying every night of the week, get married, and have babies...That way we could all still hangout together. Pacing the Panic Room truly began as a way to let my friends know what I was doing, and how I was feeling about it, as I was one of the first to break away from that pack of Peter Pans. I was so excited and terrified to be starting this new life, and I had made a choice early on that I wouldn’t let being a husband and a new father mean that I had to lose my identity, and the big one for me, not letting go of my dreams. So the blog has been the building of my family, not just the wife and kids story, but both Cole and I were just starting our careers when the blog started. So there has been a strong emphasis on my photo jobs. As it turns out, it hasn’t been my professional work that gets much attention, rather the personal at home projects I do. Mainly the maternity series I did documenting Cole’s pregnancy. I can’t believe the reaction to it http://pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com/search/label/the%20belly%20pictures%20series

    2. Your son has been diagnosed with SMS (Smith-Magenis Syndrome). Can you tell us what that is, and what that means for him and for your family in the long run?

    The Littlest Buddy is my step-son and when I first met him he was this adorable, silent, little 3 yr old boy. He was so tiny for his age. He is six now and still only weighs 30lbs. The only words he could actually say were “apple” and “mama.” Cole had him in all kinds of therapy: speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. She had no diagnosis for him (despite years of trying), and had been down so many paths of various Doctors scratching their heads baffled. Then, it was March of '09, and Cole was 23 weeks pregnant with Tessa (our baby girl) when she got the call that LB had a genetic disorder called Smith Magenis Syndrome. The developmental pediatrician called her and told her at her job. Who does that? This Doctor muttered some clinical cold definition that she was reading out of a book, and said she was not familiar with SMS, and that Cole should just call a geneticist to schedule an appointment to find out more. The only geneticist we could get an appointment with didn’t have any openings for months. So, we had to turn to the internet to find out what this all meant for us, and for LB. It was a shock, don’t get me wrong, not because of the list of symptoms and characteristics, but it was truly the first time that the reality set in that this wasn’t something that LB was going to eventually grow out of. Nothing else really changed at all. He was already in all kinds of therapy, and we had been working hard on all of his delays-- only now, we knew this was going to be a life long challenge for all of us. So what became our priority was to separate the boy from the symptoms, to be sure that we knew who LB truly was inside of all of these delays and characteristics and profiles being dumped on us. The benefit of having the diagnosis is that we can fine tune his therapy, and we found a small community of parents and researchers at a site called PRISMS that we could gain insight and perspective from and learn about Smith Magenis.

    3. You rallied people together to make an album to raise funds for SMS. I love this idea. Who is involved in the project and who has helped to promote the cause?

    A web storm :) I had heard someone say this once. “Web Storm.” I can’t remember where, but I loved the idea of getting SO many people to simultaneously make enough noise about something, that it would thunder across the web. I knew that trying to get a bunch of people to care about a rare genetic disorder wasn’t going to go far, so the first thing I had to do was make something to attach to this cause to champion. The kids album “Do Fun Stuff” was born. It made sense to make a kids record since I had so many parents reading my blog. I had worked in the music industry for awhile in one of my past lives, and I was still buddies with some great bands. So I begged them to please make me songs that were easy on the parents, but that kids would respond to. I had to make something parents would want. So I came up with the idea to make “A kids record for parents.” I knew that if I could just get people excited about this music, they would take a second to see what it was attached to, in this case SMS. Everyone’s always like: “What’s that?!” and as soon as that happens, the info is right there. So in the end a bunch of people got educated about SMS, and at the same time I made it really easy for them to help, they just had to buy this album of really great tunes, and all the proceeds went to a fellowship to create more research with PRISMS. (Parents & Researchers Interested in Smith Magenis Syndrome)

    So many people have helped out with this album - the list of people to thank is enormous and overwhelming. When I first made the plea on my blog to pretty please help out, I ended up with about 300 emails of people who signed up to post about the album on the release date. By the time the album actually was finished being made and launched, I had collected about 100 more emails. So on August 30th we all posted about the album on the same day, at the same time, and with the same message, and we linked to the album to buy. In just a few hours, so many people had tweeted the #dofunstuff hashtag, and posted the album widget that I had made, that the album debuted at #1 on iTunes in the Childrens Music charts. It was incredible. Such a huge accomplishment and I was so proud of everyone that got involved. I mean a bunch of personal bloggers totally crushed big music labels, we beat everything from Disney, to KidZ Bop, to Yo Gabba Gabba. Since then we have dropped and fluctuated in the charts from day to day, and I have been extremely fortunate after the initial big buzz had died to get some HUGE boosts from: Dooce, Pioneer Woman, Ohdeedoh, Cup of Joe, Design Mom, Mama Pop, the list goes on. It seems like every time the album starts to drop in the charts someone will come along and put some light on the album and shoot it back to the top. I mean to have help like this after Cole and I spent the first months of the diagnosis feeling helpless is really beautiful. I really haven’t been able to wrap my head around the response. It was so important to Cole and I to physically do something to help. We wanted to create a chance for more research to be possible. The more case studies there are the more info is available, and so the goal has been to raise enough the first year that a new case study is done.

    We decided early on that this would be a yearly project for us. Do Fun Stuff vol. 2 is already being worked on.

    4. We're excited to share your story with our readers and help spread the word about SMS. Is there an official website where people can go to to learn more information?

    Check out our Monster widget: http://www.dofunstuff.net there is good basic info when you click the tab “our cause” and within this space there are links to take you to PRISMS where you can really learn a bunch more about SMS and the charity.

    5. Last (and most definitely not least), where can people buy the album to help support PRISMS with SMS and research?

    The album is available on iTunes and if you click on the monster widget on the iTunes link, you are juts a click away from purchasing the album. There is also a donate button at the bottom of the monster widget if you would like to make a bigger donation than just an album purchase, feel free to unburden yourself from all that heavy money in your pockets. 100% of the proceeds go to this charity, none of the musicians, or artists, or graphic designers, or any of the people that helped “Do Fun Stuff” come to life are making money on this. They have all donated their time and talent and made a really superb album for you.

    When we made this widget, we wanted it to have everything you needed in one little adorable micro site. I hope it came in handy for this post :) He even has a little share button for any of you who would totally love to post this monster on your blog. I know what you’re thinking... You’re thinking: “that’s a great idea Ryan.” So please go and share that widget. Get yourself “Do Fun Stuff” and then, stop by my blog and tell me about your post here: http://pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com/2010/09/love-letters-from-us.html

  • An Interview With Tracy Kash

    In our early days here at Daily Grommet, we had the pleasure of  being introduced to the music of  Tracy Kash. Tracy  (the 2009 Detroit Music Award winner for Outstanding Jazz Vocalist),  has just released her 3rd album Sound Truth. We have been watching this outstanding singer-songwriter and are thrilled to finally get the chance to share her story with you.

    Who would you collaborate with if you could choose anyone – dead or alive?

    Harry Nilsson and Maurice Ravel. They’ve both passed on so collaboration would be tricky – unless they have REALLY good cell service…Seriously, I’ve been listening to Harry Nilsson since I was a tiny little thing when “The Point”, an animated movie for which he scored the music was very popular (70’s). His influence and amazing sense of melody and humor never left me. I hear a lot of him in some of the music I write – some very Nilsson-esque melodies tend to creep into my tunes without me even realizing! I’d love to pick the brain of Maurice Ravel, one of my favorite classical composers. Not only is his beautifully lush writing an influence, but the man was a masterful arranger. Even his contemporaries called on him to arrange a large number of piano works for full orchestra. He had wonderful ears and, amazingly, a really good sense of various instruments’ natural qualities and capabilities and, consequently, always knew what would sound good on those instruments. Arranging is a much underrated skill – it’s more difficult to it well than most people realize.

    How did you get started in music - what's your story?

    I don’t remember ever NOT being a musician. My mother was a very fine pianist and taught piano for many years. Naturally, she was my first piano teacher starting when I was about 5. I was always a singer as was my sister. We would all harmonize in the car on family road trips – it was like being in a car with the Lennon Sisters. So much fun. As a result of having such a background, I was comfortable with crafting harmonies starting from a very young age. I started to play the flute when I was 11 so that I could play in the school band and orchestra. I studied flute/orchestral music and vocal jazz in college and grad school, then pursued a symphony career very seriously (see attached bio for details) After a while, I just sort of burned out on that scene. I needed a new direction with new music. I decided to start writing my own music starting in around 1999 and never looked back. I ended up in New York City working/gigging with several of my old music colleagues from my college days – truly outstanding musicians. They really supported me and sent me on my way as a performing songwriter.

    What other interests do you pursue in life other than music? Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy?

    I absolutely love to garden. I find it’s a great escape from everything. And the results – everything is so beautiful and fragrant! I feel the same way about cooking – I just get into this zone and just revel in creating something out of nothing. My husband recognizes this when it happens and likes to stay out of my way for fear of being trampled! I tend to be a bulldozer when I commit to any kind of creative project.
    What is your favorite thing about social media? Do you twitter? Or is social media just something you have to do?

    Oh I think social media is magnificent. I think it’s important to balance the time one spends using/manipulating it and that used for practice, songwriting, and other more creative ventures. You have to remember to keep up your craft – both songwriting and playing – there’s just no substitute for practice. I do tweet, thank you very much! The best thing about social media these days is how so many of its forms are being integrated to work in concert with each other. It’s a huge time saver for me to be able to update something in one spot, and have that information automatically fed into all the various sites where I have a page (ArtistData, Twitter, MySpace, etc.); I don’t have to update information at each site. It helps to keep the breadth of social media a little less intimidating.

    Regarding your current album – what’s the story you want to leave behind?

    My albums tend to be very autobiographical, more philosophically speaking than in the literal sense, though some lyrics are inspired by or based on actual events. When that’s the case, I think it’s important for artists to be honest about their own story. If you truly want to tell your story, then tell yours, not someone else’s. This album is very appropriately titled in that sense. Most importantly, I’ve had to learn to not punish myself for being what/who I am, thinking the way I think. It’s not wrong or right, it just is what it is! It’s taken me a while to learn that – I’m still working on it.

  • Win today's Grommet, autographed by Journey band member, Ross Valory

    Today's Grommet has us all singing along! Mouth Man is a  fun innovative shirt company that was started by Ross Valory- think 1980's Wheel in the Sky or Don't Stop Believin'.  Hard not to admit you don't have a Journey song on your iPod. What's made Mouth Man an especially fun Grommet to feature is that it has the entire Grommet team humming their favorite Journey songs around the office.

    So in the spirit of today's Grommet- I decided to take a poll. I know what  my favorite Journey song is... but I was curious what the top three favorite songs of the entire Grommet team would be. So naturally I had to find out. Without further ado, here are Daily Grommet's top 3 most requested Journey Songs:

    1. Don't Stop Believin'!

    2. Open Arms

    3. Anyway You Want It

    How'd we do? Did your favorite song make the cut?

    Visit Daily Grommet today to check out the Mouth Man Animated Shark & Gecko Hoodies Shirts-- plus you could win one autographed by Journey band member, Ross Valory!

    Click here to enter to win!

  • Meet the very talented Koku Gonza

    I don't know about those of you reading, but I am always on the lookout for new music. While there are bands that I love and will listen to on repeat to the point where my husband will ask me to play something, anything else, I still crave new music to listen to. I have a few friends who are gifted with making mixed CD's and they often introduce me to music I never would have found on my own. Recently, Jeanne forwarded me the link for Koku Gonza and I was immediately enamored. If you check out her website, you will see why.

    We met via email and I sent her some interview questions so that you (and I) could get to know a little more about her.

    Koku Gonza image

    How would you describe your style of music?

    My music is an eclectic story of the various musical and lifestyles I have experienced. Jazz, Pop, R&B, Gospel, African, Folk and Soul music all play roles in my sound.

    When did you first realize you would be a musician – and how did you get your start?

    I realized I would be a musician at the age of 3. I started off by watching my father compose music at home. He wrote Tanzanian folk music. He would record guitar, bass,keyboard, drums and vocals as I do. After hanging out enough and watching and participating during my fathers song writing sessions,my parents enrolled me in piano lessons at age 4.

    Who are you inspired by?

    I am inspired by real people in life situations and people who seek to live unexpected fantasies. My muse can come in a variety of forms. Sometimes a young child, sometimes a cute guy, sometimes my life experiences are my inspiration.

    What’s playing on your ipod?

    Sergio Mendez,George Ben Jor, Ella Fitzgerald, Esperanza Spalding, Q-TIp, WuTang, Feist, Birds and Bees

    When you're not singing and performing, how do you like to spend your time?

    Relaxation, sleep and exercise! three things that I don't get a lot of :)

    What's the most important thing we should know about you?

    I am a perfectionist. Being a perfectionist exciting yet demanding.

    So what's next for you?

    I have a new CD being released called RADIOZOPHRENIC-All of my musical personalities will make an appearance on this album.

    Koku Gonza

    Thanks so much for sharing with us! If you want to hear more of Koku Gonza, her website is a great place to start. You won't be disappointed.



    We've just heard from Koku Gonza and wanted to share this exciting update with you:

    Koku Gonza is one of the artist ushering in the “Neo Soul-World Music” movement with the release of her highly anticipated third CD, Radiozophrenic.  Radiozophrenic encompass her schizophrenic passion for genre blending and musical variety. Audiences can expect to hear elements of American Neo-Soul/R&B, Pop and the global vibes of East Africa from Koku Gonza. Koku Gonza’s music is parallel to the translation of her Kihaya name, which means lovely. She applies love, soul and passion into the ingredients of her genre defiant pallet on her first full- length album, Radiozophrenic. The album drops June, 2011. For complimentary downloads of the new project please visit http://www.kokugonza.com/.

  • Daily Grommet Spotlight: "SkinnySongs"

    Skinny Songs for weight loss by Heidi RoizenEvery day, the Daily Grommet community introduces us to all kinds of creative and inventive new ideas-- our blog Spotlight Series lets us turn around and introduce them to you. Today we're talking to Heidi Roizen, the woman behind "SkinnySongs," a popular motivational CD we first heard about from Grommet friend, Brad Feld, (you might remember Brad recommended the iRobot Looj gutter cleaner, featured on Daily Grommet).

    Welcome to the Daily Grommet blog, Heidi. Can you tell us about "SkinnySongs" and how you came up with the idea for this CD?

    A couple years ago, after a number of years of working too hard, not eating well, and getting no exercise, I got on the scale and hit a number I had never thought would be me —  forty pounds over where I had been when I got married.  I vowed that day to change my ways and get back to a healthy weight before my 50th birthday, which was about eight months away.  That very morning, getting into my car, I was already dreading my first meeting, knowing that there would be a plate of chocolate chip cookies in the center of the conference table. If I was going to resist, I thought, I had better start mentally preparing now, before I get there. I started the car and the cd player started with it -- and then it hit me.

    Where's the theme song for this battle?  You know, where was the  "I Will Survive" song for facing chocolate chip cookies?  I figured there had to be something I could listen to in the car that would motivate me to stick to my plans.  But when I went to look for it, I found meditational tracks, sweatin’ to the oldies music, and podcasts about weight loss tips, but nothing with a fun beat and inspirational lyrics.  SO I decided to do it myself.

    What's the biggest difference between your approach to weight loss and other diets or plans out there?

    While I followed a program to shed my forty pounds, there is nothing that unusual about it... Sorry to say, it is ‘eat less and exercise more’!  However, what IS unusual about SkinnySongs is it is the first music written specifically to help motivate weight loss and fitness.  There’s plenty of music to listen to when you work out; mine is music to listen to so that you’ll go to the gym in the first place.

    What's been the most fun part of this project?

    Really, two things.  First, it was incredibly fun to work with the terrific producers, David Malloy and George Daly, who took my idea and my lyrics and created music far better than anything I could have conceived.  Second, it is a tremendous kick to get ‘fan mail’ from others who have been inspired by my music, including one woman who says SkinnySongs helped her lose 200 pounds!

    If you could sum up "SkinnySongs" in one sentence, what would it be?

    Music to motivate you back into your skinny jeans.

    Do you have any words of advice for others who want to turn their big idea into a business?

    You have to be dedicated and you have to be realistic about how much time it will take and how much money it will cost.  And, you have to be able to convince other people with the skills you don’t have to do it with you.  I believe this all worked because I was willing to put my time and my money where my mouth was, so to speak.... And I was so passionate about the idea I was able to convince a bunch of talented people to work on it with me.

    Skinny Songs, motivational weight loss music, Heidi Roizen


    What's next for you and "Skinny Songs"?

    The music continues to attract fans, I’ve been on The Martha Stewart Show, CNN and many other places.  Still waiting for Oprah to call me :-).  It is up on Amazon and iTunes and I continue to promote it.  I’m looking at opportunities to turn it into a musical, now that would be fun!

    Do you know a passionate business you'd like us to feature on our Daily Grommet Spotlight Series? Tell us about it!

    We're giving away a copy of "SkinnySongs" today. Just leave a comment or question for Heidi and we'll randomly select one winner. Good luck everyone!

    Contest Rules: To enter, you must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada, and at least 18 years of age. No purchase necessary. Contest begins on 1/25/10 at 10am EST and will end 1/25/10 at 10pm EST. To enter, you must leave a comment on this post. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive a copy of the CD "SkinnySongs." You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. By entering this contest, you give Daily Grommet permission to contact you regarding your submission. If the winner does not respond within 7 days, a new winner will be selected. Void where prohibited.

  • Help: An a capella tribute to the Beatles

     Jeanne was out holiday shopping when she came across the a capella group, Overboard, performing for the crowds. Impressed by their sound and the audience's response, she introduced herself and decided to share her discovery with our Grommet blog readers. I've been enjoying their music ever since, and Overboard director, Nick Girard, was gracious enough to answer my questions so that all of you could learn more about them too. Hope you enjoy the interview and the music -- don't miss the video they made just for us (below), plus you can download Overboard's newest album, "Help" for free (find out how below):

    Overboard a capella Boston Vocal pop group

    What led you to create the group, Overboard, and how did you get your start?

    I was involved with an a cappella group in college and really missed it after graduation. For a long time, I didn't actually believe there was a demand for a cappella; moving to Boston, one of the genres' great hubs, convinced me otherwise. So, in the spring of 2006, I started contacting a few guys I'd sung with. A few Craigslist posts and many auditions later, Overboard was created. That first summer, we mostly street performed. Little by little, we got more and more work and recognition; in 2007, we were finalists on the CBS Early Show's “A Cappella Quest”.

    How many guys are in the group and how do you all get along?

    Currently, there are six guys in the group. We get along really well… most of the time anyway! No, seriously, we hang out all the time, whether we're supposed to be singing or not (I emphasize the “supposed to be singing” because we all are constantly singing, humming, whistling or doing vocal percussion -- much to the delight of our friends and family!). When we’re not on the road together, we do pretty typical things like watch movies, play poker or go rock climbing. A bunch of us went on a cruise last year and enjoyed the nightly karaoke, as you can imagine.

    Are there any non-a cappella musicians who inspire you?

    We're inspired by just about every type of music you can imagine. Most of us got into music as instrumentalists, rather than as singers, and that background often shows in how we think about music. Beyond that, one of the great things about a cappella is that its versatility enables us to perform songs from all different genres, so our repertoire really reflects that breadth of influence. In our holiday set, for example, one minute we’ll be doing a modern, almost electronica, version of “We Three Kings” and the next we’ll be doing a traditional performance of “Carol of the Bells.” For us, the tricky part isn’t finding or incorporating influences, but rather blending those influences so our sets and albums sound cogent and cohesive.

    My family and I have been rabid Glee fans from day one and we were glued to the recent "Sing-Off" contest. Have these popular shows brought you more attention - and what do you think of them?

    Although its popularity has grown enormously over the last five years, a cappella is still a pretty unknown genre for mainstream music fans, so having shows like “Glee” and “The Sing-Off” enter the popular consciousness has really helped give audiences a frame of reference for what we’re doing. Many people still think of a cappella as barbershop or glee club, but “Sing-Off” groups like the Tufts Beelzebubs and Nota really dispel that misperception, which particularly helps us because our style is probably somewhere in between theirs. Moreover, since we spend much of our time in schools doing clinics and concerts, having the kids reference those shows has been really cool -- definitely a different atmosphere from when I was in high school!

    Today we're featuring your new album, a tribute to the Beatles. This Christmas, my Mom surprised our family with Beatles Rock Band for the Wii. I can only imagine that the success of Beatles Rock Band has helped you.

    We definitely had Rock Band in mind as we planned Help!. Knowing about the Rock Band release, as well as the plan to release the remastered Beatles catalogue, we thought 2009 would be a great time for a modern a cappella tribute to the Beatles.

    Your album is called "Help," but it's different from the Beatles' album of the same title. How did you pick the songs?

    We decided to arrange the songs in such a way as to tell a story, similar to the concept albums created by bands like Pink Floyd and The Who. So, we came up with this idea of having the album be a flashback of a relationship between Beatles’ characters Billy Shears and Eleanor Rigby; the song “In My Life” frames the flashback and really sets the stage for our mini-rock opera, complete with each song transitioning into the next. In this day and age when people focus more on singles than albums, conceiving this project as a whole work, rather than a collection of disparate songs, was a bit of a gamble, but we’re really proud of the final project and are thrilled with the positive feedback we’ve received.

    So what's next for Overboard?

    We've always been guided by a “little bit of everything” mentality. Looking ahead, we’ll be bringing Help! to the stage as a full-length live show. We’re also planning a concert series where we’ll be hosting some great local and school choruses and a cappella groups, in an effort to expose more people to the genre and raise money for these groups.

    We’ll be hosting a weeklong summer camp for high school and college singers, and we're really excited about 2010, not just for Overboard, but for the genre of a cappella itself. We’re honored to be a part of such a dynamic, burgeoning community. You can visit our website, www.overboardvocals.com, for more information about Overboard and the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America’s website, www.casa.org, for more information about a cappella music more generally.

    Thanks, Nick, and all the guys at Overboard! Hope everyone enjoys this video ... recorded just for Daily Grommet:


    Overboard a capella Boston pop vocal group Help album

    Now through February 12, 2010, Overboard is inviting all Daily Grommet fans to download the album "Help" for free! Click here and enter the Code: DailyGrommet.

    You can also buy the CD on Amazon or download on iTunes.

    Hope you'll stop back and let us know what you think!

  • Intimate and Interactive With David Homyk

    Not long ago, Jeanne was fortunate to come across the music of David Homyk and had the chance to get to know him better thanks to Twitter. She then introduced me to David and his music (you might even recognize him from a few T.V. shows!). Right away, I knew he'd be a great fit for Daily Grommet.

    Today we're thrilled to be hosting David on the Daily Grommet blog , and he's even offered to give a few of our lucky commenters a copy of his album, True Story! (Find it here on iTunes)

    Leave a question for David below - he'll be checking in throughout the day. We'll randomly select one person out of every 20 who comment to WIN A FREE CD! (See rules at the bottom of this post)

    Here's a video message from David with a sneek preview of a song that's not even published yet - our interview follows below:

    Daily Grommet's Interview with David Homyk:

    Ok, let's start with an easy one: Tell us what instruments you play?

    I play guitar, piano, saxophone, bass guitar, and I’m a singer (the voice is my favorite “instrument!”) Most importantly, though, I’m a record producer. This means that if I happen to imagine the texture of a new instrument within the soundscape of an as yet unrecorded song, I’ll tinker with that particular instrument until I can play it.

    When did you first realize you would be a musician - and how did you get your start?

    On Christmas day when I was three years old, my dad recorded an interview with me and my brother ... He started the tape, spoke into the microphone, and then passed the microphone to us. After a few questions I asked him to play the tape back. When I heard myself speaking, my first thought was “We need to rerecord that, I can make it sound better this time.” This was the dawn of my fascination and obsession with recording.

    At age eight I got my first boom box. I had already been taking piano lessons for one year and was now composing and recording my own songs. I learned to dub tracks in and somewhat multi-track on tapes, but by the time I had picked up the saxophone, guitar, bass guitar, and had been writing and singing, I needed more equipment to produce myself playing all the various instruments as well as singing multiple parts on the recordings of my songs. I purchased and learned to use a professional multi-track analog studio recorder.

    I recorded my songs and ultimately got them on local radio. At this point, not only was I a singer-songwriter, but a seasoned record producer. I took a cappella tracks of Beyoncé songs; just her voice, and produced rich and very sophisticated pop symphonies underneath them which rivaled the original radio productions. This ultimately let to a meeting and eventual business relationship with Matthew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father, who quickly started throwing other projects at me, capitalizing on my composition and production skills. It was a lot of work but that’s when I really “cut my teeth,” as they call it.

    Who are you inspired by?

    Ironically, the artists who have made the biggest impact on my life and who have shaped my choice to become an artist tend to sound little like me at all. In no particular order: Nirvana, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin, Mobb Deep, Nas, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Portishead, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and The Doors.

    What’s currently playing on your ipod?

    I’m listening to Parachute’s new album “Loosing Sleep,” which is an absolutely excellent record in every aspect; writing, performance, composition, and production. I’m also listening to The Mars Volta, Ne-Yo, John Mayer, Elliott Smith, Peter Bjorn and John, Ashlee Simpson, Mat Kearney, I’m From Barcelona, Uncle Kracker, Evanescence, Lil Wayne, The All-American Rejects, Buddy Holly, Mary J. Blige, Jason Mraz, The Midnight Appointment, OneRepublic, Daddy Yankee, Drake, audio recordings of Eckhart Tolle, Soulja Boy, Clipse, Bellringer, Colbie Caillat, Mastodon, and Yael Mayer.

    Do you write all of your own lyrics/music. If so, do you find the process to be easy or difficult for you?

    Yes, I write and compose all of my own lyrics and music. On a good day it's almost effortless. The process can be better understood as a creative experience that's coming through me, rather than my own arduous pursuit of, and determination to create, something outside of me. The difficulty, however, often lies in the highly specialized art of engineering and producing a hit recording which, unlike writing and composing, comprises myriad tedious steps and formulas.

    Who would you collaborate with if you could choose anyone – dead or alive?

    I know I would certainly have very fruitful and productive collaborations with Lil Wayne, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, Amy Lee, Lupe Fiasco, Sara Bareilles, Miley Cyrus, Jo-Jo, and Taylor Swift. And I would jump at the opportunity to collaborate with John Coltrane or Jimi Hendrix if they were alive today.

    What other interests do you pursue in life other than music? Do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy?

    I love hiking, long boarding, rollerblading, skiing, TV acting, and being young in NYC if that counts as a “hobby” - haha!

    I’m also avidly into recycling, energy efficiency, and environmental protection. In fact I look forward to endorsing innovative products of that particular ilk, namely environmentally concerned grommets; “Green Grommets.”

    What's your favorite thing about social media? Do you tweet? Or is social media just something you have to do?

    I love the luxury of being able to connect personally with exponentially more fans and the ability to have many small conversations with fans. The old paradigm of the music industry sequestered the artist behind a veil of mass media produced layer, which exacerbated the feeling of disconnect between artist and fan. Now the long lost element of human connection between artist and fan has returned through the ever developing efficiency with which those connections, even with the most popular artists, can be made.

    I use Twitter, and I tweet about real life here in NYC or on the road. I’m on the daytime TV show “All My Children” and tweet behind the scenes happenings. I go on “The Tyra Banks Show” from time to time and tweet about what’s going on off camera. Things such as what happened coming out of an important meeting, what’s going on behind stage at one of my shows, and even more personal details can be unveiled for the world with the push of a button. And to all “Daily Grommet” readers, I’m looking forward to speaking with you here as well. Hope you'll follow me and say hello:





    About your current album what’s the story you want to leave behind?

    My current album is called “True Story,” which details real events in my life which were fertile enough to give birth to a wealth of songwriting, often leaving me in despondent situations of complete loss and heartbreak, as well as situations of ineffable joy, where totally relinquishing attachment to all worry and expectation created a crack in my psyche where all the circuits went haywire and infinite light came pouring through.

    Buy the True Story album on Amazon.com
    Download the album on iTunes.

    You're working on a new album; do you have anything exciting that you want to share about it?

    The themes of this upcoming record span everything from how the human spirit can prevail in the face of maximum and unforeseeable adversity, to progressive and forward-thinking relationship dynamics of the twenty-first century. I’m aiming at a formal release Spring 2010 and will keep you updated!

    Thanks for dropping by Daily Grommet, David! Not only were you gracious enough to answer all of our questions, but we love the video you sent as well-- it really lets your personality shine through!

    David will be checking in throughout the day to answer any questions that our readers might have. Ask a question below and you'll be entered for a chance to win his CD. The contest will remain open until 5pm and we'll use Random.org to pick a winner. What are you waiting for?

    General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. resident, and at least 18 years of age. No purchase necessary. The winners will be randomly selected by Daily Grommet and we will select one person to win a CD for every 20 people who comment (one entry per person). Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 9am through 5pm December 3, 2009.

  • Discovering music that moves

    As I was driving my children home from a family gathering recently,  I decided to pop in one of my seldom-heard-lately but favorite music CDs:  "Standing in the Safety Zone" by The Fairfield Four.

    I like all kinds of music (much to the chagrin of my hip husband who likes to hide my "Sound of Music" CD when guests come over for dinner).   The Fairfield Four is an old-school gospel group that has been in existence in one form or another for over 80 years.  If you are a fan of traditional American music, you should give their acapella gospel harmonies a listen.  I first bought the CD because I fell in love with the men on the cover, wearing an engaging combination of over-alls and tuxedos (don't you love it?):

    Fairfield Four

    Listening to this CD brought back a wonderful memory for me.

    A few years ago, I was working through my long list of "to dos" as I prepared to sell my home in Richmond, Virginia for our move to Boston.  We had hired a lovely gentleman, Mr. Eldredge, to do some painting to spruce the place up a bit. One day he and I were working side by side.  As he painted the front door, I was nearby feverishly trying to remove small handprints and dried play-doh from our living room shelves before the first potential buyers arrived.  I put in my Fairfield Four CD for a little background music.

    And then, the "ta-da" moment:   Mr. Eldredge started to sing along in the type of baritone voice that makes you stop in your tracks and take pause.  I couldn't believe it!  Not only did he know my music -- but he sang as if he loved it.  At the song's end, I said:

    "Why, Mr. Eldredge, you know that song.   You sound wonderful!"

    His reply:

    "Well, now, you know I do love that song.  I believe I sang that one at the White House for President Clinton.  Or maybe  it was the first President Bush..."

    Yippee!  I felt as though I'd won the lottery.  I asked him to put down his paint brush and tell me all about it.  It turned out he was part of an elite group of singers who has sung for many a president.  And here he was in my presence.  Painting my front door and singing a song I cherished.  I wanted to capture this moment in a box and carry it around with me to remind me what happiness feels like when I need a lift.

    Sometimes music transcends.  More often, people do.  Have you had a moment like this -- when you realized one of your "discoveries" was loved by someone else?  Music or not, we'd love to hear about it.

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