Shatner and Hamilton

Oct 1, 2011, By Matt Gallagher

Los Angeles–based producer/composer/musician Adam Hamilton christened his new home studio by producing a new release for William Shatner titled Seeking Major Tom, a “concept record” inspired by David Bowie’s astronaut character and 19 cover songs. ...

Chrstina Perri

Sep 1, 2011, By Blair Jackson

There have never been so many ways to have a hit. Take Christina Perri’s surprise 2010 smash “Jar of Hearts.” On June 29, 2010, Perri was an unknown 24-year-old singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles. Originally from the Philadelphia area, she’d knocked around L.A. for a couple of years looking for a break, moved back to Philly near the end of 2009, wrote the emotional “Jar of Hearts” during her time there and then returned to L.A., where she worked as a waitress by day and did some recording. ...

Classic Tracks: Charlie Rich "Behind Closed Doors"

Sep 1, 2011, By Barbara Schultz

Charlie Rich had made the rounds. He’d joined and left several labels by the time he signed with Epic in 1967 on the recommendation of producer/executive Billy Sherrill. He’d worked as a session musician, playing piano for Judd Phillips’ Judd Records, and then for Judd’s brother Sam at Sun Records and the Phillips International label, where he also wrote and recorded a few cuts of his own, including the Elvis-esque hit single “Lonely Weekends.” And he’d done “Big Boss Man” for RCA/Groove and “Mohair Sam” for Smash Records. ...

Joss Stone, Dave Stewart Get Loose at Blackbird

Sep 1, 2011, By Blair Jackson

At the ripe old age of 24, Joss Stone is already a wily record industry veteran. The gritty and passionate British singer made her initial splash in her mid-teens with the trans-Atlantic hit album The Soul Sessions, which played beautifully into England’s long love affair with American R&B, and in retrospect helped pave the way for later UK “blue-eyed soul” sensations such as Amy Winehouse and Adele. More chart successes followed in Britain and America. She’s been nominated for numerous Grammy Awards and always seems to be available for high-profile benefit concerts when they crop up, from Band Aid to Live 8 to Live Earth, and many more. She’s nearly as famous for her collaborations as her own records, having worked with everyone from Melissa Etheridge (a heart-stopping duet on two Janis Joplin tunes at the Grammys) to Herbie Hancock, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, Common, Jeff Beck and countless others. What could be considered her ultimate collaboration—the group SuperHeavy, featuring Stone, Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman—is hitting the stores this month. ...

Beyonce Runs Her World

Aug 1, 2011, By Blair Jackson

It only seems as though Beyonce has been a superstar forever. Since her days fronting the hit machine known as Destiny’s Child in the late ’90s, she has conquered the world with her four solo albums—selling 75 million records and picking up 16 Grammys along the way—triumphed on a succession of increasingly extravagant tours, been praised for her acting in several major feature films, launched successful fashion and fragrance lines, and become one of the highest-paid commercial spokespeople in the U.S. Her latest album, 4, was an instant smash when it was released in late June while she was on tour in France; two days after it came out, she headlined the Glastonbury Festival in England in front of 170,000 people. She’s beautiful, talented, independent—and driven. ...

KickDrums on Their Own

Aug 1, 2011, By Sarah Benzuly

Producers Alex Fitts and Matt Penttila, under the nom de plume KickDrums, had to turn the mirror back on themselves. The same critical eye and creativity used to create beats and tracks for the likes of 50 Cent, Kid Cudi and John Legend was put into play for their own release, Meet Your Ghost. While working on other artists’ material, the duo began to build the songs, fusing hip-hop tones with rock melodies. Working in their own personal studios in New York City, the two would mostly swap tracks with each other, coming together to work in Fitts’ space ...

Smashing Pumpkins in Pre-Production

Aug 1, 2011, By Sarah Benzuly

When Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan came into Coldwater Studio (Beverly Hills), he had 30-plus songs but whittled that number down during a month of pre-production for their upcoming album, Oceania. “The studio is situated in a guest house so we were able to jam in a comfortable room with lots of light that faced a pool,” says studio head engineer Kevin Dippold, who works with owner/producer Kerry Brown. “When Billy was happy with a particular arrangement, we’d move into the studio section of the guest house to do a quick acoustic guitar demo. ...

Vanessa Carlton's 'Rabbits on the Run'

Aug 1, 2011, By Matt Gallagher

Singer/songwriter/pianist Vanessa Carlton’s fourth studio album, Rabbits on the Run (Razor & Tie), marks her first collaboration with UK-based producer Steve Osborne. “After my last record [Heroes & Thieves, 2008], I was out of juice,” Carlton says. She found creative rejuvenation in listening to the music she grew up with, on vinyl. “I loved those records! It was clear: This is how I want to make my records.” She describes Rabbits on the Run as “the most clear-minded and pure reflection of my sense of music that I’ve ever been able to achieve. It’s also the most collaborative because everyone was so clear about what it was going to sound like.” ...

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