Idol Headlines for 11/10/12

Carrie Underwood performs at XL Center in Hartford, CT.
Bo Bice performs at Kirkland Center in Roscommon, MI.
Taylor Hicks performs at The Indigo at Bally’s Las Vegas.
Bucky Covington performs at Chattanooga Fire Station 1 in Chattanooga, TN.
Phil Stacey performs at Yokota International Christian Center in Yokota, Japan.
Jason Castro performs at the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular in Phoenix, AZ.
Scott MacIntyre performs for the Mayo Clinic annual transplant banquet in Phoenix, AZ.
Lee DeWyze performs at The Vanguard in Tulsa, OK.
Casey James performs at Prairie Capitol in Springfield, IL.
Siobhan Magnus performs at A Family Affair Gala in Boston, MA.
Vonzell Solomon performs at the Opera House at Seongnam Arts Center in Korea. AmericanIdol.com

Carrie Underwood Donates to Hurricane Sandy Relief – 100% of the proceeds of last night’s concert in Atlantic City went to Hurricane Sandy relief! Carrie tweeted, “Thank you beautiful Atlantic City! You all made my year! You have been through so much and still rocked the house! I leave in awe! Thanks!”

Kristy Lee Cook tweets, “Today a soldier gave me his 118th US Airforce coin & I gave him my travel buddy tuck was so cool I’m very lucky! pic.twitter.com/eIzo3QFt

Phillip Phillips on Fame and New Album

Phil Stacey To Release New Single In December – Stacey will release first single in nearly 3 years. Song “I Will Go With You,” is planned to drop December 28. While Stacey tours Japan, musicians in Nashville are getting prepared to record the track for the song. Stacey will record the vocal track after his Japan tour. Phil Stacey, “This is an incredibly important project. I am working with the Assembly of God World Missions Department to raise awareness and funds for their projects that are happening globally. All the proceeds from this project will go to them.” – Read more at Breathcast

Constantine Maroulis hustles from American Idol to Jekyll & Hyde – When Constantine Maroulis steps onto the stage of the Ed Mirvish Theatre on Nov. 14 to play the title roles in Jekyll & Hyde, it should fit him like a glove. In one way or another, he’s been playing them for years. This isn’t to imply that Maroulis is a split personality who’s an angel by day and a devil by night, but he is an extraordinarily canny performer with distinct performing identities he’s manipulated throughout his career. Most people came to know him as the bad-boy rocker who grabbed public attention during the fourth season of American Idol, oozing sex appeal as he belted out everything from Nickelback to Queen. — Read more at The Star

Kelly Clarkson Sounds Off On Criticism Of Lady Gaga’s Weight – “I work out sometimes and [other times I] don’t… The funny part, to me, with like the Lady Gagas and the Jessica Simpsons — everybody’s on them. It’s like ‘Y’all, sometimes people just wanna have pizza and drink [something] and celebrate,’ and then sometimes people get really into like, athleticism and working out and sports… and I guess I find it funny because I’ve never actually never cared about another individual enough to be like, ‘I feel like you’re tubbier than usual.’ Everyone has mirrors. We know, we’re aware. When we have to go buy bigger jeans we’re aware, or when we buy smaller jeans we’re aware.” – Read more at Access Hollywood

Jennifer Hudson Proud Of New Fashion Line: ‘I’m Designing For Every Girl’ – “I have a serious love for clothes, like no other,” the Oscar-winner told Access Hollywood of her soon-to-debut QVC line, the Jennifer Hudson Collection, in a new interview. “This is everything. This is what you call everything!” “Oh my God — I am designing for every girl,” she said, “I know what it’s like to be the plus size girl and I know how it is now being my new self — whatever that’s called!” Adding, “I want my size 16 to look just as good as the size 6.” – Read more at Access Hollywood

Emblem3 comes home to Sequim amid ‘X Factor’ success – Earlier this year, they filmed an audition for NBC-TV’s “America’s Got Talent.” Although they were cut from the show, the producers asked them to try out for “The X Factor.” They sent in an audition tape and were accepted. While taping in Oakland, Calif., Emblem3 had the crowd up and dancing and ended up with a “yes!” vote from all four judges — Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. The usually dour Cowell said he loved “everything about their performance from the moment they stepped on stage” and predicted “a great future” for them. – Read more at Peninsula Daily News

Berklee welcomes ‘Idol’ judge DioGuardi for semester – DioGuardi, who was a judge on the eighth and ninth seasons of Fox’s popular singing contest, is teaching a class at Berklee College of Music this semester on songwriting and production. The class, titled “hit songwriting,” was developed specifically for Berklee and its 27 students were handpicked by DioGuardi. The students songwriter-producer pairs to mirror the music industry. “What Kara is doing at Berklee is important because she is simulating the most popular songwriting model our students will encounter when they leave campus: working in small teams that combine writers and producers in real time,” Berklee president Roger H. Brown said in a statement. – Read more at Boston.Com

  • Mateja Praznik

    Sony has one Idol winner less now: The Original Idol Will Young completed his original contract with Sony (RCA UK) and signed a new contract with Island (Universal).

    http://www.popjustice.com/thenews/will-young-has-signed-a-new-record-deal-with-island/104154/

  • OffLeash

    Constantine’s been performing non stop since his season ended it seems. That’s what Idol can do for you if you know how to take advantage of the exposure. Good for him.

  • luly

    Brynn ?@TheBrynnProject
    Big guests & show favs today. @CoffeyTalk talks aromatherapy & tune in @ 12 on @WCHE1520Radio fir appearances by@TeriReeves & @krisallen.

  • curly_yenta

    Last night, ZARKANA Cirque du Soleil Premiere Red Carpet At ARIA Las Vegas was host to a
    multitude of Hollywood A List actors and actresses plus several from Las Vegas
    and beyond. Those that walked the Zarkana red
    carpet were Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad, Matt Lanter from 90210, Edi Gathegi
    from X-Men First Class, DJ Ashba, Jeanette McCurdy from iCarly, Francis Ford
    Coppola the Director of The Godfather, Stewart Bradley from the Arizona
    Cardinals, Omar Benson Miller from CSI Miami, Richard Fortus from Guns N Roses,
    Shar Jackson from Celebrity Fit Club, Eric Linz from Cirque du Soleil Worlds
    Away, Ben Feldman from Mad Men, Taylor Hicks winner of American Idol, Harry Shum
    Jr from Glee, Carrot Top a headling comedian, Claire Sinclair a Playmate of the
    Year, Jabbawockeez and Chef Carla Pellegrino from Top Chef Seattle.

    Here’s the red carpet footage of Taylor Hicks (he’s the second being snapped).  The picture is of Taylor and Carla Pellegrino from Top Chef Seattle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DaYZvfdrzE&feature=player_embedded

    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c353/sandauer/602444_4668704194139_1245411370_n.jpg

  • ANNIEBA

    I watched Adam on VH1 Top 20 countdown and he is definitely going to be performing as well as hosting on VH1 Divas. Jim Shearer called Adam the “last of the greats from American Idol”. He said that after him the talent level went down but made an exception for P2 when they introduced the Home video immediately after, lol. Jim and VH1 love Adam and continue to be so supportive of him. So happy and excited for the Divas opportunity!

  • Nadine_Bitch

    Did Adam said ”some songs”? Meaning he will perform more than one time? And a potential duets, too?

    oh this gonna be wild!

    And that Jim dude was so sweet to call him ”The last of the greats from AI”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4Uq-H3yjVKE

  • Nadine_Bitch

    Did Adam said ”some songs”? Meaning he will perform more than one time? And a potential duets, too?

    oh this gonna be wild!

    And that Jim dude was so sweet to call him ”The last of the greats from AI”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4Uq-H3yjVKE

  • http://twitter.com/J_SanchezFans J SanchezFan Kaylo™

     I guess Jim Shearer never got to see Jessica Sanchez. ;)

  • lovetheusa1776

     Duets?  Very much hope with Jordin – that would be spectacular.

  • lovetheusa1776

     Interesting article on Constantine – enjoyed reading it very much.

  • luly

    Programming Note: We will stream the ceremony live on MyFoxLa.com.
    The 11th Annual Citadel Tree Lighting Ceremony returns to the Citadel Outlets on Saturday, November 10th. This year’s event is going to be bigger than ever!

    Join Tony McEwing and Maria Sansone from FOX 11 along with Jimmy Reyes as they host the festivities. Catch performances by Ariana Grande, Kris Allen, Colton Dixon and Roshon Fegan.
     http://www.myfoxla.com/story/19966762/get-ready-for-the-11th-annual-citadel-tree-lighting#ixzz2BqXoSz00

  • windmills

    Posting this Press Of Atlantic City review of Carrie’s Boardwalk Hall concert there last night for Carrie’s quotes:

    Underwood also makes an effort to give back. Since September, Underwood’s “Blown Away” tour has been donating $1 from every ticket sold to the Red Cross. But on Friday, Underwood took time to address the crowd with a special message during the first major event held in the city since Superstorm Sandy devastated the region.

    “We’re so glad to be here, and even more glad to be here this evening,” Underwood told the crowd. “You know, after something like this, you wonder whether the show should go on. We thought, this building was still here, so it must be here for a reason.”

    She stressed the evening would be about giving back.

    “I wouldn’t feel right making any money off of tonight’s show,” Underwood said. “So anything I make is going right back into the community here.

  • Xentusk

    X Factor….where acts can go if they don’t make it on “America’s Got Talent”

  • milwlovesadam

    Loved the article about Constantine. He was very open and let us in on his life more. I always loved him on Idol, and had the privilege of seeing him in the touring company of Rock Of Ages last year. He was absolutely dynamite.

    Looking forward to seeing Jekyll and Hyde someday too.

  • lovesickheroine

    Jimmy Fallon & Carrie Underwood Perform Country Versions of Rap Songs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Dxd84sOJMg

  • OffLeash

    O.U.C.H!

  • OffLeash

    That was really generous and thoughtful from Carrie. Of course had she not made a financial gesture it would’ve been frowned upon, but she didn’t have to give away the whole amount either. I’m very proud of her.

  • Jazz_11

    Looks like Adam will go straight to China from S Africa and he will not be at home for Thanks Giving :(. That’s a lot of weeks to go. If I’m not mistaken S Africa 2nd concert is on the 16th of Nov. And his next appearance in China is Dec 3. There’re two full weeks in between, I’m guessing he will have another surprise gigs in China during that time. I sure hope so :)

  • Jazz_11

    Maybe when Jessica has a hit song and her music video’s featured on VH1, Jim will say something different.. maybe!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PVEFG2TOUIXSROKUSO2O2DOWWE Taylor

    Don’t forget American Idol! P2 tried out for America’s Got Talent and didn’t make it, so hen went on to make AI.

  • http://twitter.com/bagel08 John S

    Jim Shearer called Adam the “last of the greats from American Idol”. He said that after him the talent level went down

    I guess its his opinion, but I didn’t like that he said that. There have been many, many great contestants since Season 8 and I think the talent level from the last 2 seasons have been among the best.

  • Nadine_Bitch

    Of course it is just his opinion, just like me to have my own and you have yours. Jim can say anything he wants just like everyone of us can do the same. It’s really No big deal, IMO.

  • Nadine_Bitch

    Didn’t Jessica tried out too before?

  • http://twitter.com/bagel08 John S

    Don’t forget American Idol! P2 tried out for America’s Got Talent and didn’t make it, so hen went on to make AI.

    Yeah, but they didn’t tell him to.

  • tripp_ncwy

    According to tweets Roshon is on at 5PM, Colton 5:30PM & Kris/Ariana will be on either 6/6:30PM PDT.

  • tripp_ncwy

    American Top 40 @AmericanTop40
    Phillip @Phillips becomes the 5th Idol winner to crack the Top 5, following @kelly_clarkson, @carrieunderwood, @ThDavidCook & @KrisAllen.

  • ANNIEBA

    Adam for sure has something else lined up in China before the third, can’t wait to hear what it is. So happy to see Adam doing so well in such a huge market! And yay! He is performing songs, plural!!!!

  • bridgette12

    If he’s going to get a chance to do a duet, I hope they add someone like Nikka Costa, who’s an amazing singer. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PVEFG2TOUIXSROKUSO2O2DOWWE Taylor

    How do you know what they told P2 and what does it matter? He wasn’t right for one show, but was for the other, just like Emblem 3.

  • MellyPer1692

    Is that the HAC Top 40?

  • OffLeash
  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PVEFG2TOUIXSROKUSO2O2DOWWE Taylor

    “But I think what’s cool for girls to see is other girls going, ‘Hey! You know what? This is what I’m wearing right now and I’m cool with this… I’m not unhealthy, I’m not obese,’” Kelly added. “I think for all girls like the Jessicas of the world or the Lady Gagas or me or Adele or… Jennifer Hudson… whatever people wanna do with their lives, that’s their [life] and I just don’t understand why people care so much.”

    Preach, Kelly! 

  • OffLeash

    Multi-tasking is your friend… NOT…, but I read the article about Kara. Ugh. Just what we need, more mini-DioGuardis. 

  • Jazz_11

    Yay Kelly!!

  • Incipit

    Ugh. Just what we need, more mini-DioGuardis. 

    OffLeash, thanks for reminding me I meant to comment on that item. 

    I had an “Ugh” reaction as well, maybe for a slightly different reason. I know Kara has written commercially successful songs…and I can’t fault Berklee College for offering a course that covers the current trend in Songwriting by Committee, or How to Write With Strangers, take your pick. But the results of that approach are so uneven, (“No Boundaries” is a standout example, and Kara will never shed that song, IMO) and such a bad fit for many of the artists who fall into the Formula Machine and try to present their musical POV with a stable of unfamiliar writers that “Ugh” was my response.

    “…she is simulating the most popular songwriting model our students will encounter when they leave campus: working in small teams that combine writers and producers in real time,” 

    It may be a popular model (for popular song writing), many Labels love it – I don’t think it’s an especially good one…but it’s better that the college prepares the wannabe writers for that reality.

    I hope there are other courses offered that teach the actual craft of songwriting, not just the commercial approach…so a student can chose to combine what is useful from both. 

    But still. The bad taste of the clunky, generic NoBo will always generate an “Ugh”. 

    IMO. Of Course.

  • OffLeash

    The reasons behind my “Ugh” were exactly the same as yours. Thanks for elaborating. ;)

  • tripp_ncwy

    Kris & Colton sighting at the Citadel Outlet Tree Lighting Concert

    http://img.ly/pApp

    Colton sang three songs his two singles & one Christmas song.

    Kris set list: BWY, The Christmas Song, Monster, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas & LLWD. 

    The concert is being recorded to be shown on local Los Angeles TV on the 11/23 on Fox 11.

  • MellyPer1692

    I love some of Kara’s songs. Among them,

    Pink – Sober
    Carrie Underwood – Undo It & Mamas Song
    Kelly Clarkson – I do not Hook Up
    theory of a Deadman – Not Meant to Be
    Cobra Starship – Good Girls Go Bad
    Christina Aguilera – Ain’t No Other Man

    I thnk she gets a bad rap for No Boundaries, but it was no worse then Time of My Life in the cheese factor, but David Cook was able to pull it off.

  • getaway1

    Jim Shearer called Adam the “last of the greats from American Idol”. He said that after him the talent level went down but made an exception for P2 when they introduced the Home video immediately after, lol.

    I had a chance to watch the video.  To Adam’s credit, he jumped in, pointing that Phillip Phillips is on Top, so talented – after he said (Home) was such a great song. 

    In all fairness Adam has met Phil, and Jim Shearer has met Adam and Phil.  That makes a difference, compare to just watching someone on TV for a few fleeting mins each week.

  • ANNIEBA

    “I had a chance to watch the video.  To Adam’s credit, he jumped in,
    pointing that Phillip Phillips is on Top, so talented – after he said
    (Home) was such a great song.”

    Yes he did jump in to defend Philip, Adam is such a sweet, humble guy. He could have run with the compliment but he didn’t. He sure looks excited about this hosting gig. He doesn’t know exactly what he is going to sing but he’s got outfits picked out, lol. He couldn’t be more adorable, haha. 

  • hoosiermama2

    I’m surprised that Jordin Sparks isn’t on that list for cracking the HAC American Top40. Really?

  • MellyPer1692

    I was too HoosierMama2, but it’s true. No Air and Tattoo peaked at #12 on the HAC charts. The POP charts are a different story tho. No Air peaked at #2 and Tattoo #5.

  • hoosiermama2

    I was thinking maybe Battlefield would have done it–but I guess not? Interesting! (and thanks for looking it up–obviously I’m too lazy–lol!)

  • tripp_ncwy

    Lyndsay posted a little video snippet of Kris, Cale & Torres jamming out before their performance.

    Citadel finale: http://instagram.com/p/R38rUoRU5y

    http://telly.com/4CEKA

  • http://twitter.com/J_SanchezFans J SanchezFan Kaylo™

     yeah when she was 10. She was such an adorable baby! She’s been growling since she was a baby. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNWkZVobPDg

  • girlygirltoo

    well it’s sweet if you don’t mind that he dissed everyone from S9, S10 and S11 (except for Phillip) — and possibly even Kris (that’s not entirely clear) — with his comment.

  • girlygirltoo

    unless you are a solo singer-songwriter type, pretty much every song that becomes a hit these days is a co-write (and even singer-songwriters collaborate a lot, as you can see from Kris’, Lee’s and Phillip’s albums. Even guys like John Mayer and Jason Mraz write with other people sometimes). There are very few written by one person. So this is a huge chance for aspiring writers and producers to understand what goes into the art of collaboration. Whether you like Kara or not, she does know what she’s talking about when it comes to songwriting. I don’t see any disadvantage in people taking her class — I wish she’d teach a class like that at UCLA so I could take it.

    And there are a lot of classes that teach the craft of songwriting — I’m taking one at UCLA this quarter. Talk about nerve wracking, getting up in front of a room full of other writers and/or artists and performing your stuff for them :)

  • Nadine_Bitch

    Well it’s just the guy’s opinion really and I’m sure it’s subjective and being agreed and disagreed depending on who you thought was the BEST and GREAT in your book. No biggie, really. I find it sweet because I happened to agree:)

  • girlygirltoo

    Video of Kris performing The Christmas Song at the tree lighting ceremony tonight

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Pj2v3awPt8&feature=youtu.be

  • curly_yenta

    John Popper from Blues Traveler was Taylor Hick’s special guest at his show tonight at Bally’s Las Vegas! Man, I wish I could have heard that! Harmonica duels = happy!

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/A7ZVQK1CQAArDQp.jpg

  • Incipit

    there are a lot of classes that teach the craft of songwriting — I’m taking one at UCLA this quarter.

    That is exceptionally cool, girlygirltoo! I expect you will be qualified to chime in when any suggestions are made that maybe Idol contestants ought to write an original song in the midst of everything else happening in the competition, “as if” that were no big deal to do.

    Collaboration per se is not the point of my comment. Collaborations can be cool, and have produced some excellent music, I agree…when all parties are comfortable working together, and share a POV on what the artist wants to convey. We can likely all name some songwriting teams that have resonated for us. 

    The bone I’m picking is with the popular commercial approach – “Songwriting by Committee, or How to Write With Strangers, take your pick. But the results of that approach are so uneven… and such a bad fit for many of the artists who fall into the Formula Machine and try to present their musical POV with a stable of unfamiliar writers that “Ugh” was my response.” 

    I saw Kara on that songwriting show “Going Platinum” that was briefly on Bravo in 2011. It did not impress. Or last beyond one season. The premise as a Reality Show was to assign songwriters the task of coming up with a hit song, separately or with a collaborator they had never met before – “You’ve got one second to grab us,” DioGuardi tells a young scribe, sternly, in the debut episode ” 

    Also. I have read interviews from several artists who were less than pleased with the Label assigned rotating co-writer by appointment approach to getting a hit song. The “Writing With Strangers” part – or creativity (and radio ready songs) on demand.

    Kara herself doesn’t even approve of this – ironically:

    Her feelings “about musicians setting out to write surefire hits.
    “I don’t think it’s a good thing,” she says. “It’s very dangerous to go into a room and only concentrate on writing a hit. It keeps an artist from going into something deeper. In fact, it’s the antithesis of creativity, which is artistic freedom.”

    That’s my complaint, in a nutshell. Heh.

  • hellomusicgirl

    I really like the vibe Kris brought to that! 

  • http://twitter.com/KariannHart Kariann Hart

    Adam is so talented, I know the DIVA show will be better because he’s on it!

    MJ, we love hearing about the successes of all our Idols!  I hope to see Constantine soon!

  • lovetheusa1776

     Yes – really fine version – Kris sounded great – loved it.

  • girlygirltoo

    Here’s video of Kris singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas at the tree lighting ceremony last night:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXWq6U7DLfI&feature=autoplay&list=ULtN3LjYMfF94&playnext=1

    Plus Kris, Colton & the other performers all up on stage for the actual tree lighting part (nice dancing, guys!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUxme7FLf_M&feature=youtu.be

  • standtotheright

    The bone I’m picking is with the popular commercial approach – “the most popular songwriting model our students will encounter when they leave campus: working in small teams that combine writers and producers in real time,”
    IMO, That’s “”Songwriting by Committee”, or “How to Write With Strangers”, take your pick. But the results of that approach are so uneven… and such a bad fit for many of the artists who fall into the Formula Machine

    Except that “real time” does not inherently equal “writing with strangers” any more than my “real time” brainstorming sessions in teams at work means “analyzing with strangers”. The point that DioGuardi and the school are making is that the model does tend to be that writers and producers work together in small groups, oftentimes in “apprenticeship” settings (the Max Martin-style teams), and that leads to more networking, and that leads to more writing with other writers who are not strangers.
    Just because some writers don’t develop the working relationship with some artists (AI or otherwise) before working with them doesn’t mean that the model doesn’t work in a group of acquaintances and friends, which is what, given that these are all fellow-students, the test group will be.

  • Incipit

    Except that “real time” does not inherently equal “writing with strangers” 

    For the students, of course it doesn’t. In the RW, it often will. In the first post addressing this, standtotheright, I said:  “I can’t fault Berklee College for offering a course that covers the current trend in Songwriting by Committee… it’s better that the college prepares the wannabe writers for that reality.”

    It’s the popular model they will encounter, the college would be remiss if they didn’t familiarize students with this.

    I also said, In My Opinion, I hope there are some courses that focus on Process more than Product. Songwriting as a craft, not a hit making formula.

    What was your opinion of the Kara DioGuardi quote about this…do you disagree?

  • standtotheright

    In the RW, it often will.

    I laid out the path to describe how it often works in the “real world” and that path does not “often” lead to writing with strangers. Casual acquaintances, perhaps.  But networking with songwriters leads to networking with other songwriters, which leads to writing with those other songwriters, and none of that requires them being strangers. Given the growing prevalance of “writing destinations” (NYC, LA, Nashville) where those kinds of casual relationships are possible, even easy, to establish, I just don’t see that result as the only possible outcome.

    As for the quote, I don’t consider the course and her preferences about songwriting to be in conflict. It is entirely possible to want to go in and write “a good song” in real time without trying to write “a hit.” The latter has more implicit assumptions in it than the former.

  • Incipit

    The latter has more implicit assumptions in it than the former.

    Heh. It certainly does. Implicit in the Label putting an artist together with a Producer and some co-writers is the assumption that they are looking for a radio-ready hit song. That’s what Labels are in business to produce.

    Not the same thing as a Writer’s Workshop, where a hit song may or may not be a by-product, but the process of writing with peers and learning from each other, and even as importantly, how to write ‘for’ others, is the focus. 

    Scrolling up and down the front page here – I see a few new songs – from the reactions of the posters – it seems several were created by the former, not the latter. 

    I have read some great information about writing songs…what it takes to do this successfully, how to recognize what styles will work for which artists…because I wonder where the classics of tomorrow are being written, today…and I don’t think they are coming out of committees.

    I may be alone in these wonderings, but the subject came up – so that’s my two cents – and – JMO. Of Course.

  • standtotheright

    Implicit in the Label putting an artist together with a Producer and some co-writers is the assumption that they are looking for a radio-ready hit song. That’s what Labels are in business to produce.

    If that were the case, then no album would ever have only one or two singles. Labels still make more profit on albums-as-a-unit than singles-as-a-unit. Sometimes, they actually put teams together to write songs they hope will get placed in the back third to flesh out the album concept, not necessarily to be the lead single.

    I don’t think you can extrapolate from the content of this blog what happens for songwriters in the whole industry, if only because of the difference in time constraints. That is where my objection lies; I don’t react with disgust to the concept of the workshop because it’s a model that is used far beyond the specific limitations of the AI-artist-on-deadline-plus-amenable-cowriters-session, and sometimes to much greater effect (the Civil Wars, even if on a hiatus, are certainly an example of some positive and well-received results from a songwriting camp session).

  • girlygirltoo

    I apologize in advance: long post is long and only a couple of you will probably care, so everybody else, just scroll :)

    The class I’m currently taking at UCLA meets once a week, for 3 hours. In the 1st half of the class, the students perform the stuff they are working on — it can be complete song, a work in progress, just music or just lyrics. Then the instructor and students talk about what does and doesn’t work in the song — breaking down the structure of the song, whether the melody isn’t unique enough, etc. The students are at various levels in terms of songwriting — some have been at it for years, others (like me) for not long at all. Some are artists, some (again, like me) are non-performers. And the performers are across a bunch of genres, from rap to country to dance music. A couple of the students even have had success overseas as artists — one in France and the other in Switzerland. So it’s an interesting mix of people. It’s really cool to get feedback on your work from a variety of people, although it can be very nervewracking! But it’s a huge help in figuring out strengths and weaknesses as a writer and on how to improve your stuff before spending the money on demoing it and trying to pitch it to publisher, etc.
    In the 2nd half of the class, the instructor lectures on the art & craft of songwriting, talking about his own experiences, bringing up examples of different songs, etc. According to him, songwriting is 90% art & 10% craft. and that most songs fail because of bad music, rather than bad lyrics. The first few classes he focused his lecture on the craft — song structure (verse chorus, AABA and other variations), how every line of the lyric needs to go to the song title, internal rhyming, show don’t tell, chord progressions, etc. In the last class, he started to focus on the art of songwriting, so I figure he’ll talk more about that in the remaining classes.

    He is also a huge proponent of collaboration and networking, he has encouraged us to work with each other. He has told us about this one group of songwriters who met in a songwriting workshop he did more than 20 years ago that still get together every month to reconnect and share their work. He has also shared a lot of stories about working with artists and with other songwriters, about how to deal with writing sessions that don’t go well, etc. And this is someone who has been a professional songwriter for more than 30 years who still does writing sessions with people he doesn’t know personally. He has enough contacts and enough cred to be able to pick and choose (at least to an extent) who he wants to write with, but he also wants to stay relevant in the business and knows that he is likely going to have to work with new writers and artists who he hasn’t worked with before in order to do that.

    Anyway, bottom line in terms of collaborating is that he encourages us not to be afraid of it, because you never know who you might click with, even if it seems like an unlikely fit at first glance.

    Again, sorry for the long post! :)

  • Incipit

     I don’t react with disgust to the concept of the workshop 

    standtotheright, have we had a communication failure here? That would be my bad, then. I never denigrated the Workshop model, since it is more about the craft – in fact, from your posts, I think perhaps we agree much more frequently than we disagree…

    Yes, songs written as filler are common in the industry, but I don’t like to buy albums that contain them…and it’s still the lead single(s) on the radio that the Labels are counting on to move the whole album. But if they don’t give value for the price, people tend to only buy the singles that appeal. I would have to ask Eilonwy how common it is for an average album to release more than two or maybe three. (Disclaimer, “average album”).

    Now, as interesting as this discussion is proving to be – I see girlygirl2 has posted about the songwriting class – so I’ll be back. *snerk*

  • http://twitter.com/eilonwya10 Eilonwy

    I would have to ask Eilonwy how common it is for an average album to release more than two or maybe three. (Disclaimer, “average album”).

    Short answer from spending a lot of time immersed in album/single date without having ever tried to count an “average”: there’s no reason to believe labels want only two singles from an album. If three singles have all peaked in the top 5 for their radio genre, it’s highly likely there’ll be a fourth, and so on.

    (You’ll be able to find examples where that didn’t happen, as there sometimes exist timing or contractual reasons to move onto the next project. But there are lots and lots where it does, if you allow that getting to the second top-5 single already makes the sample pretty small.)

    Personally, I have no problem with buying albums that contain tracks intended to remain “deep tracks” and never be released as singles. Far from being “filler,” when done right, these tracks fill out the themes (musical and lyrical) of the album and result in a more cohesive work. Sometimes a theme wants to be developed in a way that isn’t hooky enough for radio, but that works brilliantly in connecting two adjacent tracks.

    I also pretty much flove girlygirltoo‘s explanation of her class and think that about covers the strong merits of being open to collaboration.

  • Incipit

    If three singles have all peaked in the top 5 for their radio genre, it’s highly likely there’ll be a fourth, and so on.

    Thanks, Eilonwy, Long question to the short answer – Is that common, for three singles to peak in the top 5 for their radio genre? I know you haven’t focused on averages, neither have I. My impression is that it is not, hence the curiosity. And yes, even getting to the second single shrinks the average sample.

    Also, I differentiate between “Deep tracks” never intended as singles, which I didn’t mention, and songs written purely as filler. The first make the album a richer listening experience, the second make me SMH and pass on buying it as a whole.

    Now I ‘have’ to focus on the songwriting post! *snerk*@ Myself

  • http://twitter.com/KariannHart Kariann Hart

    girlygirltoo, I love the whole concept of your class.  There is an excitement obvious with your writing; the teacher would be pleased.  Good luck and I hope it is a productive semester!

  • standtotheright

     I never denigrated the Workshop model, since it is more about the craft

    I had an “Ugh” reaction as well, maybe for a slightly different reason

    You denigrated the “real time” model, which is to me a distinction without difference. Workshops and camps happen in real time. They can and do involve art, not just the naked grasp at hit-making craft. That’s the point I keep making.

    I’m glad to know that girlygirltoo‘s professor appears to agree with that.

    And I agree with eilonwy that labels will be happy to keep spinning out singles as long as the market will bear them, but most A&R reps worth their salt realize that the vast majority of albums have a ceiling of potential singles that is significantly below 12 album tracks. That means some songs are being included without the expectation that they will be singles. As I said, sometimes those inclusions are for artistic reasons. Occasionally they may not be, but I doubt most songwriters intend for their work to be included as filler, rather than as another aspect/chapter of the album.

  • http://twitter.com/eilonwya10 Eilonwy

    Long question to the short answer – Is that common, for three singles to peak in the top 5 for their radio genre?

    It’s a sign of being a star in the genre. But so few acts even get to ONE hit single, that’s no surprise.  

    To assume that labels only plan for two singles from an album, you have to assume that labels are actively opposed to achieving gold albums from most of their artists. There are various caveats to this discussion of radio play and album sales, and of course it’s a snapshot of radio play and sales at one moment, so some albums went on to have more singles and sell more — but it gives an idea of how labels have to plan for a multi-singles strategy in order to sell significant numbers of albums.

    This is why there’s the tension between “albums as collections of potential singles” and “albums as cohesive works of art.” But it’s not a tension that automatically splits along the fault lines of collaborate/don’t collaborate.

  • Incipit

    Please don’t apologize for the length of the post, girlygirltoo. I love it! That’s the reason I’m not on Twitter, I like to talk too much for the character limitations. Heh.

    I’m impressed with the structure of your class, and the two pronged approach combining theory and practice…as nerve wracking as the critiques may be.

    There are plenty of varying ways to go about writing a song…and opinions on those percentages…also interesting that he mentioned the differences between bad music/bad lyrics reasons for a song not connecting with its intended audience. I’ve seen discussions of which attracts one to a song first, the music or the lyrics…and have come to the conclusion that the lyrics make a big difference to me – but I will forgive a lot for great vocals.

    What I am seeing in my sampling of the industry is that there are two kinds of collaboration going on – and one is extremely valuable and useful, while the other has less pleasant results. It depends on the focus, I think.

    In the last class, he started to focus on the art of songwriting, so I figure he’ll talk more about that in the remaining classes. He also says how that a songwriter needs to make an emotional connection to what she or he is writing, even though that connection does not necessarily have to show up literally in the song.

    I loved this part – thank you for all the detail!

  • girlygirltoo

    thanks :)

  • Incipit

    You denigrated the “real time” model, which is to me a distinction without difference. 

    Aha! (I just like to say that) Now it is clear – to me, the distinction of the focus is what ‘makes’ the difference!

    Good to know where we diverge…because it was beginning to sound as if you thought I was anti-collaboration, and that is certainly not the case.

    Pragmatically speaking, I do think ‘Labels’ may intend some tracks to be filler – as in, fill out the numbers without offending anyone, regardless of what the writers may have intended. 

    As Eilonwy mentioned the tension between “albums as collections of potential singles” and “albums as cohesive works of art.” – I also see a tension between music as artistic expression and music as commerce, or creativity on demand – but I wasn’t using collaboration as the dividing line, not at all  - i think it’s a dichotomy every writer has to resolve, sometimes coming down more heavily on one side, sometimes, the other.

    Fun discussion!

  • http://twitter.com/eilonwya10 Eilonwy

    I also see a tension between music as artistic expression and music as commerce, or creativity on demand – but I wasn’t using collaboration as the dividing line, not at all  - i think it’s a dichotomy every writer has to resolve, sometimes coming down more heavily on one side, sometimes, the other.

    Well, and to get any sort of large project done to a reasonable level of quality, sometimes a person has to do “creativity on demand.” If one’s feeling resentful, it’s easy to call it a terrible imposition on inspiration — but if the day of enforced labor goes well, suddenly it’s valuable self-discipline!

    The definition of “job” is “the thing one has to get up and do to a reasonable level of competence, even when one’s not in the mood.”

  • iani

    The labels want their money back, what they invested in the musical acts, no matter how, albums/singles pieces of art or “crap”, using networking songwriters, their personal talents, groups of friends or songs sent to them as  “must singles”. The music is not anymore the music of the decades, it is the music of the year,” what is the year’s style?!”. Is it catchy enough, silly, funky, deep enough, lyrics-people  connection enough, rhythmic enough? For these they need at least 2 good songs in consideration as singles(when the selection is made from the maybe 50 songs) and for the rest, reasonable fillers to make  eclectic or cohesive-sounding albums. I don’t think today the labels have the resources, time and patience that maybe they used to have 20 years ago to develop artists.  It was discussed here like a year ago about artist developing, plus that music is now like fashion, like the style or not, there are enough people to keep the trend up buying music but really, to have some memorable songs in the next 10 years, I don’t think so. I think we live in a “music on demand” now, of lots of catchy songs going  to annoying, brain wash sounds, but there are also some good tunes, mostly heard on certain formats.