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The Muse's News

Issue 4.10 - January 2002
ISSN 1480-6975

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This issue sponsored by:


I n   T h i s   I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Copyright & Publishing Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem
    Copyright Management & attorney Duff Berschback
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart & Eliot Popkin
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by James Linderman
@-- Featured Article - THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC: 
                       Managers and Agents: What a Manager Does -
                       by Charles Katz
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought
    to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
@-- Featured Article - VOCALLY SPEAKING...The Cutting Edge - 
                       by Diana Yampolksy
@-- Songwriter In Spotlight - Chris Kennedy
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
    viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975.  Copyright 1998 - 2001, Jodi Krangle.  For more 
contact information, see end of issue. ================================================================= S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GET A RECORD DEAL! Universal Music A&R Reps Are Waiting To Hear Your Demo - Guaranteed! InsideSessions, an innovative new online program, Teaches you how to Make it in the Music Industry And Guarantees that an A&R Rep at Universal Will Listen to and Provide Written Feedback on Your Demo. Click Here for Your Big Break! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hi everyone. I hope you are all having a fantastic holiday season spent with loved ones and good friends. As always, there's lots going on here on The Muse's Muse. Hit songwriter, Paula Carpenter, is the latest to join our columnist crew. She has very graciously donated her time to talk with you about how to get your songs noticed while not living in a major city center. Her new column is called "Why Not Me?" and is located at . I hope you'll check it out and make her feel welcome. The message boards are hopping, as per usual. Over 900 members so far and still on the rise. :) If you're looking for a way to connect with other songwriters online, this is definitely the place to look. You can reach the message boards at . And last but certainly not least, congratulations to Karen Jones of Niagara Falls, ON (Canada) who has won a copy of Moses Avalon's new book, "Secrets of Negotiating a Record Contract". Congratulations also should go to Margrett Mastors of Colorado Springs, CO, who has won a copy of the latest version of Lyricist. For more information on this wonderfully useful product, have a read through the detailed review at . Have an AMAZING New Year's, and I'll see you all next month! :) --Jodi Back to Menu ================================================================= C o p y r i g h t & P u b l i s h i n g Q & A : With Licensing executive Nancy A. Reece & attorney Duff Berschback ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: A Reader Asks: It was also my understanding that registered mail copyright doesn't hold up in cases involving big money as well, but my sister who is an entertainment lawyer indicated to me that in smaller court cases whereby someone challenges ownership it is a piece of evidence to add to studio logs and a body of consistent work to get a favorable result. It is my understanding that this should not be considered to be copyright in itself, but as a piece of evidence. Certainly as I pointed out a more formal copyright is recommended as your earning potential expands but I was of the understanding that registering your songs with the US copyright office only secured the title of your work on that date and not the content and that this has previously been considered a useless formality. Is my information inaccurate or worse still... outdated? -------- A: A few thoughts on REGISTRATION FROM DUFF. (Limited to U.S.) 1. RE: the validity of the old "mail it to myself" trick. a. "Big vs. small money" irrelevant b. Does work, but immaterial re: actual copyright or registration--is simply evidence of date of copyright. c. Best technique is certified mail to self/other (unopened). 2. What you DON'T get if you don't register. a. Can't bring infringement suit. b. Can't collect compulsory license. c. Can't recover attorney fees or get statutory damages. d. Lose presumption that everything in your statement is correct if don't register w/in 5 years. 3. Registration: There is conflicting legal opinion about whether one can copyright a title. But it's not accurate that filing a P.A. only copyrights the title. Registration is certainly not a useless formality (see #2, above). I know equally respected publishers who 1) wait till a song is cut before registering and 2) register every song submitted. Jodi's perspective: I've heard from Nancy Reece of Carpe Diem Copyright Management on numerous occasions, that the "poor man's copyright" - or sending your stuff to yourself in the mail and not opening it, will NOT hold up in court! You should be aware of this. Now granted, she's in the States, but frankly, if a song is stolen and makes a lot of money (and why else would anyone sue?), let's be honest with ourselves and admit that it'll have made all that money in the States (usually). I would actually strongly encourage registering things with the US Copyright Office (the url is on the first page of The Muse's Muse). You can register an entire collection - however many you can fit on a CD and give the CD a name (or a tape, for that matter) - for $30 US. That's really not a lot of money, all things considered. That will cover you where the problems are likely to occur - in the States. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: I am interested in starting a Musical Tribute Site, and have questions concerning copyright laws and policies. The concept of this site would be for fans to record and upload 1 minute snippets of their favorite song by their favorite artists. Again, this is a tribute site, and no revenues will be generated from the songs themselves. My hope is to have fans submit their best and most creative work in order to show the artists how much their music has inspired and helped them. My first question concerns the actual copyright law - would it be a violation to remake a song by an artist, and post it at a tribute site(where proper credit would be given) for other fans, and perhaps the artists themselves, to enjoy? [entertainment only] My second question concerns revenues generated indirectly of the actual sound files in the form of placing advertisements on my page to help offset the cost of providing the site. Would this come under violation of any law or policy for generating profit/money on copyrighted material? -------- A: FROM NANCY: You must secure permissions from both the underlying work (the song) and the recording to use their property in this way. With you not having all of the song available you may be able to negotiate with the parties concerning the promotional value. However, this is very sticky territory best handled by securing legal counsel. ----------------------------------------------------------------- TO VIEW OTHER QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES, SEE NANCY'S "COPYRIGHT & PUBLISHING Q&A" ONLINE AT OR DUFF'S "THIS LAW GOES TO 11" COLUMN AT . Please note: These two received a *lot* of e-mail in a month. If you sent in a question but have not heard a reply, it's very likely it already *has* an answer online. It's always a good idea to thoroughly look through the Q&A's online to see if your question has already been asked before you send in a request. Thanks! ----------------------------------------------------------------- ***** ABOUT NANCY A. REECE: Carpe Diem Copyright Management's owner and president, Nancy A. Reece has been involved in the music business since 1983. She was the president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal artist manager for nine years. She represented the careers of several recording artists and songwriters including those with EMI, Zomba and Liberty Records as well as Benson, Starsong, WoodBridge, Temple Hall and N'Soul Records. She also represented, for a number of years, a Grammy and Dove nominated record producer. Reece has won awards of excellence in print magazine advertising and has been named as one of 2,000 Notable American Women (1995) as well as being listed in the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women (1993). She was also named Cashbox Magazine's Promoter of the Year (1989). In addition to her work at Carpe Diem Copyright Management, Reece works at a performing rights organization in the United States and is an accomplished contemporary artist working in abstract and multimedia on canvas and wood. ABOUT DUFF BERSCHBACK: Duff Berschback is an entertainment lawyer in Nashville, TN. He represents singers, songwriters, publishers, and other assorted industry types, with a particular focus on digital entertainment and new media. He spends spare time hanging with his family, playing with his Lab, reading, and, of course, listening to music. A bit scattershot in his musical taste, at any given time he can be found listening to Bach or Martina McBride, Wagner or Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters or (old) U2, Dire Straits or Dwight Yoakum, The Rolling Stones or Frank Sinatra, and (old) Van Halen or George Winston, among others. **If you would like to ask either of these two a question, you can send your e-mail to Nancy at or to Duff at . They can't guarantee they'll get to all of the questions, but they'll certainly try.** Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c R e v i e w s : by Ben Ohmart ----------------------------------------------------------------- Why is this cd fully rigged? Quoting from Aly and Ale's description of the opening tune, 'The Full Rigged Ship,' this dual-instrument music portrays 'an old fiddler's description of a sailing ship on the horizon, fully rigged.' The 2 instruments: fiddle, and mandola (I believe), which is a mandolin with frets and octaves, giving every song an old world flavor that is rather impossible to replicate unless you have a supreme love for the style and the post-century as these guys have. That ship never fully sails. That is, it does not ever sail out of sight. 'Da Day Dawn' is 7 minutes of 'one of the oldest tunes in Shetland which was played to welcome in the New Year (Old Yule). The melody comes from Shetland's Nordic heritage and has strong similarities with the Scandinavian cattle herding music.' It's also a swinging trad. tune once the fiddle fires up, and Ale passes on from whatever instrument opens up the piece back to his plucky mandola. Ale's instruments include all the unusual windy instruments: cow's horn, willow flutes, wooden whistles, plus harmonica. Born in Malmo, Sweden, Ale has been an important part of Swedish folk music for many a year, swinging with the best bands, like Frifot, Filarfolket and The Nordan Project. He's now a professor at Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki. Aly's just as well known, especially for his music on the UK's TV series Down Home, and his band, The Boys of the Lough, a spry bit of folk music that's been searing up the world for the past 30 years. He was awarded the MBE in '94 and in '99 became a Doctor of Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. This combination of doctoral know-how significantly challenges traditional Nordic music while coming to terms with today, and the highly desirable sounds of solid production and simple but perfect mixing. The players explain: 'The old music of the Shetlands displays the islands' Nordic lineage: settled by Norwegian farmers and the Vikings in the 9th century, and owned by Norway until the late 1400s. While many associate the Shetland and Orkney Islands with Scotland and Celtic culture, the music of this project reveals the real depth of its Norse heritage.’ The differing instrumentation and peaceful nature of the disc is world reason enough to try it on for size. It'll fit. ------------------ OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: James Horner - A Beautiful Life (soundtrack)- (by Ben Ohmart) DFA - (by Ben Ohmart) Sonic Residue From Vapourspace - (by Ben Ohmart) Stars of Afro-Pop - (by Ben Ohmart) Don Lanphere and New Stories - (by Ben Ohmart) My First Day At Preschool - (by Ben Ohmart) Judithstar - (by Eliot Popkin) Doug Folkins - (by Eliot Popkin) Billy Rawlett - (by Eliot Popkin) Mars Black - (by Eliot Popkin) Alton Rex - (by Eliot Popkin) Healing Sounds - (by Ben Ohmart) --------------- ****** Ben lives in Boalsburg, PA where greedy people want to put up condos in place of a nature preserve. He spends his off hours listening to radio comedy - especially British - loves reading and watching horror, and hates trying to make ends meet. Send him money and gifts. While waiting for bribes, he's currently writing the official biographies of The Bickersons, Paul Frees and Daws Butler. His latest bit of immortality? The text for Contact him at: Eliot is a Boston born singer/songwriter who saw his debut album "Down Along This Road" have 3 songs find their way into movies, radio airplay on more than 100 stations across the country as well as countless wonderful reviews and feature stories. He currently is writing songs for various major label and film projects, and is in the studio working on his follow up album. He lives in Los Angeles, enjoying a nice view of the Hollywood sign. To hear his music, drop by his web site at . Contact him at: If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, please drop by to find out which reviewer reviews which genre. Thanks! Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by James Linderman Secrets of Negotiating a Record Contract : The Musician's Guide to Understanding and Avoiding Sneaky Lawyer Tricks - by Moses Avalon ----------------------------------------------------------------- If I were to ask you if you were ready to sign with a major label today, you would probably say, "Yea, bring on the huge advance, the monthly royalties, the platinum albums, the awards, the limo and the... well, you get the picture. Very few of us would say, "Yea, I'm ready to read the 50 page contract of legal mumbo-jumbo and carefully scrutinize it for clauses that "double-dip" into my advance, my recording budget, my royalties, my mechanicals, my future advances and my lunch money." Moses Avalon (a pseudonym for a top level record producer) has written this amazing book as a response to decades of seeing artists come through his studio, like so many sheep, seeing their hard work and dreams dissolve into the pages of the one-sided and misleading document known as "the thick" version of a recording contract. A document that completely represents how you will create, produce, display and sell your work in public. Avalon's book takes you on a tour of some sample clauses of common major label deal contracts and features a "side by side" explanation of each clause in "street" English. His approach is totally illuminating, extremely entertaining, often humorous and very candid. Reading it is like knowing someone on the inside of the industry and having a 20 hour chat with him or her about how the star machine really works and how it intends to pay itself for your work. It also offers up great advice on what you might do to amend the contract in the hopes of make it fair, making a living, and building a career. Oscar Wilde once wrote that there are but two tragedies in life, one is not getting what you want and the other is getting it. These words will come back to haunt you as you read through this book and realize that the contract most lawyers would have you sign (as you finally get to where you have always wanted to be) is a complex minefield of loopholes and altered definitions intended to have your share of the money, from your recordings, sift through your outstretched hands and fall conveniently back into theirs. Avalon also finally explains in plain English how a Statutory Rate really works and how to make it not so statutory in your contract in a way that will make money and a great deal of sense. As well, he covers the Controlled Compositions Clauses that pick the writer's pocket as well as the artists. If you are both the writer and the artist's, this is like inviting a thief back into your house because he forgot the silver. This book would be a great read for everyone who has a curiosity about how things work in the "majors". It's also a great read if you are like me, and want to sound like you know a thing or two when un-musical folks say to me, " What do you know about the music business anyway". If you are dreaming or planning to negotiate a contract with any label (big or small) in the near future, this book is mandatory reading and avoiding it might be very hazardous to your future income. You will not like or trust lawyers or record labels after reading this book (as if you ever did) but for the first time and from that point on…you won't have to. ****** James Linderman lives and works at theharmonyhouse, a music lesson, songwriting and music pre-production facility in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. He has worked as a collaborating songwriter and consultant for The Toronto Office of Catholic Youth and leads a music workshop program for Life 100.3 Christian radio. James writes songwriting articles for The Muse's News web magazine, Canadian Musician Magazine and Professional Musician Magazine. Contact James at: Back to Menu ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : Charles will be providing us with a series of articles discussing common problems performing songwriters might face within the music business. THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC: Managers and Agents: What a Manager Does by Charles Katz ©2002, Charles Katz. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission. ----------------------------------------------------------------- "Lean on Me" Words and Music by Bill Withers was a classic hit in the late 70's. The repetitive lyric "Lean on me // when you're not strong // and I'll be your friend" is repeated several times in the chorus and is essentially what a manager has to be for a performing artist. The manager has to be a friend, administrator, sales person, employer, negotiator, and advisor. A Professional Manager will not sign a performing artist until he or she has achieved success in developing a fan base and sales of CDs initially. I had an artist from New York City call me and ask about management. I told him to send a Bio and Press kit for evaluation. He stated, "That's what a manager does," and hung up. WRONG!! Most of the artist I work with are truly professional. They have expensive and multi-colored Press Kits with CDs enclosed. They already know their local market and need me to help out nationally, advising them about record labels, promotion, retail distribution and manufacturing. Having said all this, the manager needs to use his best efforts to perform the following services: * Guidance and Advice. * Engagement of Services. * Negotiation and Execution of Agreements. A manager will usually earn a commission for the following services which can include but are not limited to: * recording funds advanced by a record company * money paid to make videos * tour support * booking agent fees * expenses in connection with promotional and marketing activities and independent promotion, marketing or publicity * income from music publishing and songwriting * income from any entertainment presentations which the manager packages or presents and for which the manager receives a portion of the ticket revenues for packaging or presenting the event * income from recording studios, acting, other entertainment or other artist's sources of revenue. The Performing Artist normally pays all the necessary costs incurred by the manager in the performance of his duties. The result of a manager's efforts are not realized in days or weeks. Both the artist and manager must be in for the long term over a period of years. Thus, in starting, many new performing artists must perform the above mentioned tasks until some success has been achieved. Stay tuned for next month's article: RECORDING: Practical Realties of Securing A Record Label Agreement Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info. In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at & . Please check there regularly for updates! ----------------------------------------------------------------- 'RADIO MUSE' WEBCAST FOR INDEPENDENT SONGWRITERS - SEEKING MUSIC! The Muse's Muse & Host, Jan Best of Independent Songwriter Web-Magazine, are putting together a series of shows, one every month, featuring the songs of independent songwriters just like you! See for details on how you can send in your own music for consideration. ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE 2002 ANDELLE MUSIC SONG CONTEST Return flights to a Worldwide Rock'n'Roll Capital, plus 7 nights accomodation, $500, Fender Acoustic Guitar, Kramer Electric Guitar, Trophy & Certificate for the Grand Prize Winner. Category Winners receive $500 plus a Guitar & Trophy. Full details and an application form can be found at The Contest officially opens on 1st January 2002. Have fun and good luck! ----------------------------------------------------------------- 2001 USA SONGWRITING COMPETITION WINNERS ANNOUNCED Singer-Songwriter Steve Tannen of New York City clinched the coveted Overall Grand prize with his song "Picture of You". He also won first prize in Pop category with "Picture of You" and an honorable mention award with his song "Sing Me To Sleep". The Overall 2nd Prize went to Shawn Eiferman of Las Vegas, NV with his song "Gone". The Overall 3rd Prize went to Jen Chapin of Brooklyn, NY with her song "Indispensable". Veteran songwriter Shirley Eihard of Ontario, Canada won the first prize in the Jazz category with her song "Tomorrow Is A Lonely Place". Shirley wrote the mega hit "Something to Talk About" for Grammy winning artist, Bonnie Raitt. For more information visit: 2002 USA SONGWRITING COMPETITION BEGINS Entries for the 2002 USA Songwriting Competition are currently accepted. Winning songs of the 2002 USA Songwriting Competition will receive radio airplay on a nationally syndicated radio program in serving over 60 cities in North America and Canada. Entrants stand to win a grand prize of over US$50,000 in cash and merchandise and exposure, making this the largest prize package in any annual songwriting competition. ----------------------------------------------------------------- SPECIAL OFFER FROM THE MUSICIAN'S ATLAS The Musician's Atlas is the a music industry resource created exclusively for artists and the independent music community. This 368 page directory delivers over 15,000 key business contacts in more than 25 industry categories. Features include major & indie label A&R depts., commercial and college radio program directors, club and festival talent buyers, music journalists, publicists, publishers, managers, agents, entertainment lawyers, producers, film & tv music supervisors, cd manufacturers, merchandisers and much more. We are pleased to offer Muse's Muse subscribers a 15% discount off the already low retail price when you order your copies directly from Or you can receive a free copy of the 2002 Atlas and still save 15% when you order a copy of the new and improved Atlas CD-Rom. Just log on to and enter MUSESMUSE into the purchase code key found on The Atlas order page. ----------------------------------------------------------------- GET YOUR SONGS HEARD Looking to snag a publishing deal or get signed to a label? Musician's Access gives you the access that you need. Members can submit original songs and get them heard by the A&R execs who signed Elliot Smith, Beck, Built to Spill, and many more! If your music has what it takes, Musician's Access will forward it along to its network of label & publishing contacts. Musician's Access knows all the right people because it was founded by industry power players--if your music comes through Musician's Access, the publishing companies & labels will listen. Membership to Musician's Access is only $99 per year--for the price of 6 CDs, you can have the chance to get your music in front of the people who can make it happen! Musician's Access ~ ----------------------------------------------------------------- MILD 2 WILD ENTERTAINMENT HOSTS "BEST SONG & LYRIC" CONTEST: Entries will be accepted through May 23, 2002. The Cost is $5.00 per song or lyric entered. No limit to the number of entries. Complete rules and entry form can be found on Mild 2 Wild's website or e-mail at ----------------------------------------------------------------- NSAI ANNOUNCES TIN PAN SOUTH 2002 SCHEDULE Songwriters Festival Celebrates 10th Anniversary The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) will present the 10th Anniversary of "Tin Pan South: A Celebration of Songs and Songwriters" Monday, April 1st- Saturday, April 6th, 2002 in Nashville, TN. Highlights of this year's festival include: the Legendary Songwriters Acoustic Concert, World's Largest Open Mic competition, Tin Pan South Songwriters Golf Classic, Music Row 2002 Songwriters Symposium and four nights of club shows featuring established songwriters performing at venues throughout Nashville. Named in honor of the famous Tin Pan Alley in New York City, NSAI's Tin Pan South is the nation's only annual weeklong festival spotlighting the songwriter and the song. For more a daily events schedule and more information, please visit ----------------------------------------------------------------- CALL FOR ENTRIES: NATIONAL "INDIE BAND SEARCH 2002" NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS ModMusic Records is proud to announce the Indie Band Search 2002. The Indie Band Search is a national contest that gives independent musicians, artists, songwriters, and bands a chance to be heard by entertainment industry professionals and compete for prizes worth over $10,000. ModMusic will be accepting submissions from independent bands of all musical genres, from October 29, 2001 through February 14, 2002. For entry forms, submission guidelines, and rules, visit the website at or call the hotline at (212)479-8418. ----------------------------------------------------------------- MUSIC ROW 2002 SONGWRITERS SYMPOSIUM APRIL 5TH & 6TH Meet With Publishers at their Music Row Offices! The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) will present the Music Row 2002 Songwriters Symposium (MR-2002) April 5th & 6th, 2002 at the historic Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, TN. The two-day event is designed to educate and empower songwriters who wish to advance their careers in the music industry. MR-2002 will feature song evaluation sessions with Music Row publishers, panel discussions and workshops led by industry professionals, special guest performances and an "in the round" open mic for attendees hosted by Barbara Morrison. To obtain a registration form or for more information about Music Row 2002, please visit or contact David Thomas at the NSAI office by phone: (800) 321-6008 or email: Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson ©1998-2002 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- Well, you can't begin calling yourself a songwriter without first knowing this guy. Okay, maybe if you're only 13 years old, you may not have heard of him. But even if you haven't, it's quite likely that the music you listen to has, somewhere down the chain of influences, been affected by him. Do you know who I'm talking about? Of course you do. Bob Dylan. Love him or hate him, you can't deny that this guy has had a profound effect on a lot of songwriters. Paul Zollo, best known for his book "Songwriters On Songwriting", has interviewed a lot of them. In "Bob Dylan: The Song Talk Interview" (, Paul gets to meet "the man", and ask him some of the questions only a songwriter would be interested in. Like his favorite keys to write in, his thoughts about other songwriters, whether or not rhyming is "fun", and whether or not he finishes songs that he decides aren't "keepers". I can't say that this interview helps you to know Bob Dylan any better as a person, but there are some excellent questions by Paul Zollo that get to the heart of Dylan's songwriting. There are examples and studies of some of Dylan's lyrics, where he gets his inspiration from, and a little insight into his songwriting methods. Does Bob Dylan sit down to write everyday, like a job? So get a little insight into arguably one of the most influential songwriters of our time. And if you enjoy Paul Zollo's style of writing, you might want to check out his excellent book, a collection of interviews with many great songwriters called "Songwriters On Songwriting". In fact, you can order it through the Muse's'll find that book and many others here: ****** Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and more links of interest. Her eagerly anticipated CD "Catnip" is finally here, and her earlier recordings have had attention everywhere from Japan to South America. Songwriting Tips: Homepage: Songs on MP3: Back to Menu ================================================================= S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UNLEASH THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE INTERNET WITH SONGSCOPE.COM! SongScope is a valuable tool enabling you to build an on-line song catalog, accessible only by proven industry professionals. Receive FREE email informing you every time record producers and industry professionals make requests. Song listings are only $29.95 per year. An ecommerce enabled marketing/promotion page and tour calendar are also available for performing songwriters to get further artist exposure. See for details or contact: ~ Tel: 770.754.4543 ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : VOCALLY SPEAKING...The Cutting Edge - by Diana Yampolksy ----------------------------------------------------------------- In this column, I would like to talk about something that every singer who aspires to greatness must have: a cutting edge. This term is actually the title of an obscure movie about figure skating that I enjoyed very much and, more importantly, perfectly encapsulates exactly what I want to say in this article. In the movie, a figure skating duo from the United States is aiming to win the gold medal at the Olympics. During their practices their coach tries to find something that will give them an advantage over the competition. The turning point in their quest is when he asks them why they think they have a chance of winning? They couldn't come up with an adequate answer and he goes on to tell them that they need a cutting edge; something extraordinary that will ensure they become Olympic champions. He informs them that their competition will be doing essentially the same jumps and routines they are and, therefore, it really comes down to who has a better day instead of who the greatest skaters are. The coach then goes on to tell them about a very dangerous jump called the Deadly Spiral. It is so difficult and life-threatening that nobody else would ever dare to try it. If the duo could master this jump then they would be absolutely guaranteed the gold medal. At first they are apprehensive but he convinces them that they have the technical skills necessary to safely nail it. Much of the rest of this movie is about them practicing the move, nearly killing each other and then finally succeeding in their task - becoming Olympic champions. The Deadly Spiral was obviously their "cutting edge" over the other skaters. Similarly, I have a lot of CD's in my collection with good music, decent songs and even adequate vocals, but the majority are missing their own "cutting edge". Take a moment to ask yourself: as a singer, what makes you different? I think you would agree with me that a singer who sounds just like everyone else is pretty boring. (Nobody ever sold a million records while performing in a tribute band!) Every singer that has become a legend (Elvis, The Beatles, Celine Dion) had something original and unique that set him or her apart from every previous singer. Their voices were unique and original, but they also had other intangible qualities as well. Now you are probably asking yourself what you can do to gain your own cutting edge. There are essentially two ways to do it. The first way is to do it is as the aforementioned skaters did. Find or create something that will give you a leg up on the competition. It may be a particularly difficult or beautiful song that you learn how to sing exceptionally well. (Sort of like your own Deadly Spiral.) Or it could be the way you carry yourself on stage, what most people call stage presence. It can even be a unique look as long as it relates well to the style of music you are performing. Most people wouldn't classify the members of KISS as being extraordinary singers and songwriters but they achieved a perfect balance between style of music, songs, vocals, image and performance. The second way is to develop it from within your self. It is important to understand that you already possess your own unique quality that separates you from every other person on the planet: your spirit. If you wish, you can take this to mean that I am talking about your soul. At the very least you have to admit that your DNA differs in some way from every other human being. Furthermore, your experiences are not completely like those of any other person. Either way, what you have to learn how to do is to unleash your own individuality and channel it into your vocal performances. Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty is a prime example of a singer whose cutting edge is his own inner energy, which is incredibly high and "orgasmic" and that transfers directly to the audience. As I outlined in my book, Vocal Science - Flight to the Universe, singers can only invest their performances with their own individual spirit when they are grounded in flawless technique, which will also prevent them from damaging their main commodity, ie. their voice. Whenever a new student starts instruction with me we first concentrate solely on the technical aspects of singing. As the student progresses and develops to the point that the technique becomes second nature to him, his individuality naturally starts to come out in his vocal performances. This is very exciting to witness and is one of the things I love most about my job. I vividly remember a student who once called me after a performance because he was very excited about what people were saying with regard to his new way of singing in light of the work we had done together. As is the case with many amateur bands, many of the same people (friends, family) usually come to all of their performances. This time, several had told him not only had his pitch and projection improved immensely but he sounded more original and totally different. They told him that whereas before he had sounded like Bono of U2 and Michael Hutchence of INXS, now they couldn't really compare him to anyone else. He had developed his own cutting edge and was exhibiting something that was unique to him. When a singer develops his own cutting edge it is truly a joyous experience. It's like witnessing the singer being reborn. Until next time, keep working at developing your own unique style and be sure to stay tuned for future excerpts from my new book, Vocal Science II - Flight from the Virtual Music to Reality, in upcoming issues. ****** Diana Yampolsky is a Toronto-based Vocal Coach/Consultant. She is the creator of the Vocal Science Program, which has been designed to achieve Accelerated Vocal Development and guarantees to turn a beginner into a professional singer in a matter of hours. This technique focuses on the idea that the voice is an expression of the emotional, physical and spiritual state of the person singing and Diana therefore works not just on the voice but on the performer as a whole. The Royans School for the Musical Performing Arts ( specializes in Accelerated Artist Development, including Vocal Coaching/Consulting, In Studio Vocal Production Expertise, Style Identification & Differentiation, Voice Repair and Psychology of Performance. Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t e r I n S p o t l i g h t : Chris Kennedy by Terri Ann Palumbo Take a guy whose band logo once featured a straitjacket, who sings along with Marlene Dietrich, and is playing nearly every facet of the music business, and what do you get? Chris Kennedy. The former AND current songwriter and front-man of RuthRuth is reinventing himself yet again -- writing new songs, re-working old songs and finally doing it (as one of his favorite icons once sang) HIS way. Think you've heard it all about the agonies and ecstasies of songwriting? Kennedy can change your mind, in more ways than one. ----------------------------------------------------------------- As the songwriter, lead singer and creator of the successful alternative band RuthRuth, Chris Kennedy cracked the code of the "other" market years ago. Still in his early thirties, he's reinvented himself more times than most songwriters twice his age -- and he's not finished yet. He wrote his first song at the age of 13. "Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys made me do it", he says. "I was sitting in my bedroom with my guitar and wrote this creepy ballad called 'The Haunted Surfer', about a surfer who drowned and tempted his girlfriend into following him one night -- not exactly 'Surfer Girl', but Wilson was definitely a huge influence on me." Why Brian Wilson? "He had great hair, wrote great pop songs and did a beautiful job producing the Beach Boys' records. He was just about the first rock performer to both write and produce his own records. He had creative control -- The Beatles had George Martin, The Beach Boys had Brian." While he may have focused largely on the alternative market in the past (which is not to imply that he's finished with it), he still harkens back to the music he listened to while growing up in a northern New Jersey suburb. "My family listened to all kinds of music -- Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, John Denver, Tony Bennett, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. They had such great production, great songwriting. Those pop music songs have integrity that will last forever." An avid nostalgia buff, his inspirations come from listening to new music recommended by friends, old music he collects (his studio is lined with shelf after shelf of 45s, LPs and CDs of genres ranging from World War II era songs to forgotten lounge-lizard opuses to hot-off-the-press undiscovered artists). His somewhat anachronistic interests include old movies, military memorabilia and classic comics. However, this is not just some trend-following guy in search of a hit; well-educated and omnivorously well-read, Chris is intensely thoughtful. A conversation with Kennedy is peppered with provocative concepts that are often unique, often surprising but never completely off the wall. This is a songwriter who clearly feels deeply and possesses seemingly limitless energy for exploration and experimentation. He speaks in calm and mellow tones, while delivering answers with the whiplash-inducing wit and ride-the-edge thought processes that are both characteristic of his songs. ****** For the rest of this interview, please visit ****** ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Terri Ann Palumbo is an Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer whose work has appeared on shows as diverse as "America's Most Wanted" and "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". Her current activities include work on a non-fiction book, as well as articles on subjects ranging from celebrity profiles to investigative pieces. She's also recently started designing websites (the first being, but she still hits the field to produce television programming for a variety of clients, and has three separate independent television projects in the works. In her spare time, Terri wonders what "spare time" means, and prays that she won't find an answer to the question for a long, long time. To keep up to date on her latest interviews, drop by her new column, "Songwriter's Speak" at: to Menu ================================================================= " O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E : Muse Me While I Kiss This Guy - by Danny McBride Danny talks about collaboration as a social art form.
================================================================= C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- LYRICIST! VERSION 2 HAS ARRIVED - NOW WITH CHORD CHARTING. Virtual Studio Systems, Inc. is proud to announce Lyricist V2 - The Songwriter's Best Friend -the first-of-its-kind word processor designed for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a rhyming dictionary, spell checker, thesaurus, album categorization, chord charting, song arrangement and much much more - all in a user-friendly package. We have now begun shipping so get your holiday order in soon. A review can be seen at . Muse's Muse visitors can take home the product for $5.00 off the regular selling price, just for purchasing through the form provided off of the review! For more information, visit the review url above or call us at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. or 603.669.0411 outside the U.S.A. ----------------------------------------------------------------- GO GLOBAL WITH CDSTREET.COM is your secure source for credit card music ordering in your own website. As a member of the CDstreet network, you will have access to the most cost-effective, secure transaction processing for global music merchandise distribution. Plus, no setup fee and no sales equals no cost! Check it out - ----------------------------------------------------------------- GET YOUR COPY OF THE INDIE CONTACT BIBLE & START MAKING WAVES! This is an absolutely priceless resource for indie musicians. If you want your music reviewed, on the radio, *heard*, THIS is the resource you need to have. It's not going to tell you "how" but it will *certainly* tell you "who". I highly recommend you pick it up in order to compliment your other music marketing techniques. Have a look at this url and read through a few sample pages to see what I mean: (Full review at ----------------------------------------------------------------- INTERESTED IN YOUR VERY OWN MUSE'S MUSE SHIRT, MUG OR MOUSEPAD? WOULD YOU LIKE TO SELL YOUR OWN MERCHANDISE? Drop by today! And while you're at it, think about starting your *own* store. It would be pretty cool to sell your own band's logo or design on promo items, wouldn't it? And starting up a store requires no investment of money on your part at all. Details on how to do that are only a click away... ================================================================= ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$25 Max. 8 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to: For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities, please see . Back to Menu
================================================================= C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER ----------------------------------------------------------------- The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors. Back issues and other information will be available at: The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters: For further information, send your e-mail to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe, unsubscribe, etc. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back issues of the newsletter can be read at the National
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