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JONNY TARR | Acoustic Spotlight

May 2017

jonny tarr

Paul McCartney personally handed him his music degree, he has also performed on the Jazz World Stage at Glastonbury Festival in the UK and we are not the least bit surprised! Jonny Tarr is literally the first musician we started working with on a regular basis, and it wasn’t just because he has an awesome British accent – the guy is a musical monster. Sit back for 60 seconds and he will loop sax, guitar, keyboard, flute, harmony, and beat-box tracks into a full blown song – in one live solo take. He also has a pretty awesome Quartet you can catch around town. His vibe is unlike any other and his talent is obvious as you watch him effortlessly transition from one instrument to the next. Jonny is also a committed father and husband who has managed to maintain a music career with each mounting responsibility life seems to tack on. This month, we invite you to learn more about the experiences and mentality of a musician who has continued to pursue and fulfill his passion!

Prince or Michael Jackson?

That is pretty difficult. I am actually more of a fan of Michael Jackson’s music, but only up to and including certain songs from BAD (notably, the much overlooked duet with ‘his stevieness’). The majority of MJ’s great stuff was in collaboration with others, like Quincy Jones for whom I have massive admiration. I am still not that big a fan of the majority of Prince’s music, but I was lucky enough to see him live once and it was the best thing I have ever seen. Not the best gig, show or musical performance, but the best THING I have ever seen. So I am gonna go with Prince.

Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles?

Again, both GIANTS and you always have to give credit to those who came before for paving the way for the later generations, but for me it has to be Stevie Wonder. Accept no substitutes. He has probably informed my songwriting more than anyone else.

Tupac or Biggie? 

Who? Only kidding, but I am actually not the biggest hip hop fan, to be honest. I like the production, but only like a few MCs. Some notable exceptions – Gift of Gab, Guru, Nas.

Paul McCartney or John Lennon?

Well, Paul McCartney actually handed me my music degree in person, but I would have said McCartney anyway. I always preferred the songs he wrote for The Beatles over Lennon’s before I even found out who had written what. I prefer his voice and his all round songwriting genius. (The Long and winding Road!?) Also, anyone who can play bass and sing lead at the same time is amazing in my book.

Name 3 musicians/groups that you will listen to for the rest of your life.

Stanley Turrentine, Maxwell, Paul Simon.

Who were you listening to before sitting down to answer all these questions?

Solange for the first half of the questions, a pastiche eighties horror film soundtrack for the second half. (think john carpenter type stuff)

What style would YOU call your music?

Poptronic Blue Eyed Soul Funk Euro Disco Nasty Time

How old were you when you started playing music and who got you going?

I was 7 when I started playing the piano because my mum was learning at the time and decided that I should have some lessons too. I soon stopped because my teacher was really old and her house was a bit creepy to me. I then decided that getting a saxophone was gonna get me girls at the age of eleven and never looked back.

What is one of your 1st musical memories as a kid?

I honestly think that the first time I remember music touch me was when I walked into a bar with my mum when I was maybe four years old (we were ok with that kind of thing in Wales in the 80s) and hearing ‘Walking on the Moon’. The guitar sound and the ‘underwater’ vibe sticks with me to this day

jonny-tarr_-acoustic-spot

First song you ever wrote; what was it about? Still play it today?! 

The first song I remember writing was a song about raising the Titanic with my brother when we were very young. I was maybe 9. And no, I don’t play it anymore.

Where is your “creative space”, and what time of day generally brings the most inspiration?

My creative space is not really any one place. It is wherever I can find the time and space to set up my gear and make a beat to sing over. I tend to do it in bursts. Sometimes my garage, sometimes the office. Maybe just with my laptop. It is more about getting a whole day off to concentrate on writing than a certain time of day. I have a one and a half year old daughter, so finding the time is a challenge.

What are a couple of your most proud achievements / awards as a musician:

Opening the Jazz World Stage at Glastonbury Festival in the UK. This is our biggest and most anticipated festival of the year and getting to play my favorite stage there was pretty special.

Tell us about one of the best gigs you ever played:

Playing at a Jam Session in Tokyo with some of the worlds finest new jazz and electronica artists the day after The Tokyo Crossover Jazz festival in 2009. I LOVED japan.

 

Tell us about one of the weirdest gigs you ever played:

Far too many to single out the weirdest, but there was quite a good one early on in my music career where there was a power cut in a bar I was playing in my home town. Thing was, the stage of the bar was on one power grid but the whole rest of the bar was on a different one for some reason. So when the power went out, all our gear onstage started smoking and the guitarist’s hair was standing on end but the whole rest of the bar was unaffected. The crowd thought it was part of the act.

Any local or up-and-coming musicians you love that more people need to know about?

If you have not yet, you have to check out the band of Monette Marino. The music is infectiously groovy and Monette is a fabulous percussion player. A real treat. Also, there is the band of Tonga Ross Mau, The Bomb Squad. An organ trio in the vein of the Blue Note Soul Jazz that came out in the sixties. They are Badass.

Any advice to your younger self or other musicians starting out?

Make sure you love music for music’s sake and you are not in it for fame or a certain lifestyle. Music is tough to make a living from. You have to be in love with it.

Want to catch him live >> Jonny’s Calendar

 

REBECCA JADE | Acoustic Spotlight

April 2017

rebecca jade_ the acoustic spot

She is a three-time consecutive San Diego Music Awards winner who has opened for names such as Boyz II Men, Erykah Badu and even Vanilla Ice. Rebecca Jade is easily recognized as a top tier artist out of Southern California. Her mother was a professional jazz singer in Puerto Rico and exposed her to a vast assortment of artists, genres and styles at an early age. Fate was true and Rebecca grew into a powerhouse vocalist with all the style and grace in the world. We book her for everything; a duo singing jazz standards, a trio knocking out R&B and Soul selections, to a full band covering top 40 songs. Oh ya, she is also amazingly thoughtful and beautiful too : ) In this months Spotlight, we are proud to introduce a musician who has been part of our story since the beginning.

Prince or Michael Jackson?

Prince

Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles?

Stevie Wonder

Tupac or Biggie?

Tupac

Miles Davis or John Coltrane?

Coltrane

Name 3 musicians / groups that you will listen to for the rest of your life:

Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder

Who were you listening to before sitting down to answer all these questions?

Lianne La Havas

What style would YOU call your music?

Soul music.

How old were you when you started playing music and who got you going?

I’ve been singing as long as I can remember, and my mom was my earliest influence.

What is one of your 1st musical memories as a kid?

I sang and performed in church and school performances (musicals and choirs) since I was little, but my mom has a picture of me singing a solo in kindergarten.

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First song you ever wrote; what was it about? Still play it today?!

It’s called “Breathless.” It’s about how you fall in love with someone and they take your breath away, even though they may not feel the same; I’ve never played it live.

Where is your “creative space”, and what time of day generally brings the most inspiration?

Often times in my car while driving, I’ll record some ideas on my phone. I also usually sit and write late at night at home in my office/studio space.

What are a couple of your most proud achievements / awards as a musician?

Our original band, Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact, earned 3 consecutive San Diego Music Awards, we are so grateful for the love!

Tell us about one of the best gigs you ever played:

The Cold Fact opened for El Debarge, and then I had the very cool opportunity to sing a duet with him during his set.

Any local or up-and-coming musicians you love that more people need to know about?

There is a singer named L-Young that I dig! He puts up very cool renditions of songs online and has a cool vibe about him. I was able to open for him a couple years back and his live show was amazing!

Any advice to your younger self or other musicians starting out?

See what you want for yourself in this music world and go for it! It may take longer than you think, but it will be worth it.

Want to catch her live >> Rebecca’s Calendar

 

AQUILE | Acoustic Spotlight

March 2017

Aquile

Turning 3 out of 4 chairs on “The Voice” – Christina Aguilera, Ceelo Green, and Adam Levine all recognizing this guy is something special. Aquile has a Soul/Pop/R&B vibe that is unmistakable with song selections that are upbeat & current with genuine throwbacks to the classics. He is a true hustler who LOVES music with a passion on par with his God-given talent  – something we have found is pretty rare! Aquile easily became one of our most requested musicians and it was no surprise. We are super proud and lucky to work with him as much as we do. This month, we invite you to learn a little more about Aquile and how he got his start in music. From hitting the keys at 8 years old to rocking national television, his story is real and inspiring. Read his full interview below!

Prince or Michael Jackson?

That’s’ a tricky question – I’d say Michael Jackson the first part of my life, but Prince now! 

Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles?

Also 2 of my Favs geez! I’d have to say Mr. Wonder 

Tupac or Biggie?

Tupac for sure 

John Legend or John Mayer?

Grew up loving John Legend, but now its Mayer all the way. He’s one of the greatest artist of our time in my opinion. 

Name 3 musicians/groups that you will listen to for the rest of your life:

Mayer, MJ, Stevie Wonder 

Who were you listening to before sitting down to answer all these questions?

JP Cooper (Dope Artist) 

What style would YOU call your music?

Indie-Soul 

What is one of your 1st musical memories as a kid?

Figuring out the theme song to Jurassic Park on my moms upright piano age 8

How old were you when you started playing music, and who got you going?

It was around age 8 when I fell in love with the piano. My Grandmothers from both sides got me started much earlier than that. Grandma Rose gave me a Toy Mic at age 2 and I’ve been singing ever since. My Mom is also really musically talented and her singing and writing ability rubbed off on me at an early age as well.

First song you ever wrote; What was it about? Still play it today?!

I was visiting my cousins in Salt lake City and I fell for this cute girl across the street. My uncle had a piano in his house and I felt compelled to write her a song. I still remember it to this day, but never do I perform it lol. (so cheesy)

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Where is your “creative space” and what time of day generally brings the most inspiration?

I’m a morning person. I wake up inspired and usually sit down at my home studio and create on the computer. My most creative space is outdoors in nature, but it can be hard to be there all the time. For now I have a fish tank next to my desk with a bunch of little buddies to keep me company.

Tell us about a couple of your most proud achievements / awards as a musician:

Turning 3 out of 4 chairs on The Voice Season 3 was def my greatest musical achievement thus far. 

Tell us about one of the best gigs you ever played:

Rocking the Mangy Moose in Jackson Wyoming with my old Band The Orbit Group is def my fav memories of playing a show. That place is Iconic and Wyoming is my home state. There’s nothing like being submerged in the mountains in the winter playing music with your best buds. 

Any local or up-and-coming musicians you love that more people need to know about?

K. Emeline is a very talented singer, she’s one to look out for. Also ill Nicky, One of the dopest lyricists coming out of SD along with Nat-z one of the best female rappers I’ve ever heard.  


Any advice to your younger self or other musicians starting out?

Just always keep the Faith. Never stop growing and working on your craft. Take rejection as education and learn from each and every experience. Make sacrifices for your music. Plan B should be, “Never failing at plan A. There is no plan B!”

Want to catch him live >> Aquile’s Calendar

RAELEE NIKOLE | Acoustic Spotlight

February 2017

Raelee_Nikole_Listed at #6 of Spotify’s “US Viral 50 Playlist”, personal shout-outs from John Mayer and Shawn Mendes, multiple San Diego Music Award appearances, over 1 Million views on her Youtube content… and she’s the sweetest, most deserving musician you’ve ever met. Raelee Nikole is a San Diego native who is making WAVES. We have been fortunate to work with her since she was 16 and have to admit, she holds a really special spot in our hearts. Currently at 21 years old, we are seeing her years of perseverance, practice, and great attitude turn into a VERY promising future of music making. In this month’s Spotlight, Raelee tells us about a toy piano that started it all, shares some of her successes and gives advice to those who are striving to make it in the industry – See her full interview below!

Who were you listening to before sitting down to answer all these questions?

I’m listening to the new Kehlani album right now :) It came out last night at midnight so I’m having my first listen and it’s so good.

Prince or Michael Jackson?

Michael Jackson, only because I was introduced to his music so much earlier than Prince – and therefore he probably made more of an impact! 

Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles?

Stevie Wonder! This is so tough!!

Tupac or Biggie?

Why are you guys doing this to me! I’m just going to say Biggie because I know more of his music, but I think both were absolutely crucial to music history and culture. 

John Mayer or Allen Stone?

Okay now you’ve made this personal. John is more of an idol in my eyes. His music has been a part of me since I’ve been a musician and I still can’t comprehend how he wrote some of the songs he has. Allen Stone changed my world though. His live show introduced me to SOUL and what a true PERFORMANCE was. Also, I met him after one of his shows and cried the whole way home because I was so happy.. so I guess I choose Allen.

Name 3 musicians/groups that you will listen to for the rest of your life:

I will definitely listen to both John (Mayer) and Allen (Stone) for the rest of my life. Probably Lianne La Havas as well.

What style would YOU call your music?

The album I released in 2015 was definitely in the singer/songwriter pop genre, but the music I’m working on releasing this year is a lot more current and soulful, with less of an acoustic sound. I don’t really care what genre my music falls in, as long as it has emotion, soul, and listeners feel the groove.

What is one of your 1st musical memories as a kid?

My earliest memory of music was when I was four years old and my mom ran a daycare at our house. One of the toys we had was a toy piano, but it only had four keys and it was backwards (meaning the highest notes were to the left and lowest were to the right). Anyway, I remember showing her that I figured out how to play Marry Had A Little Lamb on it using my ear. Our family friend was standing next to her and was so impressed that she gifted me piano lessons for my 5th birthday. Thus began my relationship with music. I stayed with those lessons for 12 years until I switched over to guitar :)

First song you ever wrote; What was it about? Still play it today?

The first song I ever wrote was called “2am Breakdown” and I was about 14 or 15. I had just gotten off the phone with my freshly turned ex-boyfriend because we were both trying to stay friends, but he kept going on and on about a new girl he already had a crush on. (Looking back now that was very intentional of him and I should have laughed about it) but instead I wrote a poem about how I’m fine during the day until I’m alone in my room and have a ‘2am breakdown.’

No, I don’t ever play it anymore (despite my family’s very flattering pleas). I think it was a well written song for 15 year old me, and should remain that way haha.

Where is your “creative space,” and what time of day generally brings the most inspiration?

I like to write where I’m comfortable; I think that’s where the spark usually comes. So, in my room or bathroom is where almost every song has been written. I also have to be alone or I can’t focus. I feel like the other person in the room is judging the song way before it’s ready, even if only subconsciously. 

raelee nikole_ acoustic spot

Tell us about some of your most proud achievements / awards as a musician:

I’ve had a few moments of “oh wow this is pretty cool” throughout my journey with music; Being nominated for the San Diego Music Awards, playing the House Of Blues, or releasing my first album – but I’d have to say what I’m most proud of are the little things, like when someone tells me one of my songs really helped them out or made a difference in their lives. That’s why I’m involved in this industry at the end of the day, and it’s the least tangible thing to measure, so I think I’m the most proud when I can connect with people.

Tell us about one of the best gigs you ever played:

One of the best gigs I’ve ever played was actually my most recent show at last year’s Adams Avenue Street Fair. I already love the Street Fair; every year my friends and I get so hyped off the energy of the first day. I played the outside stage with my friends Jackson Price on bass and Kimo Shim on percussion, and I remember there being a crowd already waiting for us before we got on and while we were setting up for our set. They were chanting my name and throughout the show I noticed tons of people knew the words to my original songs. I still can’t ever describe the way that feels. I was high off that show for the next month haha. 

Any local or up-and-coming musicians you love that more people need to know about?

I’ve been involved in San Diego’s local music scene for nearly 6 years now, so I’m excited about this question. I’d recommend checking out the local bands: Whimsy, Funk Shui Planet, and Caroline. Also, Steph Johnson, who is doing SO much for our community – not with just her own music, but a local San Diego choir with a beautiful story. Local Singer/Songwriters: Tolan Shaw, Courtney Preis, Sophia Bacino, Nick Crook, Dave Morris… I could go on forever! 

Any advice to your younger self or other musicians starting out?

My advice to anyone starting out.. Man, you really gotta love what you’re doing for the right reasons. It’s all about balance. Set goals, but don’t get so caught up in them that you don’t enjoy your current place in your career. Things can take a looooot longer than you expect, and if you are tunnel vision focused on selling out an arena, you’ll miss out on the beauty (and feeling of accomplishment) of playing your first packed coffeehouse! The smallest steps forward are still a step forward. Besides, if it all worked out in just a year or two, how boring would that story be??

Want to catch her live >> Raelee’s Calendar

 

ANGIE KEILHAUER | Acoustic Spotlight

January 2017

angie-keilhauer-2

Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and Pharrell all turned for her on “The Voice” – If you haven’t heard about Angie Keilhauer until right now – pick up your phone, open Spotify and thank us later. This hard working Americana Country singer just moved into Encinitas and has rapidly begun to make a name for herself in San Diego (Winner of the 2016 Del Mar Fair Songwriter Contest). We invite you to learn more about how she started out, what kind of music she listens to, and some of her biggest successes to date. Angie also gives some great advice to aspiring musicians – full interview below!

Video of her Blind Audition on “The Voice” :

Who were you listening to before sitting down to answer all these questions?

The Doors! My girlfriend just bought their vinyl; felt like going through a time machine in my living room.

Prince or Michael Jackson?

Michael Jackson

Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles?

Ray Charles! I’m from GA after all.

Tupac or Biggie? 

Tupac

Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera?

Christina Aguilera.

Who would you ask us to choose between?

Eric Clapton or Led Zeppelin?   – We would have to go with Clapton : )

First musical memory as a kid?

When I was a kid I begged my mom for vocal lessons, but they were pretty expensive and we have a big family. My mom had bought my older sister violin lessons with the rule that she had to get up three times a week before school and practice. Finally my mom gave in, of course with the same rule. So she would wake up before me at 5am, make me go downstairs, and run my scales. I hated it so much, but slowly I saw how much better I was getting. At the time, I wasn’t so grateful haha, but now looking back- that was a big lesson. 

How old were you when you started playing music & who got you started?

I have always been a singer since I can remember. I would shut off the TV in the living room and make the whole family listen to a new song I wrote (that was always very popular lol). In the end I was obsessed with great vocalists and storytelling. My mom always loved Dolly Parton and I begged my Dad to buy me Christina Aguilera’s first album. I would listen to those songs over and over, repeating the runs until I could finally come close. As long as I can remember I just absolutely loved singing. 

First song you ever wrote – What was it about? Still play it today?! 

Hmm I think the first song I ever wrote, that I can remember, was about mayonnaise believe it or not. I don’t actually play that one regularly haha. For some reason my middle school friends still to this day remember that song and consider it my first break. 

Most proud achievements / awards as a musician?

My latest EP ‘Wild’ just won the Independent Music Award in the Country/ Roots genre! This was a really big moment for me because after coming off of The Voice last season, I decided to go all in and fund the record. The 7-track EP is all written by me, telling real stories of being on the road since the last album. It was the first time I recorded with a full band at a really high end studio in Nashville. Every dime I made touring for two years was in the hopes that I could one day make this happen. The day it was released on June 24th it hit #5 in its genre on iTunes. When I heard I won the IMA award it was really like coming full circle, like this humongous risk I took with all my savings and credit cards actually didn’t seem so crazy. It was an incredible moment. 

Where is your “creative space”?

The car! I have to drive so much and feeling the world’s constant movement around me is the best way for me to focus. I love writing songs in the car. I also love journaling- usually once a day when I can. Going back into my journal entries is where I find a lot of the most important lines to my songs.

Name 3 musicians / groups that you will listen to for the rest of your life:

Eric Clapton, Janis Joplin, Kip Moore

Any local / up-and-coming musicians that more people need to know about?

I’m just getting into the local scene in Encinitas since moving here in September. I discovered a guy named Michael LeClerc that has a killer singer-songwriter vibe. Also, a band called Grim Slippers is probably one of the coolest fusions of rock and funk I’ve heard in a long time, really fun to listen and jam to. I’m a huge fan!!

Best gig you ever played?

The Voice was pretty epic, but there were only about 200 people in the live audience, and none of them really knew who I was or what my original music was like. A few months later, when I released my EP in my hometown, I played for about 300 people, all who knew every word to my new songs and sang along. Even now when I think about it I get a little teary eyed – hands down one of the coolest moments in my career. 

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Any advice to your younger self or other musicians starting out?

This is a tough industry. If you look at my bio, you’ll see a couple of huge breakout moments. You’ll see my first cruise ship contract as a musician, a viral YouTube video, an audition on a major singing show. What you won’t see is the two years of emailing it took to get that first contract, the hundreds of videos made before the one that went viral, the number of failed auditions before the one I got through. This is a TOUGH industry. Take every single opportunity and don’t let failure be a reason to stop trying. Let it be a reason to get better, to be humble, and to be proud of the art you make. This industry is 100% created by everyday people that obsess about music as much as you do, true fans. Find those people, connect with them, and hold them close to your heart. Never stop making music.

Want to catch her live >> Angie’s Calendar

 

Booking a Musician – the Basic Rider Requirements

Euphoria+Brass+Band 2

If you are booking Taylor Swift, this list may be a little inadequate. These bullet points are geared for everyday private and corporate events ranging in rate from $500 to $7k. If you can manage to cover the following areas, you will find (most) musicians are going to be super thankful. Here are basic rider requirements:

  • Parking for duration of the event for Talent vehicle(s)
    – Client responsible for any passes or ticket fees
  • Access for loading within reasonable proximity of staging area
  • Access to a convenient power source at point of “stage”
    – one, dedicated 20 amp circuit per 3 musicians ideally
  • Provide coverage from elements to protect Talent and their gear from rain and direct sun exposure
  • Access to water throughout duration of performance
    – bottled water preferred due to electronics
  • For bookings of 3 hours or more, a hot meal for Talent
  • Most professional musicians will be able to provide amplification for up to 100 guests
    – Client needs to coordinate with Talent / Venue to provide additional sound
  • If elevated stage is NOT provided, Talent must have a dry, firm foundation
    – not directly on sand/grass/dirt
  • If elevated stage IS provided, size must meet minimum area of:
    Soloist – 6′ x 5′
    Duo – 10′ x 6′
    Trio – 12′ x 10′
    Full Band – 20′ x 12′