Day Tripper – Adam Kennedy Circles Globe to Conduct Artist Virtual Photo Shoots

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Adam Kennedy continues to conduct virtual photo shoots with artists throughout the pandemic. Photo – Adam Kennedy

Adam Kennedy unexpectedly became a globetrotter during the pandemic.

The Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. music photojournalist ventured to Finland, the U.S., Australia, Russia, Israel, Italy, Japan and other far-flung locations to shoot established and emerging artists – all from the comfort of his own home.

In fact, Kennedy’s international photographic jaunts have occurred online as part of a successful virtual photo shoot project he launched in April 2020. To date, he’s conducted more than 570 virtual photo shoots with rock, metal, jazz and blues artists over Facebook, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime and other online platforms.

“It’s just to create a feel of coming together online and being in the moment. After an hour, you usually have something cool. Every session has been completely different, and every artist brings something different to the table,” he said.

“Every environment is different because I’m not working in a studio. I’m predominantly working out of someone’s home, or a person takes me out on location. I’ve been in Los Angeles on the strip, in Sochi overlooking the Black Sea, in Jerusalem at a park and in Victoria near the Great Ocean Road.”

Continue reading “Day Tripper – Adam Kennedy Circles Globe to Conduct Artist Virtual Photo Shoots”

Beyond the Studio – South Main Street Marketing Promotes Artists, Albums

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A new music marketing firm is amplifying artist voices beyond the recording studio.

Known as South Main Street Marketing, the firm advises, supports and promotes musicians in their marketing efforts. Launched earlier this year by David Roof and Stephanie Reed, it’s already achieved a growing roster of multi-genre artists, including Linden Thoburn, Jeff Adams, Mary Beth Howell and Dirk Kroll among others.

“Every record that I’ve made has ended with the same conversation – ‘Hey, I’ve got a record, but what do I do now?’ I’ve been producing about 12 to 15 albums a year for more than a decade, and in total, I’ve probably been part of over 200,” said Roof, who also owns and operates Rooftop Recording.

“I know the time-intensive efforts that go into what musicians have to do to promote a record. There aren’t many formal resources for musicians to consult to answer that question. I sensed there was a void in filling that need for musicians.”

Roof shared that thought with his business and creative network and quickly connected with Reed through Chris McCall, an Ann Arbor singer-songwriter, voice coach and meditation counselor.

“I had been working with Chris on her marketing, website and social media and learned through her that Dave was looking for someone who did this kind of marketing,” said Reed, an experienced marketing, creative and business development executive/consultant.

Within a few weeks, Reed and Roof assembled a business plan and company framework to launch South Main Street Marketing, which is named after Ann Arbor’s famed downtown thoroughfare and honors both Reed and Roof growing up in Michigan.

For their new venture, the duo developed a suite of marketing and creative services which range from digital experience design and digital media to social media management and marketing consulting.

Each new artist relationship begins with a discovery session to identify goals, expectations and next steps. An artist can choose from à la carte or bundled services depending on their needs and budget.

“I use the same philosophy I’ve used with all my clients through the decades. Our goal is to discover who a client is and where they’re coming from as well as their goals and voice. We give them the plan, tools and encouragement needed to have their voices heard,” Reed said.

“South Main Street Marketing’s operating premise is to listen to people, provide the resources they need, and educate and set them free. We want artists to not feel tethered. We’re all about supporting an artist’s individual needs and goals.”

Additionally, the firm’s focus allows artists to spend valuable time honing their musical craft instead of getting absorbed in ancillary activities. At South Main Street Marketing, Reed and Roof want musicians to take back their opportunity costs.

“All the time that musicians spend marketing themselves is not time they’re practicing their instrument, writing a new song or experiencing the world. If we can help take that burden off of people, then we’re helping create more art by freeing up artists’ time,” Roof said.

Looking ahead, South Main Street Marketing will continue meeting their goal of quietly remaining behind the scenes to ensure artists stay front and center. As part of a collaborative approach, they’re creating clear plans to elevate artists and support their uniqueness while helping grow the music community.

Ray of Hope – Sunny State’s Chris Reed Tackles Pandemic Mental Health Struggles

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Chris Reed recounts his pandemic mental health challenges in a recent MABH COVID-19 Diaries Series article. Courtesy photo

Sunny State’s Chris Reed wants to demolish his pandemic wall.

The San Jose, California reggae fusion frontman and multi-instrumentalist slowly destroys each emotional barrier that arose unexpectedly over the past year. Reed successfully smashes those internal blockades by sharing his mental health struggles with family, friends and fans.

In April, Reed penned an intimate piece for Stanford University’s The Millennium Alliance for Humanity & The Biosphere (MAHB)’s COVID-19 Diaries Series called “My Life As An Artist Suddenly Didn’t Seem Relevant.” The article deeply explores the lingering fear and frustration Reed and his family encountered over the past year as personal and professional challenges mounted.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, The Stratton Setlist chatted with Reed about his experience and how he tackled his troubles. His story serves as a constant reminder for artists, musicians and creatives to openly discuss their mental health struggles with others. Here’s how Reed overcame the stigma and got real about his situation:

How did you come to write this piece for MAHB?

MAHB is a grassroots effort that provides a central meeting place for individuals and groups concerned about loss of biodiversity, climate change, overpopulation and other issues.

In late summer, Aminah Hughes mentioned she was looking for artists to quote about the mental and emotional struggles during the pandemic for a piece she was writing for Around the Sound. Once that article was shared, Michele Guieu, MAHB arts community coordinator, asked if I’d be interested in writing something for their COVID-19 Diaries Series.

I considered this to be a great honor and was humbled and a bit intimidated to write anything for such a prestigious organization. Naturally, I accepted and started milling over what exactly to write. I find MAHB’s mission to align with my wish for the world to be more collaborative and connective.

Continue reading “Ray of Hope – Sunny State’s Chris Reed Tackles Pandemic Mental Health Struggles”

The Flight Team Hosts Toys for Tots Donation Drive, Livestream Show Saturday at Grove Studios

An Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti hip-hop group will brighten the holidays for Washtenaw County children in need.

The Flight Team will host the “Super Fly Toy Drive and Live Show” Saturday, Dec. 19 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Grove Studios, 884 Railroad St., Suite B in Ypsilanti.

The holiday-themed event will include a contactless drive-thru collection for Ypsilanti Toys for Tots donations and a virtual livestream telethon featuring performances from The Flight Team’s Dre Dav, King Micah The Infamous, Villin, Brad Spliff, DJ Nitro and other local artists.

“We know Christmas is especially hard on people this year due to the pandemic and the loss of employment so we want to help ease some of the stress and make kids smile along the way. Some of us have benefited from programs like this when were young so it’s nice to be able to give back,” said Neiko “DJ Nitro” Thomas-Cook of The Flight Team.

For Saturday’s event, community members can donate and drop off new, sealed toys at a curbside collection bin located outside Grove Studios, a 24/7 self-service recording and rehearsal space. All toys must be unwrapped and sanitized before they’re donated. No plush toys will be accepted this year.

“All the donations will be given to Toys for Tots the following day when we plan to volunteer and help them sort through the donations we provided. Toy donations will be accepted at five other locations through Saturday, and people are also invited to make monetary donations online,” Thomas-Cook said.

Once community members drop off Toys for Tots donations at Grove Studios, they will be able to catch The Flight Team’s livestream telethon via Facebook and Instagram. The fun event will allow the group to personally connect and engage with fans for the holidays.

“We’ll be playing Christmas tunes, trivia and silly-themed games for your entertainment and have some special surprise performances from local favorites. We want to prompt people to come back and give to a community that has given us so much,” Thomas-Cook said.

“Grove is becoming an important pillar in the artistic community here in Ypsilanti. It’s a hub for The Flight Team where we can practice and have group meetings in a professional environment. We wanted to partner with Grove for the simple fact that it’s an awesome environment to throw a show and perform.”

To support The Flight Team’s “Super Fly Toy Drive and Live Show,” donate a toy at one of the following locations below by Saturday. You can also make a monetary donation online through Sunday.

The Mike C Collection

226 W. Michigan Ave. Bldg. Ground Floor

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Suite 328 Recording Studio

239 S. Ford Blvd.

Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Leon Speakers

715 W. Ellsworth Road

Ann Arbor, MI 48108

The Workshop Recording Studio

317 Ecorse Road, Suite 12

Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Ypscity

2898 Washtenaw Ave. D

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Grove Studios

884 Railroad St., Suite B

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Giving Voice – Carolyn Striho Relives ‘Detroit (Maiden Energy)’ Words through New Audiobook

Carolyn Striho personally narrates her new audiobook for “Detroit (Maiden Energy).” Photo – Jacx Art

Carolyn Striho beautifully relives her poignant written words in a refreshing fashion.

The Detroit rock singer-songwriter personally narrates a new compelling audiobook version of Detroit (Maiden Energy), her 2019 intimate, eloquent collection of song lyrics and poetry.

Now available via Google Play, iTunes, Apple Books, Nook, Scribd and Audible, Striho’s latest release commemorates the one-year anniversary of Detroit (Maiden Energy)s print version from Aquarius Press/AUXmedia. It features Striho reciting 28 selections from her expansive 50-piece “street princess” collection in a compact 41-minute audiobook.

“I recorded them with me reading over two days in the summer at the home studio while Scott (Dailey) engineered. I sang a couple of lines on some of the songs. It was very different to hear myself reading the poems. It was not that different from a song, in some respect, when I sing in the studio,” Striho said.

“But I felt more self-conscious as they were ‘naked’ and not being talked to or sang with music behind them. As I love hearing and watching poets read, I know it could turn out really well. We had thought about doing music behind it with some guitar and piano, but it felt really organic and natural to just read.”

Continue reading “Giving Voice – Carolyn Striho Relives ‘Detroit (Maiden Energy)’ Words through New Audiobook”

Squished Down and Turned Up: How a Humble Process Has Changed How We Listen to Music

Compression is the process of reducing the dynamic difference between the loudest and the quietest parts of an audio sample. Photo by Mattieu A

By Nicole Bouwkamp

Have you ever listened to music for a while before suddenly feeling exhausted? Or having to turn your favorite song off because you just needed some silence? Have you driven a long way listening to the radio only to have your ears become sore and sounds muted? Ear fatigue, often felt as tiredness and a soreness, loss of sensitivity, discomfort of the ears, is caused by prolonged exposure to sound.

Thanks to the trends of music and listening environments today, ear fatigue can be experienced anywhere at any time. You just need to turn on the radio and listen for a while before you feel it or listen to music on headphones from a streaming service while in a crowd. Today’s music is part of the equation of experiencing ear fatigue. More specifically, a tool used to create music and broadcast it online and on the radio: compression.

Compression is the process of reducing the dynamic difference between the loudest and the quietest parts of an audio sample – the loud material gets quieter, and the quiet material gets louder. This is why a song may be described as punchy or having presence. The frequencies of the recorded sound are at naturally varying levels, and when compression brings up the softer frequencies and brings down the louder frequencies, the result is a more present and punchier sound (or as I like to say, a beefy sound).

Compression is often used when recording drums. Drums are the biggest producers of transient sounds, meaning that they are a loud sound with lots of attack, but decay in sound very quickly to where there is very little sound beyond that first attack. With compression, the attack is brought down in volume while the sound left after the attack is brought up. Frequencies that are naturally dynamically different are brought closer together, and you get a beefier recorded drum hit.

So, you hear everything better. That would be good with music, right?

The thing is, everything in music isn’t meant to be heard evenly all the time. One of the glories of music is the dynamic range and nuances within it, the little hidden gems of musical ideas that you discover after listening to a song multiple times, or the rise and fall of moments that can evoke emotions of triumph or despair. If there is a part of the music that grows from soft and intricate to loud and powerful, you need to actually (not) fully hear everything in relation to each other.

With compression, everything is louder, and we tend to lose the dynamic range of the music. The small nuances become more prominent and muddy the main melodies and harmonies, the rise and fall of dynamics becomes flatter, and “imperfect” playing is homogenized. This trend has been growing for nearly 30 years now, and no music is safe.

This isn’t to say that compression is bad by any means, it can actually be vital in the recording process to achieve a cleaner signal from a particularly temperamental drum, or to even out the sound from a singer who is not familiar with distancing the mic properly when they sing. Compression when cleaning the recorded sounds in the mixing process can be useful for achieving a better balanced song in the end, but I prefer to control the volume manually.

I will work harder to control the overall dynamics if it means I can keep the more natural dynamic sound of the instruments throughout. However, my ideas on how music should sound are my opinion, I will admit, and the opinion contrary to mine follows the idea of slapping compression on all the instruments for the entire song to get a more even dynamic range. This method has been steadily ruining how we listen to music for decades.

Continue reading “Squished Down and Turned Up: How a Humble Process Has Changed How We Listen to Music”

Strength in Numbers – Stephanie Belcher Launches New Online ‘Business Management for Musicians’ Course

Stephanie Belcher prepares for her new online course, “Business Management for Musicians.”

With an incredible knack for numbers, Stephanie Belcher is one of the music industry’s premier economic and financial educators.

She has an innate ability to interpret and define the complex world of financial management, economics, and tax accounting for emerging and established creatives.

Belcher became fluent in the language of financial management after spending nearly two decades working in artist management, booking, promotions, and marketing. She’s also served as an accomplished business manager, marketing and economics entrepreneur, and tax accountant for 10 years.

“After moving to Michigan and regularly attending concerts, I started to hear there were musicians who needed their taxes done,” said Belcher, who’s based in Livonia, Mich. “More and more people kept coming to me for advice, and I absolutely loved helping them.”

Now, she’s ready to share her music, financial management, and economic expertise with artists, musicians, and creatives through a new online course and mastermind group.

Through the online course, interested participants can subscribe to Belcher’s content, which includes videos, chat sessions, online workshops, and other tools for those wanting to sharpen their financial, economic, and business knowledge while working in the music industry.

“I’ve come to embrace my role as an educator for financial information to creative people, and I enjoy it because it allows me to combine emerging music, financial management, and economics while connecting with people,” she said.

Continue reading “Strength in Numbers – Stephanie Belcher Launches New Online ‘Business Management for Musicians’ Course”

Thank you, ann arbor’s 107one and John Bommarito

Local radio station, DJ inspire my decade-long musical journey

John Bommarito — Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Thirteen years ago, I flipped the radio dial to 107.1 (WQKL-FM) in my car and haven’t stopped listening to the Ann Arbor-based station that helped lay the initial foundation for my musical journey.

Listening to the station was a nice distraction while driving to and from my MBA classes at Eastern Michigan University. For a few minutes, I could forget about exams, papers and group projects that temporarily consumed my life and focus on hearing new music instead.

Known as “ann arbor’s 107one,” the station introduced me to Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol, Gomez, Spoon, Ray LaMontagne, Nickel Creek, The Alternate Routes, Colbie Caillat, My Morning Jacket, The Shins, Scars on 45 and others. I slowly built up my CD collection and my musical knowledge because of that station.

By 2008, I had finished grad school and started commuting to Jackson for work five days a week. That allowed me to listen to ann arbor’s 107one about two hours a day. Each day, I looked forward to hearing Martin Bandyke and John Bommarito share their thoughts about different artists between songs.

Continue reading “Thank you, ann arbor’s 107one and John Bommarito”

Staying POWER — New Events, Entertainment Agency Showcases Detroit Talent at Tonight’s Launch Party

SIAS will perform at tonight’s POWER Events | Entertainment launch party in Detroit.

Detroit-based entrepreneurs are ready to shine a spotlight on the Motor City arts and entertainment scene.

Donna Kassab and Kelly Adolph are celebrating the official launch of POWER Events | Entertainment, a new Detroit-based talent and event agency, tonight at CLUBHAUS Detroit, 6540 Antoine St., in the city’s New Center district.

Kassab and Adolph started POWER in October to showcase emerging music, modeling, acting and athletic talent in Detroit and introduce that talent to local entertainment professionals and businesses.

The two entrepreneurs met at another company in metro Detroit and have spent nearly two decades working in the entertainment industry.

“There really isn’t anyone doing this in the city of Detroit,” said Kassab, POWER co-owner. “We love Detroit, and we want to help people get started. We look for undiscovered talent and provide a platform so they can be on stage.”

That stage will be set for tonight’s free launch party and include a fashion show featuring models wearing designs by Detroit-based clothing store UnitedFront aand music by Detroit artists SIAS and DJ Kobra Kinney as well as New York City-based rock, soul and hip-hop infused band Quantum Split.

Continue reading “Staying POWER — New Events, Entertainment Agency Showcases Detroit Talent at Tonight’s Launch Party”

Meet and Greet @ Dream Big: 6/4/16

Meet and Greet @ Dream Big: 6/4/16

Sharing this blog post from “Dream Big, Dream Often” about networking with other bloggers.

Dream Big, Dream Often

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It’s the Meet and Greet weekend at Dream Big!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet n Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

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