Category Archives: Music Industry
Confessions of a Serial Songwriter
by Shelly Peiken
From the songwriter behind such hits as “What a Girl Wants” and “Bitch” comes a memoir that offers an insider’s perspective on the music business and the craft of songwriting.
Shelly Peiken, well known for writing culturally resonant, female-empowerment anthems such as Christina Aguilera’s No. 1 hit “What a Girl Wants” and Meredith Brooks’s smash hit, “Bitch,” looks back on her career and inside the business of songwriting in her memoir, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter.
A humorous and poignant pop culture memoir about Peiken’s journey, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter takes readers into the rarefied world of the music business. From a young girl falling under the spell of magical songs to a working professional writing hits of her own, Peiken describes how she built a career, from fledgling songwriter, pounding the streets of New York City to Grammy nominations, international hits, and the first Number One song of the millennium.
David Wild, contributing editor for Rolling Stone, calls Confessions of a Serial Songwriter “a great book [that offers] an insightful, honest, often funny, emotional look inside the good, the bad, the ugly, and ultimately the transcendent aspects of trying to lead a creative life inside a competitive career.”
In addition to the fascinating biographical trajectory, Peiken presents invaluable information for the aspiring songwriter, including tips about the creative process and how to adapt to the constantly changing currents. “Now more than ever, people who want to enter this topsy-turvy world of professional songwriting need to know how to handle the inevitable ups and downs that accompany what, for me, has a been an incredibly gratifying journey,” said Peiken.
In Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, Peiken writes about personal growth, how to recognize your muse and navigate the creative process as well as the struggles that arise between motherhood and career success. While she’s not afraid to delve into the divas, celebrity egos and schemers, it is the talented and remarkable people she’s found along the way that predominate the text. And, finally, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter raises the obvious though universal challenge of getting older and staying relevant in a rapidly changing and youth-driven world.
6.0″ x 9.0″
B/W photographs throughout
Hal Leonard Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
SHELLY PEINKEN is a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She has been a prolific, behind-the-scenes force in the music business for more than two decades. Her songs have sold in excess of 50 million records. She is beast known for penning culturally resonant anthems, including Christina Aguilera’s “What a Girl Wants, Meredith Brooks’s “Bitch,” and songs recorded by Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, the Pretenders, Keith Urban, Cher, the Backstreet Boys, and many others. She lives in Los Angeles.
The Art of Recording a Big Band is now available at Groove3! This inspiring and educational documentary, shot by Shevy Shovlin, is all about studio legend Al Schmitt. Watch the video trailer below for a look behind the documentary!
A highly anticipated documentary, The Art of Recording a Big Band is now available for streaming and download at Groove3.com. The Art of Recording a Big Band was filmed at the famed Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA, over the course of a two-day master class by industry legend Al Schmitt and partner, Steve Genewick recording Chris Walden’s GRAMMY® Awards-nominated 18-piece jazz big band.
The film focuses on the recording methods of Schmitt, one of the most celebrated recording engineers, producers and mixers of all time, winning 22 GRAMMY® Awards, the most recent for Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the Bottom” in 2012. Over the course of his career, Schmitt has recorded and mixed more than 150 gold and platinum albums. His credits include: Henry Mancini, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis, Jr., Natalie Cole, Thelonious Monk, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, and many more.
Shevy Shovlin, a well-known recording industry professional in his own right, makes his big screen directorial debut with this 90-minute educational documentary film. “This project is near and dear to my heart not only because I am a huge fan and good friend of Al’s, but because I was there to witness the magic that he brings to his recording sessions. Our hope is that the film will not only inspire and educate a new generation of the recording industry, but pay homage to a recording legend through the unique challenge of recording the exciting genre of Big Band.”
The educational and inspirational film includes interviews with Schmitt’s longtime recording partner Steve Genewick as well as Chris Walden, Dave Pensado, Ryan Hewitt, Kenny Wild, Paula Salvatore, and a cameo appearance by engineer and mixer Andrew Scheps. Longtime friend and collaborator, Quincy Jones provides a poignant opening statement about the importance of “the person who captures the sound”.
The film is now available for streaming (with the All Access Pass) and for download for $24.99 at Groove3.com
Sylvia Massy, author of Recording Unhinged: Creative and Unconventional Music Recording Techniques, is featured in a new video that is now available on Lynda.com. Click play on the video below to watch a preview and check out the full video in the link below!
Recording Unhinged: Creative and Unconventional Music Recording Techniques dares you to “unlearn” safe record-making, to get out from behind the windshield, stick your head out the sunroof, and put the pedal to the metal!
“There have been countless how-to books on sound recording, but this isn’t one of them. Sylvia Massy has a unique perspective on what makes musicians tick and how great recordings are created. This book is a brilliantly assembled insight into their world and is a cracking good read,” says Alan Parsons.
Recording Unhinged, Sylvia Massy and her cohort of celebrity music industry producers, engineers, and recording stars discard fixed notions about how music should be recorded. They explore techniques that fall outside the norm, yielding emotionally powerful, incredibly personal, gut-wrenching, and even scary recordings. With commentary by Hans Zimmer, Al Schmitt, Bruce Swedien, Jack Joseph Puig, Dave Pensado, Tchad Blake, Bob Clearmountain, Linda Perry, Michael Franti, Michael Beinhorn, Bob Ezrin, Geoff Emerick, and many others, this book includes the stories, tips, and advice that you won’t find in any other instructional manual.
“Working with Sylvia on Undertow was an absolute pleasure. Whether recording the destruction of a piano with sledgehammers and shotguns, or dialing in killer drum sounds with the greatest mic choices, her approach was always fresh, fun, and never preconceived. This book will assuredly inspire some wacky recording sessions!”, praises Danny Carey (drummer from TOOL).
Recording Unhinged is also unique in its inclusion of exercises, diagrams, jokes, photos, and other images all related to more adventurous recording techniques. Throughout the book (and on the cover) are many full-colored illustrations – created by a musical genius – Massy herself!
DJ Shortee continues to update and expand Shortee’s Complete DJ Method, an online video series in which she thoroughly introduces each piece of gear and DJ technique, explaining every feature, function, and skill. The most recent addition is an information-packed course in the Traktor Controller Series that covers the integration and workflow of the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ controller. Learn more about it in the video and information below!
The Complete DJ Gear Guide To A Traktor Controller: Kontrol S4
Now available on Groove3.com – for beginners, intermediate DJs, and seasoned veterans
As she does in her other video courses, DJ Shortee walks the viewer through each feature step by step, explaining how to use each function in detail. The lessons are taught in a clear and concise way that is easy for anyone to understand. The Kontrol S4 DJ Controller course works seamlessly in conjunction with her Traktor Software course, “The Complete Guide To Traktor Pro 2,” and is an essential part of building a solid foundation for DJs to take their skills to the next level.
DJ Shortee provides a complete breakdown of the Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ controller and all of its features, including Hotcues, Looping functions, Deck controls, Remix Decks, and Stem Decks.
Also included is an overview of Traktor’s software options and compatible DJ controllers, as well as the Traktor Pro 2 download, activation, and hardware registration. Shortee gives an overview of the Traktor Pro 2 software layout, an in-depth explanation of how to use the Kontrol S4 Deck controls such as the Jog Wheel and Deck Assign buttons (and how to customize them), and explains how to assign and control the Single FX and Multi FX modes.
This courses teaches how to master the Kontrol S4’s DJ mixer and all its essential functions and allows viewers to learn to customize the various EQs, Channel Filters, Tempo Fader, and Crossfader settings, as well as how to use the Kontrol S4 to control the Loop Recorder and then capture a loop on the fly in a Remix Deck.
An exclusive bonus lesson is included that shows the viewer how to switch between the two Kontrol S4 modes and convert the entire Kontrol S4 into an alternate MIDI device using the controller manager software. The Complete DJ Gear Guide To A Traktor Controller: Kontrol S4 is designed to help DJs of all skill levels master the techniques quickly and easily and improve their production skills.
Now available at Groove3.com: https://www.groove3.com/DJ-training-video-tutorials/The-Complete-DJ-Gear-Guide-To-A-Traktor-Controller-Kontrol-S4
Total running time: 149 mins & 19 secs (2:29:19)
$15.00 for purchase or available with Groove3’s All Access Pass for $15/month
About DJ Shortee
With over twenty years of professional experience as a multi-genre DJ, turntablist, music producer, author, and DJ instructor, DJ Shortee brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the classroom. She has taught for the Grammy Foundation, Dubspot, Scratch DJ Academy, Serato, Rane, Turntable U, SAE Institute, and more. Her name has become synonymous with the world of DJ instructional products, and she is respected worldwide for her talent as both an accomplished performer and a gifted teacher. More about DJ Shortee at http://www.djshortee.com.
About Hal Leonard & Groove3
Hal Leonard Books, a division of Hal Leonard Corporation, the leading publisher of books and digital content on the music business, audio technology, and instrument history, and Groove3, the audio community’s online resource for top-notch training videos, have announced a long-term strategic partnership to develop and deliver authoritative content to the world. Over the coming months and years, Hal Leonard will bring an unprecedented assortment of globally influential recording, audio, and music experts from a variety of fields to the Groove3 platform.
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, long the reader’s first choice for books on music, film, theater, television, and popular culture, is proud to announce the launch of backwing, a new digital community for creatives and fans.
Backwing will provide visitors with a vast array of information curated by and for aspiring and established actors, artists, authors, gurus, musicians, songwriters, producers, luminaries, entertainers, and, most broadly, fans. Every article on the site also serves as an open forum for those interested in a sustained discussion of any given topic.
“For nearly seven decades, Hal Leonard has provided consumers with the highest quality information available,” said Group Publisher John Cerullo. “We know who our readers are and what knowledge they crave. Backwing offers us a dynamic new means of reaching them, responding to their feedback, and cultivating conversations around our content in real time.”
Backwing is comprised of three main components. The first two—exclusive content pertaining to or drawn from HLPAPG products and a resource database populated with all manner of performing arts-related materials—will feature, in tandem with a vivacious comment section, multimedia created by and for HLPAPG authors and the publisher’s myriad industry associates.
“Since we reside at an intersection frequented by all manner of clientele, from nonprofits, educational organizations, and professional coalitions to gear, equipment, software, and instrument manufacturers, our contacts quite literally run the gamut of the performing arts world,” Cerullo explained. “We now aim to bring these brands together at backwing for the exclusive benefit of visitors to the site.
The third component, a direct-to-consumer sales portal featuring daily deals, giveaways, contests, and a slew of weekly/monthly special offers (many of which are also available to third-party vendors), can be found at backwingstore.com—an entirely separate domain.
Why two distinct websites? For the sake of every visitor’s experience, according to Cerullo: “Since backwing was designed with the end user foremost in mind, we’ve decided against tangling content and commerce. As such, multimedia content and resources are hosted at the deliberately noncommercial domain backwing.com while consumer products and services are restricted to the backwing Store.”
Thus, while backwing.com visitors may elect to peruse the site unencumbered by crass commercialism, backwingstore.com is always available to those who wish to explore HLPAPG’s catalog of more than 2,000 titles, take advantage of promotions featuring new releases and backlist titles, and enter contests to win fantastic prizes.
To get backwing off to a rousing start, HLPAPG is giving away great prizes for devotees of the performing arts, including an Epiphone guitar for music fans; a Rodgers + Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music package along with gift certificates to digitaltheatre.com for theater lovers; subscriptions to online streaming services for film and television buffs; and Met Opera on Demand Gift Subscriptions for classical music and opera enthusiasts.
HLPAPG encourages all performing arts enthusiasts, regardless of their skill level, industry status, or background, to join the creative conversation at its new digital hub. Welcome to backwing!
Norman Harris, author of Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer, was on The Bloomberg Advantage on Bloomberg Radio. He spoke with hosts Carol Massar and Cory Johnson about the book, and gave a short story you won’t find inside the book! Click on the link below to hear the entire interview.
In Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer, Norman Harris tells how he became the world’s leading seller of vintage guitars. As founder and owner of the legendary store Norman’s Rare Guitars, he has sold some of the finest fretted string instruments to the biggest stars in the world, including George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and many others.
In 1970 Harris moved to Los Angeles in hopes of hitting the big time in music. His first plan was performing, but plan B was buying and selling guitars, and he had no idea how much opportunity for this there would be. Many groups came to LA also hoping to hit it big, but those who didn’t might have to sell their instruments. This helped make early-1970s Los Angeles a haven for beautiful vintage guitars. At the same time, Hollywood was beginning to realize the value of time-correct instruments in film, and the recording industry recognized the high-quality sound vintage instruments produced. The value of these instruments has grown dramatically since the ’70s, and the vintage guitar market has become an international phenomenon – with Norman Harris at the center of it all.
Filled with fascinating stories and insights into the entertainment business, Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer is an intriguing memoir from a man who has spent a lifetime getting extraordinary instruments into the hands of extraordinary artists.
Sylvia Massy, author of Recording Unhinged, was recently interviewed by Mike Levine a contributor of AudioFanzine. AudioFanzine is an online magazine that caters to musicians as well as sound engineers, home-studio recording enthusiasts, and audio and lighting engineers. They spoke about her book and some of the unconventional techniques it offers up. Read an excerpt of the interview below!
The book is really impressive. Not only did you write it but you also illustrated it, including the very colorful cover. Why did you decide to do the book in the first place?
The book came out of just having all these weird things that I would do that other people wouldn’t do, and I noticed that when I went into sessions, I was building interesting things, so I thought I’d share that. And then talking to different engineers that I’m associated with at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and at trade shows, I realized that they also had some interesting techniques that nobody had really documented. And there were about 35 different people that I interviewed, and I collected their stories and some of their techniques. And then I illustrated some of their techniques, because I’m better at drawing it out than trying to explain it. It’s much easier for me. And that turned into doing much larger illustrations and caricatures of these people that I was interviewing. So I just went on with it. And with the help of Chris, my manager, and the co-writer of the book, we created all of these different panels. The Producer Pods and Engineering Marvels and the people in the industry that are heroes.
The book is kind of modular. Little short pieces all organized by type of instrument to record or type of recording technique.
It’s like tapas. You’re going to take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and put it on a plate and enjoy it.
It makes it really easy to read because you can just jump into any chapter, grab a few things, go somewhere else, etc.
And that’s what I was hoping, that it would become a coffee-table type book, where you could open up one page and get inspired. Especially if it was just on the corner of your console or on top of a speaker. Then you just open a page and it should help unstick you.
The book offers lots of unique ways to get results in the studio. For example, I love the part about distracting singers.
It’s something that I’m really good at. I worked on my techniques over the years on how to get a great performance, and a lot of it has to do with distracting the musician or the singer so that they stop thinking about themselves. You can be really goofy in the studio. You can adjust the temperature to get an effect. If you want the singer to be angry, because you have an aggressive part, then you make it uncomfortable for them. Or, I read something about John Lennon hanging upside down once, and I thought I’d try that. It was a disaster, actually, I wouldn’t do it again. The poor guy almost had an aneurysm. That was actually Serj Tankian, the singer from System of a Down.
You had more success with Serj when you set up a tent in the studio for him to use as a vocal booth.
That worked out, really well. If you’re in a studio where you don’t have an isolation booth, and there’s too much reflection from the walls coming back into your vocal mic, a tent works great.
So the tent was there for sonic reasons, but it also gave him give him his own space to be in while singing?
The initial reason was to calm down the reflections. But it turned into his special place, and was even better.
Was it a canvas tent?
It was just a regular camping tent. It was tall enough that you could stand up in it and you could stand up a mic in it. And also, it didn’t require stakes, because we were in someone’s house — Rick Rubin’s basement, actually.
Read the article in its entirety here!
Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, was a guest contributor on Huffington Post Arts & Culture. She gave us all a look inside her newly released book with an excerpt titled “Suddenly”. Take a look down below and get your copy today!
SOMETIMES I HEAR Simon and Garfunkel singing, “Slow down you move too fast.” They’re in a little bubble following me around as I scurry about my day. They’re in my underwear drawer as I hurry to get dressed. They’re in my coffee cup as I grab it to go. Those two heavenly voices; they sing extra loud when I’m multitasking. And I usually am.
See, I get caught up with work. I don’t turn things down. I take a meeting and listen to lip service from the A&R exec who says he thinks my song is perfect, but I know he will ultimately use the one from a writer of whom he gets a piece. I get angry with myself when someone’s album is finished and I didn’t try hard enough to get a song on it. I go to a writing camp to try to raise my batting average, even though there’s a decent chance the artist we are rallying around may be dropped. I often have a choice to make: write yet another song or go to lunch with the girls. I usually write another song.
Recently, things changed. I had had a tiny bump on my breast for years. It was barely noticeable and I had been assured it was nothing and would never turn into something. I’d been so busy, that I barely noticed it was getting bigger. So I went to my doctor. The second he touched it he said, “I don’t like this”…and that’s when things suddenly started to seem surreal. I thought about how my life might slip away from me in the next few months. I’d have to put everything on hold at least until I could find out just how much life I had left. He didn’t waste any time. He made some appointments for later on in the day. It was a Friday. He didn’t want to “have to wait out the weekend” to see what “we were up against.” I liked how he said “we” even though it was actually just me!
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