Canadian Radio Star Competition

Canadian Radio Star, the 18th annual national songwriting competition, is now accepting entries and online submissions from aspiring and proficient songwriters – published or unpublished – across the country.  Sponsored by Astral Radio, and presented in association with Canadian Music Week, the contest offers emerging artists the opportunity to submit their songs for the chance to win thousands worth in music equipment, services and more – including $10,000 in cash.

“Songwriters are at the core of our rich musical heritage,” says Rob Braide, Astral Radio. “Their songs define our lives and our landscape.  Through initiatives like Canadian Radio Star, we have the opportunity to discover, empower and promote the stars of tomorrow, while contributing to Canada’s vastly thriving music scene.”

New to the Canadian Radio Star competition this year, songwriters can submit their songs directly online at www.radiostar.ca to the participating radio station in their area.  Entries are open now until 5pm EST on December 13, 2010 – the contest’s close. 

Complete details and contest rules can be found online at www.radiostar.ca.

Songs will be judged by Canadian radio programmers, music publishers, recording industry executives, and successful songwriters.  Regional winners will be declared by the participating radio station in each market, with a combined public and industry vote determining the Grand Prize winner. 

The 2011 Canadian Radio Star will be announced on Saturday, March 12, 2011, during Canadian Music Week (March 9-13, 2011).

“In many ways, this competition offers a launch pad for the careers’ of aspiring Canadian songwriters,” says Neill Dixon, President of Canadian Music Week. “It opens doors to new possibilities, provides unrivaled exposure, and puts the songwriters’ songs directly in front of a commonly unreachable audience.  Astral Radio’s dedication to this project is commendable and underscores our mission to develop Canadian talent.”

Tunited – Social Network for Songsmiths?

Caught this interview of Midge Ure on the Daily Record’s website that deals with his establishment of an online social network for songwriters, music creators…

The site is called… you guessed it… Tunited… (Tunes+United I presume)…  Here’s some of the interview:

A teenage Midge Ure sat – guitar in hand – in his bedroom at his family home in Cambuslang and decided the time had come to write his first pop song.

As he nervously strummed the chords of new composition The Bowie Trilogy, a tribute to his music idol David, he thought, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life’. His ambition far outweighed his early ability.

More than 40 years on Midge, 57, laughed: “The song was rubbish. Trouble was, I only had one part. I never got round to writing the other two sections of the track so it didn’t turn out to be much of a trilogy.

“I was so passionate about music. I firmly believed I’d be walking home from school and The Beatles would be waiting at my door saying. ‘We’ve sacked John, you’re the guy we really want’. I lived in total fantasy land. That was my reality but it was exciting to me.”

Midge has been looking back at the origins of his incredible 35-year pop career to coincide with the launch of Tunited, a new online social music network he’s developed to help aspiring artists get their first step on the ladder to rock stardom and introduce fans to new music.

Midge spent four years building Tunited from scratch. Its aim is to encourage people to make music and get paid for it – an alien concept in an age of online piracy and free downloading.

Midge said: “Tunited is a DIY onestop shop for aspiring musicians. I’ve compresssed all the elements you need to make a living as an artist into this site.

“I’ve opened the door to everybody who wants to have a crack at making music or listen to new music.  The cost implications of going into a studio and making a record just aren’t there any more. We give you software good enough to make an album in your bedroom and a business pack showing you how to sell it.

“You can press up 1000 singles or just 25 copies to give to your mates. We also arrange gig swaps where a band in Newcastle can invite a band in Glasgow to support them and vice versa.

“You also get 100 per cent profits from songs which are downloaded. The artists all get paid – it might not be an awful lot but on other sites you don’t see a penny for your music. The quality of the work by new acts on Tunited has blown me away.”

He said: “Today, if The Beatles were a new band and knocked on the door of a major record company or radio station with the Sergeant Pepper album the response would be, ‘Thanks but no thanks’. They wouldn’t fit the bill of what the industry deems hip and trendy.

“It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if 100,000 people turn up for an X Factor audition and only two are chosen that’s an awful lot of other people who’d like to have a crack at making music.

“It all comes down to whether you fit the demographic. If you don’t look right – if you’re too old, too thin or too fat, whatever – you’re going to be excluded, not given the opportunity to show what you can do.

“Tunited is saying, if you’ve got a skill – whether it’s singing, songwriting or as a musician – barter that skill. There is talent out there and we’ll give it a platform.

“Tunited is saying it’s time we did the job ourselves. If you’ve got the desire to do it have a crack at it, the tools are there.”

Wow!  Very interesting concept… Best of luck Midge and may the Muse be with all Tunited users…  Look for me there…

Going Platinum on Bravo!

Jewel and Kara DioGuardi to Star in 'Going Platinum' | The Daily Dish

Former American Idol judge and music publisher/songwriter Kara DioGuardi and singer-songwriter Jewel will co-host a new show on Bravo titled Going Platinum.  The ten-episode reality competition is currently in production and is slated to premiere in 2011.

The program will focus on singer-songwriters as they write their own songs. It will feature 12 musicians competing in songwriting challenges – from dance tracks to love ballads. The winner will receive a $100,000 cash prize, a publishing deal and a recording deal with RCA/Jive. 

Said Jewel, “I am excited to be a part of this show because as a songwriter, I understand the dedication and struggle these musicians are going through.” She added, “This series will showcase the passion, talent and determination it requires to become a hit songwriter, and in the end we will find the next big music star.”

“Hit songs are the backbone of the music industry, and as a publisher, nothing excites me more than finding new songwriting talent,” DioGuardi said in a statement released by Bravo. “I am happy to be a part of a show that helps up and coming songwriters pursue their dreams, while giving the public a look into the creative process.”

Elvis Costello – National Ransom

Elvis Costello - National Ransom (2010, CD) | Discogs

Elvis Costello has a new CD out today – National Ransom.  The almost-Canuck discussed his songwriting in a QMI interview in our local freebie 24 hours newspaper in Toronto today, with a little snippet as follows:

Q: You’ve remained very prolific at an age when many songwriters lose touch with the muse. What’s your secret?

A: I suppose people would give you different views of whether I was connected with it or not, depending on how much they like my last recording – or my last 12 recordings. (Laughs)  I love people telling me how great my early records were, when they were mostly roundly ignored.  But I never really have done anything out of routine.  And I sort of feel I can do it with much more freedom because I have access to a lot of different music and different techniques.

Yes, the Muse remains with Elvis… and may the Muse be with you…

Brian Wilson as Songwriter – Upcoming Documentary

Brian Wilson - Songwriter 1962-1969

On November 23, 2010, Songwriter 1962 – 1969: Exploring Brian’s Music in a Decade of Dreams will be released online.  The film is a 3-hour 2-DVD collection that examines Wilson’s time writing and recording with the Beach Boys in the 1960s. It also includes many rare and classic live performances, studio footage and archival interviews and photos, as well as discussions with fellow Beach Boys, studio technicians and a variety of other people close to Wilson at the time.

From the distributor’s website

Brian Wilson Songwriter 1962 – 1969 is a documentary film in which the rich tapestry of music written and produced by this brilliant 20th century composer is investigated and reviewed. With the main feature running at over three hours in length across two discs, the songs Brian wrote for and recorded with The Beach Boys during the 1960s are here re-assessed to quite startling effect. FEATURES INCLUDE – •Historical musical performances and rare and classic recordings re-assessed by a panel of esteemed experts •Obscure footage, rare archive interviews and seldom seen photographs •Exclusive contributions from fellow Beach Boys, Bruce Johnston and David Marks; Wrecking Crew musicians Carol Kaye and Hal Blaine; friend and Beach Boys manager Fred Vail; producers Russ Titelman and Bill Halverson; Wilson family friends Billy Hinsche and Danny Hutton, biographers Peter Ames Carlin and Domenic Priore and many others •Live and studio recordings of many Brian Wilson classics

May the Muse be with you Brian… check out the video clip below…

John Lennon Songwriting Exhibit opens at Grammy Museum

On October 9, 2010, on what would have been his 70th birthday, visitors to the Grammy Museum were also able to view the new John Lennon exhibit called ‘Songwriter‘ which opened on October 4.

The Exhibit features many items donated by Yoko Ono Lennon. Yoko comments in the Exhibit about Lennon’s songwriting stating that: “in his songs, he was really real, he believed in truth.” Ono continues that ideas for songs would come to Lennon at unexpected times and he would be writing down lyrics while they were on airplanes.

The exhibit occupies part of the 4th floor of the museum and showcases many original handwritten lyrics for songs like “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and “Working Class Hero”. Items on display range from Lennon’s Beatles days like his Sgt. Pepper jacket from 1967 to a harmonica and a collarless suit from 1963 that John can be seen wearing on the 45 picture sleeve of “I Saw Her Standing There.”

At the end of the exhibit is a special white room, in true John and Yoko style, showcasing a large video screen with John performing ‘Imagine’ and other songs. There is also an interactive wall inviting people to add their thoughts to the phrase “Imagine a world…”

Click on the link for more information on the Grammy Museum, and may the Muse be with you… Ci vedimes…

GRAMMY Museum John Lennon exhibit – PÄS | project art school

Lennon Letter to Folk Singer

John Lennon wrote a letter to calm a folk singer who once complained that success and wealth could ruin his songwriting, the musician has revealed.

Steve Tilston was just 21 in 1971 when the star read the interview he had done with now defunct ZigZag magazine.

In the hand-written letter, now revealed for the first time, Lennon told the young musician not to worry about becoming wealthy because it would not change what he felt inside.

Here are the words of wisdom in his own handwriting:

lennonltr

The Muse stay with you John… 70th anniversary of his birth in just one month from today…

Tom Waits – Nominee for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2011

From the info page at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee page for Tom Waits:

Only one songwriter could be covered by the Ramones (“I Don’t Want to Grow Up”) and the Eagles  (“Old 55”).  Beginning with his first album in 1973, Tom Waits has carved out a unique place in rock & roll.  His music mixes Chicago blues, parlour ballads, beat poetry, pulp fiction parlance and – when you least expected it – heart-breaking tenderness.  His enormously influential live shows combine elements of German cabaret, vaudeville and roadhouse rock.  After establishing a successful early style as a wry singer-songwriter, Waits went through a dramatic expansion with Swordfishtrombones  (1983). Disregarding musical borders and commercial considerations, he set off in wild pursuit of the Muse.  Waits has composed film scores, musical theatre and an operetta. He has co-written with Keith Richards and William Burroughs.  His songs have been covered by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Solomon Burke, Marianne Faithful, the Neville Brothers, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss and the Blind Boys of Alabama. He has recorded with the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, the Replacements and Roy Orbison.   A tribute to his great influence is how many of his songs have been recorded by artists who usually write their own – including Bruce Springsteen (“Jersey Girl”), Tim Buckley (“Martha”), Johnny Cash (“Down By the Train”), Bob Seger (“16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six”), T-Bone Burnett (“Time”), Tori Amos (“Time”), Steve Earle (“Way Down In The Hole”), Elvis Costello (“Innocent When You Dream”) and Rod Stewart (“Downtown Train”). 

The Muse has been with Tom for a long time now… He is certainly deserving of this honour and if he doesn’t get in, something’s very wrong with the world…

What A Tale My Thoughts Could Tell

Press Release:

On Thursday, October 21, 2010, two of Canada’s most celebrated songwriters, Ian Tyson and Jim Cuddy, will be live in performance and in conversation for the second episode of the innovative new master series, “If You Could Read My Mind” created by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Through conversation and music “If You Could Read My Mind” contemplates the continuation of the Lightfoot lyric, “what a tale my thoughts could tell” and digs deep to unearth why Canada is such a hot bed for songwriting talent. The series got off to a phenomenal start this past February with its inaugural sold-out show, featuring the Canadian legends Gordon Lightfoot and Gord Downie.

Hosted by CBC Radio’s Laurie Brown, the October 21st event will also feature emerging Canadian artist Wayne Petti from Cuff The Duke, who will bring his unique blend of alt-country singing-songwriting to the stage for a special performance.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see Jim Cuddy and Ian Tyson in an intimate setting at the world class, acoustically spectacular George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Contact TicketMaster today!

If You Could Read My Mind” featuring Ian Tyson & Jim Cuddy
Thursday, October 21, 2010 – Showtime 8:00 p.m.
The George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre of the Arts, 5040 Yonge Street
Tickets: $30, $40, $50 – On Sale Now
Available on TicketMaster.com or by calling 416-872-1111.
www.cansong.ca

ECHO Songwriting Prize

Vote now for SOCAN’s fifth annual ECHO Songwriting Prize

ECHO Logo - English

SOCAN has launched the fifth annual ECHO Songwriting Prize, designed to identify what’s next and what’s best in current Canadian independent music. This prize will honour some of the most innovative and artistic songs created in the past year by emerging songwriters in Canada. The writer(s) of the winning song will receive a $5,000 CDN cash prize.

The five nominated Canadian songs, as selected through a rigorous process by an independent panel of 10 music community tastemakers, are:

 “Albatross” written by Olga Goreas, Kevin Laing, Jace Lasek and Richard White, performed by The Besnard Lakes
 “Celestica” written by Ethan Kath and Alice Glass, performed by Crystal Castles
 “Destroyer” written by Catherine McCandless and Stephen Ramsay, performed by Young Galaxy
 “Hearts Trompet” written by Edo Van Breeman, Bryan Davies, Richard Saul and John Walsh, performed by Brasstronaut
 “Odessa” written by Dan Snaith, performed by Caribou

SOCAN invites you to listen and vote for your favourite song, up until the deadline of September 30, 2010. One lucky voter will win an Epiphone Ultra II Les Paul electric guitar.

May the Muse be with you…