Special Thanks: Producers Ben Mink and Michael Beinhorn

Special Thanks: Producers Ben Mink and Michael Beinhorn

Thanks to Ben Mink and Michael Beinhorn, brilliant producers who came to my class at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute to discuss their creative roles in the recording process. Michael told us how he had to send Soundgarden home to write more songs, pushing them to a career high with Superunkown. Ben played us traditional klezmer music, which influenced him early on, and drew a direct line to the chorus of kd lang’s hit, “Constant Craving,” which was then co-opted by the Rolling Stones in their song, “Anybody Seen My Baby?” It pained me to tell them we were out of time. Ben Mink http://www.benmink.com Ben Mink’s wide range of recording collaborations includes Feist, k.d. lang, Rush, Alison Krauss, Daniel Lanois, Roy Orbison, Elton John, Heart, the Klezmatics, Wynona Judd, Method Man, and many more. He has been nominated for nine Grammies, winning twice for his work with k.d. lang. In 2007, he was co-nominated for his work on Feist’s 1234, which gained global popularity in the rollout campaign for the iPod Nano. In 2011, the TV series Glee used Ben’s composition “Constant Craving,” performed by Chris Colfer, Idina Menzel and Naya Rivera. Mink has lectured on such topics as “The Music Business vs. the Creative Process,” at the University of British Columbia, Western Washington University and Simon Fraser University. He has also worked with students as an associate of UBC’s Department of Mechanical Engineering (robotics) and is an associate member of the Institute for Computing, Information & Cognitive Systems. Michael Beinhorn http://michaelbeinhorn.com/ Michael Beinhorn’s production has played a primary role in creating career-defining records for artists including Marilyn Manson,...
Managing Change Without Losing Your Mind

Managing Change Without Losing Your Mind

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” — Charles Darwin     I’m used to managing change, and if you’re reading this, I bet you are, too. My short story: My label debut was released in 1999, and my coming out party was a slot at Woodstock ’99, which, you may recall, went up in flames and took the legacy of a previous era with it. ‘99 was the summer of Napster, and the winter of Y2K…and it only got weirder from there. Luckily, improvisation has always been part of the job description. Today is no different, and though there are new challenges, there is also the same Darwinian need to adapt. As a songwriting professor who’s been in the trenches, I tell my students that my class – The Art and Business of Songwriting – is the most important one they’re taking. They laugh, but I remind them: The song is the spark for the chain reaction that ignites every subsequent section of the industry. The song gets the musicians paid, the studios booked, the promoters on the phone, the venues filled, the PROs collecting royalties, and straight on down the line. Songwriting is also the creation of intellectual property that can continue to generate income over time. I tell them that the people who say “touring is the answer” for musicians are likely people who a) have never toured themselves, and b) forget the fact that human bodies inevitably fail over time, whereas there are songwriters out there making a great living who aren’t even...
What the “Blurred Lines” Lawyer Taught All Artists

What the “Blurred Lines” Lawyer Taught All Artists

This is not about copyright infringement. It’s about how not to get effed by your own entertainment lawyer. I hope my artist friends will check it out, and I hope it helps. What the “Blurred Lines” Lawyer Taught All Artists For a minute, forget about the “Blurred Lines” verdict, the lyrics and whether or not you love Marvin Gaye. The New York Times just ran a profile on Richard S. Busch, the lawyer who won the $7.4 million case for the Gaye estate. In explaining how he did it, Busch says something I hope all artists caught: “By being on the outside,” he said, “everyone who hires me knows that they get 100 percent of my loyalty.” Why is that noteworthy? Because there’s an assumption that you can hire an entertainment attorney — that’s the guy on your side, remember — and not get 100 percent of his/her loyalty. It’s pretty hard to win a legal battle with a lawyer who might not be riding with you. You’d think loyalty was a given, but, as Busch casually explains it, that’s not the case. Read on at Cuepoint. What the “Blurred Lines” Lawyer Taught All...
“What Design Sounds Like” – A Design Observer Symposium

“What Design Sounds Like” – A Design Observer Symposium

I’ll be doing this on Saturday. Amazing lineup. I’m honored to have been included. My contribution is “Dancing About Architecture” – the interplay between sound, architecture, composition and meaning. I’ll be talking, playing, and spinning J.S. Bach, AC/DC and FKA Twigs. Despite that, I’m fairly sure it will make sense. The SVA Theatre is located at 333 W. 23rd street, between 8th and 9th avenues. Directions can be found at svatheatre.com tix: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-design-sounds-like-tickets… Tweets at ‪#‎WDSL‬ For more about Design Observer:...

Special Thanks: Stephen Trask, Bob Brockmann

Another amazing class at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute. These guys opened up about how they got their starts; how preparation made them ready for luck to happen; and how they have navigated the rapidly changing music environment. Funny, cutting and doggedly optimistic, they brought a semester’s worth of classwork to life. (L/R): Stephen Trask: Ex-music director of Squeezebox; composer of Hedwig and the Angry Inch which received eight 2014 Tony Award nominations, and won four. The movie version also received a Grammy nom, and he has gone on to score films including The Station Agent, Dreamgirls and Lovelace. http://stephentrask.com/ Bob Brockman: Producer, mixer, engineer based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn whose past clients include The Fugees, Notorious BIG, Craig Mack, Toni Braxton, Babyface, Cee-Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Brandy, Mary J Blige and many others. He has 30 Grammy noms and two wins....
Mike Errico: Vicious Circle, Rob Thomas, Guitar World and More

Mike Errico: Vicious Circle, Rob Thomas, Guitar World and More

Happy summer, folks. I’ve been working like a beast over here, some in front of the curtain, some behind it. But first: Available exclusively at Bandcamp: the rare electronic-inspired EP that delved into Big Beat, R&B and folk. Originally released in the late ’90s, “Springtime” was recently included in WNYC’s 2014 playlist, “Six Songs for Spring.” 1. Daylight 2. Sooner or Later 3. Springtime 4. On This Train 5. Someday BUY VICIOUS CIRCLE ON BANDCAMP That’s Professor Errico to you… My latest songwriting classes at NYU and Wesleyan University have been amazing, and I’ve been able to re-connect with old friends to talk about the thing we love: wine. I MEAN SONGWRITING…songwriting. Right. That. Special Thanks: Rob Thomas “Three things in music that will never go out of style: the song; the song; and the song.” Multiplatinum artist Rob Thomas took time out to come to NYU and talk to the students about how he approaches songwriting, collaboration and “the beast” that is the industry. Special Thanks: Pete Ganbarg The head of A&R for Atlantic Records came to Wesleyan to discuss his “populist’s ears,” his thinking behind successes with Santana, Daughtry, Train (to name a few), and his hunger for the next great song. Special Thanks: Ed Grauer and Peter Nashel Double Shot: Cash Money Records’ legal counsel and the force behind Duotone Audio Group let my Wesleyan class in on the business side of songwriting: publishing, copyright, sample clearance, mechanicals, synch…the critical stuff that turns passion into a living. Video Guitar Lessons for Guitar World Magazine In a recent issue of Guitar World, I explained my percussive acoustic...
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