Beyonce’s “Formation” and the Rise of the Superchorus

Beyonce’s “Formation” and the Rise of the Superchorus

Check out my conversation with Fast Company about “Formation,” songwriting, and the rise of “The Superchorus.” Excerpt, plus lyric and structure breakdown, which got kind of complicated…: “It feels new because you get a little bit lost in the form—you’re not being catered to,” says Mike Errico, a singer-songwriter and adjunct instructor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. “[Producer/songwriter] Max Martin is very much a caterer—he’s a good escort and he’s a reliable narrator, musically. But this is actually pushing it. You don’t have control of the plane. That’s something that’s exciting about this.” What’s happening in “Formation” is what Errico describes as not necessarily a break from the traditional verse-chorus form, but an evolution of it. “I do suspect that the way present-day songs are conceived does impact the ways writers chose to innovate,” Errico says. “For instance, if you are writing a melody over a groove that is static, looped, and extended out—a process referred to as ‘toplining’—a creative mind will accept the track as an unmovable parameter and generate interest by changing up the melodies and hooks. At the end of a topline session, the writing team may have several sections they love, but instead of tossing them out in order to preserve preconceived notions of song form, they will line them up and make multiple hook-laden sections out of each.” VERSE 1 Y’all haters corny with that Illuminati mess Paparazzi, catch my fly and my cocky fresh I’m so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress I’m so possessive so I rock his Roc necklaces PRE-CHORUS My daddy Alabama, my ma Louisiana...
New Music for Design Observer’s Kickstarter Campaign

New Music for Design Observer’s Kickstarter Campaign

Book writers, readers, adorers, check it out, consider a contribution: Design Observer​ has launched a Kickstarter to fund an exhibition and catalog of the winners of this year’s 50 Books I 50 Covers design competition. [I’m honored to have contributed music to the campaign.] “Established in 1923 by the American Institute of Graphic Arts as “Fifty Books,” the 50 Books | 50 Covers competition is now the longest continually running design competition in the United States. Since 2011, Design Observer has hosted it. And in 2015, for the first time, we are publishing a book and mounting an exhibition to commemorate the competition winners of 2014, narrowed down from a field of 500 entries from fourteen countries. Dave Eggers, a previous 50 Books | 50 Covers recipient, will introduce this “book of books.” Photographer George Baier, who has photographed countless authors and book jacket projects himself, has thoughtfully taken pictures of every book and cover winner. Mohawk has generously donated the finest paper. And with Blurb, we will be printing our book, locally, here in the United States. We have judged the competition (SEE THE WINNERS HERE), photographed all the books, designed our catalog, printed test pages, and have begun to design the exhibit in New Orleans. More info:...

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 Holiday Show: Dec. 19th, Joe’s Pub

Mike Errico Holiday Show: Dec. 19th, Joe’s Pub

TIX ON SALE NOW: http://joespub.publictheater.org/en/Tickets/Calendar/PlayDetailsCollection/Joes-Pub/2014/M/Mike-Errico-Holiday-Show/?SiteTheme=JoesPub Related show Artist: Mike Errico Date: 12/19/14 Time: 7:00pm Venue: Joe’s Pub City: New York , NY Address: 425 Lafayette Street Venue phone: 212.967.7555 Country: United States Admission: $20 Box office: 212.967.7555 Notes: The Mike Errico Holiday Show is a highlight in a year that has been filled with them. While maintaining a career as a recording artist and producer for TV and film, he has been teaching at Yale University and NYU’s Clive Davis School of Recorded Music, where his guests have included Amanda Palmer, Benny Blanco, Jonathan Coulton, Ryan Miller, and others. In keeping with a long-standing Holiday Show tradition, Mike will distribute gifts, known as “Holiday Omens.” (For a full explanation, click here: http://www.errico.com/dear-mike-what-are-holiday-omens/) Recipients will be invited to interpret the Omen’s personal significance in the coming year. Hilarious, poignant or cautionary, they have proven to be alarmingly accurate. Add to Google Calendar | Download...
My Top Tracks (Source: Soundexchange)

My Top Tracks (Source: Soundexchange)

Soundexchange reports arrived, and while you’re bullish on vein-opening despair (“Run”), you’re digging the new stuff even more (“Waving Goodbye”), which made me high-five myself. Special thank you for unearthing one of my personal favorites, “Better Here,” a deep cut that took a long time and a lot of patience to bring to...
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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