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The Muse's News

Issue 5.6 - September 2002
ISSN 1480-6975

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This issue sponsored by:
Lyricist - A Songwriter's Best Friend


I n   T h i s   I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Copyright & Publishing Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem
    Copyright Management
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart, Ashley Petkovski, Stacey Board
                    & David Lockeretz
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by James Linderman
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought
    to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
@-- Featured Article - BE IT, FEEL IT, LOVE IT, LIVE IT
                       by Diana Yampolsky
@-- Columnists In Spotlight - Meet Our Music Reviewers!
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
    viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975.  Copyright 1998 - 2002, Jodi Krangle.  For more 
contact information, see end of issue. ================================================================= Visit for great Muse's Muse products like mugs, mousepads, shirts, and even wall clocks! Start your own store too - with no up front costs! See ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LYRICIST! VERSION 2.2 HAS ARRIVED-INCLUDES ON-LINE COPYRIGHT LINK Virtual Studio Systems, Inc. is proud to announce Lyricist V2.2 - The Songwriter's Best Friend: the first-of-its-kind word processor designed for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, album categorization, chord charting, chord generator, song arrangement, On-Line Copyright Link, and much much more - all in a user-friendly package. Check out the review at Muse's Muse visitors can take home the product for $5.00 off the regular selling price just for purchasing through the form provided off of the review! For more information, visit the review url above or call us at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. and Canada or 603.726-4499 outside the U.S.A. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hi everyone. I've decided to send the newsletter a couple of days early due to the upcoming long weekend in the US and Canada. Lots of folks are going away for a little while and I want to catch you before you leave! :) This Musing is going to be a bit long, so please bear with me. As per usual, there's lots happening around the site. Singer/songwriter, Henri Ferguson has a new column to talk about the DIY process and there are two articles online now in his section ( I hope you'll have a look and take the time to welcome him on board! I think you'll find his writing very helpful to you. And since he's a Canadian currently living in Hong Kong, I'm sure a lot of his advice will help you no matter *where* you happen to live. Jon Nicol has also joined us to talk about writing songs for worship. I know there are a lot of you out there who write and perform in this genre. I feel confident Jon's articles will be enlightening. :) Drop by to view the first one and you can also speak with him on the Muse's Muse message boards ( in his very own forum. For a list of all the current columnists, have a look at . There's a lot of great stuff to choose from! Nancy Reece will have a new book on copyright and publishing coming out shortly. Her new page is online at Feel free to send her questions. There are also many new articles contributed by the regular columnists. I hope you'll take a look when you get a chance: . In other news, there's a Just Plain Folks showcase happening in Toronto at Clinton's Tavern (693 Bloor Street West (Just East of Christie)) on September 30th. This venue can accomodate bands and soloists. We will meet for networking at 7pm and the music will start at 8pm. If you're interested in participating, please drop by to register, and then email me at to let me know you would like to perform. Please let me know if you're a soloist or a band and if you have any special time considerations. Both the Songwriting Association of Canada ( and The Muse's Muse are co-sponsoring the event so I definitely intend to be there. :) I hope to see some of you - even if you're not there to perform! Please do introduce yourself. Remember also that Brian will be collecting CDs for the Just Plain Folks Radio Free Virgin Channel (Irene reviews it later on in this newsletter) and I'll be collecting CDs for possible airplay on Radio Muse ( so if you're interested in passing on CDs to us, please do. (I actually devoted an entire Radio Muse show to some of the talented performers that were at least year's showcase. If I receive enough CDs, I'll do that again this year.) Incidentally, there are Just Plain Folks showcases happening all over, so if you're not in the Toronto area, don't despair. There's probably a showcase happening near you! The raffle winners for this month are Jim Deaton from Hyattsville, MD, who has won a copy of Jerry Vandiver's and Gracie Hollombe's, "Your First Cut" (they have generously allowed a second copy to be raffled. You can read the review from last month at - and they're also offering a 15% discount to Muse's News readers!)- and James Poelker from Augusta, MO, who has won a copy of VSS's helpful songwriting organization product (for a review of Lyricist & information on a discount offered, see ). This month's book review is about Carla Ulbrich's wonderful book, Theory for Young Musicians ( I do have a copy of the book to raffle off to a lucky subscriber, but since this is a fairly specific topic, I'd like to make sure the book goes to a good home. ;) If you are interested in receiving a free copy of this book (for your child? Your students? Yourself?), please write to me at with the reason(s) why you feel you should receive it. Though I know it'll be hard, I'll choose one winner and will then let everyone know who won in next month's newsletter. And without further ado, on to the issue! All the best, --Jodi Back to Menu ================================================================= S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DO YOU HAVE A PRODUCT OR SERVICE FOR SONGWRITERS OR MUSICIANS? Your message could be right here! See for how - and for other sponsorship opportunities on the website and in this newseltter. ================================================================= C o p y r i g h t & P u b l i s h i n g Q & A : With Licensing executive Nancy A. Reece ----------------------------------------------------------------- Nancy is hard at work getting her book ready, so there's no Q&A this month. However, to view more information on that upcoming book and to ask her a question, see her new "Real Answers to Real Questions" columnist section at . ***** ABOUT NANCY A. REECE: Carpe Diem Copyright Management's owner and president, Nancy A. Reece has been involved in the music business since 1983. She was the president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal artist manager for nine years. She represented the careers of several recording artists and songwriters including those with EMI, Zomba and Liberty Records as well as Benson, Starsong, WoodBridge, Temple Hall and N'Soul Records. She also represented, for a number of years, a Grammy and Dove nominated record producer. Reece has won awards of excellence in print magazine advertising and has been named as one of 2,000 Notable American Women (1995) as well as being listed in the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women (1993). She was also named Cashbox Magazine's Promoter of the Year (1989). In addition to her work at Carpe Diem Copyright Management, Reece works at a performing rights organization in the United States and is an accomplished contemporary artist working in abstract and multimedia on canvas and wood. **If you would like to ask Nancy a question, you can send your e-mail to Nancy at . She can't guarantee she'll get to all of the questions, but she'll certainly try.** Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c R e v i e w s : by Ben Ohmart, David Lockeretz, Stacey Board & Ashley Petkovski ----------------------------------------------------------------- Duke Fame - Regrets (by Ashley Petkovski) Regrets is a road trip record with soul. From the second that the title track from Duke Fame's debut record picks up, it becomes all about you, the hot sun, the cool wind, your brand new convertible, your best friends, miles of empty highway, and, no doubt, a trunk full of beer. Incredibly catchy, tight and brimming with fire-ball energy, Duke Fame’s powerful guitar-work, pounding, driving rhythm section, and completely irresistible ba-ba-backup vocals make Regrets an unassuming, unaffected sonic experience. Although the mood does darken on tracks like "Hunger" and the album's standout track "Sad But Beatiful," the genuine enthusiasm, energy and excitement of a new band, seemingly not jaded, cynical, or 'radio-fied', comes through on every track on the record. As with so many current North American alternative rock records, Regrets doesn't drag on. It comes on strong from the beginning, and drives forward during each one of its 43 minutes. With most tracks clocking in at around four minutes, they musically possess the spirit of the Twin Cities Triple-Threat - Soul Asylum, Husker Dü and The Replacements – the last of which serve as the band's biggest influence. Coming from a collaborative scene of punk and DIY alternative, Duke Fame proudly display their influences on this record. Although claiming that their punk influence goes unrecognized within their music, the lead guitar twists and turns, adding continuous flow and an occasional counterpart to the solid melody, very much in tune with the "formulas" of early punk. Personally, I hear everything from Johnny Thunders/The New York Dolls to early Stranglers. Regrets, however, holds a lyrical depth not typically found in modern alternative music. Primarily written by Steve Tockerman (guitar, vocals) and Eric Zweig (vocals, guitar), Regrets showcases a little soul within a set of solid pop sensibilities. The main theme seems to extend into that crazy world of relationships, something that can kill off any potential for lyrical decency. Be they "man/woman" or "man in room analyzing self to point of insanity" Duke Fame handles their recorded relationships with class and intelligence. Undoubtedly the gift of good songwriting is also what gives Regrets its wonderfully memorable melodies. Lyrics like "I am a house on fire/I am a malicious liar/Is there truth in me?/Can I find what I can't see?" (Sad But Beautiful) and "All things are beautiful in their own light/I keep my thoughts pure and simple in the dark of the night/Most days mean nothing to me/Most days are incomplete" (Most Days) pull everything together, proving Duke Fame's ability to give their music some heart. The only thing that holds down the record from rock 'n' roll perfection is consistency... a little too much consistency. At times, the more upbeat songs tend to have very similar structures, without a lot of variation in terms of small details (i.e. little guitar lines and drum fills). It's not distracting enough, or boring enough, to sound like one 30 minute song with several movements, like Dream Theatre for example, nor is it entirely unavoidable. In the end, Atlanta's Duke Fame (named for one of Spinal Tap's bondage favouring opening acts) are solid songwriters and solid musicians with, you guessed it, a solid record. They could've been a 'road-rocking, opening act at the outdoor festival' kind of band, but instead have taken a basic power-pop structure and added a rarely seen level of intelligence and DIY integrity into their music and lyrics. A record with the depth, passion and talent possessed by Regrets is a rarity for a new band, and a record that'll take over that ever-elusive reserved space in my CD player... at least for now. Contact: dukefame@email.com ------------------ OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Avikal Costantino & Murray Burns (by Ben Ohmart) Marly Hornik (by Ben Ohmart) Iron Savior (by Ben Ohmart) Matt Jorgensen (by Ben Ohmart) II Big (by David Lockeretz) Kathy Compton (by David Lockeretz) TampaStan (by David Lockeretz) King Bathmat (by David Lockeretz) Jack's Mission (by David Lockeretz) Robin Kelly (by David Lockeretz) Code Green (by Ashley Petkovski) Damir/Rimad (by Ashley Petkovski) Greg Tannen (by Ben Ohmart) Chione (by Ashley Petkovski) Guy Bergeron (by Stacey Board) Naked Angel (by Stacey Board) Steve Elliot & Lucie Walker (by Stacey Board) Eric Colville (by Stacey Board) Melinda Gidaly (by Ashley Petkovski) --------------- ****** For bios on each of the reviewers, see . If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks! Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by James Linderman Theory for Young Musicians - By Carla Ulbrich ----------------------------------------------------------------- When I began to ponder, how I might best approach the task of reviewing this book for musicians between the ages of 8-12, my first thought was, "I'm not 8-12". I was a musician when I was 8 years old and yes... they did have music theory way back then but... it was a while ago. I then got the idea that since I teach music theory to 65 guitar and piano students in my private teaching practice, and many of them are between 8 and 12, I would get them to check the book out and I would let their comments be the content of this review. To put some of these comments into context, I would first explain that this book is a work book where students fill in note names, draw musical notes and symbols, and can color in pictures, There are re-occurring characters; Slick the cat and a lady named Dee Dee. Jamie 8: "Cool cover... pass me a pencil and I'll fill in the answers right now" Sarah 9: "This is a good way to learn note names, and Slick is a good name for a cat, and Dee Dee is a good name too. This is a good book for names." Jessica 11 "I can do this book at the cottage, I'll bring it back in a month, ok?" Gabriel 9: "Oh man, can I fill in the names and then play the notes and then color the pictures and then keep the book... Or do you need it?" Jake 7: "It teaches you a little bit about music and you get to fill in the notes... I'm impressed!" Jordan 10: "The answers are in the back!?!... Hey, are you trying to trick me... how do you know I won't look up the answers and cheat... oh! I guess I wouldn't learn much if I did that... and my mom would freak!" Jameson 11: "It's interesting, it guides you through music, it works with all instruments, it teaches notes and it's fun and that's it" Rae 13: "A must read for beginner musicians" There you have it, a review from a perfect test group of end users of this very cool little book. If you teach music or you've got kids who are learning music, then this is one music theory book you will find that they simply will not put down. Pencil, crayons, and a good sense of humour required. ****** James Linderman lives and works at theharmonyhouse, a music lesson, songwriting and music pre-production facility in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. He has worked as a collaborating songwriter and consultant for The Toronto Office of Catholic Youth and leads a music workshop program for Life 100.3 Christian radio. James writes songwriting articles for The Muse's News web magazine, Canadian Musician Magazine and Professional Musician Magazine. Contact James at: Back to Menu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UNLEASH THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE INTERNET WITH SONGSCOPE.COM! SongScope is a valuable tool enabling you to build an on-line song catalog, accessible only by proven industry professionals. Receive FREE email informing you every time record producers and industry professionals make requests. Song listings are only $29.95 per year. An ecommerce enabled marketing/promotion page and tour calendar are also available for performing songwriters to get further artist exposure. And more services are coming soon! See for details or contact: ~ Tel: 770.754.4543 ================================================================= M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info. In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at & . Please check there regularly for updates! ----------------------------------------------------------------- PERFORM AT THE SONGSCOPE/MUSE'S MUSE SHOWCASE EVENT AT 2NMC! The Nashville New Music Conference (2NMC) is now accepting bands and musicians for a special Songscope / Muse's Muse Showcase event to take place during the conference on October 9th - 12th. To sign up, go to and put 'SONGSCOPE/MUSE'S MUSE' as your REFERRAL CODE. ----------------------------------------------------------------- JUST PLAIN FOLKS SHOWCASE IN TORONTO! On September 30th, Just Plain Folks (, is holding a showcase in downtown Toronto at Clinton's Tavern (693 Bloor Street West (Just East of Christie)) for performing songwriters and independent musicians to spotlight their music and meet one another. The Songwriting Association of Canada ( and The Muse's Muse are co-hosting and we'd all love to see you there! While registration is required to participate, anyone that wants to is welcome to. After you've used the url below to register, please do email me at to let me know that you intend to participate, if you're a soloist or a band, and if you have any special time considerations that need to be taken into account. Each performer will be able to perform only one or two songs as we need to let everyone have a chance - but this will be a great way to network. Just Plain Folks has many other showcases planned within Canada and the States, so if you don't live in or near Toronto, you can still get involved. Drop by for details on how to do that. There are already 21 sign-ups for the Toronto show so if you'd like to get involved, do so QUICKLY! I'll look forward to seeing you there. :) Please do say hi! ----------------------------------------------------------------- BABYFACE TAKES TONI BRAXTON IN NEW DIRECTION Tonos hosts many songwriting contests and Industry Opportunities specifically for songwriters every month. August contests include: -Babyface Takes Toni Braxton in a New Direction - Tonos co-founder Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds is looking for songs for R&B superstar Toni Braxton. You may remember that we looked for songs for Toni Braxton, a short while ago. As you all know the music industry changes daily, and Toni Braxton has since changed her direction. She is looking for songs with a more urban hip-hop style. -R&B/Pop Group Looking for Female Vocalist - Wisdom Entertainment is a new entertainment company created by insiders in the industry. They are looking for a female singer between the ages of 17-24 years old for a Pop/R&B group. -Larry Klein Wants More Material For His New Production Company - Legendary producer Larry Klein, best known for his work with Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman and Peter Gabriel, is starting an L.A.- based production company and is looking for his first act to sign to a development or production deal. TONOS MAKES HISTORIC AGREEMENT WITH 5 MAJOR MUSIC PUBLISHERS In order to help all the various talent in the global Tonos Community, we are thrilled to announce that we have made historic agreements with 5 major music publishing companies (Warner/Chappell Music, EMI Music, DreamWorks Publishing, Chrysalis Music and Famous Music). These top publishing firms have "guaranteed" that they will EACH sign two tonosPRO songwriters and/or singer-songwriters to publishing deals over the next 12 months. To be considered for all these deals, we'll be looking for the artists and songwriters who have at least 3 very strong songs posted in their Tonos Profiles. Sign up today to be considered! See for more details. ----------------------------------------------------------------- WANTED: SHORT STORIES INSPIRED BY MUSIC "Chicken Soup for the Music Lover's Soul" is looking for heartwarming stories about music, and how it changes lifes and inspires people. Stories should be approx. 300-1200 words in length, and must make the reader "Laugh, cry or get goosebumps". If your story is accepted into the book, the writer receives $300 and a paragraph in the back to promote/introduce yourself (CD's, websites, projects) to potentially millions of readers. For story guidelines and submission information, please visit For example stories, please visit the official website. ----------------------------------------------------------------- NORTH CAROLINA SONGWRITERS CO-OP'S FIFTH ANNUAL SONGWRITING CONTEST Deadline: September 9, 2002. The N.C. Songwriters Co-op is searching for the BEST SONGWRITERS in North Carolina! You are invited to submit a tape or CD with the application provided. Each tape/CD will be evaluated by a committee, and eight finalists will perform live before a panel of judges and a live audience on Saturday, November 16, 2002 at the Carrboro Arts Center. Finalists will be judged on quality of composition, quality of performance and quality of musicianship. All interested songwriters can obtain an application and more information about the contest by visiting the website at: ----------------------------------------------------------------- GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES! Annual songwriting event features top music-industry judges, including publishers, producers, recording artists and hit songwriters. Offers multiple awards and prizes for 40 winners in 8 different style categories. Every songwriter who enters receives a written evaluation of his or her work. This contest is sponsored each year by Songwriters Resource Network, a free online news and education resource for songwriters and lyricists everywhere. This year's event is open through November 7, 2002. Information is available at: or by visiting Songwriters Resource Network at: . Printed contest brochures can be requested by emailing: ----------------------------------------------------------------- GREAT ARTICLES TO CHECK OUT COURTESY OF GALARIS INDEPENDENT MUSIC: * It's not over just because you sign a deal! * Get Focused! * Recording The Acoustic Guitar * Surprising Differences That Mastering Can Make * Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan Sign up for the Galaris Independent Musicians Newsletter. Simply send a blank email to and twice monthly you will receive FREE, direct to your email box, articles containing: Promotion tips, Career advice, Recording tips, Practicing tips, Legal advice, Musician's health, Radio promotion, Songwriters tips and much more. ----------------------------------------------------------------- CMT/CMT.COM AND NSAI LAUNCH 3RD ANNUAL SONG CONTEST Opportunity for Aspiring Songwriters to "Be Discovered" The CMT/ NSAI Song Contest provides the best avenue for aspiring songwriters to open doors to industry contacts and have his or her song pitched to record labels and top publishing executives. CMT will again provide the Grand Prize Winner with a network appearance on CMT. Click here for a list of other prizes: Entrants submitting songs to the contest before Sept. 30, 2002 will receive $5 off the entry fee, and will be entered into a raffle for a Big Baby Taylor Guitar and an AKG C 900 microphone. All entrants will receive a judging report for every song submitted for the contest. The final deadline for contest submissions is November 30, 2002. For more information on the Nashville Songwriters Association International or the 3rd Annual CMT/ NSAI Song Contest, visit, or call 800-321-6008. ----------------------------------------------------------------- 2002 ANNUAL DALLAS SONGWRITERS SONG CONTEST Deadline September 10, 2002 8 song categories.Grand Prize is a Gibson Ebony Les Paul Junior Lite valued at $1229. 1st Place winners receive $100 cash and a 1 Yr membership to Broadjam; 2nd Place, $50 and 3rd Place a 1 YR DSA Membership. All semi-finalists are announced at the DSA website. Grand Prize winner will be picked by Tonos A&R. 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Place winners picked by music industry professionals. New! Now you can enter online, courtesy of Broadjam.Com or print the song contest form and send by mail. Go to for details and contest rules. Need not be a DSA member to enter. ----------------------------------------------------------------- INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING COMPETITION (ISC) DEADLINE IS SEPT. 30TH! Enter your songs now to win over $65,000 in prize money and merchandise and have your music heard by the music industry's top professionals! ISC judges include some of the most high-profile, influential members of the music industry including: Monte Lipman (President of Universal Records), Rob Thomas (Lead Singer/Songwriter, Matchbox 20), Arif Mardin (VP/GM of Manhattan Records), Andy Summers (performer and ex-member of The Police), Kim Stephens (VP A&R of Atlantic Records), Jeff Fenster (SR VP and Head of A&R, Island/Def Jam), Eddie Kramer (producer, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix etc), and David Bendeth (SR VP A&R of RCA Records). For more info, go to Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson ©1998-2002 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- I'm almost certain that this little column has mentioned Just Plain Folks before, and if it hasn't and you've never heard of them, mosey on over and check it out ( I want to focus on one particular area this time, however, and that is the JPFolks station over on Radio Free Virgin ( Radio Free Virgin has created a network of more than 40 channels of music, different genres, some commercial, some not. You can download a player or listen immediately from the website using their "lite" player. Once you get to their website, hit the "Listen" button and scan down to the Channel Guide. Here you will find a listing of all of the available stations, which are listed alphabetically by genre. Just Plain Folks has its own station, all members of the JPFolks website who have sent in their CD's. In fact, you can join up and send yours in! I've been listening to this station quite a bit in the last couple of weeks and I am impressed with many things. First of all, these are really good quality songs and recordings. This is nothing like where you have to wade through a bunch of, well, for lack of a better word, "junk" to get to the good stuff. The station is programmed by the music directors at Radio Free Virgin and some of the people at JPFolks, and you will find a real mix of different genres and styles in this collection, all good quality. The second reason I'm really impressed is because I didn't realize just how many great songwriters there are out there! If you want to get a real sense of what other songwriters are doing, outside of the limited scope of commercial music, you've got to dial this channel in for a listen. I've basically had it running while I'm doing my other (ahem) work on the computer. The third reason I am impressed is because Radio Free Virgin has signed agreements with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. This means that a songwriter who is a member of any of these organizations and has his or her song played on JPFolks may be compensated for Internet performances. This is not just pretend radio, it's the real thing. The JPFolks station is well worth checking out and I think it is a positive sign of the wonderful possibilities the digital age has presented us, both as songwriters and as artists. ****** Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and more links of interest. Her eagerly anticipated CD "Catnip" is finally here, and her earlier recordings have had attention everywhere from Japan to South America. Songwriting Tips: Homepage: Songs on MP3: Back to Menu ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : BE IT, FEEL IT, LOVE IT, LIVE IT - by Diana Yampolsky © Diana Yampolsky, 2002 All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- In this article, I would like to talk about the true dedication that is required to become a singer. You may ask, "What dedication"? How is my life going to change? Let me try to express my point of view with regards to this subject. In many ways, your life will be much like that of an athlete or ballerina: a 100% dedication to your art. Several years ago I saw a movie called 'The Mirrors' which was about a pair of ballet dancers. In one of the scenes in the movie, the dancing couple approached the director of a theater about obtaining a performance contract. After interviewing them and deciding to hire them, he handed them a contract that did not represent a sufficient amount of money for the couple to accept it. The male dancer asked the female dancer how much she weighed and her reply was 100 pounds! Then the male dancer turned to the theater director and said,"You see, sir, I have to lift my partner six times and this adds up to 600 lbs in total. The money that you are offering us is not enough!" The director at this point could not disagree with him and offered them a more suitable contract. Now let's suppose for a second that the female dancer would decide to go around the corner and eat a piece of cake. You may ask, "So what? She is just a human being, right?" Not quite. In this instance, she would be taking the risk that she would be adding an extra pound or more to her body weight. What will happen? A couple of things. As you remember, the male dancer has to lift her six times each performance and that added up to six hundred pounds. If she puts one pound on, he will have to lift 606 pounds and this was not a part of their professional agreement. Moreover, she is risking the possibility that he will drop her and even injure her because he is not accustomed to having to lift any more weight than 100 pounds at a time. The moral of the story was that she could not do anything she wanted to. She could not eat a piece of cake or any other fatty foods. Nor could she stay out all night partying if she needed to be rested for the next day's performance or practice. The same is true for a singer. In order to be successful at your craft, you have to realize and accept that you are not the same as everyone else; your profession demands a certain lifestyle and requires a certain degree of commitment and sacrifice. The truth is that most people either don't understand what it takes to be a professional singer or aren't willing to offer the level of commitment necessary. Too many people think that all they have to do is open their mouth and sing and that will automatically make them a professional singer. Nothing could be further from the truth. I would like to identify four areas in which you have to be committed in order to become a truly professional singer: physical conditioning, vocal training, emotional openness and ensuring that you are doing everything for the right reasons. As I have mentioned in other articles, being a professional singer is very similar to being a professional athlete and it demands a certain amount of physical fitness. Do you have to have huge muscles and not an ounce of body fat? No, but you should aim to keep as lean a physique as possible and should have strong abdominal muscles in order to be able to give physical support to the sound you are producing. More importantly, you need to maintain a fairly strict diet. Love milk? Well, as a singer you really need to avoid dairy products, as they clog you up with mucous which is definitely the opposite of what you want to achieve. In fact, any of the minerals and vitamins that you have been getting from dairy products can be found in other foods. I know it's hard - some of you probably love cheese or ice cream - but you will have to give it up for the sake of your goal. Keep your body clean, free of mucous and your voice will reflect exactly that. Another serious commitment that you must make if you wish to become a professional singer is a commitment to learn how to use your voice properly. The obvious reason is that you will be a better singer and will learn how to play "your instrument" in the same manner as any other musicians playing their instruments. The other obvious reason is to learn how to use your voice safely in order to prevent yourself from ever damaging it due to incorrect technique. As I've mentioned, in most other fields, training is a prerequisite. If you are a professional or aspiring basketball player, figure skater, ballerina or sprinter, you have a coach who assists you in being the best you can be. The same should be true for singers as well. If you are truly committed to becoming a professional singer, professional coaching is a necessity and not a luxury. After all, if you want to become a professional engineer, you will have to go to university for several years. By the time you receive your degree, you will have probably spent at least 30 -50 thousand dollars. But you are also hoping that once you find a job, you will make back your investment within your first year of working and for the rest of your life you will be gaining a pure profit from your education. Why should it be any different for a professional singer? The word "professional" implies trained, educated, and certified. Is this worth your investment? Definitely! There is another important commitment that many aspiring singers are often very apprehensive about: exposing one's inner self to the outside world. I always tell my students that to be a complete performer, one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, is having the ability and willingness to share who you are as a person with the audience. All the greatest singers make an emotional connection with their audience through their singing. When I take on a new student, I start out by teaching them the technical aspects of singing. Once they have mastered vocal technique and no longer have to consciously worry about staying in key, etc., I work with them on developing the emotional component of their singing. When this happens, I actually feel as if I am working as both a vocal coach and a psychologist. This can be very difficult because a large portion of the population subverts their natural charisma and personality and it can be very hard to "free a person's spirit"! Furthermore, you do not only need to share yourself with the audience, but also to have something worth sharing. Singers need to lead inspired lives. Pull yourself away from the computer at least long enough that you might fall in love or get your heart broken or develop a close friendship. The final commitment that you need to make should be relatively easy for you: putting singing above everything else because you love it. Be obsessed with it, strive to get better, and perform every performance as if you are performing in front of thousands of adoring fans. Furthermore, sing for the right reasons and not because of a desire for money or fame. Only one in a million becomes a Celine Dion or George Michael, regardless of talent. For this reason, you need to be doing it purely because you love it. Of course, it's a wonderful thing if you do sell millions of records and I am in no way trying to convince you to not strive for commercial success. But if you truly love singing and are committed to being the best singer you can be, it will be reflected in your performance and will actually enhance your chances of selling millions of your CD's. ****** Diana Yampolsky is a Toronto-based Vocal Coach/Consultant. She is the creator of the Vocal Science Program, which has been designed to achieve Accelerated Vocal Development and guarantees to turn a beginner into a professional singer in a matter of hours. This technique focuses on the idea that the voice is an expression of the emotional, physical and spiritual state of the person singing and Diana therefore works not just on the voice but on the performer as a whole. The Royans School for the Musical Performing Arts ( specializes in Accelerated Artist Development, including Vocal Coaching/Consulting, In Studio Vocal Production Expertise, Style Identification & Differentiation, Voice Repair and Psychology of Performance. Back to Menu ================================================================= C o l u m n i s t s I n S p o t l i g h t : Meet The Muse's Muse Music Reviewers: http:/ ------------------------------------------------------------------- The roster of music reviewers here on The Muse's Muse has been on a steady increase for a couple of months now. Since the new additions may not have caught your attention yet, I thought I'd spotlight all the current reviewers so that you'll have a good idea of where to send your CDs when you're ready to do so. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BEN OHMART - Senior Music Reviewer Ben has been with The Muse's Muse almost from the beginning and I'm *extremely* grateful to him for all the wonderful reviews and articles he's posted through the years. Amazingly enough, he's still going strong (thanks, Ben!). Bio: Ben lives in Boalsburg, PA where greedy people want to put up condos in place of a nature preserve. He spends his off hours listening to radio comedy - especially British - loves reading and watching horror, and hates trying to make ends meet. Send him money and gifts. While waiting for bribes, he's currently writing the official biographies of The Bickersons, Paul Frees and Daws Butler. His latest bit of immortality? The text for Contact him at: Genres Reviewed: Soundtracks, World, Classical, New Age, Progressive, Jazz, Instrumental, Spoken Word, Comedy, and Classic (major label) Rock. How to Submit a CD: Send to: Ben Ohmart, P O Box 750, Boalsburg, PA USA 16827 ------------------------------------------------------------------- ASHLEY PETKOVSKI - Associate Music Reviewer A proud Canadian grrrl with too much drive and too many opinions for her own personal good, Ashley is the creator of Kiss Me Deadly, a zine (a la 1991) focused on the interests and issues revolving around young femme revolutionaries, and a regular writer for a community newspaper. While not reading old J.D. Salinger novels and listening to local college/alternative radio, she volunteers at one of the stations, spends too much time with a friend endlessly dissecting retro music, goes on mindless, day-long hunts around the city and beyond for the newest record to catch her ear (until she gives up and orders from the distributor), and trudges through countless hours of education, in which she writes constantly, and focuses far too much on essays about Third Wave Feminism and The Strokes. She"…would have been just the coolest person 20 years ago" according to many, and is a self professed Tori-Morrissey fanatic who lives by Oscar Wilde's words: "Popularity is the crown of laurel which the world puts on bad art. Whatever is popular is wrong." Contact her at: Fan Favourites/Proof of Genre Indecisiveness: anything… absolutely anything …except for shallow hip hop and rap and rusty-cookie-cutter-top-40 pop. How To Submit a CD: Send to: Ashley Petkovski P.O. Box 62047 Victoria Terrace P.O. Toronto, ON, Canada M4A 2W1 ------------------------------------------------------------------- DAVID LOCKERETZ - Associate Music Reviewer A Boston native, David has been living in the Los Angeles area since 1999. He has toured internationally with Persian diva Leila Forouhar and has appeared throughout California with the modern jazz group Guavajazz and the blues/rock band Voodoo Highway, whose first CD, "Love's Addiction", he co-produced. Contact him at: Genres Reviewed: Rock, blues, jazz, classical, country, folk, world, electronic, techno, acoustic How To Submit a CD: Send to: David Lockeretz 315 N. Associated Rd. #1803 Brea, CA 92821 ------------------------------------------------------------------- STACEY BOARD - Associate Music Reviewer With three CDs under her belt, Stacey Board has been critically acclaimed by reviewers and adored by fans coast-to-coast. Stacey was raised in the South, taught herself guitar and began writing music at 13. Working with bands in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina she eventually moved to Los Angeles. Her 1998 solo debut CD, simple thing coincided with a move to Utah, now home base for her full time music career. Since its release in December 2001, her third CD Drive has been given rave reviews and is getting airplay across the US and beyond. Stacey's CD's, show calendar and all sorts of information can be found at Contact her at: Genres Reviewed: Pop, R&B, Country and Pop/Folk How To Submit a CD: Send to: Stacey Board 10889 Shady Dell Sandy, UT USA 84094 ------------------------------------------------------------------- GIAN FIERO - Associate Music Reviewer Gian embarked upon his career in the music industry as a personal manager where he was successful in landing record deals for five of the six acts that he managed. Currently, he is the director of operations and founder of MBIS Enterprises, a 10 year old company that provides career counseling, business support, and legal assistance to the music community. He has been a featured speaker and mentor at industry events, and conducts educational seminars on a variety of music industry related topics for SBA (Small Business Administration) and California Lawyers for the Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact him at: Genres Reviewed: Pop, R&B, Hip Hop, and Rap How To Submit a CD: Send to: Gian Fiero 1714 Franklin St. Suite 100-119, Oakland, Ca 94612 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Gian is our newest addition so he doesn't have any reviews online just yet. That should change shortly. Hip Hop and Rap are two genres that have been sorely neglected here on The Muse's Muse and I hope to change that soon! New CD reviews are posted each month and then listed here in the newsletter - so feel free to send in your CD (remember to make sure you're sending it to a reviewer that reviews your genre!) and watch for your name to appear. :) As a side note, I'm including the reviewers' email addresses so that they can be contacted if you have questions - but PLEASE do not add them to your mailing lists without asking them beforehand, ok? We'd all really appreciate your consideration in this matter. Thanks! -- Jodi Back to Menu ================================================================= " O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E : BOY!! BANDS!! By Danny McBride Danny discusses the dreaded recording industry practice known as "unrecouped" If this is a subject you're unfamiliar with and you're interested in signing a record deal, it's something you NEED to know more about!
================================================================= C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- MUSIC BOOKS PLUS The Songwriter's One Stop Resource for Books, Instructional Videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs. We feature over 5,000+ titles at - areas covered include: International Music Directories, Music Business, Song & Lyric Writing, Music Publishing, Rhyming Dictionaries, Theory & Arranging , Instrument & Vocal Technique, Recording, Internet ... and so much more. Free electronic newsletter, monthly & customer specials, new titles added weekly. Come check us out! ----------------------------------------------------------------- HEY SONGWRITERS! POP QUIZ. GIVE ME THREE RHYMES FOR "HEARTBREAK"... Locate every song's lead sheet you ever wrote, their genre, and album. What's the fingering for a G#sus4 chord at the ninth fret? Now copyright a song from where you're sitting without removing your hands from your mouse or keyboard. Your time is up! You know what you need? LYRICIST! It's the songwriter's best friend. Includes Rhyming Dictionary, Album Categorization, Chord Charting, On-Line Copyright, and more. Check out the review at . For more information, visit the review url above or call Virtual Studio Systems at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. and Canada or 603.726.4499 everywhere else. ----------------------------------------------------------------- GO GLOBAL WITH CDSTREET.COM is your secure source for credit card music ordering in your own website. As a member of the CDstreet network, you will have access to the most cost-effective, secure transaction processing for global music merchandise distribution. Plus, low setup fee and no sales equals no cost! Check it out - ----------------------------------------------------------------- Get REVIEWED / CRITIQUED by an AWARD WINNING PRODUCER! REVIEWS and CRITIQUES independent artists of all genres. Staffed by an award winning producer and experienced music journalists, IMR empowers artists and offers personalized objective insight into songwriting and production techniques. Check out the details at ----------------------------------------------------------------- CUSTOM DEMO ARRANGEMENTS FOR SONGWRITERS Excellent quality at a reasonable price with quick turnaround using the latest in synths and samplers with Pro Tools 5.1 credits include national commercials, album productions and demos visit for more information or contact Rick at 813-689-6066 or references and demos available upon request. ----------------------------------------------------------------- ATTENTION: INDEPENDENT BANDS AND SINGER-SONGWRITERS You CAN earn a good living selling your MP3s! will invite up to ONE MILLION PEOPLE A YEAR to hear and buy YOUR music! Sign Up NOW! Plans as low as $10 a month. The Revolution Begins. Go to ----------------------------------------------------------------- GET YOUR COPY OF THE INDIE CONTACT BIBLE & START MAKING WAVES! This is an absolutely priceless resource for indie musicians. If you want your music reviewed, on the radio, *heard*, THIS is the resource you need to have. It's not going to tell you "how" but it will *certainly* tell you "who". I highly recommend you pick it up in order to compliment your other music marketing techniques. Have a look at this url and read through a few sample pages to see what I mean: (Full review at ================================================================= ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 8 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to: For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities, please see . Back to Menu
================================================================= C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER ----------------------------------------------------------------- The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors. Back issues and other information will be available at: The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters: For further information, send your e-mail to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe, unsubscribe, etc. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back issues of the newsletter can be read at the National
Library of Canada ecollection: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back to Menu

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