Something that changed my view of music forever

About four years ago, I was watching the movie “Cellular”…a pretty decent movie, but I can honestly say that I can’t remember half of it because of what happened next. During the end credits, something happened to me that changed my view of music forever. The song “Sinnerman” (Felix Da Housecat’s Heavenly House Mix) by Nina Simone was playing and it sounded like nothing I’ve ever heard before.Earle Smith

Directly after, I looked the song up on the internet, and from there, started to look up more and more songs. I had NEVER been a house music fan before this. I listened primarily to rap. Rap. A genre so hopelessly watered-down with regurgitated beats and meaningless repeated lyrics.

Soon after, my iTunes was filled with nothing but house music. All kinds. Now I’m a house DJ and I don’t even listen to rap anymore. House music has taken over my playlist, and my life. So uplifting, positive and fun.

I’ll have to catch up to Felix and thank him one day.

(Earle Smith – Neurotic Media Production & Merchandising)

Music Midtown 2011 Delivered

The Black Keys at Music Midtown 2011I missed this festival. Back in the nineties they use to produce 2-3 days events, with multiple genre-centric stages to accommodate a broad range of fans. Like many festivals back then it got a bit too big too fast, and eventually a bit out of hand. The last Music Midtown I attended about a decade ago was produced on an asphalt parking lot in midtown behind the Civic Center, which made for a horribly hot experience and one I would ever wanted to repeat.

This weekend, Music Midtown returned from a 6-year hiatus to Piedmont Park, with two stages in the meadow – a grassy valley surrounded by a sloping hill shaded by trees. This was a return to true form – a comfortable, beautiful venue for the festival.

Most bands on the lineup were developing, relatively unknown bands. Personally, the only one that shined for me in that mix and picked my interest is Young The Giant – I will have to listen to their album. And then, The Black Keys, baby! The Black Keys are, well, just so good! Solid, intimate performance, amazingly energetic and totally fun.

Coldplay at Music Midtown 2011The headliners – Coldplay – opened with a bang. Literally: They launched their first song with fireworks. I was worried about how their performance would translate in the park setting. I saw them a year and a half ago when they came through Atlanta in support of their last album, they performed to a sold out Phillips Arena back then, and provided plenty of theatrics on stage which I was worried would be too cheesy following a full day of raw rock n roll. However, in Piedmont Park, they focused more on the music and less on the theatrics – and used impressive pyrotechnics and lasers to augment the music with some exciting drama. Most important, Coldplay’s musical performance was simply wonderful. Towards the end of their show they also performed a couple of new songs that sounded wonderful (one is a single in waiting…); and then, closed with fireworks again.

Thank you Music Midtown! Looking forward to next year’s event, which hopefully would be even bigger!

(by Shachar Oren, Neurotic Media CEO)

All Work and No Music Makes Stephen A Dull Boy

Stephen Lam

To borrow a well known phrase, “All work and no music makes Stephen a dull boy.”

Although I have no musical ability, my entire life revolves around music.  Music is my way of connecting with others…it’s also my way of “getting away” from the world. The feeling I get when a song comes on that relates to my life is profound.  Music to me is a way of life and without music it wouldn’t be a life worth living.

Since I started my internship at Neurotic Media about a month ago, I have learned a lot about merchandising and marketing online stores as well as how to operate their vast computer system database.  Merchandising and marketing music has actually helped expand my musical palette and increase my willingness to listen to different types of music.  I have discovered a few new artists along the way such as singer-songwriter Randy Montana and Australian indie rock band The Temple Trap.  Both have two very different sounds, but after I gave them a listen I enjoyed branching out of my normal pop/rock/alternative comfort zone.

As an intern, I’ve been able to experience working with great, hardworking people who love what they do and encourage my work.  And I’m excited to learn as much as I can about music and marketing while I’m here.

(Stephen Lam – Neurotic Media Intern)

Bubbles, Daisies and Good Music

Anyone that knows me wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I could probably spend every day surrounded by bubbles and bouquets of daisies on the beach at sunset. And that’s pretty much how my wedding played out.

I went to a wedding recently in the middle of a Moulin Rouge themed antique store.  The bride and groom walked down the “aisle” to a Smashing Pumpkins instrumental and left to The Beatles “When I’m Sixty Four”.  And it was perfect.  When you’re surrounded by boas, masks and mannequins, you don’t necessarily expect to hear Pachelbel: “Canon in D.”

There is nothing wrong with tradition if that’s your thing, but since music is such a big part of my life, I put some serious thought into deciding on the music for my [our] own wedding.

Becka WeddingWe were married on the beach.  After we had been pronounced man and wife, my cousin played an acoustic version of the first part of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.”  Even though my cousin’s performance was competing with the sound of the waves, this was the first song my husband and I heard as a married couple. It was the transition from the ceremony to our lives together.

“What a beautiful face I have found in this place that is circling all round the sun…”

And though there are some songs that come and go throughout your life, this one continues to inspire me. Everyone needs a little inspiration [and maybe some bubbles and daisies and good music].

 “…and one day we will die and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea.  But for now we are young, let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see…” (lyrics by Jeff Mangum)

(Becka Hardy – Neurotic Media Label Relations & Account Management)

A Proper American Voice

Ling ZhuPronouncing words in English is quite different from pronouncing Chinese when one speaks. The tonality, the weight placement in a word, and many of the shared sounds between the languages are just handled very differently, which I have found over time to be an interesting challenge.

In order to establish my proper “American voice”, I needed to feel more relaxed in my mouth and move the “center position” of where I make sound a little bit backward in the mouth cavity.

When I started practicing this, I tried to sing American songs with simple lyrics and rhythms like “Twinkle little star”, “Do-Re-Mi”, ”To be with you”… I still do this today, almost twice a week: I go to my apartment gym (which luckily is always empty), and sing those songs more loudly than I can bear. I can really feel my improvement in my daily speech and accent, and this in turn helps ease the daily pressures at work and in living in the USA and talking to people in general. Music/speech therapy, if you will. 

I met a nice guy a few days ago that was willing to help test my singing skills. So I started to sing: “…You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray; you’ll never know dear how much I, I, I like you (ah, yes I changed the lyrics here); please don’t take my sunshine away…” To my surprise, he launched into singing with me. His green eyes sparkled and I could sense that his heart was speeding. So was mine…

(Ling Zhu – Neurotic Media Developer)

Playing for nobody

Todd JonesI started DJing at clubs about 3 months ago. For the most part, I’ve been blessed with playing to relatively crowded rooms. Over the last three weeks, however, I’ve played two shows that were totally empty. The first one had about 20 people in a club that holds 300, and the second night was even slower. At one point, a friend of mine that had come for support turned to me and said “I think we know everyone in this room right now.” The crowd was literally personal friends that had come out to support us, and three other people.

Even though the room was virtually empty, I got a lot of positive feedback about the way I played the shows. Everyone said that I was into the music, and rocking out just like I had when I was playing to a full room. What all these people don’t know is this is exactly how I act when I’m sitting at home or in my office listening to music as well. I guess the moral of the story is that if you’re doing something that involves music, for work or please, as long as the music moves you, then you’ll be ok.

(Todd Jones – Neurotic Media Production Director)

Beatriz Luengo rocks the house at our RCA Music Showcase

Beatriz Luengo at RCA Expo Neurotic Media ShowcaseBeatriz Luengo and crew gave an amazing performance at last week’s RCA Expo Neurotic Media Music Showcase. Thank you Beatriz for the entertaining and fun performance and great music!  RCA members continued to praise your performance for the duration of the conference!

We want to also thank Sony Music US/Latin (especially Carla, Yvette and Phil) for supporting the event; RCA for facilitating the opportunity; and Sprint for co-sponsoring the evening at the Las Vegas MGM Grand’s Tabu club.

Steve Berry President and CEO of RCAWe are including a few images from the show – including Steve Berry, President & CEO of Rural Cellular Association (RCA) introducing Beatriz to RCA members.

Beatriz Luengo and Chip DamatoAnother picture shows Beatriz joined by Inland Cellular’s Chip Damato on the dance floor – her music truly moved the crowd.

Having gained Triple Platinum status for digital sales in Spain with 2008’s Carrousel and record sales of over 1 million albums in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain, it’s clear Beatriz’s music transcends borders.

Her new album, Bela Y Sus Moskitas Muertas, will be available to the public THIS WEEK – released 9/20.

Beatriz Luengo at MGM Grand's Tabu clubThe second song Beatriz performed for us last Wednesday is her new single, Como Tú No Hay 2 – an exciting blend of pop, reggae, and hip hop that is unlike most pop songs being played on the radio today. If you liked the song, give your local radio station a call and ask them to play it for you again. And watch for more Beatriz tour dates later this year.

Thank you for joining us for this second Music Showcase and we look forward to seeing you in the next RCA Expo.

RCA Expo Neurotic Media Music Showcase September 2011