Interview with Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Mix-Engineer Sham Sundra from Iris Pill

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A large number of artists approach me with a request for an interview but I try to be selective in whom I feature on www.SongwriterAndProducer.com because my intent is to help aspiring songwriters and producers become better at what they do.  When Sham Sundra "proposed" I was surprised by the fact that the deeper I researched him and his work, the more impressed I was.  The first thing I told Sham when I listened to his album (Box So Tiny) was "whoever mixed this work, understands their craft highly".  I was later told that it was Sham who mixed it (among everything else he did).  I also praised the consistent flow of the album, its theme.  I've always been genre-agnostic but it's a breath of fresh air to listen to a well made rock album by a New York City band in 2017.  Iris Pill’s Box So Tiny is a work of raw emotion and refined artistry. In a time when pure rock music is hard to find, this album is an absolute gem — authentic, unapologetically truthful, and brilliantly executed.  Then when I saw the gear and knowledge that Sham possessed, I was even more impressed.  A songwriter, a guitar player (who started as a wind-instrument-player), who knows their way around the studio as well as anyone.  An avid ProTools HD user (no pun) while equally being split between the world of software plugins and hardware inserts.  Serious hardware too.  From a Neumann U47 to various Lexicons, Neves, APIs and many more.  But what is all that gear worth without a great song, a great performance and a great production?  As you will read below, Sham's greatest asset is to be able to keep seeing the forest from the trees, while wearing a large number of different hats, which is what it has come to lately in the vast majority of cases within the music industry.  Unless you can afford the best team and a large team at that, a great output is achieved only when one person can do a number of vastly different tasks exceptionally well.  Rare, because it requires equal amounts of engineering talent, as well as musicianship.  Here's what Sham had to say to me about all that and more:

 

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 04:01

Dear Artist...

Dear Artist...

By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter

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I hope this letter finds you well. You may not have been told this in a while, so I thought I would say it:  I have the utmost respect for you. You are courageous and brave. You may feel as though your efforts as an artist are undervalued, not important, and perhaps even shameful because others might not support you. But I am here to tell you this:  keep going. The world needs the art that only you can create.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 07:47

Interview with singer-songwriter Sheri Miller

Interview with Singer/Songwriter Sheri Miller

By Sheri Miller - Singer/Songwriter

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I bumped onto Sheri Miller and her work during one of my regular and frequent facebook scouting sessions of online singers and songwriters.  She immediately grabbed my attention because her classical influence was evident during the first verse of her song "Mantra (I'm in Love)".  I admire classically trained musicians, I always will.  Rarely found "on the charts" these days and even if so, rarely showing their classical influence.  Moving to Sheri's song "Spoons" she proves that she can write, sing and execute a perfectly balanced "happy-song".  There's nothing like a beautifully crafted 88bpm happy-song which immerses you into the sounds of a cornucopia of accustic guitars and drum brushes on a drum snare.  Everything is right in this song.  The vocals, the lyrics, the mix, the video full of happy moments of various happy couples curled up.  They do "fit like spoons" as the lyrics call.  When I pressed play on Sheri's song "I Could Love You Still" I found yet more diversity in her ability to create music.  The country influence here is evident the second the first harmonies kick in on the first verse.  Another very nicely balanced mix when I put my producer's hat on.  All the fundamentals executed perfectly from an instrumentation perspective.  My favorite part of this song is the bridge.  Incredibly well glued to the two parts of the song it....bridges. The harmonies, perfectly timed.  And the tremolo on the main accustic guitar fits the vibe.  Finally, with "Waste My Breath" we get yet another side of Sheri's music-making-machine.  Faster than the other three examples at 97bpm with a pronounced and striking drum section, the song wants to raise you up and take you places.  Given my impressions, I approached Sheri and asked her 10+1 questions.  Here's what she had to say:

Published in Blog
Sunday, 06 November 2016 04:38

Exposing Yourself As An Artist

Exposing Yourself As An Artist

 

By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter

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Getting final cuts of music means one thing to a timid artist such as myself:  Crap! This means I'll actually have to show people my music soon. Here's the thing, the music I've written comes from a place of such raw vulnerability and the thought of sharing it with family, friends, and worse, strangers, is repulsive. The memories of being in the studio and expressing the torment in my tender soul will be exposed. It's a mixture of being excited, nervous, and nostalgic. I ask myself:

Published in Blog
Friday, 04 November 2016 15:43

Five-Ways-To-Improve-Your-Lyrics

Five Ways To Improve Your Lyrics

By Janice Kephart - Songwriter and vocalist of trip poetry

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What follows is a lyric excerpt from the title track of spoken word album KAMASUTRA, which is on the ballot for a nomination in the 59th Grammy Awards (Feb. 2017)

Lyrics and spoken vocals, Janice Kephart
Selected music, production and engineering GREEN MAN and Ken Eros
Featured compositions, including Kamasutra, by Ricky Kej
Published in Blog
Friday, 21 October 2016 00:14

How Did It Feel To Work With Prince?

How Did it Feel to Work With Prince?

His Former Technical Director for Paisley Park Studios Explains

 

By David Hampton - A Grammy Award Winner Engineer, Producer, Author and Educator

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Today, October 21st 2016 marks the 6-month anniversary from Prince’s death (April 21st 2016).  There was so much written, by so many people about Prince on that sad day and even more during the weeks that followed.  I am Gabriel ILiadis, founder of www.SongwriterAndProducer.com and I have to admit that, sadness aside, after absorbing the tons of material written about Prince around that time, I felt that I learned very little about how it really felt to work with Prince.  How was that like?  To be there.  Be responsible for part of the output, for the creative work rendered?  That’s why I decided to find someone who lived with him, worked closely with him, who would be willing to describe some of those experiences to us.  How was it really to work with Prince?  How was it to learn from him?  Prince trusted few people, one of which was Dave Hampton.  Dave worked for Prince as his Technical Director and Chief Engineer of Paisley Park Studios.  Prince’s own state of the art complex where all kinds and different types of creativity exploded.  Where the magic happened, some may say.  Coincidentally tours of the Paisley Park Museum are set to start this month, October 2016.  Through social media I started discussing with Dave Hampton the possibility of an interview regarding his experiences with Prince.  Dave agreed.  I asked Dave ten questions.  Here they are with Dave’s answers.

Published in Blog

A Mainstream Music Detox

By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter

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Over the summer I decided to go on a "Mainstream Music Detox". You heard me right. This meant no radio in the car on my way to work. It meant that if I wanted to listen to music, I had to seek out the music that I wanted to listen to and not the stuff that was so readily available. Although I didn't think much of this "Mainstream Music Detox" at the time, I'm realizing how this benefitted me both as an artist and as an individual.

Published in Blog
Sunday, 09 October 2016 13:56

8 Ways To Promote Yourself as a Musician

You are your best investment

8 Ways To Promote Yourself as a Musician

 By Natalie Jean - Multi-Award Winning Singer/Songwriter

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Let’s face it, the music industry is one tough industry. However, if music is a part of who you are, you must take every step to make your dreams a reality. The first thing to concentrate on is the need to be seen and heard. It’s not just about performing. Your audience needs to get to know you.  Investing in yourself, means investing money and time to make more people aware of your amazing talent.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 05 July 2016 04:07

How Do You Make Money as a Songwriter?

Songwriting as a business

 

 By Natalie Jean - Multi-Award Winning Singer/Songwriter

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How does one make money in the music business? The music industry has changed drastically over the years, especially with this new concept of online streaming. And it seems as if everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon, Apple, Spotify, Tidal, Soundcloud, Amazon.com, etc… The streaming industry has hurt the indie artist. At times, Spotify will have the nerve to send you a check for $.03, if your song has streamed a hundred times. How crazy is that? Not only does online streaming doing the indie artists a disservice, there is also online pirating, where random people take your music and post it online for free downloading. So, I ask again, how can one make money in the music business?

Published in Blog
Friday, 24 June 2016 20:14

Becoming a Songwriter

Becoming a Songwriter

Written by Lisa Giordano

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How can we easily put limits on ourselves?  Until you start to learn who you truly are, outside sources of influence can put labels on you and put you in a box. You easily do this to yourself as well.  It's ok for a little while until what's inside gets too big for “the box”. And, you need more paper for a longer label.

Published in Blog
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