Dr. Luke, Swizz Beatz Have Midas Touch for Music Hits

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – You may not know them by name, but chances are you’ve heard their work. You may even be a fan.
To date, Dr. Luke and Swizz Beatz have collectively produced hit albums and songs for Britney Spears, Ke$ha, DMX, Katy Perry and Flo Rida, and are currently two of L.A.’s hottest record producers.
For the last few years, the good doctor (born Lukasz Gottwald) from Providence, R.I., has been responsible in whole or in part for such mega-hits as “Party in the U.S.A” by Miley Cyrus, “Right Round” by Flo Rida, “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha and “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry.
In other words, Dr. Luke creates music that, no matter your age, makes you wave your hands in the air, tap on your steering wheel and turn up the music a little louder on your radio.
In short, if a recent radio hit was catchy, smacked of bubble gum pop and was irritatingly unavoidable, it most likely was produced by Dr. Luke.
Like Dr. Luke, Swizz Beatz enjoys his success while still acknowledging that “people are fans of my music more than fans of me … because they don’t know who I am.”
That may be true, but people do know the company he keeps.
Swizz Beatz’ third album, “Haute Living,” released last summer, includes an eclectic mix of rock, hip-hop, and R&B stars such as Bono and Lenny Kravitz, Jay-Z and Kanye West and John Legend.
This album, according to Beatz, is a far cry from his first work with hip-hop artist and current renaissance man DMX.
The two collaborated in the late 1990s, when X was part of hip-hop’s notorious Ruff Ryders, creating an aggressive sound that led to multi-platinum success.
Since then, DMX’s famous legal problems slowed his music career, but X is only gearing up for more with a new independent label, Big Jake Music. And Beatz hasn’t forgotten his friend of more than a decade.
To underscore his loyalty, Beatz recently produced X’s seventh studio album, “Undisputed,” which includes hip-hop heavy hitters such as the late Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls.
Of DMX’s comeback attempt, Beatz said, “Expect the unexpected. Expect the new and improved. Expect hip-hop. Expect real music. Expect the Dog to be back.”
For more information on X and his album, “Undisputed,” visit www.bigjakemusic.com.

Getting Your Wiggle Back

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – When YouTube first made its Internet debut in 2005, no one could have predicted the global affect it would have for musicians or record labels.
Fast-forward to present day, and wannabe recording artists are exploiting the dot.com site to broadcast their music to the world and to get noticed by record companies.
One case in point is Euro dance artist Abie Flinstone, a 19-year-old wunderkind from Lommel, Belgium, who has been likened to an Asian female Eminem and has used YouTube to her advantage.
For her efforts and marketing acumen, Flinstone’s reward is that she has been signed by New York-based Big Jake Music, an indie record label and part of Seven Arts Music. Recently, parent company Seven Arts Entertainment announced that it will start marketing Flinstone’s single “Get Outta My Way,” featuring Kaliq Scott, a song she recorded in her bedroom. The song has reached no. 2 on Belgium’s dance charts and will be available later this month in the U.S.
Like Flinstone, another up-and-coming artist who has enjoyed virtual success via YouTube, is Natassia Zolot, or Kreayshawn as she’s known by her stage name — a 22-year-old white rapper from East Oakland, Calif.
Last year, Kreayshawn recorded her now-famous “Gucci Gucci,” a catchy ode to independence from designer labels, then used YouTube to premier her video. By Internet standards, it became an overnight sensation, garnering 11 million hits by August 2011. She has since pocketed a seven-figure record deal, and shows no signs of slowing down. Not bad for a girl who admits that she thought she was “still going to be struggling to pay rent.”
“I believe YouTube is changing everything for music artists,” said Jake Shapiro, founder of Big Jake Music.
“Because of YouTube, small, independent record labels are now able to choose from the best of the best,” he added.
With the backing of Big Jake Music, Flinstone finds herself in good company.
For more information, visit www.bigjakemusic.com or www.7artspictures.com.

Hip-Hop Force Rocks Crossover Music Scene

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Americans love to dance. And today, more than ever, they are moving to the beat of electronic dance music.
So much so that artists like Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Britney Spears are filling their music with these electronic elements — a popular form of dance and rock that hails from Europe.
This cutting-edge style was made popular in the early 80s and 90s by British band Duran Duran and Swedish band Ace of Base. Since then, Europe has become a recruitment destination for American executives looking to sign new acts.
Enter Abie Flinstone — a 19-year-old R&B and hip-hop artist from Lommel, Belgium, who is making headlines with her distinct sound.
Infusing her flow and lyrics with a 90s feel, but with a millennium twist, Flinstone says she’s in a category all her own, and Jake Shapiro, founder of New York-based Big Jake Music, agrees.
“The most important business aspect of dance music is a great hook. To that point, you also need artists who are marketable. We believe we have found that in Abie,” said Shapiro.
With songs like “Have Dat,” “Love You Like Davao” and “Get Outta My Way,” Flinstone believes she is ready to take on the music industry.
From writing and recording in her bedroom, which she calls Bedrock, Flinstone is a star on the rise. According to Shapiro, she has the potential and credentials to go as far as she wants.
“Besides being sexy and fun, Abie is cutting-edge with her lyrics and beats,” he said.
Clearly, dance music is suiting American tastes more and more each year. The cross-over appeal between America and her European sister is at an all-time high for the genre. Branding opportunities have opened up, and record company producers are taking notice, making it easier for artists like Flinstone to get a foothold in both countries.
Having recently been acquired by Seven Arts Pictures (NASDAQ: SAPX), the indie music label believes it can now better focus on up-and-coming new artists like Flinstone.
For more information, visit www.bigjakemusic.com or www.7artspictures.com.

Indie Label Signs Hip-Hop Wunderkind Abie Flinstone

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – There’s no business like show business, so goes the saying, and Hollywood understands just how true that is.
In fact, the world of media is converging, as actors and actresses aspire to be rock stars, and rock starts seek to be in the movies.
Since a great deal of money can be made by cross marketing, Seven Arts Entertainment, Inc. has acquired Big Jake Music, an indie music label based in New York.
For the Los Angeles-based independent motion picture production and distribution company, the acquisition was simply the next logical step, according to Peter Hoffman, CEO of Seven Arts.
“Major record labels have signficantly higher overhead and record production costs than independent labels,” said Hoffman. “By combining our efforts, both Seven Arts and Big Jake can focus on increasing revenue share and profits in our respective areas of expertise.”
Currently, Seven Arts has produced 18 films and acquired 25 others, with its most recent endeavor a large-budget film titled “Neuromancer.” With its latest purchase of Big Jake Music, the company believes it has now fully rounded out its business model.
According to industry sources, integrating several media of entertainment has been around for several years and is certainly the wave of the future.
To this end, it appears likely that entertainment companies will continue to expand to other markets through acquisitions and alliances with what some might consider unlikely bed fellows.
Indeed, with the explosion of cable networks, digital distribution for music, movie and television content, and the existence of countless niches, it would seem that entertainment companies would be remiss if they didn’t take advantage of this potentially lucrative revenue stream.
“Through digital distribution, we can distribute movies and music directly to our fans and customers,” said Hoffman.
For more information, visit www.7artspictures.com and www.bigjakemusic.com.

How to Make Your Halloween Bash Wickedly Creative

Have you ever walked into a happening Halloween party bumping music like Kid Rock or Rebecca Black? Of course not. Party throwers, beware: the right spooky playlist can take a party from yawningly decent to over-the-top spectacular in moments.

But this isn’t just any party we’re talking about – this is Halloween, and your bash needs more than candy and crepe paper to be a hit. There’s a select number of Halloween party do’s and don’ts that all hosts and hostesses should be aware of. Music is critical, but it isn’t everything.

The Family That Plays Together Stays Together

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Many families today might want to spend more quality time together, but it can be difficult to find activities that each family member will enjoy. The baseball fan might not be interested in an upcoming art exhibit, and an art enthusiast might not want to spend all day in a stadium. So, what can families do to come together in a meaningful, interesting way?
Families might want to consider learning musical instruments together. According to a 2009 Gallup poll conducted by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), 85 percent of the Americans who do not play musical instruments wish that they did. And there are plenty of reasons for playing instruments beyond family bonding.
Studies show that babies prefer singing to talking — they pay more attention to mom’s singing than her words. Babies who are sung to sleep also show better development than those who are not. Toddlers enjoy exposure to new songs and singing as part of playtime, and they are never too young to start playing an instrument.
Children who study music develop discipline and the ability to solve problems, communicate and work cooperatively. A Columbia University study revealed that students studying the arts are more cooperative and self-confident, and better able to express ideas. Children develop new skills quickly, too. One study found that kids learning music for just one year increased their ability to memorize information.
These benefits don’t disappear as children grow up. Teenagers report that playing instruments helps them cope with loss, peer pressure and academic stress. Among working adults over age 45, recreational music making has been proven to reduce stress and ease depression.
Buying musical instruments and arranging music lessons can create a common bond between family members and provide memories to last a lifetime.
To find music lessons near you, visit www.wannaplaymusic.com or stop by your local music store.

The Halls are Alive With the Sound of Music

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As students purchase No. 2 pencils and notebooks, parents and teachers might want to think about putting something else on back-to-school lists — musical instruments.

Numerous studies demonstrate that musical education benefits children both in and out of the classroom. One study from Columbia University found that students in the arts are more cooperative with teachers and peers, more self-confident and better able to express their ideas. Students in music programs show higher IQs than their peers, and art programs have been proven to boost critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

A study by Patricia Shehan Campbell, Ph.D., of the University of Washington examined essays by 1,155 teenagers on school music programs. The essays revealed that music gives teens the freedom to be themselves, as well as a creative and emotional outlet.

With music programs being cut across the country, independent organizations are working hard to help students access musical educations. For example, NAMM, the 109-year-old trade association of the international music products industry, has launched the non-profit Wanna Play Fund (www.nammfoundation.org) to support programs and activities that strengthen music education in schools. Endorsed by Mike Huckabee, a bass player and former governor of Arkansas, the Wanna Play Fund uses donations to fund community-based music programs and provide musical instruments to schools.

Another NAMM-sponsored program, SchoolJam USA, encourages teenagers to form bands through a unique, all-teen battle-of-the-bands competition. Amateur bands with members aged 13-19 compete to win prizes and musical instruments for their band, funding for their school music programs and the chance to perform live at the SchoolJam USA Finals in Anaheim, Calif.

The 2010 winner, a band called After Math, won $5,000 for its schools’ music programs, a trophy in the shape of a platinum album and a grand-prize trip to Europe to perform at the international 2010 SchoolJam finals in Frankfurt, Germany. Kids can take this opportunity to form their own bands and get involved in the contest. Teen bands can sign up for the 2011 SchoolJam USA competition after August 2nd, 2010, at www.schooljamusa.com.

Talking Through Teens’ Growing Pains

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Pop culture tells us that teenagers inevitably transform into hungry, rebellious, secretive monsters. But while it is true that teenagers seek autonomy, it’s not impossible for parents to keep the lines of communication open.

It might seem that you and your teenager have nothing in common — you cringe at their music and wince at their choice of clothes. And yet, with a little effort, you can find activities that will allow you to bond with your teenager. The first step? Accepting that your teen doesn’t want to listen to classical music or putter about in the garden.

“Find out what they want to do,” says Karen Deerwester, the author of “The Entitlement-Free Child,” in an interview with SUCCESS Magazine. “It’s not about what you want to do. With teenagers, it’s about getting into their world.”

Find out what your teen likes, then propose activities centered around that interest. A budding actress might want to see a play, while a sports enthusiast would prefer tickets to a game. If your teen likes your idea, let him or her plan out the details, like what play you will see. Teens need to feel that they have a voice in planning activities.

Actually bonding during that activity might be a little more challenging. Turn off the parenting voice, but don’t try too hard to be their friend — teens want to “hang” with their peers, not mom or dad. In fact, it might be a good idea to allow them to bring a friend. That way, teenagers enjoy their friends’ company while also spending time with their parents.

If activities spark discussion, let your teen talk first. Listen to what they say before you respond, and try not to fix their problems for them. Teenagers need to explore their own interests and face the consequences of their decisions, whether they be good or bad. If teens believe that they can’t talk to their parents, they will lie or manipulate to get what they want.

And do accept that teenagers will need time away from you. “We want to spend more time with them than they do with us, and we have to be respectful of that.” says Ann Corwin, a parenting consultant, child-development educator and the creator of “The Child Connection” DVD. “Try not to take it personally.”

To hear from more experts and get ideas for teenager-parent bonding activities, visit www.SUCCESS.com.

Give the Gift of Musical Instruments This Holiday Season

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In this day and age, where gifts are forgotten in favor of the next “new thing” almost as soon as they’re unwrapped, choosing meaningful gifts can prove challenging. Giving a gift of experience, however, will last a lifetime. And few experiences prove more meaningful than a musical education.

The vast majority of people wish that they could play a musical instrument. According to a 2009 Gallup poll conducted by NAMM, the trade association of the international music products industry, 85 percent of the Americans who do not play musical instruments wish that they could.

And no wonder. Not only does music offer a fun personal outlet, but study after study reports its benefits. Infants who are sung to are more content, sleep better and have an overall better sense of well-being than other babies. In schoolchildren, a musical education can improve performance in other areas of study. In one study, children who received one year of musical training demonstrated improved memory. Art programs help children develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Don’t think that music’s benefits diminish with age. Playing an instrument helps adolescents and teenagers cope with peer pressure, substance abuse, academic stress and loss.

Music helps everyone, even boomers over age 45. For workers, playing music reduces stress and helps alleviate depression. For seniors, music improves health and wellness while providing a recreational and social outlet.

So, what’s the best way to give the gift of music to a loved one? NAMM suggests purchasing a musical instrument -; the gift will provide a lifetime of enrichment. Arranging music lessons is another meaningful gift. Consider purchasing a gift certificate for music lessons, either in lieu of or along with a musical instrument. To find music lessons near you, use the Lesson Locator, a database of lesson providers and stores at www.wannaplaymusic.com.

Music Helps Students Excel in School, Life

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – According to the Center on Education policy, No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on reading and math has caused many schools to cut back on other areas, including science, social studies, art, music, gym, lunch and recess. But cutting back on music education may leave students at a disadvantage in reading and math.

Parents should consider music education’s benefits when they help their children choose classes and activities throughout the school year. According to the College Entrance Examination Board, students in music appreciation score on average 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math when they take the SAT. A recent Gallup poll conducted by NAMM, the trade association of the international music products industry, shows that 94 percent of Americans think that learning music boosts children’s overall intellect, while 91 percent believe that it increases on-the-job creativity later in life.

According to NAMM, learning music also teaches social skills, self-reliance, problem-solving, communication and confidence. Music students are less likely to use tobacco, drugs and alcohol, and more likely to enjoy school.

No wonder Michelle Obama is holding music education series at the White House, in which established artists teach aspiring musicians. The Obamas hosted the first series in June, which focused on jazz. The First Lady said that there is “no better example of democracy than a jazz ensemble; individual freedom, but with responsibility to the group.”

Of course, American students need to receive music education not just at the White House, but also in their own schools. SupportMusic.com, a public service led by NAMM and the National Association of Music Education (MENC), encourages parents to advocate for music in schools. To download materials that can help you promote the importance of music in your local schools, visit www.SupportMusic.com.

Helping a child develop an appreciation for music is the first step in creating a lifetime of creativity and enrichment. NAMM and “Making Music” magazine offer the following tips for raising a musical child:

– Expose your child to music every day. Listen to all types of music. Play music at home and in the car.

– Make instruments readily available to children. Leave out old guitars, harmonicas, recorders, tambourines and maracas for easy access.

– Take your time. Music should be fun and entertaining. Pushing too hard could lead to negative attitudes toward music.

To find a music store near you or to find out more about the proven benefits of learning to play an instrument, visit www.wannaplaymusic.com.