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RSLL 011 | Interview with Patti LaBelle: Voice Care for Singers

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Today’s Rock Star Life Lessons podcast features my vintage interview with the one, the only Patti LaBelle on the topic of voice care for singers. How awesome it was to hear how this amazing songstress takes care of her voice!

Widely regarded as the queen of rock & soul music, Ms LaBelle has received acclaim for many of her songs, including “Lady Marmalade,” “When You Talk About Love,” and “New Attitude.” She began her career as part of the Ordettes in 1959, who became The Bluebelles in 1961. Her success as a solo artist started in 1983 when she released her hit album I’m in Love Again. And she’s still doing her thing!

Listen and learn from a Living Legend!

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Working the Red Carpet at The Grammys ~ Guest Post by Marissa Zaenger

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Remember the former intern Marissa Zaenger who wrote a kick ass guest blog last year during the release of Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter?? Well, she done graduated from Belmont University with her Music Biz degree, and she’s taking on the world! During her most recent adventure, Marissa worked the red carpet during the recent Grammy Music Awards. I asked her to blog about her experience, and she did! I am so proud of her!

Marissa Z at The Grammys 250px
Marissa Z at Grammys 2012

Some artists may have prepared themselves for the Grammys on Sunday with an early morning workout, a choice between a few dazzling outfits, perhaps a satisfying brunch on a hotel balcony. They likely endured a whirlwind preparation for all of the photos, press, and performances that they were about to face.

Well, I didn’t do any of those things. And neither did anyone else working the red carpet that day. (Okay, maybe some people worked out, but probably not the ones that had been there since 7am. Unless they’re weird.)

As the artists planned their arrivals at the front of the carpet for the biggest night of the music biz, I hustled down the back end, dressed completely in black (as was the protocol) and flashing my credential at various security guards. My role for the day was to serve as an escort to any artists I got paired with, and help them navigate the congested red carpet lined with every major TV, radio, and internet outlet imaginable. I’d basically help the publicists secure interviews. After they were satisfied, I had to drop the artists off at the photo area at the end. Not too hard, right?

I was pretty confident that I had it in the bag, since this was my second time doing the escort job with Rogers and Cowan, the PR firm responsible for the event. I met up with the other escorts in the holding area near the front of the carpet at around 11am, and coolly waited for the carpet to officially open so I could get my groove on.

The routine goes like this: you wait in line patiently, then make your way to the artist when it’s your turn to get paired up. You introduce yourself, ask their name, and check to see if the publicist has any specific outlets in mind that they’d like to hit. You take them down the line and ask the outlet reps if they’d like to interview your artist. It can be a bit of a process, so you try to be pleasant and make small talk. When they go on camera, you hit up other outlets to get whatever you can. After it’s all said and done, you take the artist to the photo area with the white background, mass of photographers, and screaming fans. You smile and say that it was a pleasure to walk them. If they’re nominated, you should probably wish them good luck.Or something. Basically, you try to be as professional and kind as possible. And then, you go out the back and head around to the front. Rinse and repeat.

No, you don’t get to pick who you walk with, sadly. Sometimes starstruck escorts (we’re usually young people, give us a break) try to make deals so they can get who they want. But I’ve known a couple of girls who ended up getting to escort some of their favorite stars. It could work out!

You know how they say famous people like showing up late? It’s definitely true. The carpet is open from noon-4:15, and most of the big names don’t start coming until at least 3:30. As 3pm approaches, we escorts are reminded that it’s about to get crazy, which means that we need to be lined up and ready for action as the stars pour in. And it did start getting a little wild – Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Fergie, and Rihanna probably arrived within the same 20-minute time frame. At that point in the day, the carpet was so full of people that I was probably more concentrated on not stepping on Katy Perry’s dress train than anything!

I think the coolest artist I escorted was the Diplo/Skrillex/A-Trak combo. They’re taking the whole “EDM” (electronic dance music) movement to a new level, and they’re championing a whole new model of DIY that’s got the labels talking. They’re pretty powerful DJs, but they’re also nice, down-to-earth guys. Skrillex is a hugger, FYI. All in all, they got a ton of interviews, Skrillex won 3 Grammys, and I unintentionally scored a free Billboard mag (which they were on the cover of). Winning!

You couldn’t really tell a difference in mood on the carpet in regards to Whitney’s death, but most artists that did interviews were asked about it at one point or another. Even the ones that probably never met her, haha — like this video:

(hint: I’m in that video on the right hand side for a little bit!)

When the carpet closed, the escorts were pretty much free to go. I wished that it meant I could get in free to see the show, but alas, this was not the case. (Shouldn’t it be, though? I mean, come on. I was on my feet for like, 5 hours!) I did manage to sneak in last time, but this time around, I decided I’d rather head back to my friend’s apartment, wind down, and just read up on it in the morning. At least I got to keep the badge!

So you might be thinking: why do this if you don’t get anything back? Good question. But if you think about it, getting anywhere in the work world is kind of like that. You do get stuff back..just not right away. If you’re an aspiring musician, it’s especially so. How many times do you have to give away your song for free before enough people have listened to it and want to buy more? If you’re signed, how many albums do you have to sell before you’re allowed to make a dime? Answer: quite a lot, actually.

I like to volunteer at events in the hopes that I can meet cool people and show them that I’m willing to work. Get my face out there, ya know? Anything helps! People need to trust you before they hire you. And your fans need to trust you before they give you their money. It’s pretty much the same deal. So if you’re like me, trying to get somewhere in this crazy industry, whether as an artist or a “suit,” get out there and work for free! If all else least you get a few fun stories and a rad collection of badges. To show off, obviously.

Marissa Zaenger is a recent Music Industry graduate of Belmont University, who amazes me regularly with her skills. She has great written and communication skills, and is a joy to work with. Follow Marissa at @MarissaMagic Better yet, hire her!

RSLL 010 | Interview with Kelly Rowland: How to Perform Live

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You may be familiar with Kelly Rowland as one of the founding members of the R&B girl group Destiny’s Child, one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. At the time of this vintage interview, Kelly was still in Destiny’s Child, and shared her live performance tips and experiences.

Rowland began her solo career in 2002 with the release of her debut album Simply Deep. Following the group’s disbandment in 2005, Rowland released her second solo album, Ms. Kelly in 2007. In 2009, Rowland scored her second number-one hit with French DJ David Guetta on his single, “When Love Takes Over”. The song resulted into their 2010 joint single “Commander”. In 2011, Rowland’s single “Motivation” featuring Lil Wayne reached number-one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.

Apart from her work in music, Rowland has also launched a career in film and television. In 2011, Rowland joined the judging panel on the eighth series of the British reality television competition The X Factor.


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RSLL 009 | Interview with Eve: How to Hustle and Win

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Today’s Rock Star Life Lessons podcast is my vintage interview with rapper, songwriter, record producer and actress, EVE, on how she built her career from her early days in Philly.

Eve’s first three albums have sold over 8 million copies worldwide. She has also achieved success in fashion with her clothing line, Fetish. She is the inaugural winner of the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002 for the song “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”, with Gwen Stefani. Eve was number 48 on VH1’s “50 Greatest Women Of The Video Era” list.

As an actress, Eve is best known for her roles as Terri Jones in the films Barbershop and Barbershop 2: Back in Business, and as Shelley Williams on the UPN television sitcom Eve.


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Whitney Houston RIP

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Another talent lost to us, Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48.

Whitney Houston’s voice and presence will not be soon forgotten. While I hadn’t originally considered her one of my musical influences, I now remember spending many hours singing along with Whitney’s debut album when it came out (on vinyl – yes, I’m dating myself ;-)) Night after night, after my parents had gone to bed, I’d belt her songs into a hairbrush in the family room. Whitney’s voice then had power, range, and emotion, and learning from her records was one way I learned to sing before I began formal voice lessons. And her music was the soundtrack of many life experiences, so she was like a big sister, always there.

Here’s a video of “The Greatest Love of All” performed by Whitney Houston, the song that introduced many of us to that voice.

RSLL 008 | Interview with Vince Romanelli: Using Social Media to Get Sponsorship

Posted in A Day in the Life, Musician's Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter, RSLL Podcast | No Comments »

In this episode of the Rock Star Life Lessons podcast, Carla Lynne Hall and Ariel Hyatt are at TAXI’s Road Rally talking to musician Vince Romanelli. Vince shares how he was able to get a sponsorship from Sonic Burgers by using Twitter.

Ariel and I had a great time hanging out with Vince and his buddy DJ Philips at TAXI that weekend. They are fun guys, and by the time the conference was over, we felt like we had known them forever!

Get more social media tips in Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter, written by Ariel Hyatt and Carla Lynne Hall

You can also see the video version of this podcast on Ariel Hyatt’s Sound Advice TV YouTube Channel


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RSLL 007 |Social Media Content for Musicians with Ariel Hyatt and Carla Lynne Hall

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In this episode of the Rock Star Life Lessons podcast, Carla Lynne Hall and Ariel Hyatt talk about Hyatt’s “Musician’s Social Media Pyramid”, which is a great guide to creating killer content. Learn more tips in The Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter, written by Ariel Hyatt and Carla Lynne Hall

You can also see the video version of this podcast on Ariel Hyatt’s Sound Advice TV YouTube Channel


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