from: Mark Towne
to: Lior Shamir
date: Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM
subject: BAD GIRLS CLUB (Season 6) / Songs Used / Vices I Admire
After winning We Are Listening’s Breaking the Band contest our music was exposed to a diverse, large audience of independent radio lovers. Our web traffic skyrocketed and we made our first appearance on the CMJ radio charts. Months later we landed a placement on the Oxygen Network’s The Bad Girls Club through the contacts we made from We Are Listening. As an independent artist in today’s market every little bit helps and We Are Listening has given us a big push!
In 2007, Detroit-based rock act, Schaeffer, were selected as the winners of Breaking the Band 1, our international band competition. As part of their prize package, they embraced the opportunity to work with We Are Listening’s TV and radio guru, Jon Delange.
Jon, who continues to mentor the band to this day, helped them achieve national awareness, first at radio and then with television networks by scoring placements in their original programming. Annually, they have preformed during Austin’s SXSW event.
Eventually, the group emerged as America’s favorite in the FreeCreditScore.com band search which began with a shortlist of more than 100 hopefuls showcasing nationwide.
Now, The Victorious Secrets, the band’s new alias, are engaged in a $30 million advertising campaign.
As the new face of FreeCreditScore.com, they will be featured in a series of television commercials slated to debut during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards next month. They will also receive a $10,000 check, a Gibson Guitar prize package and Pearl drum kits, and a studio session with the music industry’s best of breed. They will also walk the red carpet at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards and have the opportunity to perform on the 2010 VMA Tour.
Here are The Victorious Secrets, in all their glory:
Washington DC alt-rock act, Honor By August, were selected as the winners of Breaking the Band 7.
“Now widely considered one of the most promising new talents on the East Coast,” (Washington Post) Honor By August makes music characterized by “distinctive, inviting vocals and anthemic, reverb-drenched guitars” (MetroMusicScene.com) and built on “award-winning songwriting, strong vocals, catchy melodies, and dynamic live performance” (Jenni Chase, Washington’s Z104/OnTap Magazine).
From arena shows at the Verizon Center, McDonough Arena and Innsbrook Pavilion, to headlining multiple shows at the 9:30 Club (DC), Bowery Ballroom (NYC), Blender Theater (NYC), Knitting Factory main stage (NYC), Viper Room (LA), Ram’s Head Live (MD), Toad’s Place (VA), Middle East main stage (MA), Cain’s Ballroom (OK), House of Blues Cleveland (OH) and many others across the country, Honor By August are turning heads, cultivating a loyal following and producing the kind of buzz every independent artist aspires to seed.
Breaking the Band 3 from We Are Listening bolstered the unquestionable radio potential of one of Canada’s finest independent acts: Hello Operator. Already a disruptive force in and out of the US music market, the rock à la mode group won Breaking the Band and reaped the ‘career-breaking’ rewards. After a three month engagement with Tinderbox Music courtesy of We Are Listening, Hello Operator became the only self-released act breaking into CMJ’s Top 100, pilfering airplay from heavy hitters such as Snow Patrol, Kings of Leon and Keane. That, coupled with six network television placements, secured Hello Operator’s pole position on the indie circuit. Songs from the group’s most recent EP, “The Breaks”, can be heard on MTV’s “The City”, “The Real World”, and “Parental Control”, E!TV’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, Oxygen’s “Bad Girls Club”, and Lifetime Television’s “Models of the Runway”.
After much deliberation, endless bickering and a potential injunction sparked by a fist fight between two panelists (one of which has since left our party to devote his twilight to bohemianism), a winner has been selected from the efficacious six finalists and the name is Streetlab. Not your ordinary detergent, Streelab’s sheen is brighter than its rivals, and most certainly a serendipitous discovery in an event like Breaking the Band. Armed with retro-rock-gressive samples and rubber gloves, the electro-duo have been cleaning house with filthy remixes that will make any alpha male put the toilet seat down. Daz rite. New York City has a new Sherriff in town with an NYSound. Ladies and paperweights, Streetlab, ay?
Anyone who has randomly surfed through YouTube has eventually landed on a video of a teen guitar virtuoso with millions of accrued views. Search a little further and a vast world of amateur instructional guitar ‘how-to’ clips will reveal themselves with tantamount popularity. Guitar is a massive interest category on YouTube and, with it, a traditionally unrepresented musical niche has emerged to the fore: Guitar Virtuosos. Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Nuno Bettencourt, and alike, were popular long before YouTube unveiled itself as the premier video portal, however, a new breed of guitarists have caught the attention of the dotcom generation with unique styles that, until now, experienced only nook-and-cranny exposure.
Enter CandyRat Records, the most visible alternative acoustic guitar label on YouTube – or anywhere, for that matter. The boutique-sized label, founded by Rob Poland, has capitulated extraordinary guitarists through a series of low-budget video clips of their music, the most successful of which include some form of tapping, odd tuning, or any other unconventional manner of playing their instrument. Although CandyRat represents a whole slew of talented guitarists and singer/songwriters, the company’s most notorious roster of YouTube maestros includes the likes of Erik Mongrain, Antoine Dufour, and, of course, Andy McKee, who has garnered just under 20 million views for his video performance of “Drifting“, an original composition, and over 8 million views for an innovative version of “Africa” by Toto. And then there’s Don Ross.
Don Ross was Rob Poland’s first signing, even though Don remained contractually independent. In 2005, Don released an album through CandyRat which marked the label’s investiture as an acoustic aficionado. In a recent communication with Jill Katona of Paperwork Media, Don’s booking agent and Andy McKee’s former rep, I learned that it was Don who brought Andy to Poland’s attention, who later signed him and released two of his CDs under CandyRat. Old friends, Don Ross and Andy McKee collaborated for the label and enjoyed mutual exposure online. However, it was McKee’s video performance of “Drifting” that truly put CandyRat on the map and significant offshoot traffic in Don’s direction, as well as the other artists on the label’s growing roster.
Don Ross and Andy McKee’s styles are comparable. The two masters of their trade govern the art of percussive, finger-picking, neck-hammering guitar techniques which make their solo guitar compositions sound as if there are multiple instruments omnipresent. Considering Don Ross’ lengthy tenure as an acoustic guitar performer, I can only assume that he is one of the pioneers of this style – he has certainly become renowned for it.
Don is currently on tour with Brooke Miller, a 2007 finalist in We Are Listening’s Breaking the Band, and their aggregate talent should make for an excellent series of live show.
Hello Operator, recent winners of Breaking the Band, were called a “newsmaker” in Macleans magazine, and listed as “one of 12 bands to watch out for” by Canoe.ca. Their video for Chasing Satellites has been in regular rotation on Much Music and Much Loud since November 2007 and the band has been on “Much On Demand”, “Going Coastal” and “Much News”. Hello Operator have appeared and performed on MTV Live, were showcased on E-Talk Daily and have toured with Faber Drive, Hilary Duff, Ill Scarlet, Switchfoot, Simple Plan, Hedley, Thornley, Loverboy, and many more. The London Free Press called Hello Operator a “guaranteed breakthrough rock act” and now, after headlining club dates across Canada, more stadium shows with Duff, and several U.S. tours behind them, the band has just released a new 6-song EP, called The Breaks. The new material offers escapist pop jangle tempered by a moody new-wave pulse. Not only is it a progression from the quirky Cars/ Costello vibe of the first Hello Operator EP (produced by Arnold Lanni), but is also the result of many hours spent in the studio, where Mike Condo and Evan Huson experimented with taking a new approach to their songs. The Breaks (co-produced by Mike Condo and
Dom Condo) shows the evolution of Hello Operator from Mike’s original work to collaboration between Mike, Evan and a full live band. VIEW Magazine calls it “a mature, expansive set of fun, playful songs.”
We Are Listening currently accepts entries for three international song contests: The Singer/Songwriter Awards, Lyric Writer Awards, and World of Music Awards.
The Singer/Songwriter Awards is a song contest for songwriters writing original material with English-language lyrics in any genre. The songs may be the product of more than one songwriter and winners have a choice of six song contest prizes, including a trip to London to record the winning song. Participants are not required to be the performing artist on the recorded submission.
The Lyric Writer Awards is an English-language, lyrics-only song contest in any genre. The lyrics may be the product of more than one lyricist and winners enjoy professional publishing opportunities in the US market.
The World of Music Awards is a world music genre song contest. The songs are not required to contain words and, those that do, may be recorded and submitted in any language. All entries may be the product of a songwriting team and, like The Singer/Songwriter Awards song contest, participants are not required to be the performing artist on the recorded submission. Winners receive a fully-financed trip to world music festival, WOMEX, accompanied by one of We Are Listening’s music industry veterans.
We Are Listening also provides songwriters and performing artists with an assessment service as well as a special performance-oriented contest called Breaking the Band. All of this and more on We Are Listening’s music contest page.