Photo: Hunter Paye
GLASYS meets T-Pain: Why social media is the new A&R
The connective power of the internet is breaking down barriers to new artist discovery and bringing GRAMMY-winning artists in ever closer contact with young talent on the edge of stardom
The internet is a strange and fascinating place.
The likelihood of an encounter with a celebrity — especially an anonymous encounter — has become several orders of magnitude more likely for the average citizen. Furthermore, the opportunities offered by decentralized platforms such as YouTube and SoundCloud mean that the chances of a young artist's discovery by one of their idols have likewise increased immeasurably.
Take the case of Gil Assayas, a Portland, Ore.-based vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Performing under the stage name GLASYS since late 2016, Assayas has built a strong hometown following, earned endorsements and recognition from major instrument manufacturers such as Dave Smith Instruments and Nord Keyboards, and built a successful YouTube presence.
After he was approached by software company Polyverse Music to create a demo video for a new vocal processor, Assayas posted the video to his YouTube channel, and then to the popular content aggregator site Reddit.com. Within 24 hours of posting the video, the top comment on Assayas' post was a word of praise from none other than two-time GRAMMY winner T-Pain.
"At first I was skeptical that it was really him, but other Reddit users confirmed it," says Assayas. "I was really excited by his comment. … You don't see many artists of his caliber browse a site like Reddit, respond to fans and share their posts on his social media accounts."
Assayas and T-Pain have continued to communicate via Twitter, with several other artists chiming to wish the young keyboard player well and praise his talents.
Assayas' experience adds to a growing list of young performers who have been discovered online or had their careers amplified through social media support by GRAMMY winners.
Atlanta-based R&B singers Chloe x Halle experienced a similarly life-changing moment in 2014 when their cover of Beyoncé's "Pretty Hurts" was shared by the 22-time GRAMMY winner via her Facebook page.
The young sisters' video quickly racked up some 12 million views, and less than a year later Beyoncé signed the duo to her new management company, Parkwood Entertainment. Since linking up with Queen Bey, Chloe x Halle have traveled the world as the opening act on the European leg of her Formation World Tour, released their debut EP, Sugar Symphony, and collaborated with Bey on her Best Urban Contemporary Album GRAMMY-winning LP, Lemonade.
Canada's Maria Aragon had her first brush with super-stardom at just 10 years old, when she posted a video of herself covering Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" to her sister's YouTube channel. The video was initially discovered by gossip blogger Perez Hilton, who sent it to the six-time GRAMMY winner and her team. After retweeting the video to her own massive fanbase, the Fame Monster further shocked the young singer by calling into a local radio show hosting Aragon for an interview.
After the two connected, Aragon was invited to join Gaga for several duet performances of "Born This Way," including the Toronto tour date of her 2011 Monster Ball Tour. Aragon was later signed to a major label and continues to release music.
The original videos for "What You Need," "Loft Music" and "The Morning" that The Weeknd — aka Abel Makkonen Tesfaye — uploaded back in 2010 have since been taken down, but their impact remains.
After stumbling across three demo tracks The Weeknd uploaded to YouTube, Drake quickly posted all three to his OVO Blog with the simple preface, "Introducing The Weeknd." Thereafter, Drake took to Twitter to promote the singer, and rumors began to swirl of a possible signing to the rapper's OVO Label.
Following their meeting, The Weekend contributed five songs as a writer or featured artist on Drake's multiplatinum and 2012 Best Rap Album GRAMMY-winning album Take Care. Thereafter, The Weekend made his presence further known as an internationally famous solo recording artist, winning two GRAMMYs at the 58th GRAMMY Awards for Best R&B Performance for "Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)" and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Beauty Behind The Madness.
So what do these stories of other artists' past successes mean for a performer like GLASYS? Only time will tell. If history is any indication, a chance online encounter with a supportive artist can easily be the spark that ignites a huge career when all parties involved are willing to go the distance.
Universal language: Why humans need music
Learn why music is truly a common language that is key to human development and evolution
There's no doubt music finds a way into nearly every moment of our daily lives, whether it's marking milestones such as a first dance at a wedding, the soundtrack to our favorite movie or singing in the shower for fun. In fact, it's hard to imagine times when we are more than an ear-length away from hearing another song.
But why does music mean so much to us? A powerful form of communication that transcends all barriers — music is our common language, but why?
A composer and educator with a lifelong fascination for music, Adam Ockelford has traced our connection with music back to infants and caregivers. Infants are unable to follow words, but they are developmentally primed to trace patterns in sound, such as through the songs a caretaker sings to them. Therefore, understanding music is intuitive for humans, even at a very young age, and it encourages healthy development.
In addition, there may be another evolutionary purpose for music. Music provides a sense of sameness between humans — if you can copy the sounds someone else makes, you must be an ally. This synergy plays a role in human survival because it evokes empathy and understanding, a lesson we still learn from music in today's culture.
"Music is central to the notion of what it is to be human, and spans cultures, continents and centuries," writes Ockelford. "My music, your music, our music can bind us together as families, as tribes and as societies in a way that nothing else can."
Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images
Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show
Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion
There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.
The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.
This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.
"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."
Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.
Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes
GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program
On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.
Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.
"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."
The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.
"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."
Photo: Jason LaVeris/Getty Images
Mixcloud Signs Warner Music For Subscriptions Remix
There is more to the Mixcloud difference than just electronic dance music, and now the listening service has signed its first major label deal
Among the 1 million curators who have helped build British-based listening service Mixcloud into a destination visited by 17 million listeners each month are GRAMMY winners Erykah Badu, David Byrne, and Tiësto. Limited to streaming-only since its founding in 2008, Mixcloud announced a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music Group this morning, opening the door to offering downloads and new kinds of subscriptions.
Perhaps the standout statistic that describes the Mixcloud difference is that the average length of its user-uploaded programs is 45 minutes. Within the service's general emphasis on DJing, EDM and remix culture, the tendency to drill down and explore narrower listening topics in depth distinguishes the service from competitors such as Spotify or SoundCloud.
Warner Music Group Executive VP for Business Development & Chief Digital Officer Ole Obermann said, "Mixcloud's success is driven by the curiosity and passion of its community, as they engage with new music and rediscover timeless older songs."
Being able to listen to downloads offline seems a natural follow-up to direct licensing deals, but the service hints there's more in store. Mixcloud still hopes to sign indies and the other majors, as its fans have speculated. And with its own proprietary Content ID in place and established relationships with royalty collecting societies, the company has the tech infrastructure to explore new monetization strategies, paying artists and curators in new ways. Launching a new business model for its upcoming approach to paid content and subscriptions is a remix many are anticipating. Not knowing what to expect is part of the excitement.