Song of the Week 4/16/13

This week’s pick pays homage to one of the numerous musical television shows that are popping up all over the place. It’s “Original” off of the NBC show “Smash.”

The song’s theme focuses on what stars do in order to stand out and be “original.” I find the charm of the song to be in the real life examples mentioned in the lyrics. American Idol season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee’s vocal performance is flawless on top of the catchy beat and piano driven melody of the song.

“Original” is a song written for the show by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The video above is a scene from “Smash” that showcases rehearsal for the fictions musical, “Hit List,” in which this song is featured.

For those who don’t know “Smash” is the story of the road of preparing a musical for broadway. “Smash” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

So it’s that time to push play & listen to a catchy pop song that makes a nod at popular culture.

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Taylor Jayne: A Local Musician’s Path of Passion

On the outside, Mesa native, Taylor Jayne looks like any normal 20-year-old girl, but her story says differently.

Her passion for music transformed into a big dream, one that she is starting to achieve, while her talent and her passion has put her on a path that has created great opportunity.

Jayne’s first memories of inspiration started as a young girl listening to The Beatles and Bob Marley with her dad in the car. This exposure to music would serve as the stepping-stone to Jayne’s love of music.

In eighth grade, Jayne picked up the guitar and instantly feel in love. It also opened up the gates to songwriting.

“I tried to write songs when I was nine, but it’s a lot easier when you have an instrument to play with you,” Jayne said.

It was then that Jayne developed a strong vision of what her future was going to be.

“I always knew I wanted to do something in the art field, whether it be music, visual arts or acting, so I was always prepared for performing and putting myself out there,” Jayne said.

After Jayne graduated high school, she followed what she thought was the normal route.

“It made sense to go to college, that’s what people do,” Jayne said. “I knew that I wanted to do something in music so I figured music for college sounded good.”

So Jayne packed her bags and headed for Columbia College Chicago.

“I was thinking that I’d get out there and be playing gigs all over the place in Chicago, which felt like a good, big city to be playing music,” Jayne said.

However, Jayne’s plans didn’t pan out the way she thought they would.

“I ended up making excuses, like doing my homework, instead and it felt anti-productive somehow,” Jayne said.

When Christmas break came along, Jayne made the decision to stay at home in Mesa rather than return to school in Chicago, stating that she felt like she was avoiding what she was trying to do. Though it was a difficult decision, Jayne’s family has been there to support her in pursuing her dreams.

“I’ve had a very supportive family from the beginning,” Jayne said. “The fact that I am living at home and doing music has been extremely helpful. Right now I am taking the time, while I have it, to just get the ball rolling.

While she only attended college for a semester, it did bring it’s payoffs.

“I’m still glad I went out there though because I met a lot of really cool people can connections I still have now,” Jayne said. “My manager, Dick Joseph, goes to school there and that’s how I met him.”

With the help of Joseph, Jayne now plays about three to four times a week in and around the Tempe area.

“I play a few bars, coffee shops and things like that,” Jayne said. “[They are] small venues but a lot of fun with intimate kinds of crowds.”

To Jayne, playing locally has its charms.

“My favorite thing about playing locally is that  it feels like your fans are your friends too,” Jayne said. “People start to know my songs and it feels very down to earth.”

Jayne said she loves the interactions with her fans.

“It’s really exciting to meet a fan who comes to one of my shows and says ‘hey you know I went to one of your other shows’ or ‘I saw your stuff on YouTube and I wanted to come see you.'” Jayne said.

While the interactions are great, Jayne said that building a fan base is a slow process and not always an easy one.

“It has its ups and downs,” Jayne said. “Some night there is just nobody there, I have to remember to not be discouraged by it. It’s a constant pull on your confidence, but you just keep doing it and hopefully something will come of it.”

As Jayne continues to try to breakthrough a tough industry, she said she must remain true to herself.

“You’ve got a lot of people giving you advice in all different directions about what you should do,” Jayne said. “I think that the biggest thing is reminding yourself that you can say no.”

Jayne said in those situations you have to trust yourself.

“It’s a mind game sometimes,” Jayne said. “If you know deep in your gut, it’s not something you want to do then you got to go with it. You’ve got to be strong and put your foot down.”

As far as goals go, Jayne has set out practical ones for herself.

“As far as music goes, [I want] to be successful enough to keep doing it and be able to get by,” Jayne said. “I want to have enough of a following to go on tour.”

While it’s a hard road to pave, Jayne is determined to stick with it.

“Sometimes it’s a bit of a grind, but if I remember how much I love music, it’s worth it,” Jayne said. “I know that I owe it to myself to go for it and see how far I can take it.”

You can catch Jayne at Pub Rock Live in Phoenix April 12. Jayne will also be going on her first tour this summer opening for Steff Koeppen and The Articles. The tour kicks off on May 23. Details about this tour and all of Jayne’s other performance on her website

Her EP “Day After Rain” is available on iTunes.

Check out the video below to find out some of Jayne’s inspirations, what she writes about and her go to tips for making a music video. You can also catch acoustic performances of some of Jayne’s new songs.

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Introducing…Song of the Week

For those of you who don’t know, Tuesday is a sacred day in the world of new music. It’s the one day a week that new music hits the shelves and digital music stores. So every Tuesday, a song or two (I have a hard time picking favorites) will be crowned song(s) of the week. It could be a new song that I just downloaded or an old song that is being revisited. It could be a pop hit, a country smash, an alternative jam or maybe even a show-stopping show tune. No matter when it is released or what genre it belongs to it will surely be a song that is worth being played on repeat. All you have to do is visit this page every week, push play and listen. Happy listening!

~Shelby Madson

Music News Round Up Week of April 1st

Check out this week’s episode of Music News Round Up for new music and tour news from artists Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Hanson, Big Time Rush and Hunter Hayes.

You can check out more details about the Jonas Brothers at their website.

Demi Lovato’s album artwork and details are talked about here.

More details on Hanson’s new album, single and tour are located on their website.

Check out Big Time Rush’s Summer Break Tour details and see if they are coming to a city near you.

Visit Hunter Hayes’ website for his new single and album details.

R5: Keeping It All In The Family

When it comes to the saying a family who works together, stays together, it seems R5 took it literally.

R5, a band composed of the Lynch siblings, Riker (21), Rydel (19), – the sole girl in the group – Rocky (18), Ross (17) and best friend Ellington Ratliff (19), is a newly signed to Hollywood Records.

Idolator, described their sound well when they wrote, “If you combined the Jonas Brothers with One Direction, with maybe a touch of Hot Chelle Rae (and then added a girl), you’d probably come up with something a little bit like hooky L.A.-based pop-rock band R5.”

Their story starts in 2007 when Riker, then only 16, wanted to move from their home in Littleton, Colo. to California to be an actor.

Their parents Mark and Stormie Lynch then decided to move the whole family, which also includes the youngest boy Ryland (15) to L.A so the family could remain together. Soon after the move, the five children got involved in entertainment.

In late 2009, they met Ratliff, a drummer who rounded out their band, which features Rocky and Ross on guitar, Riker on bass and Rydel on keyboard.

Some may recognize Ross from the Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally,” where he plays overnight internet singing sensation Austin Moon. Riker may also be recognized for his roll on “Glee” as Jeff, a member of the Dalton Academy Warblers.

It was Ross’ role on “Austin & Ally” that led to the bands increased popularity and eventually their recording contract, which came in April of 2012.

The band is currently on their Loud Tour to support their EP “Loud,” which was released in February.

Their tour made a stop at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix on March 17. It was here that the Lynch’s importance of family was most evident. It was not just the four eldest Lynch siblings involved in the band.

Youngest brother, Ryland, is the band’s manager. He was running around the venue setting up equipment, selling merchandise and helping organize the VIP Experience, a ticket upgrade fans can buy which includes a Q&A and photo with the band. Mark Lynch also organized the VIP Experience, sold merchandise and oversaw the whole operation, while Stormie Lynch is the band’s stylists.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about the music and it was evident that the R5 fanbase, appropriately called the R5 Family, enjoyed the show. Their set contained some of the band’s old songs, all of the songs from the band’s new EP and songs from “Austin & Ally.” It also included a mashup of “Thrift Shop” and “Work Out” by Rocky and Ratliff, as well as Rydel’s stunning performance of “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” The show surely wasn’t short on dance moves or sibling banter either. The band’s encore took a while to get started due to some technical problems but the problem did eventually get fixed.

It is apparent that even though the band is new to the recording industry, they are not short on confidence. They all looked comfortable on stage and interacted with the fans.

Each member brings something to the table. Rydel, the mother of the group, keeps the boys in line and serves as a fashion icon for the fans – judging by the numerous tutu’s in the audience. Rocky brings his songwriting ability, Ratliff brings the charisma and the jokes, while Riker brings the leadership and helps with the songwriting. Ross brings the confidence needed in a frontman. This combined with their musical talents and chemistry is what makes the band work.

On top of this, they showed kindness to their dedicated fans. Before the show, they greeted and took pictures with the fans who showed up early and were waiting outside. During the Q&A, a 10-year-old girl asked Ross if she could play his guitar. He immediately helped her put in on and the whole band cheered when she played the cords to their single “Loud,” even stopping to make sure they got a picture of her.

The band also stayed after the concert to sign autographs and talk with audience members who stayed and left fans smiling as they left the venue.

The Loud Tour continues through the middle of May. Tickets and VIP upgrades are available on the band’s website. You can also purchase R5’s EP “Loud” on iTunes.

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10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2013

With a new year, comes new music and 2013 has started off with some big music news such as the announcement of a new David Bowie album and Justin Timberlake’s return to his music career. From the likes of those two announcements alone, 2013 is likely to be a good year for music. However it’s more than just Timberlake and Bowie releasing new music, it’s only January and there is already a slew of artists announcing new albums.

10) The Wanted: “Third Strike” – March

The British/Irish boy band behind the smash hit “Glad You Came” will return this year with their first full length album here in the States and third elsewhere in world. The release date was originally set for December of 2012, but the band announced late last year that they pushed it back to March, stating they didn’t want to rush the process. The album will contain the band’s current single “I Found You.” Last April, the band put out “The Wanted EP” as their debut release in the U.S. and Canada. The EP debuted at number 7 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Recently, American Top 40 named their song “Glad You Came” the number 1 song of 2012. 

While The Wanted haven’t released an exact release date for the album, they say it will be released in March of this year. Until then you can purchase the band’s current single “I Found You” on iTunes.

*Note: The Parental Advisory is due to a fighting scene. There is no blood or gore involved.

9) Backstreet Boys: “Untitled 7th Studio Album” – TBA

This past summer on “Good Morning America,” the Backstreet Boys announced  that Kevin Richardson, who left the band in 2006, was rejoining the band. On top of that, they would also be releasing an album this year on. It has been four years since the Backstreet Boy’s last release “This Is Us,” and 8 years since Kevin’s last album with the group.

8) Vampire Weekend: “Untitled 3rd Studio Album” – May 7

This album is the follow up to the 2010 Grammy nominated “Cobra.” In interviews, the band has called their new album “dark” and “organic.”  Coachella released this years line up on Jan. 24 and Vampire Weekend will hit the stage on Sunday April, 14.

7) Lady Antebellum: “Untitled 4th Studio Album” – Spring

On Jan. 22, “Entertainment Weekly” premiered Lady Antebellum’s new single “Downtown,” from their new album due sometime this spring. The track shows off the band’s fun side as Hillary Scott reminisces about the times her and her partner used to go downtown on Saturday nights and questions why he doesn’t take her anymore. It contains fun, playful lyrics such as, “I got a dress that’ll show a little uh uh/ but you ain’t getting uh uh if you don’t come pick me up.” Lady Antebellum will perform the song for the first time on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Jan. 28 and again on “The View” on Feb. 6. The track will be available for download on Feb. 5.

6) New Kids On The Block: “10” – April 2

The New Kids On The Block made multiple announcements Jan. 22 on “The View.” They finished their album “10,” which will hit shelves April 2, their new single will be available to purchase on Jan. 28 and this summer they will hit the road for The Package Tour, with opening acts 98 Degrees and Boys II Men. Their single “Remix (I Like The) premiere Thursday night on “On Air With Ryan Seacrest.” So many of their fans flocked to the page that it caused the site to crash. If that’s any indication their new album may fly off the shelves in April.

5) Brad Paisley: “Wheelhouse” – April 9

Paisley announced the title and release date of  his upcoming 9th studio album Jan. 9 on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The album entitled “Wheelhouse” marks the first album Paisley has solely produced and he did so in his own home. “Wheelhouse” will include Paisley’s current single “Southern Comfort Zone,” which peaked at number 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. While on Kimmel’s show, Paisley explained the album is all about stepping out of his comfort zone and try many new things with the record. 

4) A Rocket To The Moon: “Wild & Free” – March 26

A Rocket To The Moon’s fan base has been waiting for new music since the band’s 2009 debut album “On Your Side.” The band released a new single, “Whole Lotta You,” last summer. The single displayed the band’s new sound, which strayed away from the pop rock sound of their debut album and added a laid back, southern twang element. The band then released a 4 track EP entitled “That Old Feeling,” in August, which contain 3 more songs with the similar laid back style. The band’s lead singer Nick Santino did an interview with “Pure Volume” where he discusses the new sound and the new album, stating the sound just evolved on its own. The band continued to add more hype to their new album when they released another single “Ever Enough” in November,  which shows a softer side to the group and a song that Santino said was the deepest he had ever written.

3) Tim McGraw: “Two Lanes of Freedom” – Feb. 5

“Two Lanes of Freedom” will mark McGraw’s first album with Big Machine Records. McGraw left his previous label, Curb Records, this summer. The accelerated deluxe version of the album is avaliable for preorder on iTunes. It shows the album’s 15 song track list, including a song entitled “Highway Don’t Care,” which features fellow country super stars Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. On Jan. 26 Billboard premiered the album’s title track and talked with McGraw about the album. McGraw’s current single “One Of Those Nights” currently sits at number 9 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

2) David Bowie: “The Next Day” – March 12

Earlier this month David Bowie released a new single, “Where Are We Now” and announced his new album “The Next Day,” which is scheduled for release in March. It’s been a decade since Bowie has put out new music. The two year process of making the album was kept heavily under wraps leaving many people in awe when news of a new album for the once very prominent rock star. “The Guardian” released a feature piece about the making of Bowie’s new album and how he managed to keep it a secret. The deluxe version of the album is available for preorder on iTunes and showcases the 17 song track list.

1) Justin Timberlake: “The 20/20 Experience” – March 19

Justin Timberlake started off the new year by teasing his fans with a countdown clock and a video explaining that he was ready to release new music. On Jan. 14 Timberlake released a single, “Suit and Tie,” for the first time since the release of his sophomore album in 2006. The single featuring Jay Z sold 314,000 copies in its first week. The latest news reveals that rapper T.I. will make an appearance on the album. Timberlake has recently been filming a video for his new single and the “L.A. Times” describes it as Timberlake cruising around L.A. The sound of the new single seems to fall not far from where Timberlake left off on his sophomore album but time will tell whether new material will display a different side to the singer.