Welcome streamers and zoomies to April where Earth day, Latin sounds and Oscar winners are celebrated.
Activism brings truth to power and summer of soul, both loaded with music, coming to screens, big and small, near you. We interview the man behind the sound of Godfather and say farewell to a recording guru.
We listen to best friends singing while enjoying LA Chai. His posthumous album paints America today. His new book talks chairman -at not -of the board.
We look at the challenges and crushed dreams of this popular app and meet a producer turned A&R and more...We have news from studioexpresso community and grateful to you, our readers and sponsors.
Artist's Gateway To The World's Top Music Makers
Work With Award-winning Producers In Legendary Studios
April Doyle & The Velvet Room
Song: Sabor A Mi
Producer: Kevin Flournoy
Orchestra Arranger: Brent Fischer
April and the Velvet Room is the brainchild of April Doyle (right) and producer Kevin Flournoy (middle). The vibe is “classic-neo-jazz-funk.”
Flournoy invited Grammy-winning composer/arranger Brent Fischer (left) to add strings to April's latin-infused romantic classic, Sabor A Mi.

"A special thanks to Kevin Flournoy for the masterful production, JP Castillo for lending his vocals and Brent Fischer for arranging orchestrating & conducting the string section," says Doyle in a face book post.
Video Spotlight of The Month
Delmar, Cali native, April Doyle is keeping LA musicians working during the lock down
An entrepreneur, Doyle founded her company,
Haute Chile Productions in early 2000s. It was launched to bring quality entertainment to corporate events.
She has been involved in musicals, acting, modeling and beauty and event productions.
She executive produced the song and video for Baby Town Music. Listen/watch here on YouTube
studioexpresso @ NAMM feat producers, musicians from its community
Curt Bisquera (Sarah McLachlan, Elton John), Kenny Aronoff (Smashing Pumpkins, John Mellencamp, Sting), Greg Penny (Elton John, KD Lang), Rafa Sardina (Lady Gaga, John Legend), Niko Bolas (Neil Young, LeAnn Rimes), Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hedrix, Kiss), Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More), Cheche Alara (Christina Aguilera), Kim Bullard (Elton John, Kelly Clarkson), Cristina Abaroa (Celine Dion, Enrique Iglasias), Brady Leffler (Hot Chelle Rae, Justin Beieber), Al Schmitt (Diana Krall, Paul McCartney), Alex Acuna (LA Phil, Beck), Teddy Campbell (American idol, The Tonight Show w Leno), Ellis Hall (Ray Charles, Tower of Power), Jacob Armen (Prince), Peter Asher (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt), Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Melody Gardot), Manny Marroquin (Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys), Dave Schiffman (Adele, Limp Bizkit), Gregg Field (Sinatra, Pharell), Sylvia Massy (Tool, Johnny Cash), CJ Vanston (Toto, spinal Tap), Dame Gail Dorsey (David Bowie, Gwen Stefani), Jenny Mason (The Mrs), Neal Pogue (Outkast, Andre 3000), Leland Sklar (Phil Collins, James Taylor), Moogie Canazio (Sergio Mendes, Sarah Vaughan), Laura Dickinson (Frozen II, Lady and the Tramp), Daniel Seeff (KJazz, Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz), James Torme, and Brent Fischer (D'Angelo, Elvis Costello and The Roots).

ATC Monitoring For Film TV Composer Benjamin Zecker
ATC models:
"I’ve got a pair of ATC SCM45s and a pair of the 20ASLs with a sub. I absolutely love them both! For Home Economics, the writing and delivery schedule is usually so tight we don’t have time for a score-mixer, so everything goes straight to the dub-stage from our rigs. I’ve received only compliments about my mixes. I credit that to the immense detail and accuracy of my writing-room 20s, which allow me to confidently shape and balance the music," says Film & TV composer,
Benjamin Zecker of Story Sound Productions.

Bach, Chopin, Debussy and the classics enabled Benjamin Zecker's musical trajectory at first.
Now he is quickly building a reputation in the LA community as one of the most versatile up-and-coming composers & producers on the Film & TV music scene.

Whether contributing Ocean’s 11-style funk cues to Almost Christmas (#1 Comedy in America), aggressive synth & orchestra-driven action music for TAKEN (NBC), epic arrangements for the soundtrack album of Pacific Rim: Uprising, or colorfully orchestrated animation scores à-la John Powell for Sheep & Wolves 2, and Home Economics (by Michael Colton and John Aboud that premiered on ABC on April 7, 2021), Ben's command of music & sound paired with innate storytelling instincts always deliver.
Trans Audio Group -- The Recording Studio Equipment Experts. Call to order from their trusted brands:
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Sunday APRIL 25, 2021
Emmy®-nominated producer Jesse Collins, Oscar®-nominated producer Stacey Sher (Django Unchained-2012 and Erin Brockovich) and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh produced the 93rd Oscars®.
ABC Television Network broadcast in more than 225 countries worldwide.
Elton John's 2021 Virtual Oscar Party

Elton John's 29th annual AIDS Foundation Academy Awards® Pre-Party went virtual this year on Sunday, April 25 and raised $3 million for his Elton John AIDS Foundation
The 60-minute Special hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, included duet performances with GRAMMY® winner Dua Lipa. Lady Gaga spoke on mental health and offered her support for the cause. They join the national goal to end Aids by 2030.
Oscar 2021: A New Look & Feel
Questlove and Jesse Collins'
Refreshing Approach to Producing The Show

2021 Oscars appeared Covid-safe and chill, less strait-laced and more adventurous. Glenn Close did the 'Da Butt' dance, Frances McDormand (won best actress) howled like a wolf, and Tyler Perry was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award on Sunday staged at the Dolby Theatre and the Union Station in Hollywood, LA

The show's producer Jesse Collins (BET Awards, the Super Bowl Halftime show and the Grammys) listed Questlove as musical director and DJ for a second year. With a vast musical knowledge and deep respect for composers, Questlove showed muscle for songs. Since joining the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon for the past 12 years, he has played over 7,000 songs with iconic music guests. He lives and breaths songs. For this year's Oscars, he and his band, The Roots, pre-recorded all the music cues created for the show to go with his live DJ act. His virtual orchestra included bumpers, [lead-ins], plus a lot of original music. The vibe was like a house party which worked with the laid back supper-club atmosphere. In the interest of keeping the show moving, except for a few major awards, film/music clips were noticeably absent from the show.

Look for Questlove's directorial debut, the 2021 Sundance Film Festival documentary Summer of Soul coming to a theater near you in July. it's a joyous chronicle of the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969 — known as “the Black Woodstock.”
Performers include B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples, Hugh Masekela, Mongo Santamaria, Nina Simone, and Sly & the Family Stone, among many others. 300,000 people attended the summer concert series. We're told the footage sat in a basement for 50 years. It has never been seen — until now!

Here's the list of Oscar winners. Congrats everyone!
Soul Got An Oscar

Congrats to composer trio behind Disney-Pixar’s Soul who won the Oscar for best original score Sunday night. It was the first Academy Award for jazz artist Jon Batiste (left), and the second for Nine Inch Nail rock writers-turned-film composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. “You know what's deep is God gave us 12 notes, it's the same 12 note that Duke Ellington had, that Bach had, Nina Simone...” he said quoting French music teacher Nadia Boulanger.
Scoring For TV & Film with Mark Isham

Mark Isham’s collective contributions to the film music community was recognized by the highest honor for a composer by ASCAP, the prestigious Henry Mancini Career Achievement Award for musical excellence. The sought-after composer continues to demonstrate his diverse musical voice in over one-hundred film and TV scores including Eight Below, The Cooler, Blade, Nell, and The Secret Life of Bees resulting in Grammy nominations. Isham has worked with legendary Robert Redford on four features--Quiz Show, A River Runs Through It, Lions for Lambs and The Conspirator. His inimitable musical voice is evident in his memorable scores for award-winning features including the Oscar-winning Crash and A River Runs Through It, along with Golden Globe winning Bobby, and The Black Dahlia. For The Black Dahlia, Isham was awarded “Best Score” by the International Film Music Critics Association.
Last year Mark was asked to open the Cannes 2020 online festival along side fellow composers Alexandre Desplat and John Powell.
Isham’s jazz releases have received critical-acclaim: Blue Sun was included in Downbeat’s “Top 100 Jazz Albums of the Decade;” and The London Times named Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project “Best Jazz Album.″
The Ishams moved from NYC to San Francisco, and by the age 15 Mark was playing in jazz clubs, simultaneously performing with Oakland and San Francisco symphonies.
Isham works on the new TV series, Godfather of Harlem, in its second season. The series explores the collision of the criminal underworld and civil rights in the colorful, tumultuous year of 1964. It tells the story of a syndicate that includes black crime bosses from other major US cities.

studioexpresso met up with Isham in April to learn about the music for Godfather of Harlem, how he picks projects, where he finds musical inspiration and what's the best or worst advise he has received in his illustrious career and more...
SE You were a jazz musician first with some acting and directing stints. How did you get into film/TV soundtrack space?
MI I got into the TV and film space quite a number of years ago. I had made a demo of music for synthesizers and classical Chinese instrument shopping to get a record deal, which I did not get. But that music fell into the hands of a film director who really enjoyed it and wanted to explore using music like it for his film. He tracked me down and offered me the opportunity to demo some music for the film. I demoed and was offered the job for Disney’s film Never Cry Wolf, directed by Carroll Ballard.

SE What do you look for when you decide to take on a project?
MI There are a lot of factors that help me decided whether or not to take on a project. It can be something like Godfather of Harlem or The Nevers that I truly believe in and would enjoy watching myself. Or it can be a job that I simply need, to pay the kid’s school tuition that month.

SE In the new TV series Godfather of Harlem (GOH), is there a main theme? How much work is each show?
MI Godfather of Harlem has several themes, but in television it’s easier sometimes to use motifs–smaller musical statements. Scenes tend to not be so long and the music tends to move more quickly through various emotions than perhaps a single theme would allow. The main Bumpy theme, however, is stated in the opening shot of the very first episode and reoccurs. There are themes for Bumpy’s antagonism with the Italians. There was a theme for Teddy and Stella and various other themes to accentuate different story lines. The themes are arrived at by simply understanding the emotion that you’re trying to convey. In the case of Teddy and Stella, it’s romance but troubled romance. So you want it to be slightly of another world, slightly a bit of fantasy attached to it but also rooted in the time and place. Bumpy’s theme is about his heroism and his rise towards becoming more than what he thinks he can actually be. Each show has anywhere from 20-30 minutes of music and we’re fortunate to have as much as 10 days (sometimes more, but usually less) to produce the music for a given episode. It’s often a quick turnaround.

SE Where do you look for inspiration for each project? For GOH, was it the era (1964), the director notes/requests, or driving characters like Bumpy (played by Forrest Whitaker)? How would you describe the "sound" for GOH?
MI The time and place are definitely an inspiration for the music. Certainly in the case of Godfather of Harlem we try to keep the score rooted in that time period and place but also in the emotion. I don’t feel the score should be a slave simply to the time and place as the emotions in a story like this transcend time and place. Especially in Godfather of Harlem, the emotions are as relevant today, perhaps more relevant today, than even then. So the score has to have a certain ability to transcend time and go directly to one’s heart. The sound has a few instruments from the urban culture of Harlem and from the church –piano, organ, electric bass, electric guitar–but we also rely a lot on chamber orchestra. Chamber string orchestras have long shown to be capable of expressing such great emotion. It’s a small group because the intimacy of this group seems to work so well. It was something we tried in season 1 and was very successful, so we’ve stuck with it for season 2.

SE You have your studio in Calabasas. what's your "go to gear" for writing, editing? Do you get involved in post-production?
MI I work in Logic as my main writing tool. I have large sample libraries that I rely on and use Pro Tools for picture and editing. I usually don’t get directly involved in post-production, if you mean the dubbing stage. We deliver things pretty much fully ready for the dub and seldom to we have to come in and fix anything.
SE Do you record/conduct your music. what's the smallest or the largest ensembles you've done. Do you always use musicians or also work "in the box"?
MI I produce all the music, therefore, I do all the tracks that are “in the box.” We do quite a bit of work that is “in the box.” I produce all the acoustic recording sessions. I’ve worked with orchestras of up to 100 people which is quite exciting. And I’ve also recorded scores for 1 person, run pretty much the entire gamut.

SE You opened the Cannes 2020 online festival. How has the Pandemic era changed the way you play, work? what has been the silver lining from this period?
MI The pandemic has had quite an interesting impact on the business and ultimately I think it will be for the better. We’ve discovered that a lot of things can be done remotely which in a city like Los Angeles saves tremendous amounts of wasted time sitting in a car trying to get around town. It has, however, deprived us from recording musicians all together in the same room, which, of course, is not to anyone’s advantage. It has been sorely missed and will be lovely to get back to that, but has been nice to learn that it can be done under these circumstances and great music can still be produced.The Cannes festival was great fun to do. I worked out and rehearsed my solo show using my studio, my trumpet, pre-records, synthesizers and sequencers to emulate large ensembles around me. Rehearsed it rigorously and performed.

SE Where does the Isham music "source" come from?
MI The Isham music source.....well....that’s hard to say. Perhaps I should just refer to Johannes Brahms who said it’s 99% hard work. I do believe in the spiritual nature of man and creativity comes from that source but the real truth is if you don’t put in the hours, you’re not going to get the product.

SE Anyone you would love to work with that you haven't already or on any special projects-what would it be?
MI I’ve done some work in animation which I really enjoyed. So animation and the Pixar group would be someone I would love to work with.

SE Best and worst advise you've gotten?
MI The best advice I’ve ever gotten was to work hard and keep your eye on your dreams and your goals–plan pathways to get there–and you will eventually arrive where you are striving to be. The worst advice I ever got was as a trumpet player where I was told to stretch my lip out to make a thinner buzzing surface which was a disaster and catastrophe as I completely sprained my lip and had to start all over again. So, a message to trumpet players, don’t ever do that! But just to reiterate the best advice–to dream big dreams, dream as big as you possibly can and work as hard as you can to get there.
L.A. Chai
Burn For You
It's brewing hot and ready to be added to your playlist. “There’s nothing like the Chaí in L.A.”-- is the famous phrase that led to the journey of Andrew Bergthold, using artist moniker L.A. Chai.
The producer and singer-songwriter is based in Nashville, TN via Kansas City, Missouri.
"Until now, my favorite Chai in LA was from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Their chai latté starts with a loose leaf brewed tea spiced up just right amount of cinnamon, cardamom seed, ginger, and clove, and not overpowered by french vanilla," he says.
Kind'a describing his new single called Burn For You. He released his debut album "Holy Water" in 2020. About the song the producer says: "The call to stay true, though there are a million other stars that shine. There is something about the choice to stay that makes this one special. And maybe that’s what love is, after all, the choice to stay."
See if you'll stay and love the song. It may go with your new TV pilot or just relax with a cup O'
LA Chai.
Welcome 2 America

Prince left our planet too soon, on April 21, 2016. You could say he wrote music that was ahead of its time. He penned 1999 back in 1982.
This month his estate announced release of a posthumous album, titled Welcome 2 America.
According to estate advisor Troy Carter, the new songs (all 12) come from his infamous vault "mysteriously archived by Prince" and recorded over a decade ago in 2010.
The single with the same title is streaming now, before the album’s July 30 release.

Prince paints picture of America today-- where privacy, freedoms, truth, media, work, education, faith, and music are all challenged.
His words also touch on the post modern social justice landscape. "It's a powerful creative statement that documents Prince’s concerns, hopes, and visions for a shifting society," says Carter. The music of the first single supports the spoken words and plays like background music with its familiar Prince groove mixed with funk, jazz and synth effects.
Morris Hayes, longtime keyboardist for Prince, told 60 Minutes about the inspiration behind the tracks on Prince's new album. Watch it here
The Deluxe Edition provides a multidimensional and immersive view of Prince’s creative genius during his spontaneous, energetic, and thought-provoking Welcome 2 America.
The word is that the mythical vault of Prince music that exists at Paisley Park will produce “new” Prince albums for many years into the future.
And that's good news for all of us Prince fans and his legacy.
Jimmy Campbell
Ex Norwegian & Friends Sing
Release date: April 2
American lndie-rock/pop artist
Ex Norwegian teamed up with 14 artists from around the world to create the ultimate tribute to the timeless songs of Liverpool's Jimmy Campbell. 
Campbell should be a name recognized along­side the greatest poets and songwriters to ever emerge from England. Gone now but never for­gotten, Jimmy's magic continues to shine around the globe as more and more musicians pick up on his often-vulnerable confessions. Artists such as Joey Ramone, The Black Keys and more recently Angel Olsen have come out as super admirers. Guests on this album include various key movers from the underground power pop and pop-psych world: Joe Kane (The Poppermost), Coke Belda, John Ford (Strawbs), The Elms Estate, Jim Camacho, Rhys Marsh (The Autumn Ghost), Edward Rogers, Mark Johnston, DC Cardwell, John Howard, Cherry Parke, Rome56, Esteban Cisneros and Kevin Robertson (The Vapour Trails) who create an eclectic, inspired and heartfelt record that would certainly make Jimmy break a smile.

Correction from
March eZine

A New Single By Leslie Jordan from Jack Miele Productions...
Jack Miele Productions engineered the horn section for the track "Farther Along", in New Orleans with The 504 Horns. The producer for the album, Travis Howard, completed the rest of the album "Company's Coming" in Nashville, TN.
Thanks to Promotional Manager/Publicist, Brianna Owens for the correction.

Mixer, engineer and studio owner
Bill Schnee (Neil Diamond, Boz Scaggs, the Jacksons, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Art Garfunkel) is known as a legend to Angelino music community. Now he takes the reader inside his famed Schnee studios and sits at the board, in a new book aptly named: Chairman At The Board.
Schnee has been personally nominated eleven times for the Best Engineered Recording Grammy and has won twice for Steely Dan's Aja and Gaucho. Many engineers like Ken Allardyce (Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day) got their start at Schnee studios. After his high school band was dropped by Decca Records, Schnee began his quest to learn everything he could about making records. Part tribute to his mentors, part tutorial, it offers anecdotes and lets us appreciate the work behind good sound. Schnee currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife, Sallie.
Kardinal Offishall Named Senior VP, A&R at UMG
Inks Joint-Venture Deal With Mega-Producer
Harmony Samuels

Universal Music Canada (UMC) announced in April that multi-platinum, award-winning artist and producer Kardinal Offishall has been named Senior Vice President, A&R. Inking a joint-venture deal with British mega-producer Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Maroon 5, Ella Mai) and a yet to-be-announced label imprint (launching later this spring) is just the latest in a series of significant UMC projects overseen by Kardinal.
Offishall became a staple in the international music scene in the late 2000s with features on hit records such as Akon’s “Beautiful”, Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” and his own single “Dangerous” which scorched the Billboard Hot 100 charts and peaked in the Top 5, making him the first rapper from Canada to do so. He participated early on in the careers of Rihanna, Alex Da Kid, T-Pain, Vybz Kartel, Estelle, and Sean Paul, to name a few. He is a cultural and musical ambassador for a new wave of Canadian superstars, working with Drake, K’naan, Daniel Caesar, Boi-1da, and Glenn Lewis.Diversifying his portfolio by adding Executive to the already proven titles of Rapper, Producer and Philanthropist
Motown Records Appoints Alison Finley EVP

New EVP of Motown Records, Allison Finley will remain based in Los Angeles and report to Ethiopia Habtemariam, Chairman and CEO of Motown Records.
In making the announcement, Habtemariam said, “Alison has been a strong advocate for artists throughout her career. Finley said, “I want to thank Sir Lucian and Ethiopia for this tremendous opportunity. I am deeply honored to join the Motown leadership team in overseeing one of the most iconic record labels in the world." Prior to Motown, Finley served as Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at UMG, where she oversaw strategy and negotiations for the company, including for label ventures, recording agreement, label distribution, merchandise, vendors and brand partners, among other areas.An artist advocate, Finley spent much of her career representing artists and began her legal career in private practice in 1998. She joined Davis Shapiro Lewit & Grabel LLP in 2000, rising to senior equity partner at the firm. Finley has represented some of the world’s most prominent recording artists, music producers, songwriters and Fortune 500 companies, including Kanye West, Raekwon, Twista, No ID, 88 Keys and Red Bull Media House.
Concord Music Publishing Signs
Kendell Marvel

Concord Music Publishing announced a new worldwide publishing agreement with award-winning singer-songwriter Kendell Marvel. Effective immediately, it covers future works in development.

Southern Illinois native, Marvel, discovered his passion and talent for country music at a young age. He began playing country cover shows in bars at the age of 10, and as the gigs continued, Marvel moved to Nashville to pursue a career in songwriting. Shortly after arriving in Nashville, he penned Gary Allan’s first Top 5 hit “Right Where I Need to Be.”
Marvel went on to have his songs recorded by country music’s top artists including Chris Stapleton, Blake Shelton, Brothers Osborne, Jake Owen, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Lee Ann Womack, Aaron Watson, and more. As his success as a songwriter grew, Marvel never lost sight of his dream of a solo career. He performed monthly shows called “Kendell Marvel’s Honky Tonk Experience” at Nashville’s Exit/In where he played a mix of original songs and classic country hits and was joined by several notable guests including Cody Jinks, Brothers Osborne, Alison Krauss, Foo Fighters, Randy Houser and Ashley McBryde. “As songwriter and as an artist, Kendell represents the very core of country music. His way of writing about life’s raw truths, heartache and pain, life, love, and having a good dang time, is what it’s all about,” says Brad Kennard, SVP A&R at Concord Music Publishing in Nashville.

During the pandemic Marvel has continued to entertain and connect with audiences
through streamed performances, including his acoustic series Alive at the Bluebird hosted by the legendary Bluebird Cafe. Marvel just announced he will hit the road this summer with fellow country singer-songwriter Brent Cobb for the ‘Country Music For Grown Folks’ Tour.
Universal Music Australia Launches Virgin Music Label

Universal Music Australia (UMA) announced in April the launch of Virgin Music Label And Artist Services in Australia. The news was announced by George Ash, President. Joining the new label is industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and independent talent to include: Timothy Janes Managing Director, Virgin Australia Label and Artists Services. Sam Cross and Ella Symons have both been promoted to the role of Senior Label Manager. Claire Tate moves into the newly created position of Marketing and Audience Manager, whilst Lachlan Duthie joins the team as Label Coordinator. Media and Promotions
photo: Top L-R Timothy Janes, Ella Symons, Sam Cross, Juliette Younger\
Bottom L-R Claire Tate, Jodie Grinsted, Lachlan Duthie

Managers Juliette Younger and Jodie Grinsted complete the Virgin Music Australia Team. The Virgin Music Australia roster features an extraordinary array of international artists and labels including; Aitch, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Mac DeMarco, UK Mercury Prize winner Dave, SG Lewis, Iggy Pop, UK Grime Superstar Digga D, to name a few.
"The art of life is not controlling what happens to us, but using what happens to us."‬
Music Lives & Moves
TikTok Challenges & Crushed Dreams

TikTok became the most downloaded app in 2020, surpassing Facebook. Social media has always been less spontaneous than it appears, but from its inception,TikTok has been even more controlled than competing apps. Company executives help determine which videos go viral, which clips appear on the pages of personalized recommendations, and which trends spill out from the app to flood the rest of the world. It still takes a big media apparatus to propel a new artist to the forefront of the American streaming charts. Take the song “Drivers License,” a sad song about breakup, add a juicy gossip and voila! Disney Channel star Oliva Rodrigo's song is on top of the charts. Sounds like radio, all over again!
Here's a short history of the company. Founder Alex Zhu started Musical.ly, the lip-syncing app that turned into what we now know as TikTok. Zhu’s plan was always to work with the music industry rather than disrupt it. Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. bought Musical.ly in 2017 and evolved TikTok with an injection of artificial intelligence technology and a roughly billion-dollar marketing budget resulting in hundreds of millions of users.
TikTok also connects creators with brands and musicians, which regularly results in paid partnerships. Top users receive weekly emails with instructions on which videos to make to increase their exposure. Take 19-year-old Gabby Murray from Florida with 8.5 million followers, who makes about $20,000 a month on TikTok. How's Twitter and Facebook different? It used to be things trended after lots of people posted about the same thing. The difference of being a platform vs content creator. Now all platforms like Alphabet Inc's YouTube and Facebook's Instagram are following the same trend and paying creators for content. Take the #SavageChallenge named after a dance routine created by Keara Wilson, a 20-year-old TikTok user in Texas. Wilson, is now hired to create similar dances for rapper T-Pain and other stars. TikTok megastars Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and Hailey and Justin Bieber posted videos of the #SavageChallenge to their more than 200 million followers.
Last month Stevie Nicks effectively ended the #DreamsChallenge started by Nathan Apodaca AKA Doggface. His viral video of riding his long board while lip-synching the Fleetwood Mac hit Dreams (WMG catalog) and drinking Ocean Spray got 12.6 million likes. Nathan got a free shiny red truck from the juice company and a response from Stevie Nicks who hopped on TikTok herself and posted a video of her, sitting at a piano, putting on roller skates and singing along, with a bottle of Ocean Spray on the floor. You guessed it. She went viral which helped her song return to the top of charts once more. Wait, it gets even crazier. Apodaca partnered with crypto-focused media company CryptoCake to list the clip on NFT marketplace. But, not so fast. Since he has not been given permission to use the song, Apodaca is planning to move forward with the sale of his clip without the music.
For NFT (non-fungible token) buffs, Nathan's 23-second-long viral video is listing his popular skateboarding TikTok with bids starting at $500,000 (£360,400). He has even offered 50% from proceeds to Nicks and still, no takers.
On the darker side, TikTok’s algorithm usage has alerted governments (including US) with the potential that the app could be used as a Torjan horse for Chinese espionage.
The cat is out of the bag, as they say! And like the lyrics in Dream say: "...You say you want your freedom. Well, who am I to keep you down?" Ah, TikTok challenges and crushed dreams!
TEC Awards Call for Entries Now Open

The TEC Awards Nominating Committee is now accepting entries for the 37th Annual TEC Awards to be staged as part of The 2022 NAMM Show on Saturday, January 22. Eligible products and projects were, or are to be, commercially available in the period July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021. We look forward to celebrating your innovations. submit here
December 18, 1970 - April 9, 2021
New York Rapper/actor DMX, nee Earl Simmons, passed away from an overdoze at 50 on April 9. Signed to Columbia records, the artist dominated the rap scene in the 90s and appeared on records with Jay-Z and LL Cool J. His 'Ruff Ryders'' has gone down in history as one of the greatest hip-hop songs. In July 2020, fans worldwide watched as legends DMX and Snoop Dogg faced off in a Verzuz battle with over 500,000 viewers on Instagram Live. Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash said: “DMX was always really deep, and he always said something funny.
DMX transitioned from rapper to actor in films such as “Belly,” “Cradle 2 the Grave,” “Never Die Alone” and “Romeo Must Die.” "We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX," his family representative.
An intimate service on Sunday, April 25 is planned at a church in New York City followed by a public memorial at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 24. Our sympathy goes to his family (15 children with the youngest 4-year-old son, Exodus mothered by his fiancee Desiree Lindstrom) and friends.
RIP Al Schmitt
April 17, 1930 – April 26, 2021

Al Schmitt was our recording studio father...Godfather, Uncle, Dr. and Audio Guru. His loss is seismic for an industry throughout the world that loves and respects him immensely. For seven decades Al managed to stay on top of the charts mixing, engineering and producing for countless stars --Sir Paul McCartney, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles (Genius Loves Company), Henry Mancini. His first session: Duke Ellington, NY. He received a record number of awards--23 Grammys and a Hollywood Star --right in front of his second home, Captiol Studios in Hollywood where he worked for decades with his faithful shadow, engineer Steve Genewick. Together they worked with iconic producers to include Don Was, David Foster, Andre Fischer and Al's long-time friend and collaborator Tommy LiPuma.
Schmitt partnered with fellow colleagues Chuck Ainlay, Ed Cherney, George Massenburg, Elliot Scheiner, and Frank Filipetti to form Met Alliance -- with the goal to ensure the highest standards of audio production. Along with Cherney, they created the Recording Industry Golf Tournament (RIGT). I'm sure they're looking each other up now in golf heaven. Al lived through loss of many close friends, including Cherney, LiPuma, Phil Ramone, and Bruce Swedien, and to name a few.
His accomplishments as an audio guru was just the icing on the cake. He was an exceptional human being. Al remained humble, accessible and caring for people and all living things. His love for animals and for just causes rang supreme. We all applauded his humor, frankness and moral intelligence.
Last Wednesday Al appeared in a special zoom meet for his birthday celebration with the audio lunch bunch. That was on April 21. Al was always gracious accepting interview or session requests and most encouraging when I launched studioexpresso (one of our first honorary members). It was an honor to know Al and to celebrate his book signing for On The Record (co-authored with Maureen Droney) at Capitol studios with Niko Bolas, Rafa Sardina, Emiko, Lisa Roy, and Paula Salvatore.
As mastering engineer Peter Doell said: "It's amazing to think he's gone way too soon for a 91-year-old...but it's TRUE!!" Al was young at heart and made all of us feel right. He was kind, self actualized and inspiring.
He was the real deal. Like many of you, I will miss him so. Sending love and prayers to the love of his life, wife Lisa, his beloved pets--Rascal, Bijou and Max and the entire Schmitt(y) family, plus his extended family, friends and fans.

Al's love and recordings will continue to live and play. His life is celebrated. And, That's Life!

Tributes are pouring in...among them a beautiful one by Michael Bublé singing Young At Heart.
Al's last post on his fb page (now with nearly 1000 loving messages) on April 25: Diane Krall singing Pick Yourself Up watch it here
Grateful. Godspeed dear Al.

Truth To Power with Serj Tankian
Film documents musician's activism on the 20th anniversary of his classic Rick Rubin-produced album Toxicity
79 minutes
A film by Garin Hovannisian Executive Produced by Joe Berlinger

System of a Down’s classic Rick Rubin-produced album “Toxicity” turns 20 this year. The lead singer, Serj Tankian who looks a little like a young Frank Zappa comes from Armenian decent. Millions fill stadiums across the world for the the Grammy-winning front man of SOAD. As Serj’s star began to rise in the late ‘90s (sold 20 million CDs), his activism intensified. Governments hate him. People love him. And to this day he continues to raise awareness around the Armenian genocide and the impact of corporate greed. His grandparents survived the first Genocide of the 20th century perpetrated by Ottomon Turks. Last month he released the documentary called “Truth To Power” which documents the intersection of Serj’s work as a musician and an activist.
With exclusive interviews, adventures, and original footage personally filmed by Serj, TRUTH TO POWER allows audiences backstage access to an international rock star whose faith in music not only revolutionized heavy metal, but also world events. Throughout his life, the musician has pursued social justice, harnessing the power of his songs and celebrity for real political change. Serj’s voice is equally likely to take on American corporate greed as lambast the corrupt regime of his homeland. His decades-long campaign for formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide was finally approved by Congress last year and recognized by President Joe Biden this month. Set to the propulsions of an original soundtrack composed by Serj, his critically acclaimed solo work, as well as the iconic music of System Of A Down, TRUTH TO POWER is also an artist portrait with a revealing look at the musician as he writes music—from inception to recording—and pursues ambitions outside of the band. It includes memories from legendary producer Rick Rubin on System Of A Down’s early years and its unlikely breakthrough, the bandmates’ candid insights about the splinters and highpoints for the group, and stories from Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello on his bond with Serj as social justice advocates and their “Axis of Justice” nonprofit. Film features new music from the upcoming Serj Tankian EP "Elasticity" on Alchemy Recordings. This month President Biden’s affirmation of the Armenian Genocide marks a critically important moment in the arc of history in defense of human rights.
Available in Virtual Cinemas worldwide now here
Toxicity was recorded at Cello Studios ( current day East West), California. Over thirty songs were recorded, but the band narrowed the number of songs on the album to fourteen. The album was released one week before 9/11, the politically charged and wildly bizarre album provided the perfect soundtrack for a world descending into chaos. It peaked at number one on both the Billboard 200 and sold 220,000 copies in its first week of release on American Recordings (Columbia).
Producer Rick Rubin (above left) is credited to bring the band to mass popularity by billing them opening for Slayer, another American Recording artist. Chop Suey, the first single from Toxicity, is the band's signature song and earned the band its first Grammy nomination in '02 for Best Metal performance. Listen to an interview with Serj Tankian hosted by Rick Ruben on Broken Record here
There's No Place Like Home - Happy Earth Day!
NASA has investigated humanity's impact on a number of our home planet's natural resources and recently explored our impact on freshwater resources (Lake Mead above).
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