‘Shake The World’: Robin McAuley Discusses Monster New Project, Black Swan

Photo by: Enzo Mazzeo

Tracked at bassist/producer Jeff Pilson’s home studio in Los Angeles, “Shake The World” is the debut album by Black Swan. A sonic slice of melodic hard rock/metal that showcases some of the most iconic names in the business.

In addition to Pilson (Foreigner, The End Machine, ex-Dokken), the band also features vocalist Robin McAuley (McAuley Schenker Group), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake) and drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big).

From the anthemic growl of the epic title track and “Immortal Souls” to more more meaningful and personal songs like “Johnny Came Marching,” Shake The World is an impressive debut of world class musicians, and a band that yearns to be heard live.

I recently spoke with vocalist Robin McAuley about the new Black Swan album and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did this project come about?

Robin McAuley: Jeff was the one who originally had the idea. He called me up and asked if I’d be interested and then introduced me to Reb. Originally, Jeff didn’t want to play bass and only wanted to produce but Reb and I talked him into it. We all knew that we wanted to steer away from doing another “classic rock” type of record. I had known Matt from having done some events with him and called him up. He came in and just tore it up. The whole album sounds organic and fresh.

What was the songwriting process like for Shake The World?

RM: Sometimes it would start with just a riff. Reb would come up with a riff and then Pilson would start playing low. They’d put a format together and the sent it to me. They often suggested styles they were looking for but everything I came up with was something they never expected.

A good example is when they sent me this great riff thatI instantly fell in love with. When I listened to it I could feel this guitar overtone that almost sounded like a wolf howling. I wound up writing the song, “Immortal Souls,” about vampires and how they are ultra-fast. When I came back to Pilson and told him that I loved the way he had the howling wolf over the intro and he says, “What howling wolf?” [laughs]. But that’s really what the process was like. They’d send me some stuff and I’d come back with a lyric and melody. Before you knew it we had amassed a bunch of songs that all tied in together.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Robin McAuley by Clicking Here.

Interview: Singer-Songwriter Drea Jeann Discusses Her Latest Singles and The Power of Music

Vulnerable, honest and transparent are three of the adjectives that best describe newcomer artist, Drea Jeann. The beautiful songstress, who writes through the lens of personal experience, has an emotionally deep level of maturity and etherealness in her sound that’s well beyond her years. It’s a sound defined from her years of musical theater as well as a hybrid cross between the styles of jazz, pop and r&b.

Whether it’s the haunting groove in the track, “Come Back To Me,” or the somberness of long-dinstance relationships in the song, “Faithfully,” Jeann not only gives listeners a glimpse into her life but empahtically shares her passion the best way that she can — through her music.

I recently spoke with Jeann about her music and more in this exclusive new interview.

To someone who might not be familiar, how would you describe your sound?

Drea Jeann: It’s a little hard to define. I started seriously writing last year with a producer and am still exploring the avenues that define my sound. I only like to write about things that I’ve experienced, so my songs are very authentic and personal. Vocally, I’ve had a lot of jazz training as well as r&b and pop.

What inspires you when you write and create?

DJ: The way that it usually works is that my producer will send me instrumental tracks. After I listen to them, I’ll figure out what I’m feeling and thinking about and willl come up with a melody or hook. Then I’ll start building lyrics around it and how it relates to my feelings or the experiences I’ve gone through. Other times I’ll already know what I want to write about. The it’s just a matter finding the right instrumental to portray it.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Drea Jeann by Clicking Here.

Interview: Katrina Stone Discusses Overcoming Intellectual Property Theft, New Music

During her more than ten year tenure as a professional independent music artist, Katrina Stone’s tireless work ethic and inspirationally-driven songs have earned her legions of loyal fans and international acclaim. Her performances on stages like The Warped Tour and CityWalk Hollywood have wowed audiences and her songs have recieved placement and endorsements in both television and film. But it wasn’t until one of those loyal fans tipped her off about her music being illegally posted online that the beautiful songstress took matters into her own hands.

Stone quickly discovered that twenty-six of her early tracks were actively being promoted on streaming services by fraudulent accounts using slight name changes and different covers to fool audiences. After the streaming companies offered no help, Stone learned the tracks were being offered through DistroKid and, upon inquiry, the company did the right thing by quickly shutting down the fraudulent accounts.

Now, Stone is using the experience to warn other indie artists about the importance of keeping tabs on their music. She’s also hard at work on a brand-new album that’s scheduled for release in May.

I recently spoke with Katrina Stone about the incident, her music and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did this whole situation come about?

Katrina Stone: I was aware that there had been some fake accounts on Spotify where people would upload tracks but didn’t think much of it beyond that. Then one day, a fan reached out to me on Instagram to let me know that she found some of my earlier tracks in her Discover Weekly that were listed under a different name and with different covers. I started digging a little and realized that they not only compromised my material but there were more than thirty-six other indie artists who weren’t coming up as the artist that was listed. When you put your heart and soul into creating music it’s scary that people see it as a commodity and just steal it.

How does something like this happen?

KS: My music was pulled off Noise Trade, but it’s also possible to steal it by ripping mp3’s from YouTube or directly from CDs. These fake accounts then give the tracks a slightly different title and cover and upload it. The track’s usually live in about twenty-four hours.

How receptive were some of the streaming services when you told them about it?

KS: They weren’t very receptive at all. They wanted me to fill out a copyright complaint form for each purpose and song. That would have meant filing hundreds of copyright complaints. To make things worse, the person we believe was doing this lived out of the country. So there was really no way to track them down. As an indie artist, I’d prefer to create music than to be putting out so many fires. So, what I did was find the tracks on YouTube, where it listed the labels they were under. When I saw it was Distro Kit I reached out to them directly and they were so helpful. Within forty-eight hours they let me know that it was going to be pulled down.

Having gone through this experience, what advice would you give to other artists?

KS: Since the streaming companies really won’t help you, I encourage people to periodically go on sites and search for their songs. Listen to them and make sure they’re really yours. Another thing is to only share direct links to your Spotify and have them everywhere.

What can you tell me about your upcoming album?

KS: It’s inspirational pop and something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. It’ll be the first time I’ll be writing, producing, engineering and playing everything. It’s real, vulnerable and honest and a chance for me to show exactly what I’ve got. I’m very excited about it.

What’s your songwriting process like?

KS: If I’m writing by myself, it’s lyrics first. I love the marriage between lyric and melody but when I’m writing ideas down I like to have something to sing first and then work on finding the right hook. It’s all about great craftsmanship, a lack of clichés and creating something that’s new and fresh.

Who are some of your musical influences?

KS: I don’t sing country but I’m a huge Garth Brooks fan. I love him as a performer and how he isn’t afraid to take someone else’s song and put his own take on it. I also love how classic Adele’s music is. It’s something you can listen to years later and still hear different things.

Was a career in music something you always envisioned?

KS: Yes. From the time I was around twelve years old the idea started to form in my head. It’s a tough industry but I’ve been fortunate to have been able to make a living at it. At this point, it’s all I know.

What excites you the most about this next phase of your career?

KS: I’m excited about this new album and tour and to start homing in on what is that I want. Everything is coming full circle, and I’m in a really good place.

Interview: Author Amy Jo Giovannone Discusses Her New Book, ‘The World is Not Going to Stop for my Broken Heart’

Writing has always been a natural outlet for Amy Jo Giovannone. The inspiring author grew up in Ohio, where she played a lot of sports and acted in local theater.

She eventually wound up joining the military to help put her through college and hone her talent. But it was the untimely and tragic death of her daughter, Sierra, that became the basis for Giovannone’s powerful book,“The World is Not Going to Stop for my Broken Heart.

In a world where everything has such a high price, Giovannone’sbook will inspire, educate, and help others to heal. She reminds us that faith is free and is ours for the taking. Through heartbreaking recollection and page-turning revelation, Giovannonerecounts Sierra’s final days and in doing so, teaches us that the best way to honor your child, or any lost loved one, is to live this life with no regrets.

Readers who dive inside this powerful book will learn much about Sierra’s incredible life, the grieving process, and find their own sense of faith and healing. Perhaps more importantly, they’ll also draw the inspiration to change their own perspective on life.

As an added incentive to those purchasing the book, 30% of all proceeds from sales will go directly to Sierra’s Sanctuary, a non-profit who’s primary focus is to renew the mind, body and spirit to show that with God all things are possible.

I recently spoke with Amy Jo Giovannone about her book and more in this exclusive new interview.

What made you decide to write a book?

AJG: The honest answer is, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. There was a strong, spiritual energy pulling at me and I wanted to try to explain it the best way I could. You can call it consciousness, a gut instinct, or Holy Spirit. Whatever it was, all I knew was that I couldn’t fight it or be at peace until I’d written the book. Then once the book was finished, I couldn’t be at peace until it was published. A lot of what I talk about is something I think people need to hear.

What was the writing process like?

AJG: It was a 2 ½ year timeline and was grueling at times. I had to tell Sierra’s story by re-living the whole process and her life all over again. In doing so, I re-broke my heart. I wasn’t numb like someone who is freshly grieving. Everything so much harder. Completing the book was a huge relief. It’s a life story with real experience, and how faith can help get a person through.

What are some of your best memories of Sierra?

AJG: The best memories of Sierra are all of them. Even the not so good days, just because of the magnitude of love that we shared and the character built within us during those times. My worst day spent with Sierra is better than any minute without her.

What made you decide to start a non-profit?

AJG: We created a non-profit, Sierra’s Sanctuary, as a way to help people anyway that we can. I’m proud to say that no one makes any personal profit from it. Even though I may have been hurt by experiences in the past, I never want to stop helping others.

Is there a message you’d like people to take away from reading your book?

AJG: It’s really a conglomeration, but if I had to put it into one sentence the purpose of the book is to inspire, educate, and to reach people’s inner spirit. I want hurting people to see that you don’t have to be miserable. I have more than one sad moment each day because of my loss, but I have so many more moments of fun and enjoying my life. My child wouldn’t want me to miserable. The best way we can honor our loved ones who’ve passed is to live our lives without regret and to believe in something higher. Faith is free and is right there waiting for us to lean on. It’s just up to us to take it.

Interview: Guitarist Steve Brown Discusses New Wizards of Winter Tour

Formed in the winter of 2009 as a way to support their hometown community, The Wizards of Winterhas quickly become one of the holiday seasons more highly-anticipated traditions. The project, founded by the husband and wife team of Scott Kelly (composer/keyboardist) and Sharon Kelly (flute/vocals), crosses the nation every year with their unique brand of classically-influenced hard rock with Broadway tinge, as well as a world-class arsenal of musicians with a resume from groups like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Def Leppard, The Irish Tenors, Blue Oyster Cult, Rainbow and Alice Cooper Band.

In celebration of their 10th anniversary, The Wizards of Winter is in the midst of a thirty-city tour in support of their infectious new album, The Christmas Dream. It’s a tour that includes a stop in the beautiful Pocono Mountains at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA on Friday, December 20.

The 2019 touring line-up of Wizards of Winter includes the aforementioned Scott and Sharon Kelly, along with Greg Smith (bass), John O’Reilly (drums), Fred Gorhau (lead guitar), Steve Brown (lead guitar), Kornelia Rad (violin/vocals), Karl Scully (lead vocals), Vinny Jiovino (vocals), Tony Gaynor (narrator) and Shawna Marie (vocals/saxophone).

I recently spoke with guitarist Steve Brown about the upcoming Wizards of Winter show at Penn’s Peak and more in this exclusive new interview.

What can fans expect from The Wizards of Winter performance at Penn’s Peak?

Steve Brown: The show is an audio / visual onslaught with a Broadway overtone, and a musical journey through all the different sides of Christmas. People mostly associate Christmas with family, good times and celebrating, but the story we take you on shows all the sides; including the hardship and tough journeys some people go through. It all ends on a very positive note. Tony Gaynor, who was with TSO for fifteen years, is the narrator who leads us through this journey. This is my first time doing something like this and I’m having a blast.

In your opinion, what makes these shows so special?

SB: You’ve first got to look at the success and influence of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This is in that vein. Some people might consider this a tribute band but that’s not the case. Wizards of Winter has more original music. Scott and Sharon Kelly are the band founders, Fred Gorhau [guitar] wrote the music for the new album, The Christmas Dream, and Karl Scully, one of the Irish Tenors, sings. It’s classically influenced hard rock with a tinge of Broadway.There’s something for everyone with this show.The band is tremendous and it’s an honor to be out playing with them.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Steve Brown by Clicking Here.

Interview: Echosmith’s Sydney Sierota Discusses The Band’s Inspired New Album, ‘Lonely Generation’

Photo by: Ariana Velazquez

“The next chapter in the evolution of multi-platinum trio Echosmith begins on January 10th with the release of their hook-laden new album, Lonely Generation. Fueled by its alt-pop, anthemic title track, it’s the band’s most honest and personal album to date, and the first on its own label, Echosmith Music.

While the title, “Lonely Generation” is an ominous reminder of the dangers of social media over indulgence, other tracks from the album, notably songs like “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” “Diamonds,” and “Follow You” continue Echosmith’s formula of cultivating songs that deliver a summery, infectiously-cool feel with messages of hope, love, relationship and inspiration.

Highlighted by frontwoman Sydney Sierota’s ethereal vocals and a power-rhythm section consisting of Noah Sierota (bass) and Graham Sierota (drums), Lonely Generationnot only showcases well-crafted material but also a deeper level of life experience and musical maturity.

In addition to the new album, Echosmith will embark on a multi-city North American tourbeginning in February.

I recently spoke with vocalist Sydney Sierota about the new Echosmith album and more in this exclusive new interview.

How does this relate to some of the band’s previous work?

Sydney Sierota: This album feels so personal; not just musically but also lyrically. We took our time making it but it was essential for us to get every message or story out to the world. We think of this album as a whole and not just a collection of songs. There are songs that are fun and others that are more somber and intimate. It’s the most honest we’ve ever been.

How would you describe the Echosmith sound?

SS: It’s hard to come up with a single answer because we don’t fit into one genre. We’ve heard people say that we’re pop and others say we have more of an indie influence. Then there are moments where it feels haunting and intimate. Unique might be the best way to describe it.

What your songwriting process like?

SS: It depends on the day. There are some days when I’ll wake up so inspired that I’ll have both a melody and lyric idea. Then there will be days where I’m not as inspired but luckily, Noah is and he’ll come up with an idea or we’ll bring in other songwriters. We’ve always made it a point that there are no rules in the writing room. We all have our own stories to tell and you can draw inspiration from anywhere. Sometimes the best things happen when you just sit in a room together and let whatever happens happen.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Sydney Sierota by Clicking Here!

‘The Best Thing’: Singer-Songwriter Phoebe Silva Discusses Her Infectious Debut Single

Phoebe Silva

For Phoebe Silva, there’s no time like the present. That’s why the beautiful singer-songwriter, who’s been harnessing her musical prowess for years as an in-demand session player in L.A.’s indie music scene, decided to branch out into the world as a solo artist. Showcasing her charisma and sultry vocal with the release of an infectious debut single, “The Best Thing.”

The song is a timeless, big band throwback with a summery feel and nineties vibe. A track that features Silva’s big vocal soaring with confidence and self-expression. Crooning about female empowerment while ushering in a ubiquitous combination of retro-pop, blues and soul.

Silva will officially unveil her debut single to the world with a single release party on Monday, December 2 at The Hi-Hat in Los Angeles. I recently spoke with her about “The Best Thing” and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did your single, “The Best Thing” come about?

Phoebe Silva: I was working as a post-production assistant a few years ago and was seeing this guy who was well known around the L.A. music scene. He was so confusing because he was the kind of guy who made you feel special one minute and the next minute he’d be blowing you off and talking to other girls. One night, I was at work and the chorus just popped into my head. The lyrics just flowed out of me. It’s a song about female empowerment and became the catalyst for me to start writing and making music as a solo artist. The seed had been planted and was starting to grow.

What is your songwriting process?

PS: I almost always start with lyrics. Ideas will usually pop into my head every day and I’ll always jot them down. Sometimes the inspiration will be lyrics for an entire song and other times it might just be a phrase or two. If it’s a phrase, I’ll let it gestate for a while and then go back through my notes and stitch things together. It’s lyrics first with melodies usually attached to them.

How would you describe your sound?

PS: The theme I’ve settled on is retro-pop, but there’s a lot more to it. Some things are more folk and blues and others are more pop with a heavy jazz influence. I grew up in musical theater; listening to oldies, sixties rock, Motown, girl groups and early twentieth century songwriting. I also grew up in the nineties, so I was a huge fan of artists like Fiona Apple, Sarah McLaughlin and Jewel.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Phoebe Silva by Clicking Here!