The Rise Of The Uke

The ukulele has perhaps not always been perceived as the most glamorous of instruments, but it certainly has had something of a renaissance in recent years. It seems that the ukulele has gone from being niche to mainstream almost overnight, from its humble beginnings in Hawaii, the instrument roughly translated as the ‘jumping flea’ has come a long way.  But just who are the high profile proponents of the Uke popularising it and making it relevant in today’s society?

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
In terms of current mainstream actors, few are more recognisable than The Rock. The former eight time WWE Champion is a global megastar, but he is also a keen ukulele enthusiast. This should come as no surprise, given Johnson’s roots in the Polynesian islands, and his upbringing in Hawaii itself. He has even recently ‘serenaded’ Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, and performed with the uke in the film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

Flight of The Conchords
New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘fifth most popular comedy folk duo’, Brett McKenzie and Jermaine Clement have encompassed a wide range of musical styles in their ridiculously successful HBO series. The Conchords made great use of the uke on the song Mermaids, as well as inspiring hundreds of YouTube covers on ukuleles of their uproarious comedy, and definitely have gone some way towards making the ukulele relevant again.

Beirut
In a more serious vain, the band Beirut have made the uke an integral part of their music, taking elements of world music and mixing it with modern indie music. Their lead singer, and arguably the creative force behind the band Zachary Condon plays the ukulele, including during the bands performance on Late Night with David Letterman, further bringing the instrument into the mainstream consciousness.

A Whole Host of Celebrities
It would take a long time to list all of the major celebrities and notable figures who have been seen with a Uke, but a few of the notable examples include, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam (who actually released an album of Ukulele songs), Elvis Presley in the film Blue Hawaii, his namesake Elvis Costello who has incorporated it into on occasion in his live performances, big eyed indie darling Zooey Deschanel has made use of the uke on the programme New Girl as well as in her music, and even pop artists such as Will.I.am formerly of the Black Eyed Peas, Hollywood actors like Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon Levitt, and even Jon Bon Jovi have flirted and tinkered with the ukulele, and this is to name only a few.

From famous comedy folk duos to international mega star Hollywood actors, the ukulele has become a common sight amongst notable names in modern society. The knock on effect of this has been an increase in interest in the uke, and the rise in its popularity. With no sign of the bubble bursting and more and more people all over the world picking one up and learning to play, the ukulele should continue to thrive for many years to come.

Musical Millionaires: Top Earning Female Music Artists for 2012

If there was ever any doubt that women ruled the world, especially in the music industry, the latest report from Forbes magazine totally squashed any doubt regarding who runs the business. In 2012, the top five earning female music artists include Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Many of these female artists have live concert series and documentary specials that can be viewed at Direct2TV.com.

#1 Britney Spears
Despite divorces, break-ups, a psych hold and a probable lifetime guardianship arrangement, the 31-year-old Britney Spears topped the charts as the top earning female artist in the world. Spears earned $58 million in 2012 alone. Much of Spears’ earnings came from her platinum album Femme Fatale and the concerts that followed. The rest of her fortune came from her fragrance line with Elizabeth Arden and several lucrative endorsement deals.

#2 Taylor Swift
Britney may have come out on top this year, but she will have to fight to reclaim the coveted number one spot next year. Country-superstar Taylor Swift was nipping at Spears’ heels in 2012, and the young country crooner has the potential to overtake Spears next year. Swift earned $57 million in 2012. Like Spears, most of Swift’s income this year was from her latest album, Red, and concerts. Swift also has lucrative endorsement deals with Sony and Cover Girl which add to her fortune. Due to her overwhelming popularity and innocent personality, Swift will likely earn more lucrative endorsement deals in the future.

#3 Rihanna
The number three spot belongs to troubled hip-hop artist Rihanna. Rihanna raked in $53 million in 2012, due to an extremely busy touring schedule. Like others on the list, Rihanna also earns massive paydays from her endorsement deals with Vita Coco, Nivea and her association with the perfume Reb’l Fleur.

#4 Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga comes in at number four with $52 million. Gaga’s 2012 income was earned through touring, her new perfume, Fame, and fantastic record sales. Unlike others on the list, Lady Gaga doesn’t have many endorsement deals. However, she does spend a great deal of time working with charities.

#5 Katy Perry
Pop princess Katy Perry rounds out the list of the top five earning female artists with $45 million in 2012. Perry’s California Dreams tour earned her most of her fortune. She also has several endorsements, and with five No. 1 singles from her California Dreams album, she is sure to move up on the list next year.

How Forbes Formed the List
When Forbes formed the list of the top earning female artists they considered the artists income from a variety of sources including record sales, concerts and endorsements. The earning figures are estimates, and no management fees, taxes or other costs were considered in the artists’ overall earnings.

Up and Coming Female Musicians to Watch
In addition to the female artists above, there are several others who could make the list for 2013. Artists that fans could expect to see on the list next year include Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and possibly Willow Smith.

Mackenzie Bramall is a huge music fan. She blogs about singers and the latest hits for music and entertainment blogs.

5 Must Have Items in Your Band Press Kit

A band press kit is essential to the promotion of your music group. These kits are used by record labels, bloggers, and booking agents to see the marketability of your band and get a sense of what you’re about. Whether you create a physical kit, or an electronic one, you should always include certain elements. You have a short time to catch the attention of someone who might give you a gig, so don’t waste your opportunity. Include these five must haves in your band press kit.

Contact Information
It sounds obvious enough, but make sure that your contact information is easily identified, and that there is more than one way to reach a band representative. Make sure your email is professional, such as bandname.email.com, and not something confusing or difficult to remember. Always give at least one address and phone number as well, and the name of the person that will be reached. Put your contact information on each piece of the kit, in case they get separated.

Music Samples
Giving people a taste of what you sound like is perhaps the most important aspect of your press kig. In a physical kit, you can include a demo CD that has more than one song. If you are using an electronic press kit to reach bloggers or other online reviewers, you might add a link or a file for a few different tracks. Letting someone sample your music is a make or break part of the kit. Naturally, keep the music in a standard format that can easily be played on any computer and keep the recording high quality – don’t add something you recorded using cheap equipment.

Cover Letter
A cover letter for a band press kit, just as for a job application, lets the person you’re trying to impress get a quick view of what you’re about and why you’re passionate about what you do. Use this opportunity to provide a quick overview of your band, the type of music you play, why you would be perfect for the gig, or other important details.

A Compelling Story
Including a biography in your press kit will help you build up some credibility. Take the time to craft a compelling story about the history of your band, including how long you’ve been playing together and any important milestones. Talk about past albums or big concerts that you’ve played in the past – this is your chance to talk about the reputation and experience that you’ve built over the years. It’s an important tool for selling yourself.

High Resolution Photos
Most agents will want to see a photograph before they book you for any sort of gig or deal. A photo gives the look and feel of your band, so people know what they’re booking. Make the images high resolution, so they can be used to create posters, as a part of a blog post, or in a magazine spread. The way your band looks makes a statement, so choose the images carefully.

Rick Joyce is a tour manager. He frequently writes about the tips he finds in his band on musician marketing websites.

Wedding Catering

It’s a fact that weddings are not only remembered for the marriage, but also for the wedding catering!!! Whatever your budget, the principal to follow should be good quality ingredients, prepared in hygienic conditions, by competent and hopefully inspired cooks/chefs.

The largest part of your wedding budget. will be spent on your catering.
If the wedding catering is to be provided for you do not be shy to insist upon a complimentary tasting/sampling of the menu you have selected.

Some venues will have exclusive contracts with caterers. When in a position of having no choice still insist on sampling the menu. Do not be afraid to make suggestions. At my wedding I sampled the vegetarian selection, including a mushroom stroganoff. The taste was overpowering and the mushrooms were gritty – they had not been washed properly! If I had not gone through the tasting process, my guests may have been very disappointed, or very hungry!

After the wedding ceremony the meal that follows is commonly known as the WEDDING BREAKFAST. The guests that join you will usually have been invited to and attended the wedding ceremony.

The Wedding Breakfast may then be followed by a WEDDING CELEBRATION/PARTY. This may include friends who did not attend the wedding ceremony and/or breakfast. The party, usually an evening affair, is generally more informal. The wedding catering may include buffet/finger food/hors d’oeuvers. The venue may be different from the wedding breakfast. However, the infinite couples I have spoken to came up with a common there – the same venue (no traveling) is by far the easiest and most stress free.

When deciding upon your menu bear in mind your guests. You will probably know, but always consider:

  •  Allergies e.g. to nuts, gluten, etc.,
  •  Children: pizza is often preferred!
  •  Elderly: less tolerant to spicy food,
  •  Vegans, and
  •  Vegetarians.

You should also bear in mind meat/fish/poultry, vegetables, fruits which are in season. This will affect the freshness and quality. Also bear in mind if you choose imported/out of season ingredients this may double your budget. Do you have to provide a choice? No. A set menu is more than acceptable with a vegetarian alternative.

This post was brought to you by earcandy the UK’s finest wedding bands for hire

Giving Your Kids A Jump Start To Rock

There is something special and unique about teaching your children how to play a musical instrument. Not only are there many joys and benefits, but there are features about learning an instrument that each child with carry with them their whole life. For example, learning how to play a musical instrument builds the confidence and self-esteem of the child at an early age. Additionally, learning how to play an instrument in an enriching environment around friends and fun teachers is an incomparably positive learning tool for child development.

In fact, they will be playing an instrument in no time. The rare talent ability of playing an instrument has multiple benefits. One example is that a child could apply this knowledge to another instrument. Moreover, the joy of learning an instrument never ends. What is more, a child can continuing practicing and developing their skills over time. Further, one of the greatest abilities about learning an instrument is to form a band.

It is one thing to watch or listen to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and David Bowie, but it is another thing to be playing their songs in a matter of weeks. The truth is with teaching lessons to children, they will be adaptive and able to participate straight away. Furthermore, your child will be strumming their way through a song in a matter of weeks. Above all, the greatest feeling for each child is to be able to play in a rock n roll band. Moreover, sharing their skills and creatively communicating with their peers is a very positive step towards your child finding an outlet for their creative spirit.

In a sense, there are many great characteristics about forming a rock band. For starters, your child will be more expressive and discover the positivity of having creative outlet. In addition, your child will soon realize their full potential, if they continue to practice at home as well as actively participate in class. Also, the benefits to working with fun and educational teachers is manifold. For instance, surrounding your child around positive influences is a great step towards success. More specifically, if a child embraces the lessons and works on their instrument at home, there is no reason why they will not succeed at learning a new instrument.

However, at first the instrument may seem like a difficult thing to learn. Further, nobody said it was going to be easy, but with time, energy, patience and practice, they will excel. Giving your kids a jump start to Rock is one of the best things you can do for them. Moreover, learning a musical instrument lasts a lifetime and will provide each child with a rare gift and talent that only they possess. To be sure, each child will be playing songs in no time and will discover what it means to be playing in a rock band of their own. The most important thing is to learn an instrument in a positive environment with friends and fun teachers.

Author Bio:
Sam Jones feels that it’s important for kids to experience music as they grow up. He discusses the benefits of having your kids in a youth rock group whether they sing or learn to drum, every instrument has its benefits and they can quickly get involved with the help of drum lessons in Markham.