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November 2nd, 2010:

Going Platinum on Bravo!

Former American Idol judge and music publisher/songwriter Kara DioGuardi and singer-songwriter Jewel will co-host a new show on Bravo titled Going PlatinumThe ten-episode reality competition is currently in production and is slated to premiere in 2011.

The program will focus on singer-songwriters as they write their own songs. It will feature 12 musicians competing in songwriting challenges – from dance tracks to love ballads. The winner will receive a $100,000 cash prize, a publishing deal and a recording deal with RCA/Jive. 

Said Jewel, "I am excited to be a part of this show because as a songwriter, I understand the dedication and struggle these musicians are going through." She added, "This series will showcase the passion, talent and determination it requires to become a hit songwriter, and in the end we will find the next big music star.”

"Hit songs are the backbone of the music industry, and as a publisher, nothing excites me more than finding new songwriting talent," DioGuardi said in a statement released by Bravo. "I am happy to be a part of a show that helps up and coming songwriters pursue their dreams, while giving the public a look into the creative process."

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Canadian Radio Star Competition

Canadian Radio Star, the 18th annual national songwriting competition, is now accepting entries and online submissions from aspiring and proficient songwriters – published or unpublished – across the country.  Sponsored by Astral Radio, and presented in association with Canadian Music Week, the contest offers emerging artists the opportunity to submit their songs for the chance to win thousands worth in music equipment, services and more – including $10,000 in cash.

"Songwriters are at the core of our rich musical heritage," says Rob Braide, Astral Radio. "Their songs define our lives and our landscape.  Through initiatives like Canadian Radio Star, we have the opportunity to discover, empower and promote the stars of tomorrow, while contributing to Canada’s vastly thriving music scene."

New to the Canadian Radio Star competition this year, songwriters can submit their songs directly online at www.radiostar.ca to the participating radio station in their area.  Entries are open now until 5pm EST on December 13, 2010 – the contest’s close. 

Complete details and contest rules can be found online at www.radiostar.ca.

Songs will be judged by Canadian radio programmers, music publishers, recording industry executives, and successful songwriters.  Regional winners will be declared by the participating radio station in each market, with a combined public and industry vote determining the Grand Prize winner. 

The 2011 Canadian Radio Star will be announced on Saturday, March 12, 2011, during Canadian Music Week (March 9-13, 2011).

"In many ways, this competition offers a launch pad for the careers’ of aspiring Canadian songwriters," says Neill Dixon, President of Canadian Music Week. "It opens doors to new possibilities, provides unrivaled exposure, and puts the songwriters’ songs directly in front of a commonly unreachable audience.  Astral Radio’s dedication to this project is commendable and underscores our mission to develop Canadian talent."

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Tunited – Social Network for Songsmiths?

Caught this interview of Midge Ure on the Daily Record’s website that deals with his establishment of an online social network for songwriters, music creators…

The site is called… you guessed it… Tunited… (Tunes+United I presume)…  Here’s some of the interview:

A teenage Midge Ure sat – guitar in hand – in his bedroom at his family home in Cambuslang and decided the time had come to write his first pop song.

As he nervously strummed the chords of new composition The Bowie Trilogy, a tribute to his music idol David, he thought, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life’. His ambition far outweighed his early ability.

More than 40 years on Midge, 57, laughed: "The song was rubbish. Trouble was, I only had one part. I never got round to writing the other two sections of the track so it didn’t turn out to be much of a trilogy.

"I was so passionate about music. I firmly believed I’d be walking home from school and The Beatles would be waiting at my door saying. ‘We’ve sacked John, you’re the guy we really want’. I lived in total fantasy land. That was my reality but it was exciting to me."

Midge has been looking back at the origins of his incredible 35-year pop career to coincide with the launch of Tunited, a new online social music network he’s developed to help aspiring artists get their first step on the ladder to rock stardom and introduce fans to new music.

Midge spent four years building Tunited from scratch. Its aim is to encourage people to make music and get paid for it – an alien concept in an age of online piracy and free downloading.

Midge said: "Tunited is a DIY onestop shop for aspiring musicians. I’ve compresssed all the elements you need to make a living as an artist into this site.

"I’ve opened the door to everybody who wants to have a crack at making music or listen to new music.  The cost implications of going into a studio and making a record just aren’t there any more. We give you software good enough to make an album in your bedroom and a business pack showing you how to sell it.

"You can press up 1000 singles or just 25 copies to give to your mates. We also arrange gig swaps where a band in Newcastle can invite a band in Glasgow to support them and vice versa.

"You also get 100 per cent profits from songs which are downloaded. The artists all get paid – it might not be an awful lot but on other sites you don’t see a penny for your music. The quality of the work by new acts on Tunited has blown me away."

He said: "Today, if The Beatles were a new band and knocked on the door of a major record company or radio station with the Sergeant Pepper album the response would be, ‘Thanks but no thanks’. They wouldn’t fit the bill of what the industry deems hip and trendy.

"It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if 100,000 people turn up for an X Factor audition and only two are chosen that’s an awful lot of other people who’d like to have a crack at making music.

"It all comes down to whether you fit the demographic. If you don’t look right – if you’re too old, too thin or too fat, whatever – you’re going to be excluded, not given the opportunity to show what you can do.

"Tunited is saying, if you’ve got a skill – whether it’s singing, songwriting or as a musician – barter that skill. There is talent out there and we’ll give it a platform.

"Tunited is saying it’s time we did the job ourselves. If you’ve got the desire to do it have a crack at it, the tools are there."

Wow!  Very interesting concept… Best of luck Midge and may the Muse be with all Tunited users…  Look for me there…

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Elvis Costello – National Ransom

elvis costello, villa solaria, sesto fiorentin...

Image via Wikipedia

Elvis Costello has a new CD out today – National Ransom.  The almost-Canuck discussed his songwriting in a QMI interview in our local freebie 24 hours newspaper in Toronto today, with a little snippet as follows:

Q: You’ve remained very prolific at an age when many songwriters lose touch with the muse. What’s your secret?

A: I suppose people would give you different views of whether I was connected with it or not, depending on how much they like my last recording – or my last 12 recordings. (Laughs)  I love people telling me how great my early records were, when they were mostly roundly ignored.  But I never really have done anything out of routine.  And I sort of feel I can do it with much more freedom because I have access to a lot of different music and different techniques.

Yes, the Muse remains with Elvis… and may the Muse be with you…

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