Dedicate yourself to playing complete, hard-to-categorize instrumental music. Ensure that almost every tune in your repertoire is in odd meter. And while you're at it, make your lead instrument a banjo.
It sounds like a surefire recipe for obscurity. But Bela Fleck & the Flecktones have parlayed that unlikely formula into a successful 15 year career, winning a wildly devoted audience that's nearly as eclectic as the band's music. And since 1997, a cornerstone of the Flecktones' sounds has been the adventurous reed work of saxophonist Jeff Coffin.
Blessed with a warm, expressive voice and a knack for songcraft, Nashville artist Lari White landed recording and publishing deals soon after moving to Music City in 1988. She went on to record a series of successful albums, most notably her 1994 smash, Wishes. But for White, something was missing.
For more than 20 years Dave Weckl's masterful drumming has captivated musicians and fans alike. His immaculate tone and flawless groove have earned Weckl performing and recording credits with such pop artists as Simon & Garfunkel, George Benson, Diana Ross, Peabo Bryson, and Robert Plant. Meanwhile, his astonishing jazz-fusion work with Chick Corea's Akoustic and elektric bands and his own Dave Weckl band have consistently stretched the boundaries of drum virtuosity. A committed music educator and clinician, Dave has also created many instructional products.
World's Deadliest Volcanoes. World's Scariest Police Shootouts. Prisoners Out of Control. Real Vampires Revealed. Reading the long list of Scooter Pietsch's credits makes "TV composer" sound like one dangerous profession.
It is, Pietsch confirms, though natural disasters, violent criminals, and the undead are the least of his problems. "The schedules are extremely difficult. The personalities involved can be very trying. You always have to be personable and positive, even when people are calling to demand the sort of changes that produce a barrage of cussing as soon as you hang up the phone."
Nashville's Deborah Allen has published over 1,000 songs. She's recorded a string of hit country records, including her signature smash, "Baby I Lied." She's made forays into jazz singing, record producing, and running her own label. But it all flows from a single bit of advice from her mother: "Sing it from the heart."
Make a list of the world's most beloved singers and songwriters.
Make a list of the artists Phil Ramone has produced or engineered. Or just skip step two, since you've already completed it.
Atlanta-based aggro-rockers Sevendust have just released an unplugged album. But don't get the idea they've mellowed out.
The American Idol series has rocketed a number of artists to sudden fame. And a surprising number of them rely on the hands and ears of one man: Jason Halbert
Halbert has just completed a Clay Aiken/Kelly Clarkson co-headlining tour, on which he served as keyboardist and musical director for both artists. Before that he worked with Idol favorites Justin Guarini and Ruben Studdar
"MY PARENTS USED TO GO TO THE SAVOY BALLROOM IN NEW YORK TO dance and hear great music," says Brown, whose credits include stints with Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Stanley Clarke, and Chick Corea. "It turns out, my mom was dancing at the Savoy when she was pregnant with yours truly. Guess those grooves and rhythms got through!"
Does Black see a connection between his drawing and his music? ""I think they do influence each other," he replies. "I think I have a strong sense of visual things in general. When I play live, I definitely think of what I'm doing visually - the way my body curves to the music and things like that. A dance looks beautiful because of the way it looks in relation to the music. So yes, the music and visuals bleed into each other."