"Just because you can write music that sounds like a film score, it doesn't make you a film composer," observes multi-instrumentalist Michael Stevens. "Obviously you have to know a lot about orchestration and sequencing, because most people want to hear a temporary cue before you go to record an orchestra. But the most important ability is probably people skills. Being able to work with groups of people as a team. That, and being able to start over and do something else if the director doesn't like it!"
Talk about a great gig: As bandleader and musical director for NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly, singer/songwriter/keyboardist Joe Firstman jams nightly with a house band consisting of some of LA's finest musicians before an audience of millions.
Once upon a time, there was basically one way to make it in the music business: Start small and work your way up. Record a demo, play the clubs, and try to get a deal. Cut an album, get airplay, start touring, and hope for the best.
Kendrick Scott has been infatuated with jazz history for the better part of his 28 years. But as a young jazz virtuoso, he sometimes regrets being born too late to have rubbed shoulders with jazz's founders.
Jon McLaughlin is a child of the eighties--literally and musically. On his second Island Def Jam release, 2008's OK Now, the 26-year-old singer/songwriter revels in the elements that defined that decade's pop, from buoyant, hooky vocal melodies and motoric grooves to classic synth flavors.
Jason Mraz is one of today's most ceaselessly creative singer/songwriters. Not only has he scored massive hits with each of his three albums--he's done so via songs fueled by witty, literate lyrics and inventive vocal melodies.
Check the credits of your favorite box-office smash from the past two decades, and there's a good chance you'll see James Newton Howard listed as composer. Howard has contributed music to more than 100 films, from romantic comedies to action thrillers to sci-fi blockbusters, earning Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe nominations or awards along the way. He's also contributed to the small screen with compositions like the Emmy-nominated main theme for the long-running series ER.
Composer, keyboardist, and bandleader Chick Corea is one of the most important figures in jazz history. From his groundbreaking 1960s sideman work with Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis, through his stewardship of the long-running groups Return to Forever, Akoustic Band, and Elektric Band, Corea has ceaselessly pushed boundaries. His vast discography encompasses high-energy fusion, intimate traditional jazz, and collaborations with many of the world's finest players.
When popular American Idol contestant Brooke White was eliminated from the show in April 2008, it wasn't exactly the end of her musical career. Since then, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter has appeared on half a dozen top talk shows, performed as part of the American Idols LIVE! tour, shot a video for VH1, and released an advance single from her upcoming album, High Hopes and Heart Break.