Singer/songwriter David Gray has never shied away from change. After cutting his teeth in punk bands as a teenager in Wales, he about-faced into a simple voice-and-guitar style. But after three folk-flavored albums, Gray decided to expand his palette with keyboards, drum machines, and samples on his latest release, White Ladder.
For a guy who knew what he wanted from life at a young age, Don Cook's career has taken some surprising twists.
"I don't know why I knew so early on that I wanted to write songs," says the affable Cook. "Maybe my parents dropped me on my head. I made my first song demo at age 14. I wish I had a copy of it now, just to have a laugh at it."
It's tough to talk about *NSYNC without overusing the words "best," "biggest," and "most". They're the world's best-selling band (their No Strings Attached album has racked up over $300 million in sales). Their stage show is the biggest in pop history (the current PopOdyssey tour will entertain more than eight million fans, with the production traveling between arenas in an 88-truck convoy). *NSYNC are, in short, the most successful entertainers of the new millennium.
As Jewel's new guitarist and music director, Mark Oakley faces many sail-or-fail situations, like today's live appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell Show. But he says he seldom gets uptight: "I'm never nervous, even in a situation like playing on Jay Leno, where if you screw up, you're screwed. It's just pure excitement."
Jon Anderson has resided at the forefront of musical technology since he founded the band Yes with bassist Chris Squire in 1968. The boundary-breaking spirit of Yes' two-dozen albums is also apparent in Anderson's collaborations with electronic music pioneer Vangelis and various Latin American musicians. We spoke to Jon about his current endeavor, an as-yet-untitled solo album. It's his first play-everything/sing-everything project since 1976's Olias of Sunhillow.
After almost 20 years with one of the most successful rock acts in history, Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan is setting his sights on a second career: musical theater composer.
As the longtime drummer for the Late Night with David Letterman house band, Anton Fig has elevated musical diversity to an art form. But the range Fig displayed at one recent performance was nothing short of astonishing.
Composer Trevor Rabin makes success look simple. Rabin has proven himself three times over. Before leaving his native South Africa, he played with the band Rabbit, whose regional popularity rivaled that of the Beatles. Soon after he started working in America and the U.K., his songwriting, production, and guitar virtuosity helped spur the veteran progressive-rock group Yes to its greatest commercial successes. And shortly after amicably exiting Yes, he established himself as one of Hollywood's most in-demand film composers.
Charissa Saverio, the artist known as DJ Rap, is one of dance music's most compelling figures. While many pop fans have only known of her since the 1999 release of her Learning Curve album, Saverio has, in fact, been a major force in drum-'n'-bass music since the genre's emergence a decade ago. She later made a similar splash in the "big beat" scene.
How do you sell songs without selling out?
"That's the line that every professional songwriter has to walk," says Nashville tunesmith Gary Nicholson. "There's a thin strip of acceptability in the country music market, and sometimes making a living there means you have to think of the job almost like working at an ad agency. But at the same time, most of my real successes have been the songs I wrote with no thoughts like that at all."