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POP INTERVIEW: Jim Beard On Winning a Grammy, Performing with John Mayer and Producing Incredible Jazz

A lot of music world hoopla was made this week when Britney Spears left her standby producers, Dr. Luke and Max Martin. Metallica. The Beatles. When any artist leaves behind an old sound onto a new one, the stakes are costly. But what people don’t know is this is an artist is only as good as his or her producer. The same is true of jazz.

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A lot of music world hoopla was made this week when Britney Spears left her standby producers, Dr. Luke and Max Martin. Metallica. The Beatles. When any artist leaves behind an old sound onto a new one, the stakes are costly. But what people don’t know is this is an artist is only as good as his or her producer. The same is true of jazz.

Jim’s newly recorded solo piano CD, “Show Of Hands”, is available on ITunes and Amazon.com

 Grammy winning producer and musician Jim Beard has been lucky enough to tour with his early musical influence, Steely Dan. On stage, he has worked with John Mayer, Larry Carlton, Victor Bailey and many other legendary performers.

jim beard 2

When people learn that you toured with Steely Dan, is it intimidating that you might need to live up to those expectations? Not that you are any worse or better, but that you would sound different and leave Steely Dan fans confused?

I would guess that most, if not all of my current fans have been following my music since before I joined Steely Dan. And I think those same fans wouldn’t expect a Jim Beard concert to sound like a Steely Dan concert simply because I’ve toured with them. I also think it’s probably pretty difficult to confuse a Steely Dan fan. So there is no intimidation going on in that regard. I also didn’t discover high expectations or standards after joining Steely Dan. I’d like to think that they called me because I had high standards in place already.

What is your favorite thing about traveling the world?
Food. I love all things food. I love to cook and find great restaurants. And I love experiencing what is indigenous about cuisines around the world. Also, getting back to New York at the end of a tour is one of my favorite things about traveling.

jim beard

Are you finding more younger fans at your concerts now that jazz is widely available on iTunes?
No. But I do think younger audiences are becoming more aware of all types of music and art through the internet in general. I think Youtube is playing a greater role in that than iTunes is.

“Those who can’t do teach.” True or false? When you teach classes, is that because you are taking a break from creating new material…and you may need to be inspired?
False. There are many great teachers who are fantastic performers, just as there are many commercially successful performers who have no business being on a stage or at the front of a classroom. I’ve always known that saying to go: “If you’re not good enough to be a performer, become a teacher. If you’re not good enough to be a teacher, become a critic”. As a rule, I take up teaching on the breaks between tours. Quite often, months of touring are followed by months at home. Teaching at a reputable music institution is something I enjoy. If I need to get into the creative mode to write, that happens at home on my own time.

Are you harder on students than you would be critiquing other musicians?
First of all, I’m hardest on myself. Next would be musicians. But ‘critiquing’ might be the wrong word. As a producer, it falls within my job responsibilities to guide, encourage, correct or reject performances by the musicians in the studio. And I can find myself being ‘hard’ on musicians who I feel have misplaced priorities such as appearance, attitude or antics. Poser is the word that comes to mind here. I always try to be encouraging with students. I also try to teach them to be self critical because that is how they really improve. I am asked on occasion to be on juries for students who are transitioning from undergraduate to graduate or graduate to doctoral level and it is a job requirement to be ‘critical’ in those situations.

Show Of Hands

Another thought is someone has made it once he or she wins a Grammy. You have won a Grammy. Do you feel like you still have work left to do in your career?
Well, since there is no huge (or any) cash prize that comes with a Grammy, I most certainly have a lot more work left to do in my career. I view having a Grammy as a feather in my cap, not as something that defines me.

What is the most surprising thing that has ever happened in your professional career?
jim beard3I remember the first big high profile world tour of my career in 1986 with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was our first concert somewhere in Italy. When we arrived at the venue, there were swarms of people lined up at the artist’s entrance waving and pushing and screaming. It was quite a shock for the kid just out of college. I guess you could say it felt like a rock star moment. That tour had a few surprises. At another concert in Italy, the power went out and there was nearly a riot. The police had to be called in to get us out safely.

www.jimbeard.com 

Celebrities

Lizzo Is An Icon In The Making – And Here’s Why

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Mirror, mirror on the wall don’t say it ‘cause we know Lizzo cute. And by cute I mean extremely talented, gorgeous and totally inspiring!

A few months ago I was watching The Ellen Degeneres Show when I witnessed one of the most fun, exciting and awe-inspiring performances I’ve ever seen. Lizzo popped onto the screen in a sparkly, pink getup and began singing what would become her big hit song, “Juice,” – I was immediately hooked (more like obsessed). During this performance she also jammed out on her flute alongside her plus-sized backup dancers and suddenly I knew I had been changed forever. I did some more research on the rapper/singer and found out I had been sleeping on this gem! Lizzo has been doing bad all by her damn self for years, having already released two albums in the past. I am suddenly mad at every single person who neglected to tell me to jump on the Lizzo train sooner! If you’re like me and need a bit of catch up, I’m going to break down exactly why you need to know this icon in the making.

You can throw a stone in any direction and hit a triple threat nowadays. Lizzo’s brings talents we have yet to see in the mainstream music industry.

If singing, rapping and dancing make Lizzo a triple threat, what does flute playing making her?!? A STAR THAT’S WHAT! Lizzo has displayed her abilities as a talented flautist, which is not an instrument you would necessarily think of in conjunction with the rap genre making this talent all the more extraordinary. Lizzo even used her flauting skills to compete (and defeat IMO) with Ron Burgundy. Not Will Ferrell, but Ron Burgundy.

Oh, and she can also twerk while playing the flute. 

As if playing the flute wasn’t impressive enough, Lizzo can also twerk while playing. I really hope some high school kid is deciding to take band just so he/she can flutwerk their way around campus like their fav flautist, Lizzo.

Lizzo uses her platform to inspire and raise up everyone around her.

Lizzo uses her voice for more than just creating fire music, ya know. She uses her platform to defend the belief that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Her Twitter is filled with positivity and strong messages about acceptance.

 

Uhm…she’s straight up gorgeous. 

We cant forget to mention that Lizzo is a straight up beauty queen. She is known to switch up her look but I’ve never seen a bad pic of this queen. To solidify my point, she is now officially the first, plus sized black woman to be featured in Playboy magazine!

Credit: Playboy.com

Move over Avenger’s, Lizzo has been in a comic book too!

Ok indulge the nerd in me on this one…Lizzo was even featured in a comic book!!! That’s right, she has become so influential that even Marvel comics wanted a piece of the Lizzo-pie. Check out this shout-out in Unstoppable Wasp #4!

 

So now that you have become as obsessed as I have, you are probably wondering how you can get even more Lizzo in your life. Well lucky for you, her new album dropped TODAY! Her third studio album, Cuz I Love You, is available anywhere you listen to music and let me tell you, YOU WILL LOVE IT. The album is varied and showcases all of Lizzo’s incredible range with some songs being upbeat and funky, and others being slowed down and heart wrenching. For a taste of what to expect, click below to listen to the title track of the album. If the new album still doesn’t satisfy the hunger for more Lizzo, she’s also on tour! You can click here for more info on tour dates.

Oh Lizzo…you are most definitely 100% that bitch.  

Like what you read? Follow @ChrisSiretz on Twitter and Instagram

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LISTEN AND VOTE: Madonna Has A New Single. What Do You Think?

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Madonna has released her first single in three years. Her highly-anticipated 14th studio album Madame X will be released on June 14 – but the first single is out now.

The premiere single, “Medellin,”features Colombian superstar Maluma. She credits her experiences living in Lisbon, Portugal over the past several years as a strong influence into the tracks. 15 new songs will lean heavily into Latin and global beats. (Not to mention Maluma’s incredible popularity – he has nearly six million followers on twitter.)

Lisbon is where my record was born,” Madonna says. “I found my tribe there and a magical world of incredible musicians that reinforced my belief that music across the world is truly all connected and is the soul of the universe.

 LISTEN AND VOTE IN OUR POLL BELOW!

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Nine Types Of Facebook Posts That Are Insufferable, Needy Or Annoying

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We all know someone who does these.

Facebook is like a window into a person’s soul – and it doesn’t take much to see when someone is looking for your attention. Do you know someone whose guilty of these nine Facebook faux pas?

THE “I’M CLEANING OUT MY FACEBOOK FRIEND LIST, HOPE YOU MAKE THE CUT!” POST

We all know a person who decides they are going to going to edit down their friend list and posts a not so thinly veiled warning to their friends that, horror of horrors, maybe they will be among those ousted! It’s like the hunger games, except no one really cares if they’re killed off. Let’s examine the real intention here: they want you to say ‘please don’t unfriend me!’  What they fail to realize is how many people are dying to sarcastically say ‘I’m shaking… Oh no. How will I go on without you?’ If you want to edit down your friend list, go nuts – but do it quietly, without the rallying cry for attention. Chances are the people who are begging you to keep them aren’t going to be unfriended anyway because they feed into your exasperating neediness regularly already.

THE “I’M TAKING A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA FOR A WHILE. SEE YOU IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS” POST

If social media is such a drain on your life, why do you need to use social media to announce your desperately needed hiatus? The absence of posts more than likely will go completely unnoticed by your friends because, you see, they actually follow other people too. Again, this is a post that is seeking some sort of comforting or validation. If Facebook is the means in which you keep up with someone you truly have a close personal relationship with, you might instead tell them personally that you can be best reached by phone or email. If an announcement needs to be broadcast, the intention is not one of genuine concern. Again, it’s done out of neediness.

THE “PLEASE RESPECT MY PRIVACY” POST

A recent friend posted a lot of details about their breakup. Details no one asked for, and followed it up with “please respect our privacy.”

This, to me, was hilarious. This is the physical equivalent of getting a megaphone and going to a public park, shouting out about your painful breakup, and then saying ‘but please, don’t ask me about it, it’s very personal.” Think of Facebook like a town crier: it’s shouting everything you say to a few thousand (or more) people. If you want privacy, don’t say it at all. (Unless of course, you do want the attention, then by all means, do exactly this.)

Lastly, you’re not Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. If you don’t have a career that requires you to have a press agent, you probably don’t need to worry about the paparazzi asking for more details.

THE “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON!” POST

No one cares about your vague announcement announcing a future announcement that no doubt will delight us all. Save the ‘big news’ for when there is actually big news to announce.

THE BLOODY CUTS, STITCHES OR BLISTERS POST

People cut themselves, it’s true.  But there is no reason to put your recent bloody injury on Facebook. Yes, you’ll receive a flurry of ‘are you okay?!,’ or ‘so sorry that happened to you!’ comments, but the truth is, no one really cares to see it. It’s gross.

If you want to see – or show – something gross, put it on YouTube where people can go looking for it.

POSING FOR A PICTURE WITH AN ELDERLY PERSON CLOSE TO DEATH IN A HOSPITAL BED AND POSTING IT

Ask yourself – when you’re 90 years old, do you want someone taking your photo and showing the world what a wonderful person they are for being with you, and in turn revealing how frail and sick you’ve become? Think before you post deathbed photos. Are you really doing it for them? Or for you? Instead, how about a written status saying how much you love them, or a photo from when they were feeling better and fully themselves, living life to the fullest might be a better option.

THE “LET’S SEE WHO READS MY STATUSES. IF YOU DO, YOU’LL REPOST THIS RANT” POST.

No I won’t. Yeah, I can see that post where you say ‘if you see this and read it, you should copy and paste it and post it to prove it to me.’ Then it goes on to comment about stuff most people have no interest in sharing. How lovely, a chain letter based on an imposed obligation to validate someone. In summary: Facebook isn’t about testing people’s friendship. Stop.

THE “PLEASE SEND PRAYERS” (BUT I’M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU WHY!) POST

I’m all for supporting people with the power of prayer. And it’s actually because prayers are powerful – and a very personal request – that it seems only fair to explain what we’re praying for. If you are going to ask for something from your peer group as sacred as prayer, it’s only fair to explain what you’re going through, rather than place the burden on the reader to dig and ask. Again, this is a status that brings it back to the poster, and not the potential recipient of the prayers themselves.

BONUS: this one might not make you needy, but it’s worth noting:

THE “I HEREBY DO NOT APPROVE OF FACEBOOK USING MY PHOTOS FOR ANY REASON AND I THINK THIS IS ACTUALLY A LEGAL STATEMENT PREVENTING THEM FROM DOING SO” POST.

Here’s the thing: You use Facebook for free, and you upload your photos onto their servers – drive space that is theirs, not yours. Your blah blah ‘legal’ proclamation gives you no rights. For nearly a decade there has been a hoax announcement saying Facebook was going to publish your photos for everyone to see, and it hasn’t been true yet. And yet – by signing up for Facebook you are agreeing to their terms of service, (look them up if you’re confused) which means no matter what you post in your status you’re not going to have any legal right to change that agreement. Here’s the bottom line: The best way to deny Facebook’s access to your photos is not to upload them there.

For more pop culture ridiculousness follow @BrianBalthazar on twitter! He’s also cleaning out his facebook friends soon, (everyone is so worried!) so there’s room for more on facebook too!

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