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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 

Entertainment

Kygo and Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love” Video is Full of 80’s Fun

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An eighties inspired dance number, a gorgeous ensemble, and the incomparable Whitney Houston come together for a fun flashback in the new video!

Houston had often performed Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” during her concert tour, and recorded the song thirty years ago. This summer, a new version re-mixed by Kygo hit the top of the dance charts.

The video stars Vanessa Morgan and Mason Cutler, both of whom are absolutely stunning to look at. See for yourself!

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Entertainment

Compare and Decide: A Jury Decided Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” Copied Flame’s Song “Joyful Noise.” Do You Agree?

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Katy Perry’s got a Grammy nomination for her 2013 hit “Dark Horse.” But a jury says the tune lifted a riff from a Christian rapper’s 2009 song “Joyful Noise.”

There’s little doubt there is a part of the song that is similar in both tunes. The question is, how much will it cost Perry’s camp. The jury was unanimous that there was some ample borrowing going on. (I’m paraphrasing.) And ultimately decided that Perry and her collaborators should pay him $2.78 million.

For your consideration, the two songs are below. Listen to at least a minute of both. You’ll hear the part they’re talking about.

The price of that little riff could be a high one. Last year, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay nearly $5 million to Marvin Gaye’s family over similarities in their 2013 hit “Blurred Lines.”

Videos below.

 

 

 

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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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