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Berklee News

Heavy Rotation Records Presents the 6th Annual Epic Event: Dorm Sessions Volume III CD Release Party Wednesday, February 1, at the Berklee Performance Center Sponsor SanDisk to Giveaway Flash Drives

 

BOSTON, MA, January 17, 2006 — Heavy Rotation Records Presents the 6th Annual Epic Event, Dorm Sessions Volume III CD Release Party, Wednesday, February 1, at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. The concert is all ages, $5, and begins at 8:15 p.m. Please call 617-747-2247 or visit www.berkleebpc.com for more information. Performers include pop/rock artists Will Champlin, Charlie Worsham, Elizabeth & The Catapult, and A Hero Next Door, and hip-hop artists John-John, Anjuli Stars, Raydar Ellis, and Project Move. All artists are featured on Dorm Sessions Volume III, the new CD coming out on Heavy Rotation Records, Berklee College of Music's student-run record label. The concert, sponsored by SanDisk Inc., will include giveaways of Dorm Sessions Volume III CDs and over 600 free SanDisk flash drives.

Dorm Sessions Volume III is the eighth release by Heavy Rotation Records since forming in 1995. The label gained notice in 2002 with Shekinah: 13 Artists, distributed by Epic Records. Shekinah was followed by the compilation CDs Dorm Sessions Volumes I & II, and in 2005, the latest CD by popular Boston band Apollo Sunshine, co-released with spinART records. Heavy Rotation is collaborating with spinART again on Dorm Sessions Volume III. spinART is manufacturing the CD, making it available on iTunes, and will work with the Heavy Rotation students on marketing.

The Heavy Rotation Records Epic Event packs the Berklee Performance Center every year and is alternately a showcase for the label's artists and an A&R tool for upcoming CDs. The label also presented showcases at venues around town, including the Paradise, Harper's Ferry, and the Berklee Pavilion, to scope out artists for this compilation. In addition, the label's A&R staff - all Music Business/Management majors at Berklee - pored through 300-400 recorded submissions.

Whittling down the entries to the nine artists included on the CD (Lindsay Mac appears on the CD but not in concert) was a long and difficult task spanning several months. While prior HRR compilations have been multi-genre CDs featuring one track each by up to 19 artists, this time half as many artists are included, but each is showcased with two tracks. Says Samantha Nelson, HRR's head A&R person last spring during the initial selection process, "We found the multi-genre CD difficult to market, so we decided to narrow the focus to rock, singer/songwriter, and hip-hop. We took a risk and we'll see how it turns out." 

Says Jeff Dorenfeld, Heavy Rotation's faculty advisor, "The tracks went onto the CD as submitted, which is impressive, and why it's called 'Dorm Sessions.' The students did most of it themselves in small studios and other spaces. It is pretty homegrown and that's what we're trying to do."

Raydar Ellis
Raydar Ellis
 
About the artists:

Ask keyboardist and vocalist Will Champlin where he gets his inspiration, and he will answer, "It's in the blood." That's not far from the truth; his mother is an accomplished vocalist and singer-songwriter, and his father was lead vocalist for the popular bands Chicago and Sons of Champlin. With a background like that, it's no surprise that music was a defining element in Champlin's upbringing. By the time he came to Berklee in 2001, he had begun to develop a reputation as a prolific and mature songwriter. Backed by a five-piece band, Champlin's infectious melodies and funky guitar are pushed along by a powerful rock bottom end. Over it all, his voice calls out the words with an edge expressive beyond his years.

Charlie Worsham, who received $40,000 in scholarships in 2003 to attend Berklee, is not your average guitar-slinging, banjo-picking, mandolin-strumming, piano-playing, bass-thumping, fiddle-sawing, dobro-sliding, singer songwriter. He's not just a blues, bluegrass, rock, pop, or country musician either. Born and raised in Mississippi, Worsham is the product of many diverse influences. At the age of twelve, he received a standing ovation performing at the Grand Ole Opry with Mike Snider, and has since shared the stage with artists including Bela Fleck, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, and B.B. King. Worsham's songs on the CD reflect his growth as a vocalist and songwriter. His writing exhibits detailed storytelling accompanied by catchy melodic hooks.

Raydar Ellis recently graduated from Berklee with a degree in Music Business/Management. Ellis and his band Hood Official performed last year at the NBA All-Star Game festivities in Denver, Colorado. The seven-piece group were invited by an NBA Entertainment official to play at the pre-game concert series at the Colorado Convention Center and were the only unsigned band playing in a line-up that included Ludacris, Ciara, and Common. Ellis also appeared on the Today Show with Al Roker in early 2005, spinning and rapping. He recently signed to Boston label Brick Records, and will release the CD Late Pass, featuring Ed O.G. and Esoteric, and produced by Ellis, Hezakiah, 7L, and Beyonder, in 2006.

A Hero Next Door, comprised of Mike Soltoff, Berklee student Ryan Secor, and alums Ben Cohen, George Antonetti, and Dave Siegel, have steadily been spreading their eclectic mix of punk, hardcore, and emo around New England since completing their line up in early 2004, diligently winning over fans one by one. In a short time the band has opened for several national touring acts, including Damone, Victory Records' Silverstein, and The Ataris. They also toured the Northeast and released their self-titled full-length debut album, which they recorded with the help of producer Brian Moskin. The band comes armed with a combination of talent, musicianship, and a rock solid ambition to play each show as if it were their biggest.

A Hero Next Door
A Hero Next Door
 
Project Move features rappers Mike (Anonymous) Pruitt, Raheem Jamaal, and Moe Pope, showing versatility as leaders of a new generation of conscious hip-hop. Moe Pope spent the late nineties in Oakland, CA, with hip-hop band Mission. In 2002 he came back to Boston and joined up with the other members. Innovative DJ and producer Beyonder lays the foundation for Project Move, providing turntablism and acrobatic break-dancing for the group's live performances. The group's MCs have supported national artists including KRS-One, Talib Kweli, Digable Planets, Common, Akrobatik, Mr. Lif, and Insight. Project Move's tracks on the CD were produced by Berklee alum Headnodic (aka Ethan Parsonage), who has released two albums and is bassist and producer for the Bay Area group Crown City Rockers.

Anjuli Stars, from Miami, FL, is a Songwriting major at Berklee. Stars, who has written over 200 songs, describes her music as "worn kicks with fresh laces." She has won many emcee battles around her hometown, impressing audiences with her natural ability to dominate on the mic, and has performed on national television, winning three times on Showtime at The Apollo. Stars has extensive background singing credits, with artists including Marc Anthony, Laura Pausini, and Carlos Ponce, and on the TV show Sabado Gigante. She also recorded with saxophonist Ed Calle and guitarist Dan Warner, and opened up for rappers Lil' Kim, Young Geezy, and Lil Wayne at Billboard Live during events preceding the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. Stars was also recently featured in a concert with bassist/singer Meshell Ndegeocello.

Elizabeth and the Catapult is fronted by Elizabeth Ziman, a recent Berklee graduate. Take a clear and powerful voice, add a memorable melody and set it to unique, sophisticated harmonies, and what emerges is Ziman's singular sound. Her classical piano technique, soulful voice, and funky rhythmic grooves are a refreshing fusion of musical styles. Ziman received the ASCAP Leiber and Stoller Award in 2001 for her song "Like Water is to Sand." For the past two years she has toured across the U.S. with Patti Austin, who kicked off her tour at Lincoln Center. She also performs regularly with her band in Boston and New York City. Elizabeth and the Catapult recently released an EP, following up Ziman's debut full-length album, Diverging Lines.

John-John (aka Johnny Glanton), a Berklee student from South Carolina, is a solo hip-hop artist who brings his flavor to the table like none other. A multi-talented musician who has been drumming for fourteen years, John-John is also a rapper, composer, and producer. He is supported by a five-piece hip-hop band who spice up live performances with The J & J Dance Troop, directed by himself and choreographer J-Rise (aka Justin Hughes). John-John recently produced and released his debut album, titled All I Do, which features a distinct "Dirty-South" flavor. He pays tribute to his home state with songs like "Carolina Boyz," which is also included on Dorm Sessions Volume III.


Grand Stand


MusicDish Network Promotes 60's Love Child Astrella-Celeste


MusicDish, an Internet music magazine publisher and artist marketing/development firm, is proud to announce the addition of Pop/Jazz singer Astrella Celeste to the MusicDish Network roster. Combining a variety of online viral marketing strategies, the MusicDish Network will be coordinating a broad campaign in support of her debut album "Blue Star" (the Spanish translation of Astrella Celeste).
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SKY BOX

MusicDish At MIDEM: J-Music Distribution, France

J-Music Distribution describes itself as "the very first European distributor of Japanese music whose activities link Japanese artists and their management, Japanese record companies, and European distributors together to provide a stable framework of distribution from artists to music retail store."

Formed in December 2005, J-Music Distribution representatives brought their business vision to "MIDEM, The World Music Market's 40th Edition" conference in Cannes, France.

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Toshi Reagon to Present Fanny with ROCKRGRL Women of Valor Award On April 20
Toshi Reagon has been named to present pioneering all-female rock group Fanny with the ROCKRGRL Women of Valor Award, Friday, April 20, at the Berklee Performance Center, located at 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. Read more...
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Musicians Turn to Short Run DVD Production
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