DNA-DUO: The HVTS @ Hotel Cafe

We hear about sibling teams in mainstream culture dominating many walks of life – in sports, in the film industry, and in music. However, they seem to elude us most of the time, so when we find a golden duo, they become very hard to ignore. I stumbled across this brother-sister duo, The HVTS and was hooked immediately. Take a look at them performing their original instrumental jazz track called “Jazz” at The Hotel Cafe.

It may take a special ear to groove along to their sound, but it shouldn’t take much to get wrapped up in their original beats. The chemistry between the two of them is obvious – the sibling connection is evident in the chords and melody lines. You can feel the chemistry vibrating through each note as they rock along to their smooth rhythms.

GunZ is a self-taught guitarist with an obvious natural affinity for the instrument. He practically becomes the instrument while he’s playing, and is always riding along, keeping tempo with his constant yet iconic chords. NVNDI always brings along her melodic lines that can be sulky yet sweet in their moodiness. She also pulls out her flute some of the time to jam along, woodwind-style. Though an unlikely match-up, it works. Her brother calls and she responds, and the two have natural chemistry that is simply hard to ignore. Watch this clip of them performing their original song “Dynamite” for the Tiny Desk Competition 2017.

The two are continuing to explore their music agenda – bouncing between funk, rock, jazz, and a combination of genres. None of their songs fully gravitate in a single primary direction – even in their jazziest songs they have a funky, rock-type guitar line that comes in and causes a unique fusion that’s hard to describe. The two are working on an EP, New Day, which they plan to release in the near future. They frequent many popular Los Angeles venues and are looking to share their talent all over. Check their page to see when they’re performing next so you can get a glimpse of this powerful dynamic DNA duo rocking out live! Check out their promo video for a few more clips of them performing!

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I Am Taliah – From Dallas

As mainstream culture dominates the music world, sometimes genres like R&B and Soul take an involuntary backseat to the jumpy, bouncy beats of pop music. However it’s when we hear the intersection of these genres that the instinctual head-nodding and swaying kicks in; catchy beats meet with emotional style to create a masterful combination. That’s what we can hear when we listen to Taliah Areesah Gipson, self-branded as “I Am Taliah,” a singer and songwriter stationed in Dallas, Texas.

Gipson grew up singing with her sisters and performing in many gospel choirs. She picked up the pencil to write while she was a teenager, but a moment in her life inspired a creative side and segwayed into her songwriting. After she lost one of her sisters, she used songwriting as a type of therapy, and the songs just began to flow. Gipson’s writing bloomed from therapy into a true passion. In her final year of college, she came out as a singer, and with help from friends, was able to begin performing. Since then, she has developed immensely both as an artist and a performer. Watch this quick clip of her performing “Who I Am” at a live concert in 2016.

Who I Am #clip2

Posted by Taliah Areesah Gipson on Friday, June 10, 2016

Since she broke into the songwriting world, she has been experimenting in different genres and mediums for her work. She worked on some gospel music for her brother in law, and was given the opportunity to sing background vocals on his debut album. Taliah also got out of her comfort zone a little bit, and wrote music for some other aspiring singers. Most recently, Gipson came out with Who I Am, her EP containing ten songs of varying energy and sound. They are all emotional and soulful and have enough beats to make you tap your foot along with her strong melodies and delicate background vocals. She is happy to be at this place in her journey and has had a chance to share her music with the world through the internet, as well as some notable performances. In addition to the many other performances she has done, Gipson performed at an release party for her friends’ Soul EP, as well as the House of Blues in Dallas. Watch her performing at the release party, with a long list of her Who I Am songs.

Be sure to check out Taliah’s Gigmor page, as well as her social media accounts. Also, go and head over to her Soundcloud and Youtube to be able to hear more of Gipson’s EP and other works as well. Listen for her dominant voice coming hot out of Texas, as it might very well soon be showing up at the front door steps of your own city! 

Watch her sentimental music video for “Official.” 

Wendy Parr: I am a coach – it’s who I am.

It’s not every day when we meet a person who really can say that they’ve traversed every aspect of the music world. Nor is it every day that we meet a person who can say that in addition to their multiple accomplishments all over the music-production spectrum, they have devoted a lot of their life to helping other people. However, I had the privilege of chatting with one such person, by the name of Wendy Parr.

Wendy Parr founded an organization called The Artist’s Circle in order to bring community, networking and multiple modes of support to artists who are otherwise lonely or unsupported in the music world. The Circle hosts many events in which members have the opportunity to connect and learn about each other, make friends, and make connections that give them a leg up in the industry. I wanted to get to know the mind behind the magic:

I was wondering if you could give me a general summary of what it is that you do as a coach and a mentor in the Artist’s Circle? 

I’ve been coaching for 27 years, and eventually I just saw – well, for me as a person, I think we’re all here to grow and evolve as human beings, and working with all of the artists, I find everybody going through the same thing alone, and not knowing that there’s other people going through similar things. I tend to be a resource for a lot of people, and I just kind of put it all together that I don’t need to be the only resource and that people can be there for one another, and there is power in community and connection. So, I really started the circle and it took a while to evolve into the format that it is now, that normally works and people are responding to well. Essentially it’s mindfulness work, it’s true networking and it’s a combination of working on the inner work – sometimes we have meditation classes and play improv games. We also do business work, like I have marketing people as special guests, we’ve had an event at rolling stone magazine…So I’m bringing the people that I work with and that I know and the resources that I have, to give people an opportunity to connect with people that they otherwise wouldn’t have been given the chance to connect with. Also, they are really connecting with one another, so there is a strong community where our artists can really be there for one another. Historically, successful artists have had friendships and connections with other artists; it’s how you grow. You encouragement from one another and feedback. People are so often doing their thing and saying, “well where’s my team?” because they don’t have a team yet. And if they have a team, their team is only there to move their career forward. They’re not other artists who can just connect with them and understand them on an artistic level. So this is a three step place for vulnerability and connections and friendship and collaboration as well.

I know you’re a professional coach, but how did you start out in the music world?

I started performing and working when I was eight years old. I was acting, I was doing TV, I did a lot of musicals. By 15 I was performing about 3-4 nights a week in clubs, singing in a jazz trio, things like that. So I started as a performer, and I started studying with my vocal coach. I went to NYU for a minute, but when I came back to LA, my famous vocal coach invited me to be a coach. I said, “I don’t know how to teach!” And he said, “Sure you do. You know how we helped your voice and how you’ve worked your voice to help other people. Help other people while you’re working on your music career.” And at this point, I had already started in college, where my friends – who are all now working as comedians and stuff – they would ask me, “Hey can you show me this thing I want to sing a little bit…” and would say, “Can you help us do harmonies…” So I was already casually doing it for fun, and then I officially started teaching at 20 years old in a studio. But I discovered how much I love it, and that’s really what I am; I’m a coach. It’s not even what I am but rather who I am. If you showed me how a car works, I’d be showing someone else tomorrow.

Was there a specific moment when you realized that that was who you were? Or did it take a bit of time to realize that coaching was where you were meant to be? 

It took a little while, because I was still performing and working on my career as an artist, and I did both for a long time, and then I just realized. I love making music – I have a record, I have an EP out, I have a record that i’m still working on – but I just realized that my energy wasn’t going towards “when can I take myself on tour” but more “how can I build my coaching.” You know, when it’s a beautiful day outside you can take the day off, but when someone walks into my door, I say, “Oh my gosh I have so much to show you!” I just realized how enthusiastic I was and how much I loved doing it. And I’m a songwriter, so I write music, I write for others. I sing, I still sing, but I’m not trying to pursue being an artist. But it did take me a while to sort of let go of this dream that I’d had all of my life. I had thought that was just what I was supposed to do. but, it was sort of like a jacket I outgrew. Yeah. So I do all kinds of things with music. I still sing, I sing songs I write, do demos, but I just don’t dream of being a singer anymore.

Let’s diverge for a second. What is the best concert you’ve ever attended? 

Prince, Leonard Cohen, Stevie Wonder – those are probably some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. And of course the shows I coach. Seeing the artists I coach is different. Those shows I was talking about were mostly from when I was young and they were very influential. Prince was probably one of the best performers I’ve seen in my life. But, you know when Regina played Radio City Music Hall last year and the year before, I was in tears watching her. I’ve been coaching her for 14 years, and she made me cry with her performance. I certainly don’t take credit for her talent, but I could definitely hear it. It was the first time in my life, you know I’m an adult by this point, I’m 47. But it was the first time that I’ve acknowledged, “Oh, I’ve had an influence there!” And I could hear it; I could hear how I’ve helped her grow. It made me very proud to acknowledge.

So I got the sense that you started the Artist’s Circle because you felt that there was a lack of support within the music industry as far as emotional guidance and networking help. What is the biggest effect that you intend to have with the Artist’s Circle? 

I would like to make artists feel more fulfilled as artists, and there’s a few things I think the Artist’s Circle can help do. It can help artists in not giving up and not falling through the cracks before they start their career. We can help artists who are already in the midst of their career and give them a community so that they don’t spiral out. Being on tour is very lonely. Success can be very lonely. I’m really interested in helping people have genuine connections with people that they can really trust and talk to so that the loneliness isn’t as much there. It can also help with tools – tools to help them with the ups and downs in life and in their careers. We teach them tools to feel happier and to be more fulfilled and balanced as a creative artist. Generally speaking, the Circle is where people learn their craft, like “here’s how you do your part.” I was never schooled on that. School doesn’t really prepare you for life. It only teaches you skills, but that’s what this is about. We teach people how to deal with their fears, about why they make the choices they make and how they can make better choices, how to have more community and less competition. I want to help people have a better human foundation. In terms of networking, there have always been music seminar weekends where people would go in hopes to meet people and have luck. It was like the lottery. People would go hoping that something would happen, and they’re all B.S. Nobody actually knows you unless your music is off the charts, and at that point, if your music is off the charts, chances are everybody already does know you, and that’s not how it’s going to happen. So, this is an actual networking experience because we have intimate conversations, so you really get to know someone right away. We give people a space to really get to know one another, connect with one another, and it’s even a space of vulnerability. Real connections happen this way. One guy today told me from the one event we had in Israel – we had one event when I was there – he said, “I’m still getting so much out of that experience. That guy that I met at the circle, we’re still talking, I’m going to London and I’m going to go make music there, so many of the tools that we talked about gave me courage to do things that I’ve wanted to do but haven’t yet.” And that’s just one guy. These people say that the circle gave them courage and support to be able to do the things that they want to do.


Click here to learn more about Wendy Parr and the Artist’s Circle. ALSO, for Gigmor members, there are some special prices available. For gigmorcreative members, you get a $25 ticket ($10 off the explorer ticket) for your first event. Any Acgigmormember will get 25% off of all memberships.

Groove with the Funk: Gussie Miller

Sit down, get ready, and tune in to this artist’s smooth bass lines, and lively horns and let fantastic vocalist Gussie Miller wrap you up in quite a mood. Listen here to his band’s upbeat and funky song, “What More Can I Say.”

 

 

Gussie Miller has been in the entertainment industry from the time he was a child. His background in music comes from his time growing up in a musical family. Early in his life he was taken under the wing of some notable studios and came to understand the workings of commercials, TV and film production. From then on, he branched into the music world. He went on tour as a background singer for some pretty famous artists, such as Cher, Lavern Baker, Janelle Monae and Seal. His voice is on tracks with these artists, as well as others such as Marcus Miller, Gino Vannelli, and break out artists Jessica Celious and Lance Todd, among many others. Watch him here rocking out with famous actress Janelle Monae at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood.

 

 

If you listen to Gussie’s voice, you can just hear the years of experience he carries. His melodies are smooth, and articulate, but never boring. And check out his range – it’s pretty incredible. Many of his songs begin in slower, deeper, lower melodic lines and ascend until you don’t think that Gussie could sing any higher. His vocals drip with talent, hard work, and sheer enjoyment. You can hear him smiling in his voice while he hits high notes none of us could even imagine reaching. Most of his tracks display his sheer, natural gift and extraordinary control of his vocal chords. Listen closely to how much he commands control of pitch and places pieces of vibrato perfectly in each line. Here’s him performing “Give it All” for the NPR Music Tiny Desk Contest.

 

 

In addition to his features on multiple albums with other artists, Gussie has also had some of his music played on various TV shows and movies, such as Cop Rock, South of Sunset, Family Matters, Doogie Howser M.D., I Think I Love My Wife, and Everybody Hates Chris. Gussie, however, in all of his years as an accomplished professional musician, had not released an album until 2016. However, he finally released his self-produced album Forever Plan that year on the Artis Musicai label, which he recorded with “Motown engineer” Ralph Sutton. The album is an amazing collection of songs, all different, but never going too far from Gussie’s distinct sound. Listen to this recording of Gussie singing “Wantin’ You,” from Forever Plan, in a live rehearsal with his band.

 

 

Gussie’s work for Forever Plan paid off. It’s now available on multiple online streaming platforms, and is for sale on many online music-selling companies such as Amazon Music, eMusic, iTunes and GooglePlay. Gussie is currently working on live shows and touring, but is excited for 2018, when he plans to release his next CD. Watch out for him around Los Angeles, check out his page, and try to see him live. Guaranteed, you will not be disappointed, and furthermore, you won’t be able to stop bouncing your head to the smooth, jazzy, funky beats he’ll glue right into your head.

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Pianos Can Sing Too: A Quick Look into Pop Piano Covers

It’s not every day that we get to hear piano renditions of hit songs. All we hear on the radio these days in the way of individual instrumental solos are classical pieces or a 10-second solo in another song. That’s why you should check out these two accomplished Gigmor pianists, Michael Bogomolny and David Galvan, both experienced cover artists, in their fantastic covers of popular songs. First, here is a stylish video of Bogomolny covering Santa Esmeralda’s “You’re My Everything.”

Now, watch Galvan in his impressively multi-dimensional take on Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, in the form of a medley. Not only does he make it sound as though there are four hands playing the piano rather than two, he also manages to capture the essence and bounce of Chance the Rapper’s style and sway. Somehow, he manipulates the keys, adds his own style and rhythms, but never steers to far from Chance’s iconic beats. Galvan’s seemingly effortless performance is bound to make you do a slight double take.

Now, let’s bring it back to Bogomolny. With this song, you might remember it the best as a soulful, powerful John Legend hit – maybe one of his most famous and well-known. It graced the hit radio stations for months and got stuck in the heads of many, many, people at some point in time. However, here we have something different. Bogomolny captures the style of Legend in this cover of “All of Me,” but adds his own style to deepen the experience of a piano cover of a pop song. The emotion from the original lyrics sings through his hands, and tells its own story of the overwhelming pain of love – all vibrating up from the keys.

If that was not enough, take a look at one more great cover by David Galvan. He covers Drake’s “Too Good,” but takes it to a whole new level. Not only does he radiate Drake’s sounds, but he adds a completely new dimension only achievable by closely examining the melody on piano. Listen as he, like in the other videos, manages to sing the lyrics through his emotive playing and passionate rhythmic precision.

If you enjoyed that or are interested in more of their works, please check out both David and Michael on Gigmor. Hopefully you got a small taste of the world of pop music brought down to basics by some sweet, simple strokes of the keys.