In this edition of RCS Music News Weekly: Questlove joins MasterClass to teach DJing, the Canadian government announces $181.5 million in funding to support music and the live arts, attorney Frederick Penney tells colleagues why they should hire a musician as a trial lawyer (yup, for real), and Dylan Hennessy kills it in his humorous promo for Mobius Radio’s medley performance of “The Real Slim Shady.”
But first, our feature presentation. (Apologies. We couldn’t email popcorn to go along with it.)
The New Chairman & CEO of Motown
On March 1st, 2021, Universal Music Group (UMG) announced Ethiopia Habtemariam as the new Chairman and CEO of Motown.
Called the most powerful African-American woman at UMG by Billboard, Habtemariam skipped college to begin a career in music. After interning at Elektra Records at age 14, Habtemariam moved into a role as a part-time assistant at LaFace Records before landing her first full-time job as creative manager at Los Angeles-based Edmonds Publishing. From there, Habtemariam began her rise within the ranks of music publishing. Segueing to Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) under the mentorship of Tom Sturges, Habtemariam signed such artists as Ludacris, Keri Hilson, J. Cole, Chris Brown, and Justin Bieber.
Appointed as Motown President in 2014, Habtemariam rejuvenated the label, due in part to shepherding a joint venture with Quality Control Music (Migos, Lil Baby, and City Girls). She also landed new artist and joint venture agreements, including Grammy-winning producer Zaytoven (Familiar Territory Records) and rapper Chaz French (368 Music Group).
Under Habtemariam’s leadership, Motown will have greater creative and commercial independence to advance its mission of artistic, social, and entrepreneurial empowerment.
Questlove Joins MasterClass
Grammy-winning musician Questlove has joined MasterClass, the streaming platform where subscribers get unlimited access to over 100 classes with some of the biggest names in music, design, business, science, and more for an annual membership (currently $240). In Questlove’s Music Curation and DJing class, he’ll teach subscribers how to increase their music vocabulary and connect to songs that entertain, inspire, and enlighten. He’ll also provide a look into his creative process for curating and DJing, break down his equipment list, and share the basics of DJing and how to create a great set.
Other MasterClass music classes:
- Alicia Keys – Songwriting and Producing
- Sheila E. – Drumming and Percussion
- Christina Aguilera – Singing
- Danny Elfman – Music for Film
- Carlos Santana – The Art and Soul of Guitar
Need a quiet, distraction-free place to focus on a MasterClass (or any online class)?
Royal City Studios has Wi-Fi and quiet, fully equipped rehearsal rooms starting at just $10 per hour per person.
(Students – just $5 per hour per person.) No up-front payment required.
>> Click here to book online. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (226) 314-2177.
Just grab your laptop and whatever other gear you need and enjoy the fact that you can concentrate without the cat wandering into the middle of your class to meow, “When’s food? My dish is empty. Whatever you’re doing, it doesn’t look like getting me food. When’s food?”
Jade Patteri Drops “Unity”
On Feb. 26, 2021, actress/singer-songwriter Jade Patteri released her newest music video, “Unity.” Created to bring awareness to the concept of agape love (unconditional love), the song and video invite viewers to consider kindness despite cultural and racial differences, concluding with the question, “What would the world be if we could have unity?”
(RCS Music News Weekly suspects it would be hands-down magnificent.)
Calling people to be the change, the song serves as the soundtrack for the Choose Love movement in support of the Global Unity Foundation and their mission to unite the world through humanitarian efforts.
There’s a lot happening this week in music news. You may need a reading break here for a quick snack.
(Take your time.)
Dylan Hennessy Kills It in His Humorous Promo for “The Real Slim Shady”
Toronto guitarist/songwriter Dylan Hennessy knows how to do two things extremely well: create incredible music and create engaging promotional videos using humor.
Case in point: On March 1st, 2021, Hennessy released this hilarious YouTube video that parodies radio show contests as a promo for Mobius Radio’s live performance of “The Real Slim Shady.” Shot at Iguana Studios, the performance (featuring Alex Van Briggle on drums) incorporates “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” (Eurythmics), “Smooth” (Santana), and other songs we love at RCS Music News Weekly.
If you’re a fan of staggeringly good prog music:
>> Check out Hennessy’s five-song EP Luminil, featuring Dexter Forbes and Daniel Sutarz (Bastila) and Dr. Draw, the mad-skills wizard of electric violin.
Capitol Releases Kenny Rogers – 21 Number Ones
He taught a generation two things about poker: You gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. Okay, that doesn’t really explain much about poker at all, but if you’re a fan of Kenny Rogers, it’s the music that matters—and Capitol has you covered.
On April 30th, 2021, Capitol Records releases Kenny Rogers – 21 Number Ones, a double-vinyl collection of the Gambler’s greatest hits, or basically enough music crossing so many genres that if another lockdown should come along, you can relax and say, “Lockdown? Pfft! No problem. I’ve got Kenny!”
>> Pre-order the album here. (Available in limited-edition gold double vinyl.)
Laura Tate Proves Second Chances Happen
Laura Tate gets a second chance at success with her latest album, Live From El Paso, and the story behind it is inspiring. Not to put too fine a point on it, Tate proves (among many things in her journey) that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, even if you’re lost and alone, your confidence is shattered, and you’ve suffered a verbally and physically abusive partner.
- New funds to support Canadian arts and music: On March 2nd, 2021, Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Canadian Heritage) in collaboration with Simon Brault (Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts) announced $181.5 million in funding to support the live arts and music sector in 2021-2022. Information on how to access the new fund will be available next week on the Canadian Heritage website.
- Lawyer tells colleagues to hire a musician: Attorney Frederick Penney recently issued a press release explaining why legal firms should hire a musician as a trial lawyer (yup, for real), and why he hired guitarist/singer Dillon Whitsett (of the band Township) as his firm’s newest lawyer.
- Sony launches Silence the Shame mental health support program: Sony Music Publishing has partnered with Silence the Shame to launch the Soundtrack of Mental Health, a multi-year program offering education, training, and mental health support for songwriters, music industry employees, and the greater music community. The program launches in April 2021. For more info, visit the Silence the Shame website.
- If there are musical jams, why aren’t there jellies?
- If listening to digital music is called “streaming,” then listening to a vinyl record (meaning a stylus sliding along grooves) technically qualifies as “grooving.” (Any way you slice it, that sounds pretty cool.)
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