By Linita Masters
Jan. 25, 2016– Day II started off by obtaining more insight into the newest developments in the Music Industry. I talked with a young man, Stephen Yorkley, Manager of Data Analytics and Visualization with Casio’s Keyboard Division. His job is to offer insights into how the music industry is trending in the market place.
“The Industry is going toward portable equipment and controllers. XW-DJI and drum machines are popular and help democratize music as an art form. Anything portable is trending because of convenience and affordability. Smaller instruments such as the Baby GS line guitars are popular too. The music market is much more consumer focused making it possible for everyone to make and produce music.”
Dr. Barata, Professor of Music at Cal Poly Tech. in San Luis Obispo first started his career when computers were still in main frames. “When computer music was first born only main frames existed. I studied music composition in 1985 and specialized in electronic music. Although we made a lot of headway in the business, technology has sort of exploded in the last 10 years because the PC has become more powerful.” Musing about the college students who take his class, Dr. Barata said, “Some of the kids in college just want to become rock stars so they take my class. But the serious ones with more savvy realize the potential and creative ways that social media can make an impact in the music industry.” He reiterated what Stephen said about technology,
“…the products at a smaller level have democratized technology and made it more affordable.”
Demonstrating these very concepts, the artist Cat Fire showed the audience how one could make a hit song on a 2010 Mac computer. His song Loose Control was a number one hit. He set the computer upon the table, and behind him, projected on a screen, was the data he used to create a song. “Out of 60 tracks, 14 are live rendered, the rest is all electronic music.” he told the audience.
For me, it was time to go back to the live music and talking with musicians. I heard a singer calling out to me as he crooned some R&B tunes so I floated over to the desirable music. A young man, Justin Garner, stood on stage charming me with his soulful voice. Justin Garner sings R&B songs…sounds like Stevie Wonder, sweet and sexy. He’s from Baton Rouge, LA and this past summer he won MTV’s new singing show, “Copy Cat.” The upcoming star said, “I won as Usher. I am 27…and my singing / recording career is getting off the ground now. Some of my influences have been Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind and Fire…Maroon 5… In mid–March I will be performing in downtown Los Angeles.”
Strolling along the corridors of booths, I saw a striking reed thin man with long flowing brown hair dancing with a violin under his chin. He was the infamous Mark Wood, who has been called the “Wes Paul” of the violin world. His business partner, Joe, who designs violins, said of his friend, “Mark invented the Viper violin which gives musicians the opportunity to play the instrument like an electric guitarist. We are celebrating our 25th year in business and in honor of that we are featuring “The Metropolis” our newest design.
“ Mark Wood is dedicated to bringing these instruments to kids all over the United States; so his organization goes into schools, teaches the kids how to play them and by the end of the day the children feel like rock stars.”
My best interview of the day was with Michael Hampton, veteran lead guitar player for George Clinton, the insanely wild funk man of the 70’s and founder of the group Parliament-Funkadelic. Mike joined the group when he was 17 and has mostly played with Clinton throughout his career. For a lead guitarist, Mike spoke quietly and was a bit shy. Although his nickname, Kid-Funkadelic, distinguishes him along with his electrifying loud guitar solos on One Nation Under Groove and Be My BB….ath.“I joined the group in1974 and have playing guitar funk ever since. “
I have to admit I stuck my foot in my mouth twice on Friday with two faux pas. First, I was interviewing a jazz trumpet player named Wayne Cobham. I said kiddingly, “You’re not Billy Cobham’s (famous jazz drummer) are you?” He looked me straight in the eye and replied, “He’s my older brother.” Then we both laughed because I knew about his brother, but not him, as a jazz player. The second funny experience occurred when I was invited over to sit with three musicians who had been friends for many years. One of the men had seen me interview Michael Hampton and thought I would be interested in interviewing his two buddies. He had mumbled to me who these two gentlemen were, but I didn’t know their names because they weren’t jazz musicians. At one point I was talking about the great musicianship of the band Lynrd Sknyrd and how the piano player nailed his performance the night before. They all looked at me and smiled, especially the one wearing his fanciful hat and revealed, ”This is Lynrd Sknyrd’s piano player .” I gulped and Peter Keys said, “That made my day. At least I didn’t get a bad review.”