ALANA GRACE

* Your musical inspirations?

Well, I have a lot! I've been inspired by many artists sometimes just by one song, sometimes by several albums! My main inspirations have been Alanis Morissette, Laura Nyro, Styx, Joni Mitchell, No Doubt, Jill Sobule, Madonna, Bette Midler, and Pat Benatar .

* Favorite CD's, songs, or musicians?

I love, love, love "Jagged Little Pill" by Alanis Morissette, and "Eli and the Thirteenth Confessional" by Laura Nyro. As for songs: "Combat Baby" by Metric, "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell, "Houdini's Box" by Jill Sobule, "These are the times" by Styx, "It's not easy to be me (superman)" by Five for Fighting, etc. I could go on for days about specific songs that have inspired me. I find music will lift my spirits or calm me down when I'm angry. It's really the only way I know how to express my feeling clearly.

* Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

Of course it has! It's helped me through many. I guess because there is a type of music for every feeling I could ever possibly have, it's my musical soundtrack to life. I listen to different songs when I'm sad, angry, happy, or even when my perspective of life is changing. Someone once told me to listen to the lyrics of the songs that run through my head because those will tell me what I'm really thinking about, and I've often been surprised by how true that really is!

Alana Grace

The national press was predicting that singer/songwriter Alana Grace would soon emerge as the female rock voice of her generation, even before she turned 18. And now that she’s legally an adult, there’s every indication that the prediction will come true perhaps sooner than expected. 

The haunting and hypnotic voice of Alana, 18, came to the forefront when her song Black Roses Red, co-written with Michael Ochs, emerged as the standout on the soundtrack for the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  A memorable performance on the Today show helped spark a nationwide buzz. Indeed, Teen People dubbed her “the next Alanis Morissette” for her preternatural maturity and depth.

Like Morisette, Alana has a dark side that she’s not afraid to explore. She delves into the deep crevices of her soul to discover the lasting effects of betrayal, heartache and loneliness.  The result is a poetic analysis of the anguish and longings that many people of every age find too painful to put into words.  She is one of the few artists perhaps that mothers and daughters alike can understand and appreciate. “I really look at what’s going on in my life and how I feel about the things that are going on, which is the difference between me and a lot of teen singers out there right now,” she says.  “They just say what’s happening, not how they are feeling about it.” But it’s not just her ability to express raw angst that has distinguished Alana from the pop princesses: her rich, soulful delivery has earned comparison to Pat Benetar, while her artistic exploration and commercial sensibilities are reminiscent of Gwen Stefani.

Born in Los Angeles and moving to Nashville, she began singing soon after she learned to talk, and began creating her own melodies soon after that.  “I was that little girl with the hairbrush pretending to sing for the cameras,” she says.  “My earliest memories are when I was two or three singing for my family.”  She appeared on stage for the first time in kindergarten, when she landed one of the few solo singing parts in a play set to nursery rhymes.  A low din of conversation ended the moment Alana took the microphone and began to sing Hush Little Baby.  The crowd remained transfixed in silence until a few moments after she finished when the entire gymnasium broke out in applause. It was here that Alana felt her first love of the stage which has kept her on the performance track throughout her life.

As a child, Alana took classes in ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop, which helped land her a role of orphan in Oliver at the age of 8.  “That’s when I learned that you really could do this for a living,” she says. It was her drive and natural charisma which led her to roles in several other productions, including Annie, Cinderella, and later scoring a lead as Bernadette in Bernadette of Lourdes and Wilder in The Piper.  In addition to taking piano and acting classes, Alana spent many years on the competitive dance team for the DC Dance Factory and was later part of a singing group called The Opry Mills Teen Ambassadors. She has appeared in an NBC Movie of the Week, a TNN Entertainment Special, several PBS pilots, and numerous music video and TV specials, all while maintaining an A average in school.

Vocally, Alana has worked with some of the best writers and producers in the business such  as David Foster, Glen Ballard, Billy Mann, Keith Thomas, Victoria Shaw, Gary Burr,  Guy Roche, Mauro Malevasi among many others. She’s performed and recorded internationally and sang the anthem at sports events from the New York Giants to the Nashville Predators. She has also been a long time supporter of children’s charities and performed for the Children’s Miracle Network, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Andre Aggassi’s Grand Slam for Children, Vanderbilt’s Radiology Stars, and the Aksarben Foundation.

An extraordinary singer and charismatic performer, Alana spent months in Los Angeles studios recording with producers Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Good Charlotte) and John Fields (Switchfoot, Pink) creating her first full length album.  She wrote or co-wrote all the songs on “Break the Silence” which was mixed by industry legends Bob Clearmountain (the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith) and Chris Lord-Alge (Green Day, Hoobastank). 

“When I started writing,” she says of her songs, “it all fell into place.” With her infectious melodies and unique expressions of personal empowerment Alana Grace is coming into her own as an artist, giving voice to her innermost feelings and sharing them with the world.
www.alanagrace.com
www.myspace.com/alanagrace

KIMBERLY CALDWELL

Your musical inspirations?

Melissa Etheridge

Wynonna Judd

Heart

Favorite CD's, songs, or musicians?

Kerosene by Miranda Lambert

Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

Music has always given me an outlet to express what is going on inside of me. I know that when I sing something I am getting something out of my inside and letting go. This is also what I love about songwriting. I love that I can sit down and turn a bad situation into a good one with words. I can also use my voice and what I am saying to help others get through tough times in their lives.

Your thoughts on the connection between music and healing-

I am a firm believer that music can heal. When I was younger I had to endure a few hard times and whenever I would get down I would turn to the therapeutic joy that music brought into my life.

KIMBERLY CALDWELL BIO

Kimberly Caldwell was born on February 25, 1982 in a small town outside of Houston called Katy, Texas. She began performing at the age of 5 on the stages of local beauty pageants and fairs. Kimberly, eager to further her career, knew that fame was not going to come quickly in Katy and after much urging convinced her Mom to pack u and moved to Branson, MO.

Once in Branson Kimberly quickly landed many jobs singing on various country stage shows. From Branson Kimberly moved on to singing at the Grand Ole Opry, The Country Tonite Theater, the Grand Casino and performed on Ed McMahon's Star Search where she won the Junior Vocalist title a record of 5 times. A record she still holds today.

When Kimberly turned 15 she decided to take a break from the hectic life of a singer and moved back to Katy. She wanted to be a normal kid and go to high school football games, go to prom and have a boyfriend. However she was so unhappy when she wasn't performing that she began singing again a few years later in small places to start saving money for her most prized possession, her Truck.

Kimberly's bif moment came when her mother urged her to go try out for "some reality show" that was holding auditions in Houston. Kimberly decided to give it a shot. "Some reality show" turned out to be Fox's breakout hit American Idol. Kimberly made it through all of the auditions and landed herself a spot as a finalist in the second season.

After appearing on American Idol, Kimberly became the first and only Idol contestant to pose for the men's magazine, Maxim. She also served as a correspondent for Fox Sports' extreme sports show, 54321, and has been seen on Oprah, Fox News, CNN and currently hosts two TV shows on the TV Guide Channel and is their official Red Carpet Correspondent.

Aside from singing Kimberly is also great at makeup and hair design and even cuts her own hair. "Lots of people comment on it and I always get asked 'where do you get your hair cut?' " says Kimberly. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her younger sister and best friend. Kimberly also enjoys all kinds of music as her taste is very eclectic "I Love every kind of Music", she says, but her favorite has to be Country. Her first concert was Reba McIntire and her first album she bought was "Forever and Ever Amen" by Randy Travis. Kim says that the highlights of her career thus far are making it to the finals on American Idol, holding the records of five wins on Star Search and singing for George & Barbara Bush's 50th Wedding Anniversary at the Grand' Ole Opry.
www.kimberly-caldwell.com
www.myspace.com/kimberlycaldwellofficial

RICK BRANTLEY

* Your musical inspirations?

 Sunday mornings, Saturday nights, Good-time Gospel music, Bob Dylan, The Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Rolling Stones, and Johnny Cash.

* Favorite CD's, songs, or musicians?

 CD's - "Live At The Fillmore" - Allman Brothers, "Before The Flood" - Bob Dylan/The Band, "The College Dropout" - Kayne West. Songs: "To Beat The Devil" - Kris Kristofferson, "When Love Comes To Town" - U2/B.B. King, "Can't Find My Way Home" - Traffic, "Is There Room On The Cross For Me?" - Scott Miller. Keith Richards, Duane Allman, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Steve Winwood, and Rick Brantley.

* Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

Everyday. Twice a day.

* Your thoughts on the connection between music and healing-

Music may be the only real connection people believe in anymore, a truly man-made, God-breathed artform with the power to move like no other. When all else fails, a song or record, is a faithful companion in a world full of constant change. A friend that won't lie. A lover that won't cheat. Music is an can be an anchor. Music heals. Without a doubt, it is the most powerful force on this earth. Hopefully that will never change
.
RICK BRANTLEY BIO

If you’ve been wondering if rock ‘n roll has truly been put to death by today’s fabricated, widget-like pop stars “popping” out of the woodworks, rest assured that you will find the phoenix not only rising out of but bursting forth from Rick Brantley.

Brantley, barely 21, writes, plays, and sings his Southern angst filled rock n’ roll with the heart, soul and body of a young Bruce Springsteen or Kris Kristofferson. Brantley’s songs address the same timeless issues that his protégés addressed in the 60’s and 70’s: the confusion and longing inherent in lovelorn youth, political and racial injustice, and a search for meaning in a world that offers harsh judgments but few solutions. “The issues are the same today as they were when Lennon, Dylan, and Robbie Robertson of The Band (a few of his influences) were writing about them,” Rick says, “and we are still divided over them.”

In keeping with the true rock concert tradition of his heroes, a Rick Brantley performance is packed to the max with action. One moment Rick’s fingers are hammering across the keyboards as he’s belting out lyrics with a Bob Seger like frenzy, and his full band is pounding down the house to keep up with him. Next, Rick is center stage going at it with an electric ax, and the next moment he’s back at the keys, under spotlight, crooning out a ballad that will break your heart. His audience is always riveted.

Rick Brantley is serious about rock n’ roll. He is serious about music that is meaningful and performances that are full of passion and integrity. After a long wait, the phoenix is finally bursting forth to gift you with the real deal.
www.rickbrantley.com
www.myspace.com/rickbrantley

MONICA SHANNON

Your Musical Inspirations?

It’s always a gift when a song happens.

It may happen for loneliness, sadness or instead for a particular joy, emotion that you’re living.

It may be dedicated to a cause, a fact or simply, to a lover.

It is the expression of your deep blue and sometimes, the only way to communicate (your feelings) to one another. I believe that, unintentionally, thank to a song, you can give people a reason to think, to not accept, in a passive way, their ordinary lives, there’s something more behind the door!

5 minutes and they are you, with your feelings and story to tell to one another, who, probably, is waiting for those feelings and that story. Yes, like a great dialog, a neverending dialog.

So...let it happen!

Favorite Cds, Songs, Musicians?

When I was a child, my father used to listen to Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Sting and some italian artists like Angelo Branduardi, an unforgettable street-singer and Franco Battiato, a wonderful composer. A great listening, I was enchanted by! One of my favourite songs was and is “Wish You Were Here”.

Then, through the years, I got to know different music styles such as Folk and Celtic Music (thank to my first Ireland trip) and Jazz Music (thank to my vocal teacher Tiziana Ghiglioni). I think that all my steps have been extremely necessary to increase my music culture and show me the way to find out “the real me”. But I also think that, as a passionate musician, I still have much to learn! For this reason, I use to open my mind to different styles, sounds, inspirations. I would have a great listening each day of my life!

Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

Music is my everything!

She was, is and will be my best friend. She guards all my secrets jealously, knows my smile and my tears, is my shelter when all around it’s raining.

Yes, she helped me many times and never left me.

I’m nothing without her.

Your thoughts on the connection between music and healing

Music and healing are closely connected.

How many times do you need a good song to smile or wake up and take the right decision?

How many times do you need to listen to a song that reminds you a person, a fact or a particular situation?

How many times do you need to cry but with “your song” you know that you are not alone?

These are a few examples but I’m sure, I could write a book!!!

And not because I’m a musician but first because I’m a human being with a complex structure.

I think that we are born and live everyday thank to each shape of art and we could never live without.

Even if sometimes we don’t realize all our natural motions, our healing is closely connected to our environment. And a good environment can’t exclude the art, the fuel of our soul.

Monica Shannon, 11.21.2006

MONICA SHANNON BIO

Welcome to the world of Monica Shannon!

I’ve been singing and writing songs for more than ten years. When I was 12, I started playing piano and noting my first inspirations. I had a great teacher in this sense, Mr Aldo Garavini, a musician playing for “La Scala Orchestra” in Milan (Italy). With him I got to know the magic music of Prokofiev, Bela Bartok, Debussy and also how the poetry moves the music and vice versa. I remember that when I played the piano, he used to read a poem and, during one of those sessions, I got to know Dylan Thomas as well, one of my favourite authors. Then, when I was 17, I started singing and, at the same time, I wrote my first soundtrack for the theatre in my country, “La Verità di Mezzanotte” (Midnight’s Truth). To improve my vocal technique, I’ve been taking jazz style lessons with a great singer, Tiziana Ghiglioni, for two years. I’m now approaching the Speech Level Singing Method.

I’ve always been looking for the real me in an artistic way. I thought that traveling was the right way to start and open my mind towards different cultures and music. The place where I started this adventure is Ireland. Most of my songs, in fact, are inspired by the old celtic music and then arranged in a current key. Their aim is to convey feelings, sensations and emotions, so that if you close your eyes you can see what I see and feel what I feel.

After various journeys, I’m now getting into humanitarian causes. Being a passionate ocean lover, I really need to save creatures that live in it. I’m totally against whales’ hunting and I think that it’s absolutely appalling the killing of these gentle giants. I wrote “Up and Down” after a trip to the Azores Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, and after seeing these beautiful mammals swimming free in the deep blue. I hope that this will increase people’s awareness. Then, thank to one of my best friends, Marina, who visited Laos for a long time, I got to know the cause of MAG (Mines Advisory Group), a British Organization operating in different parts of the world, fighting against mines unexploded ordinances. My song “I’m Aware” is dedicated to everyone who’s saving lives clearing fields from uxo’s and mines.
If you would like to know more about my work and music, please visit my page:
www.monicashannon.com
www.myspace.com/monicashannon
Monica/ReverbNation
Monica/Lineamusica

ANDREW SYNOWIEC

* Your musical inspirations?

My first inspiration was my older brother, who is also a guitarist.
He really helped to "demystify" a lot of things for me. Then in high
school I started studying with a great guitarist named Tom Lagana, who
would take me along on gigs. He showed me how to be a working
musician. When I was studying at the University of Miami the teachers
were a huge influence, especially the guitar department. Randall
Dollahon is like a walking dictionary of music. Kynch O' Kaine taught
me how to deal with the difficult real-world issues you are often
faced with in the music biz. Once I started doing sessions Dan
Warner, who is also an alum, became an endless source of knowledge and
inspiration.

* Favorite CD's, songs, or musicians?

Right now I'm really into the old stuff - The Stones, Hendrix,
Clapton. But I definitely try to stay on top of whatever's currently
happening. Also anything from U2 always sounds fresh. And of course
a little jazz helps clear my head now and then.

* Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

I would say that music is more of a constant for me. It's the reason
I get up in the morning, the force that keeps me pushing ahead every
day. But in truly difficult times everyone needs family and friends.

ANDREW SYNOWIEC BIO

You may not have heard of Andrew Synowiec by name, but chances are
you've heard his guitar playing. Whether on the "NFL on FOX" theme,
the CBS hit drama "Without A Trace," a blockbuster movie trailer, or
today's pop hits, Andrew is one of LA's most promising young session
musicians. Andrew has performed on records selling over 10 million
copies worldwide including Marc Anthony's Grammy-winning Amar Sin
Mentiras, Maria Schneider's Grammy-nominated Romances, and albums for
some of Latin music's most important artists such as Thalia, Estefano,
and Chayanne. In addition, Andrew has played on numerous commercial
music sessions for clients such as "Ocean's 12," "In the Heat of the
Night," Warner Bros, MGM, New Line Cinema, and many others.
Productions featuring his performances have achieved numerous top
positions on the Billboard Charts and been broadcast and exhibited
countless times all over the world. His live performance credits
include appearances on MTV, ABC, Fox, The WB, Sessions @ AOL, The
Disney Channel, Univision and Telemundo as well as international tours
for Sony, EMI, BMG, and Hollywood Records recording artists.

As a producer, Andrew's compositions and arrangements have
been released by EMI records, performed by the United States Air Force
Band, and featured at the International Association of Jazz Educators
conference. Andrew holds a Master's Degree in Music from the
University of Miami, where he performed with some of the most renowned
artists in Jazz including Vince Mendoza, Joe Lovano, David Liebman,
Bob Berg, James Moody, Bob Mintzer, and Jim McNeely. He was twice
honored with Down Beat Magazine's Outstanding Performance Award.
Andrew is endorsed by Taylor Guitars, Floyd Rose Guitars, Aiken
Amplification, Elixir Strings, and IK Multimedia.
www.andrewsynowiec.com

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