Monday, April 25, 2011

Shaping Electronic Music in Germany

Perhaps not as well known now as the French electronic scene, Germany has been producing electronic music acts for decades and has provided inspiration for many artists the world over.

In the late 60's and early 70's an early form of electronic music was formed by mixing the regular rock band instrumentation with electronic instruments and experimental production effects such as those used by the Beatles. Germany branded this genre Kosmische Musik. The term encompassed German electronic groups such as Tangerine Dream, Faust and Kraftwerk.

After the Berlin Wall fell, many recently vacated Eastern Bloc buildings became refuges for DJ's and the underground dance and rave scene. In 1991, Berlin held it's first Mayday Music Festival which has grown into one the the largest electronic music events in Europe. The idea was simple: A huge underground rave based off of a theme composed by the Members of Mayday. The first festival reached an estimated crowd attendance of 5,000. In 1992, they more than doubled that number with around 12,000 attendees. High profile artists like Aphex Twin, Moby and The Prodigy have all performed at Mayday festival and similar Mayday Raves have been set up in Poland and Russia.

German music has had an act emerge in every sub genre of electronic music. You may have heard of such artists as KMFDM, Wumpscut, Rammstein, Apparat, ATB, Digitalism and former JLSC Finalist, Maison Vague. Many of the new groups, like Maison Vague, have talked about how, without the groundwork laid out by artists like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, the inspiration for the electronic sound coming out of Germany just wouldn't be there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus Presents: The Alabama Gospel Music Songwriting Contest

In celebration of Alabama's great Gospel history, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest wants you to upload your original songs for your chance to shine as a songwriter! Please visit for further information regarding this contest as well as submit your songs and lyrics! You could win one of three Avid Finalist Prize Packages, totaling over $1,000 (MSRP) consisting of PT 9 Academic, Sibelius 6 Professional and an Oxygen 25 keyboard controller. One of the three finalists will be selected as the Grand Prize winner, receiving an additional Avid Prize Package totaling almost $3,000 (MSRP) consisting of an Mbox, PT 9 Academic, Sibelius 6 Professional, Axiom 49 keyboard controller, a pair of M-Audio CX5 monitors, and a Luna II microphone. Additionally the Grand Prize winning song will be entered into the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and eligible to win the $20,000 Song of the Year!

As always, the entries will be considered by a panel of esteemed and celebrity judges. Many of you may be familiar with Ruben Studdard, winner of American Idol's 2nd season. He will be both judging your entries as well as performing!

Accompanying Ruben with the judging will be Renowned conductor and arranger Dr. Henry Panion, III (Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Gospel Goes Classical), Kevin Bond, Kurt Carr, Dorinda Clark-Cole (Clark Sisters), Cedric Dent (Take 6), Steven Ford (Richard Smallwood, The Winans), and Aaron Lindsey (Israel Houghton, Marvin Sapp), along with Gospel Jazz great Ben Tankard.

Please note that The Alabama Gospel Music Songwriting Contest is only open to Alabama state residents and students, if you fit this criteria and are interested in entering our contest, please go to for further details and to enter!

If you are not a resident of Alabama, you need not be discouraged as Session I of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest is still open and accepting entries! If you would like to enter our Session I songwriting contest, please visit for more details on rules and how to enter.

Friday, April 1, 2011

JLSC Winner Nabs Second Juno Award for Sophomore Album

The biggest night in Canadian music took place this past weekend in Toronto, ON, and two-time Grand Prize Winner (Gospel Category), Greg Sczebel, was among the star-studded list of winners, including Neil Young, Arcade Fire and Justin Bieber. The soulful singer/songwriter, who was also the winner of the JLSC’s “Toby Gad Experience”, claimed the trophy for “Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year” - the same award he won in 2005 for his debut independent release, “Here to Stay”.

Still buzzing from his win, Sczebel notes that the nomination in this category came as a bit of a surprise to some of his fans. “I’ve had a few fans say they were surprised that my album was nominated in this category because it sounds nothing like a typical Gospel album. But the fans and industry in both the Gospel and mainstream Pop scene have been so supportive of this album, which I think is a testament to the power of music…it can cross borders of any kind if it resonates with listeners.”

Sczebel’s national recognition comes fresh off the heels of receiving 9 nominations in the British Columbia Interior Music Awards, including Pop Album of the Year, Single of the Year for his song “I’ve Got That Feelin” and R&B/Soul Album of the Year.