Over 20 musicians have donated rare pieces for the occasion. The line-up includes contributions from the likes of Bicep, Charlie XCX, The Rolling Stones and more.
There will also be a panel discussion in line with Mental Health Awareness Week. The artists and musicians will take part in a number of talks from May 10 to 16 at the same location.
The artwork will be auctioned on Helium London’s website from May 24 to 29.
Music Support is an organisation that helps people in the UK music industry who are struggling with mental health and addiction. The charity offers helplines, training and safe hubs at festivals.
The live music industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. With concert and club venues shut for over a year, it has cost over 170,000 jobs, according to The Guardian.
CEO and founder of Helium London, Jennifer McCormick says: “[The exhibition] has brought together phenomenal talent without prejudice and forged new creative relationships, all united in breaking down barriers surrounding addiction and mental health.”
Every year the Grammy Awards shake the media and provoke the people’s curiosity regarding which famous singer will win and how many musicians will rock the melody world.
Grammy (Gramophone Awards) or The Grammy Awards are the American music awards ceremony that takes place every year.
Initially, the creators of the celebration wanted to name it the Eddie Awards, in honour of Thomas Edison, as he invented the phonograph, but the final choice was Gramophone Awards after the gramophone, made by Emile Berliner.
According to Britannica, the first event dates to 1959, and then 28 rewards were given to significant figures like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Kingston Trio.
The winners are gifted a tiny gilded gramophone as a prize. John Billings holds the company Billings Artworks that are responsible for making the Gramophone Awards prize. The process of production did not change a lot since the start, as trophies remain to be handmade.
Who is worthy of an accolade decides the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), known as the Recording Academy or Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS), often identified as the Latin Recording Academy.
The members of both Recording Academies remain a mystery. However, in 2020 The Rolling Stone claimed that there are 12,000 voters, who pick approximately 20 competitors for every category by a popular vote, but committees are only allowed to express their voice in their areas of knowledge.
Later five nominees are chosen for every award and a winner in the end. Victorious artists are selected from more than 25 music domains that include genres like pop, rock, rap, R&B, country, reggae, classical, gospel, and jazz also production and postproduction results containing packaging and album notes. Four general rewards are handed for a record, album, song of the year, and best new artist. More than 75 awards are given altogether during the ceremony, a highlight of the voting.
Artists who try to compete for an award have to release a song or music video in the US from 1 October last year, till the midnight of 30 September, because this period counts as the Grammy year. To fit for a Latin Grammy, a song could be released anywhere globally, but it must be recorded in the Spanish or Portuguese language between 1 July of the previous year and 30 June of the award year.
Submissions are sent by the record companies and the academy members and are inspected to decide eligibility and category placement. Successful contestants show up in The Grammy Awards TV ceremony, where the winners are announced.
Over the years, The Grammy Awards received criticism surrounding transparency and even racism. However, the event is still well-recognised by the media and music industry, and the ceremony catches the attention of the professionalism of presenters and iconic looks.
Featured Image belongs to Sudhith Xavier on Unsplash
In 2019 the music industry was worth £5.2bn to the British economy and the live music sector was breaking the £1bn barrier.
The chief executive of UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre, Julian Bird communicated that in their “latest survey (…) 70% of theatres or production companies, both, would run out of cash and go out of business by the end of this year. That was consistent whether you looked at London, the rest of the UK – whether you looked at subsidised organisations or commercial organisations. It was consistently around 70% for everybody.”
In an open letter, more than 1400 artists are calling on the UK government to come up with solutions against the total collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic. Biggest names in rock and pop music such as Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Muse, Eric Clapton, Iron Maiden, Bring Me The Horizon, Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora, Coldplay, Annie Lennox, The Cure, Phil Collins have decided to unite their voices and spread this message in the music world. They are warning that a lack of support and continued uncertainty is having a devastating impact in one of the world’s biggest live music market.
In the joint letter, the artists say:
“UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. From world-famous festivals to ground-breaking concerts, the live music industry showcases, supports, and develops some of the best talent in the world – on and off-stage. As important as it is, our national and regional contribution isn’t purely cultural. ”
Artists urged their fans to post pictures and videos of the last shows they attended before lockdown using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay.
During the lockdown, artists have found alternative ways of sharing their craft such as livestreams and digital content. In regards to this matter, Bird also mentioned that the in the streaming model it’s not the musicians who are put first. Majority of them are surviving on hardship funds.
As the fourth largest music market in the world, the appeal notes that state support for live music is way behind many other European countries. France and Germany for example have used public money to kickstart their concert industries post-Covid19.
The UK music industry is asking for more information concerning the reopening of venues, big and small and without social distancing. Once these venues reopen, businesses demand a full VAT exemption on ticket sales. In the meantimes, a comprehensive business and employment support package and access to finance. The package should include a government backed insurance scheme with rent breaks for venues to allow them to reopen and financial support for lost box-office income.
Artists are wondering what the landscape is going to look like on the other side of this crisis. Many of them are afraid that if the government doesn’t step up “vital aspects of the british culture will be lost forever” says Emily Eavis, the organiser of the Glastonbury festival. A long term impact could be indeed, devastating.
With all the live events and music shows being shut down left and right, artists everywhere have had to make the tough decision to postpone their concerts until further notice.
Our favourite artists are trying to come up with creative ways to keep music alive and keep us entertained in these gloomy times. While in the previous years music lovers would start planning for the festival season by now, there are very little signs or hope for a normal summer season at all. If you’re tired spending your days on the couch, turn the music on, open the windows and dance all your worries (and calories) away for a minute or thirty.
Tame Impala released a new playlist playlist on Youtube called “The Slow Rush in an imaginary place”. In the background the listener can hear people cheering and having fun. If you miss live music dreamy atmosphere, grab a pair of headphones and immerse yourself into this Tame Impala psychedelic goodness. Travel into the past, or maybe the future. You decide.
Coldplay’s front-singer and a many other artists delighted their audience on Instagram with live at-home concerts. Chris Martin spent thirty minutes playing his best tracks on piano encouraging other artists to do the same. His live has been viewn over 4.7 million times and inspired people to share their own version of their #ToghetherAtHome over 58.000 times.
Sam Smith has also shared three performances singing by himself live, all the way from his living-room. Due to the recent events Smith decided to postpone the release to his third studio album and change its title.
The english indie rock band Nothing but Thieves have been meaning to realease new material for a quite a while. Their new song “Is everyone going crazy?” seems to have been written exactly for our times and relates to out current struggles. It’s a great catharsis song, recommend 10/10 for headbanging and aimelessly jumping around the living room.
“Is anyone else feeling lonely?”
Social media use has increased drastically and we’ve seen many musicians’ new ways to have fun and engaging with their fans. #Quarantinekaraoke, live-at-home-concerts, virtual festivals and gaming twitch streams… We can’t help but wonder, what’s next?
As we wait for the new wave of digital music interaction incited by the quarantined musicians worldwide, people have turned to music to feel less lonely in their homes.
What might seem like a catastrophy for the night economy could become a transformation of the music industry itself. New platforms for music broadcasting are emerging.
#DigitalFort is a two day event showcasing over 100 artists. This is meant to be an online festival to help raise money for those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One can have fun and be of service at the same time. Hopefully you have a good internet connection and you’re even luckier if you have some nice neighbours… the party can finally begin!
‘Rest in Peace Jack Merritt, you’re my brother in arms’, Merritt, a rehabilitation officer who lost his life following the London Bridge Attack in November, was one of a few names given tribute at the Brit Awards this year.
Rap, took centre stage at the music awards where British rapper Dave, used his performance to call out Prime Minister Boris Johnson, branding him a ‘real racist’, highlighted the disparity between Kate and Meghan’s representation in the British media and honoured Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, the two victims of the London Bridge terror attacks.
“In the case of the Prime Minister, he is not a racist at all”
A culture that has birthed popular genres such as hip-hop and grime and known infamously for its misuse of drugs, and degrading of women is now at the heart of spreading a political message. Whilst the British rapper’s performance has been commended for bringing attention to the reality that Grenfell victims are still out of accommodation, despite losing their homes to a fire in 2017, and has called attention to the neglect of the Windrush generation, Home Secretary Priti Patel criticised Dave’s performance, stating in an interview with Sky News:
“I don’t know what those comments are based on. It’s wrong to make judgements about individuals when you don’t know a particular individual as in the case of the Prime Minister. He is not a racist at all and I just think those comments are highly inappropriate.”
Despite Dave delivering a powerful performance, it was Stormzy’s domination of the same stage in 2018 that may have set a precedent for the former’s performance, calling out the former Prime Minister, Stormzy said: “Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell” and unapologetically called out the Daily Mail. Both rapper’s performances were praised for drawing attention to social issues, but do musical artists have a right to be political?
In a society where we have the liberty of freedom of speech, it could be argued that people and musicians alike are free to express their views; and despite the negative connotations often associated with rap music, political speech in music is not a contemporary movement. American hip-hop group NWA’s song, ‘F*** tha Police’ protested against racial profiling and police brutality, in 1988.
Whilst Dave’s performance may have ruffled some political feathers, his acknowledgement of social issues through music, may have paved the way for a new genre of rap.
Having the right instrument for a professional musician, means to step up his work of quite a bit.
Guitars are not the same. There are many different types of guitars differentiating in size, price or specifications; more or less suitable for certain genres.
So when it comes to choose one, professional musicians have many factors to include in their choice (such as playing style, role, pitch, internal mechanics etc).
But finding a guitar to suit all the needs of a musician is difficult, especially in a commerce saturated by instruments of every kind and price.
So certain musicians decide to approach luthiers in order to be able to buy a guitar suiting any specific need, builted exclusively for them. Guitar Luthiers are considered “wood tailors”, capable of building instruments following the exact needs of a musician; making music composition for them, much more natural.
So how is a luthiery guitar built?
Modern Lutherie is the practice of building stringed instruments by hand and was born in Brescia, Italy around the 15th century, spreading all around Europe.
Today, even if the industry of music instruments its dominated by big companies trying to maximise their profits, using machines and top notch technologies; after more than 7 centuries, it’s still possible to see people (especially young people) deciding to study and to help surivive; the noble art of Luthiery.
Twenty four years old; Mirko has played guitar on daily basis since he was eleven. Loving to understand how things are made since young age; he studies electronics until 2014, when he realises that he could combine his two passions in his future career, and joins Giulio Negrini’s luthier course. After a few years of practice and prototypes, finally in 2016 Mirko launches his activity as luthier of electric guitars: “MRK Guitars”. When asked what he loves about his job he says “What I love about it, is that you see your ideas taking shape, becoming reality; and the satisfaction of putting all of yourself into something someone else will enjoy.”
So,to start a project, Mirko likes first to understand the type of musician his client is. To do thisMirko meets with his client, and starts viewing photos and videos of live performances, and (if available) studio-projects provided by his client; in order to understand in detail what kind of guitar project to create. Afterwards, consulting the mood board, Mirko then starts by drawing the silouhette of the guitar with his client, considering multiple factors: from posture to aesthetic, for example.
In the next part of the process, the luthier has to choose the right wood for his project, which is a crucial part of the work. Guitars are composed of different types of woods, so depending on the requests of the client and the project,different woods affects a project in many different ways such as for example balance, sound, or even the humity of the country the client lives in[…].
But the wood Luthiers use, is no common wood. To be able to maximise results, liuthiers work with wood aged at least 10 years, coming from trees planted in places where they wouldn’t develop many branches. This because trees with less branches are more likely to grow with more resistant straight fibres, and aged wood is much dryier; helping the malleability of the wood and its durability. To buy this very specific wood, Mirko has to contact specific luthier sawmills, from which he buys only the specific amount of wood he needs for the project.
Luthiery Wood (PH. Mirko Costa)
After obtaining the fine wood, during the first week, the Luthier spends the majority of his time shaping the various parts of the guitar into the rough project. In this part he carves also the space for the elttronics inside the guitar.
For aesthetical reasons, the body of the guitar should be always symmetrical; and to achieve this, Mirko opens awood piece book-like, to then compose it back together horizontally, creating a perfectly symmetrical natural design.
In the refinement process, the headstock of the guitar is one of the most complex tasks. Containing the main mechanics for tuning the instrument called “tuning machines”, the headstock is composed by the same wood of the body for aesthetical reasons. Designing and buildingproperlya headstock is foundamental for the overall sound andbalance of the guitar, and given the high tension of the strings, in order to avoid damages, the most resistant and utilised method to attach it to the neck is called “scarf-joint”.
Elnath Project (Picture courtesy Of MRK Guitars)
The refinement of the guitar’s fretboard and neck is oppositely, the easiest part of the process in Mirko’s opinion; but the most important one for sound of it and comfort of the musician. A badly built fretboard could lead to tendinitis given the amount of hours certain musicians spend playing.
So In this part, the luthier measures size and posture of the musician, and depending on the unique way the musician plays and his real-time feedback, he shapes the neck of the instrument. After that, a specific saw cuts frets from wood of the right size for the fretboard, that are then embedded and glued on it. Many people love decorations on their fretboards, that Mirko carves by hand fret by fret, and then fills with “Madre Perla” or resin depending on the clients request.
The same refining criteria are applied to the finalisation of the guitar’s body. Shaped depending on the posture and comfort of the artist but also his personal taste; Mirko refines with various tools the lineaments and surface of the instrument, to then paint it and assemble it. In the painting process, the choice of what type of paint is not only an aesthetical process. Mirko for example, prefers to work with synthetic paintjobs because even though less “warm”; more resistant to time and humidities.
Coming from the Metal World, he thinks that today mass production guitars are deep down all the same from every point of view. So, after trying one of Mirko’s guitars, Giovanni relised that to step up his music skills he had to have the right instrument, and decided to work on his custom guitar with Mirko.
He states: “There is no such thing as a perfect guitar; but it’s sure that If you know what to ask from your instrument or what you need, a luthier guitar is perfection”.
In 1988 British youth culture underwent a massive transformation, the music turned to acid- house and the drug on the scene was ecstasy. It all started in the Balearic island of Ibiza in 1985. The islands carefree and 24-hour party vibe influenced young DJ Paul Oakenfold. After his spontaneous visit, he made it his mission to bring the Ibiza nightlife back to rainy London with him. His first attempt did not go to plan, but this only motivated him more.
He planned his second trip to the island that never sleeps in 1987, to try one more time. When he returned to London he started introducing acid- house records into his DJ sets. Clubs in England at this particular time were only playing one type of music, but this was all about to change.
By 1988 acid house had become a phenomenon within London’s nightlife. This high only lasted a year and a half, but during that time everyone was in a haze of peace, love, and unity.
After all this time the spirit of raves is remerging again amongst the youth of Britain, and it is more popular than ever. This dynamic culture has taken over London, it is seen in nightclubs such as Egg, Fire and Lightbox and also festivals such as Elrow and Boomtown.
It is a culture where community is key and money is insignificant, so no wonder it is becoming more popular than the regular night clubbing scene amongst 18-25 year-olds.
Rave culture for many is seen as a negative way of enjoying yourself, as people associate drugs, bad behaviour, and illegal activity to this particular form of ‘partying’. It is a sub-culture that many have prejudged and have biased opinions on, due to the stigma that the media has created around raving. This all started due to the rise in illegal raves across London.
Once rave culture became popular amongst the youth of Britain, they were forced to battle and defend for their right to have a good time. Section 63 of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act was a law created in order to control and threaten the UK rave scene.
This particular law gave police the power to shut down events that were “characterised by the emission of succession of repetitive beats”. Illegal raves are still considerably present within today’s society, they are usually held in isolated outdoor venues or abandoned buildings and are well known for illegal drug use.
The unlicensed rave scene has been spread across all forms of media. This has resulted in society associating all types of raves with illegal behaviour. Legal rave culture is exactly the same as any other form of nightlife within London. It is a community of individuals who enjoy listening to a particular genre of music, and want to have a good time. Unfortunately, the rave scene is not seen this way by everyone.
It is only until recently that raves have started to become socially acceptable. This is due to acid – house becoming a popular genre of electronic dance music amongst today’s generation of youth. Raves signify a community of people, of all different ages and from different backgrounds. It is a community where having a good time is the only thing on people’s minds, and where you can get lost in the music all night long.
Jo Nava moved to London from Denmark with her family 3 years ago. Since then, she has made her space on the corner of Tottenham court road, where she wows passers-by with her new style of busking. Using a loop machine and her laptop she is able to create new unique songs you usually only hear on the radio right in front of you. With this she plays her own music only, introducing us to a mixture of song and rap with lyrics that tug at your heartstrings and lift your soul as she inspires you to live a positive lifestyle.
In the next interview, young adults share their different opinions on the music industry in relation to their musical background. The participants in this piece, represent really diverse music profiles, going from music press magazine with Clara Leira in “Mondo Sonoro”, to Music Business Management students such as María Jáñez. The mix of perspectives in this video gives a complete and coherent vision of what youngsters have to say about the music industry. In this interview, María and Clara share their tips in order to help individuals who are willing to start a music career.
Ticket prices for live music events have been largely debated for a number of years, now. We all know about the war against ticket touts and re-selling sites such as Viagogo and Twickets and, with the help of artists such as Ed Sheeran and Adele, the popularity and impact of these sites seems to be decreasing. However, it appears that there’s a new kind of ticket war on the horizon. In recent years, it seems that ticket prices are rising more generally as legitimate, first-hand vendors have been increasing their prices.
Research from Pollstar shows that the average ticket prices for the top 100 worldwide tours in 2017 rose 5% to $84.63 (£61), while a 2018 BBC investigation found that ticket prices for big arena gigs have doubled since the 1990s and – taking inflation into account – the prices of gig tickets have risen by 27%.
Take the Spice Girls as an example; in 1998, tickets to their Wembley Stadium show cost £23.50 (£39 in today’s money) whereas tickets for their 2019 Wembley Stadium show are selling at £60-£135 for seated tickets, £75 for standing and £199 for ‘Spice Circle’ standing.
In a recent poll conducted by WNOL, 74% of respondents said that gig tickets are too expensive. One Twitter user said ‘personally I think that the pricing is way too high – especially in standing arenas for people like Ariana Grande, Little Mix etc. who attract a younger audience of early teens’.
Another Twitter user said ‘I think that gig tickets are extremely overpriced for what they are. It’s just another way for corporate bands to leech money from the easily persuaded youth of today’.
Others pointed out that, although tickets can be expensive, some artists are aware of this and do try to tackle this. One Instagram user said ‘some performers are aware of how expensive tickets are getting and actively try to keep prices low (like The Vamps) while others know they can charge a lot more and that people will pay it so they go extreme. You can’t blame them because, in a way, their main income is probably from touring these days’.
But why are ticket prices so high?
‘Venue costs rising, promoters’ fees, performers’ fees and the rising costs of logistics (travel, shipping of equipment et cetera) will have all contributed to the rising costs of gig tickets’, says Brighton-based music journalist Tom Sayer.
‘Performers still need to make money from their shows, and often even with high ticket prices and large sell-out shows, they make little to nothing on the shows themselves. They rely heavily on the selling of merch at the shows, and an increased awareness through gig promotion and PR’.
Although Tom doesn’t think gig culture will die if ticket prices continue to rise, he thinks it will likely change – ‘At the moment it seems like most shows are either free (open mic nights, pub bands) or very expensive (arena tours). I think they key is offering shows in the mid-range, so people are more likely to take a punt, even if they don’t know the artists’.
And Tom seems to be right; if anything, gigs only seem to be getting more popular. Expensive, yes, but with artists themselves – Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and The Vamps, to name a few – opening their eyes to the problems of the live music world, it may not stay this way forever. After all, look at the progress that’s been made in tackling the original ticket war.