Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy Anniversaries Haley

Today marks the 6 month anniversary of the release of Haley's single Free, and the 1 year anniversary of her brilliant God Bless The Child jazz masterpiece with Grammy award winning jazz musician Irvin Mayfield Jr. See both videos below, and if you agree with me that Haley and Irvin deserve a Grammy nomination for "Best Improvised Jazz Solo" please tweet this column out attention @TheGRAMMYs.

Haley's in peak vamping form, playing the hot break-up seductress in her official music video

Haley and Irvin engage in an epic call-response that is truly Grammy worthy

Coming up on October 8th, Haley and Irvin will reunite in a star studded affair at Carnegie Hall to celebrate the 10 years of Irvin's NOLA Orchestra.  Haley's old American Idol pal Casey Abrams will also be performing as one of Irvin's special guests. Really hoping for some great footage of that one to post here for you guys. Should be an epic show.

Additionally, Haley has a "StageIt" living-room internet concert coming up next month (October 16th), and she replied to me via twitter that she'll likely be doing a jazz number for us there, too.

Well, alright!!! 

Finally, please note the new poll I've added to Kenny Poo blog on the top right column. It's a survey to see which of Haley's music styles you enjoy the most. I think you all know what mine is, especially if you read my Open Letter To Haley last month.

~Kenny Poo

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Toodles Talent Shows

This post is to announce my official retirement from reality talent shows. Oh, I may casually catch an episode of American Idol here and there in the future, but the bombardment of too many singing competitions, and too much wasted time spent on the internet following them, has rendered my interest level empty.

After 10 years of at times obsessively watching American Idol, this year I found myself adding The Voice and X-Factor to the mix and was primed for talent show mania. What resulted is talent show burnout. I just couldn't force myself to give a fuck like I used to. It all blended together, felt like the same old shit, and to be honest I found the whole thing boring and predictable.

In short, I realized that I just don't give a damn anymore about reality talent shows period. Same old cliches, same old dramas, same old bullshit. Been there, done that (way too many times), and I just can't go there anymore.

I'm sure I'm not alone. American Idol was originally new and fresh, then became a mega hit with all kinds of excitement, but now it just seems tired, old and forced. Nothing original, none of that energy of anticipation that came with something special and important...the thrill is gone, at least for me.

In fact, maybe it isn't the show's fault at all. Maybe it's just that I've grown apart from it after so many years. I'm bored, I got nothing left for it, no more love, no more thrill, no more nothing. It's just time for me to move on.

This doesn't mean I'm unappreciative of the contestants that have made an impact on me, and with that I will now thank the two who had the greatest impact on me, and give mention to the others who I also have personal interests in.

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Haley Reinhart

The seductive torch singer with the luscious voice and girl-next-door charm absolutely captivated me during Season 10 of American Idol, and following her post-idol career has become part of my daily routine. I absolutely can't get enough of her, and am thankful she's only 22 years old so that I'll be able to enjoy decades more of her timeless music. Haley's debut album, Listen Up!, showcases her remarkable musical diversity, and is an impressive start to what promises to be a sensational career. My hope is that in the future she'll focus her talents more in the jazz/blues realm where she's particularly gifted. If so, I believe Grammys and recognition as one of the all time greats awaits this beautiful starlet.

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Crystal Bowersox

The very embodiment of singer/songwriter, Mamasox brought more authenticity to the American Idol stage than any performer in history. Her willingness to share her deepest, most personal life experiences through her music is surely cathartic for her, and allows us as fans to feel we know the real Crystal, not a stage act or showbiz persona. Her debut album, Farmer's Daughter, was a roots-rock journey taking us from her tortured past to her joyful present. Her recently released EP, Once Upon A Time, is an acoustic, folk gem from her pre-Idol era in which Crystal again bares her soul and pristine voice in truly intimate fashion. Excited to hear what comes next from Mamma.

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Others Deserving Mention

Kelly Clarkson: Though I'm personally not a big pop music fan, her run on American Idol Season One remains the standard by which all Idols, and Idol seasons, should be measured. I also love her attitude, a real down-to-earth chick who never let superstar celebrity go to her head.

David Cook: I absolutely loved Cookie as a contestant on the show, but post-Idol his music has fallen somewhat flat for me. A lot of bland formula rock stuff. Hopeful he'll have more edge and originality being independent of the label.

Casey Abrams: Was not a huge fan of Casey's on the show during Season 10 - probably because a singing competition doesn't really highlight his best talents, but his self-titled debut album is outstanding. I'm also a big fan of the live performances he's given on his road tour. He's an incredible musician, great performer. and I think the best is yet to come for The Beard.

Tim Halperin: "Who"? Tim Halperin, that's who! He was just a semi-finalist of Season 10, but his album, Rise and Fall, is incredible. If you haven't checked it out, do so. Piano driven and thoughtful, Tim is the real deal.

Pia Toscano: Yeah, I'm kinda partial to Season 10, huh? Pia is as drop-dead gorgeous as they come, and she has a very strong voice to boot. When she was shockingly eliminated 9th in Season 10 I about shit on the floor. Then Intercsope Records signed her but never released her album. WTF? Anyway, now she's finally parted ways with them and I'm very excited to see what she has to offer with her new record company, Underground Entertainment. Love her twitter personality, too.

Phillip Phillips: A great, laid back dude who can really play the guitar, it's still a little early to know what's to come from Phillip, but I do like his sound and I like his style, so I'm hopeful he's going to make a killer album.

 *    *    * 

I know I've skipped a ton of Idols others love, and probably one of your favorites, but this was just who has impacted ME the most. I'd love to hear who has impacted YOU the most, too, so feel free to share.

Meanwhile, goodbye and thanks again reality talent show TV. It's been a fun ride, very entertaining, but the time has come to move on to other things. I'll stop by and visit from time to time, say hello, but you won't see me hanging around  like an Idol rink-rat anymore. Peace out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pia Signed By Underdog Entertainment!


Forget all the crap you may have heard or read that Pia Toscano was "dumped" by Interscope Records, had to move into her parents basement, and is now hunting for a job as a nail tech. She's doing just fine, thank you, and has in fact been signed to Underdog Entertainment, a top shelf, Grammy-award winning record company.

In other words, Underdog Entertainment will serve as Pia's record label, management team, production team, marketing team and publishing team all under one big tent. It's a great situation for Pia and I'm damn excited for her!

Word is that Pia will be very quickly releasing a new single and an album now that she's found a good home. It's about time that karma came back around to smile on Pia, because she's certainly paid her dues and has said and done all the right things from Day One.

Here is the official statement from Harvey Mason and Damon Thomas, the co-founders of Underdog Entertainment, from Pia's Official Fan Site:

"It’s rare that you find an artist that has the complete package and the powerhouse vocal ability to match,” says Thomas. Adds Mason Jr.: “Because of that, we have the opportunity to do something truly special. We will be looking to create what we hope are worldwide hit records that will establish Pia as a long-lasting, landmark artist." 


~Kenny Poo

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pia Kisses Interscope Goodbye

Well, this was no surprise. As I've documented here before, Pia Toscano, the lovely, talented, charming, classy, beautiful, sexy vocalist that she is, was treated like a pile of festering horseshit by Interscope records the past year since her single "This Time" was "released" (though not to radio).

Pia, of course, was most diplomatic and professional in announcing the parting of ways, but we all know down deep she had to want to choke the shit out of some of the scumbag execs over there for banishing her to Siberia despite doing everything she was asked with a smile.

Anyway, here's the announcement:

Hers was the most shocking elimination of "American Idol's" tenth season, but a little over a year since the show wrapped for Pia Toscano, the singer has parted ways with 19 Recordings and Interscope.

In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Toscano reveals that a "difference of opinion" was the reason for the delay of her debut album on the Universal-owned major label. She had hoped the record would be ready for a fall release.

"It makes sense for me because I really want to get my music out there," says Toscano of the split. "It's been a little while, yes, but to be honest, I'm happy for this delay because I don't think I was ready for it when this all started happening." She still plans to release a record when the "timing is right."

Toscano adds that she holds no ill will towards 19, "American Idol" or Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine, whom she called "an incredible mentor."

"He's so great at what he does," she said of working with the Interscope head and veteran producer. "I am blessed to have that [experience] as part of my life."

Her future recording plans are a continuation of her work with Grammy-winning producers Harvey Mason Jr. and Damon Thomas -- aka The Underdogs -- the former with whom she was first paired on "Idol" where she performed and recorded, among other songs, Whitney Houston's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go."

Toscano auditioned five times for "American Idol" before finally making it to the show on season 10, and once she did get through to the top 13, she was almost immediately hailed as a frontrunner. However, in a surprising result, Toscano was eliminated on week 9 after performing Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep Mountain High." The uproar over her early exit led to a quick signing with Interscope and a single, the song "This Time," which Toscano performed on the "American Idol" summer tour.

So, what's next for Pia? Well, my advice would be to try getting a single out stat, and then make plans to release her album (independently if necessary, though hopefully with a label).  Preferably she should make it some kind of pop ballad, as it's definitely Pia's strong suit. Maybe since Haley Reinhart has a salmonella type reaction to releasing and performing pop ballads she could trade Pia Undone for a jazz/blues song to be named later?

Anyway, as per usual, please share your thoughts with Kenny Poo!!