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April 25, 1998
Thank you, Robert Hilburn, for recognizing the songwriters in your "Stormy Weather" review (Pop Beat, April 18). How refreshing to know that a contemporary singer-songwriter can perform somebody else's tune, do it proud, and not drop dead of an ego aneurysm. MOLLY-ANN LEIKIN Santa Monica
April 25, 2014 | By Amy Kaufman
Keira Knightley is used to early wake-up calls. The actress has a penchant for period films, and it takes a while to get tied into a corset. But on the set of the modern-day romance "Begin Again," the British star's call time was decidedly later than on "Anna Karenina" or "Pride & Prejudice. " "I'm so used to sitting in a chair for two hours getting my hair and makeup done," she said recently via telephone from the U.K., "but this time I turned up half an hour before I needed to start shooting and chucked my hair in a ponytail.
March 8, 2010
Original song "The Weary Kind (Theme From "Crazy Heart") Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett In a category stacked with two Randy Newman nominations, the king of the wry show tune was beaten out by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett for "The Weary Kind," their co-written theme to the Jeff Bridges vehicle "Crazy Heart."
April 19, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
Devonté Hynes was probably the only person at last weekend's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to sing about the troubles of homeless New Yorkers and pose for a backstage photo with the pop star Katy Perry. But for Hynes, such contrast is the norm. Beloved by tastemakers for his work in a series of disparate indie bands - including the punky Test Icicles and the folky Lightspeed Champion - the 28-year-old musician has also affected the pop mainstream through collaborations with Solange, Kylie Minogue and Florence & the Machine.
March 21, 1993
A letter from D. Nick Nixon (Feb. 7) made known his objections to payments for performance rights ("Play It Again Scam," by R. Daniel Foster, Palm Latitudes, Jan. 10). The money ASCAP and BMI collect from users of music goes to the songwriters and publishers involved. Often these royalties just about pay the songwriter's rent. Although it's true that there are a handful of successful artist-songwriters, most of them end up in debt to the record companies, which require artists to foot the bill for all recording costs, yet the companies get the lion's share of profits from record, tape and CD sales.
April 16, 1993 | DON SNOWDEN
Anyone hoping to get a clear handle on "avant-rock" from the show at the Largo on Wednesday would have been disappointed. The three featured bands--Samm Bennett & Chunk, Fertile Crescent and Oren Bloedow--did occasionally venture into tone zones outside the pop-rock norm, and there was an informal, personal brand of showmanship.
April 9, 1986 | A. JAMES LISKA
In an industry in which honors and awards are handed out like business cards, it was gratifying to see the first Singers' Salute to the Songwriter at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Monday night. The heartfelt salute to six of this country's most-sung songwriters by a parade of America's foremost pop singers was hosted by Rosemary Clooney for the benefit of the Betty Clooney Foundation for the brain injured.
November 20, 1987 | PAUL GREIN
"Motown kept pumping the singles out. They would barely go up the charts before we'd have to have another one ready," Eddie Holland said, sitting in a North Hollywood rehearsal studio with longtime partners Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland. The team was reminiscing about the days two decades ago when they wrote and produced such Motown classics as "Reach Out I'll Be There" for the Four Tops and "You Can't Hurry Love" for the Supremes.
February 4, 2011 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Watching the warmly nostalgic "Troubadours" is like going to a reunion of old friends. You're so happy to see them again that you are willing to forgive whatever lapses and flaws there are in the experience. The old friends in "Troubadours" are the singer-songwriters who flourished roughly between 1968 and 1975, people like Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt. It was a time when, says Carole King, "there was a hunger for the intimacy, the personal thing we all did," a moment when, says James Taylor, "the authenticity of telling your own story" mattered a great deal.
May 29, 2011 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
In "Platinum Hit," premiering Monday, Bravo takes the formula it perfected with "Project Runway" and "Top Chef" and plugs in a dozen singing songwriters — which is not necessarily to say "singer-songwriters," in the James Taylor sense of the phrase — and whittles them away weekly until only one remains, holding cash and contracts. You will recognize the elements, even to the way that the demerits of the losers are enumerated in groups of three: "Your song was trite, confusing and uninspiring.
April 14, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
It was an offhanded comment by singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, but it stopped Elvis Costello cold when he was chatting with Winchester for his short-lived music-interview series “Spectacle” on the Sundance Channel a few years ago. In an aside, the inordinately gifted songwriter casually identified “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” (one of the first songs for which he'd gained acclaim in the early 1970s) as the first song he'd ever written. Then he nonchalantly moved on to finish the main point he was making about the art of writing songs.
April 12, 2014
Jesse Winchester, 69, a U.S.-born singer who established himself in Canada after dodging the Vietnam War and who went on to write songs covered by Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett and Joan Baez, died of bladder cancer Friday at his home in Charlottesville, Va., according to his agent Keith Case. Winchester's best-known songs include "Yankee Lady," "Biloxi," "Say What" and "Mississippi, You're on My Mind. " Artists as diverse as Reba McEntire, Wilson Pickett, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and the Everly Brothers have performed Winchester's pieces.
April 5, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
How much legwork does pop stardom require? Next weekend Aloe Blacc will appear along with some of music's buzziest acts - OutKast, Haim, Skrillex, Lorde - at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the idyllic annual gathering near Palm Springs that for many artists serves as proof that they've arrived. On a recent afternoon at USC's Galen Center, though, Blacc found himself somewhat deeper in the record industry's promotional trenches. The L.A.-based soul singer was rehearsing for an appearance on Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards, and as he conferred onstage with his young collaborators - two dozen excited schoolchildren with whom he was to perform his song "The Man" - crew members installed miniature geysers designed to spew the network's trademark green slime.
March 1, 2014 | By Kari Howard
I'm lucky -- good storytelling isn't only my passion, it's my career. My other passion is music, and it probably won't surprise you that some of my favorite songwriters are wonderful storytellers. One of this week's story soundtracks was written by one of the best narrative songwriters in pop-rock history, Ray Davies of the Kinks. Sometimes he gives us a mini-screenplay, like in “Come Dancing” (see Thursday's Great Read, below). In that song, the arc of the narrator's childhood is viewed through his older sister's dates, and dreams, at the Palais dance hall.
March 1, 2014 | By Kevin Bronson
Not two hours after he performed his passion project in an 88-seat theater on a recent Sunday night, Ross Golan made the rounds at a Grammy after-party hosted by Daft Punk, smiling as Jay Z and Beyoncé glided by and making nice with Madonna and Skrillex and Pharrell Williams. Inhabiting either world would have been inconceivable five years ago to Golan, whose first rock band had failed, whose second was flailing and whose days were spent toiling in his condo. Which was in foreclosure.
January 16, 2014 | By Todd Martens
In 2013, films such as "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Spring Breakers" and "Pain & Gain" showed us the corrupting power of cash. The just-scraping-by stress articulated by New York rock band the Parquet Courts, on the other hand, captures the souls who just can't get a break - a soundtrack for twenty- and thirtysomethings who graduated college and have found dead-end jobs rather than a career. There's humor, but it isn't always pretty. Stoned, starving and facing a meal that's little more than a bag of Swedish Fish, the souls that populate the Parquet Courts' most recent full-length, "Light Up Gold," are all on a mission of sorts, but what they're searching for often isn't clear.
June 16, 2012 | By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
She was an ambitious, well-connected former Nashville radio station receptionist when the performing rights organization BMI hired her to open a southern regional office in the Tennessee capital in 1958. By the time Frances Williams Preston retired as president and chief executive of BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) in 2004, she had been long known as one of the most successful and influential executives in the music industry and a key figure in Nashville's growth as a major music center.
August 18, 2009 | Jessie Torrisi
The songwriters attending Mary Gauthier's class pulled up a folding chair or found a patch of lawn, to hear her inveigh against the forces that block writers' best effort. "Let's talk about obstacles, the crap we tell ourselves. 'I'm not worthy. I'm fat, I'm gay, I'm old. My mama said I couldn't sing. My fourth-grade teacher said I couldn't write,' " Gauthier said. "Help me out here." A student jumped in: "Someone's already said it better than I could." "You're a privileged white chick.
January 3, 2014 | By Meredith Blake
NEW YORK - Since you're probably wondering, let's just get this out of the way: Jessie Mueller, the actress playing the title role in "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" on Broadway, has met the famed singer-songwriter but only once, during a surprise visit to a rehearsal last fall. "It was brief but beautiful," the 30-year-old actress recalled during a recent lunch at a burger joint across the street from the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, where "Beautiful" has been in previews since November and will officially premiere Jan. 12. "She was just as cool as I wanted her to be. " The jukebox musical uses hits by King and others to tell her remarkable life story.
December 27, 2013 | By Mikael Wood, August Brown, Chris Barton and Gerrick D. Kennedy
The Times asked its reporters and critics to highlight figures in entertainment and the arts who will be making news in 2014. Here's who they picked: Kelela | Singer-songwriter With its spacey textures and shape-shifting grooves, Beyoncé's self-titled album - released this month on iTunes with no warning - felt like the superstar end point to a year rich in adventurous R&B. Among the underground acts that appear to have inspired her is...
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