Tuesday, April 7, 2009
When I was three years old, all I wanted to do was play, eat dirt and try to constantly get into the kitchen cabinets. I guess you could say that I was a typical toddler. Sammy Allen, now she was a bit different. You see, at the tender age of three, she was putting on full stage productions of herself starring in the Strawberry Shortcake Story. She would sing her heart out! The seed was planted back then that grew into a promising singing career.
"My mom and my grandfather were both singers. My mom, Lorraine Allen, has got to have the best tone in the world. I simply adore her voice. I just knew that was what I wanted to do, sing. When I was eleven, my goal was to be in Les Miserables on Broadway. I moved from Virginia to New York on my quest for stardom. I had one small problem, I couldn't act or dance, but I could sing. So, I worked at karaoke bars and I was also a singing bartender. I made lots on contacts on those two jobs and actually met my manager there too," said Sammy during a recent interview that I had with her.
Sammy ventured to Los Angeles where she got a break when a couple of musicians who were looking for a vocalist to front their band. Sammy became that vocalist of the rock band was Seven Stitches. She continued singing for them for about three years before deciding to venture out on a solo career.
She recorded her first solo song entitled "Torn" and ended up getting a big break from a connection with her former band. "Jim Schramm, a distributor for the movie 'Vice', got in touch with me. He wanted to use one of Seven Stitches' songs in the movie. Well, I told him that I wasn't in the band anymore but I had just recorded my first solo song. I told him that he could use on of Seven Stitches songs or mine, it was up to him. Long story short, he chose my song and even got Michael Madsen, who starred in the movie, to act in the music video with me," Sammy said.
Sammy's newest single "I Can See Into Forever", which is a duet that features Hypnogaja, also has a tale within a tale associated with it. "My manager, Amanda Cee, was working with Hypnogaja. I recorded 'Torn' with Jeeve who is in Hypnogaja. Mark, also from Hypnogaja, and Jeeve took me under their wing and are producing my EP for me. It's not as confusing as it sounds."
Sammy has recording sessions booked throughout April and hopes to have everything done in early May or June. "I am dying to get out on the road and perform. I did lots of shows in LA when I was with Seven Stitches, but we never did a full tour. I really wanna get out and play for people. Hopefully, with the help of my manager Amanda, it will happen. I have been in L.A. for four and a half years now and I am very lucky to have her as a manager and a business partner."
The music industry has gone through some changes since Sammy started to focus on her singing career but one thing that has stayed the same is the double standard for women. "Oh yeah, there certainly is. I have encountered that anytime in front of the label. They ask me how old I am and if you are over 22 they would rather throw you to the garbage like you are useless. They tend to be very superficial. I have learned that when I go to meet with producers to take a guy with me. The producer says he wants to talk and then I go into their office and they start putting the moves on me. Yeah, the industry is definitely changing buy the minute. The labels seem to be hanging on by a thread. They need to give the music back to the artist and let them have more control."
Well, there is one thing about Sammy that she does not lack and that is personality. Her fun and sassy attitude came across in volumes during our talk. It seems that Sammy has a guilty pleasure that involves reality television. "It's true, I love just vegging out and watching people that I don't even know, even though I know all of their first names, get totally trashed and hurt themselves. I do have to balance it out and watch a few hours of the Science Channel so that I don't totally rot my brain out!"
I asked Sammy what CD she would want to have if stranded on a desert island by herself? "I would have to say Sarah McLachlan's 'Fumbling Towards Ecstasy'. I really love her sound. Her music just speaks to me."
My talk with Sammy was very entertaining and within minutes, you could tell that this young lady is like a can of Red Bull: full of energy, but way more sexier. She has a powerhouse vocal styling that has been compared to Ann Wilson of Heart, which is one of Sammy's influences. She's also been compared to Pat Benatar, which was one of my first comparisons that I also made being a longtime Benatar fan myself.
You can check out Sammy's music on www.myspace.com/sammyallenmusic. Her single "I Can See Into Forever " is available on i-Tunes. This dynamic young lady with two first names is someone to keep your eye on. She has got mad vocal skills and the drive and originality to stand out in overcrowded music scene.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Wendy Moore has been grinding away at her music career for over ten years. She gained alot of notoriety in the music world for writing her book "Into The Void ...With Ace Frehley", which chronicled her exploits with former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley. Wendy became Ace's personal assistant after a chance meeting at the Cathouse in 2008. Her book details a great number of crazy stories about Ace along with his abuse of drugs and alcohol.
I spoke with Wendy recently to get caught up to speed with what's going on in her career. "Well, my second book, 'Out Of The Void', is about to come out this summer. It's a followup to 'Into The Void'. I had so many fans asking me questions after they read the first book so I decided to answer them in the new book," said Wendy.
How did the first book come about? "I was in a bookstore reading 'KISS and Sell' and there was a contact number in the back and I got in touch with them. I thought to myself,heck I can do that. I wrote the book in three months and after it was published I hit the KISS Conventions to promote it. The new book took a little longer. That took me over a year to write."
Her band Venus Envy has a 5 song demo that is available at www.myspace.com/venuswendy or www.myspace.com/girafeass. Wendy has a very unique vocal styling. It is a little reminiscent of one of her main influences Stevie Nicks. It is very raspy at times yet still delivers a great amount of emotion in its delivery. "Strangegirl" sounds like it could have been an outtake from Fleetwood Mac's legendary 'Rumors' release. Another personal favorite of mine is "Vibrate Me" on which Wendy's vocals shine. "We recently had Bill Aucoin (KISS original manager back in the seventies) send out a guy to LA to see us perform. He really liked the CD and we hope that he will manage us. He does want us to re-record our demo and bring out the vocals a little better so that you can understand them easier. I think that we will wait to be signed and then record it professionally," said Wendy.
Wendy's influences can be heard throughout her bands demo CD. "I love Neil Young. His melodies are incredible. I also love Joni Mitchell for her lyrical content. She can cram so many words into one sentence. Janis Joplin for her raw emotion and Fleetwood Mac for the entire package deal," said Wendy. She is also a part of an internet radio show every Wednesday night at 7:00 PM PST with Greenman at www.glxe.com. She discusses her book, her music and just about anything else that comes up. Fans are encouraged to send in questions and request songs too.
Wendy is also busy finishing up her first screenplay. "It's called 'Timeless' and it is about something that has never been written about so far.I am really excited about it. I can't say too much about it right now other than I am shopping it to Rob Reiner," Wendy said.
Wendy seems to be all over the radar these days. She was also on a recent segment on the E! networks True Hollywood Stories: Rock Wives where she told about being Ace's personal assistant and about overcoming her heroin addiction. There is a very emotional part of the scene where Wendy breaks down about her addiction.
Our talk concluded with my trapped on a desert island with only one CD what would it be question? "Most definitely Stevie Nicks 'Belladonna'. It's my favorite album and my favorite song. I also have two Stevie tattoos."
Wendy is such an amazing person. She has been through her fair share of hardships along the way, but she just pulls herself up by her bra straps and marches on. We had a great talk that night about everything from some of her favorite movies, 'Foxes', 'Little Darling' and 'Valleygirl' to 'We Are The World' being her first single ever purchased to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' being her first album ever purchased. I wish Wendy all the best in her numerous endeavors and I hope that she finds her "Randy".
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Christen Sawyer is not your typical college student. Well, when you look at her, she may blend in with the average college classroom. Blond, very attractive with an innocent smile, but she leads a double life. No, she's not a secret agent and even if she was, I couldn't tell you that. She is a very talented country singer/songwriter from Sugarland, Texas.
Christen attends Texas A&M where she is double majoring with her major in Economics and her minor in Business Administration. If that wasn't impressive enough, her single "Crazy" is currently in the Top 20 on the Texas Music Charts. Oh yeah, she's also a self-professed dork. More about that later!
I spoke with Christen recently about her budding career. "So far, it's been amazing. I actually may take a semester off from school because of how 'Crazy' has taken off at country radio, plus my classes are getting harder too. I feel really lucky for the response to the single, even though I was really embarrassed the first time I heard myself on the radio. I just couldn't believe it, I'm such a dork," said Christen.
I asked if she ever considered trying out for American Idol because she really seems to fit the format of what they are looking for. "I have had so many people tell me on my YouTube account that I need to audition for Idol and that I would be great on there. Actually, I thought about it but I was in school every time the auditions were near here. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Oh, I'm also terrified of Simon!"
Christen has a 3 song demo out that really showcases this young woman's vocals and songwriting talents. One listen to "Crazy" and you can imagine Sara Evans doing her own version of this great song. "Better Off Broken" sounds like something right up Martina McBride's alley. "I'm Already Gone" is also a great example of her storytelling ability. Her vocals have alot of emotion behind them and she knows how to convey an image to the listener of what she is saying.
"I have been singing forever. When I was little, I did ballet and gymnastics and it lasted about a month. Then, I started singing and it stuck. It just didn't feel like work to me. The more I sang, the more I began to believe in myself and now, here I am. I have met so many great artists along this journey. I went to a music seminar and met Jack Ingram, which was amazing," said Christen.
Our talk concluded with asking her what cd she would want to be trapped on a desert island with? "Wow! That's a really tough question. I have never been asked that one before. I guess I would have to say my Benji Davis Project CD. They have so many different styles on it and I don't think I would grow bored of it."
Christen is writing material for her full length CD which she hopes to have out by the end of the year. She is busy traveling all over Texas doing radio shows and performing acoustically on the air live. Fans of Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood should check her out at www.myspace.com/christensawyer or at www.christensawyer.com. This young lady has her plate full with all of her endeavors, but I don't see her that plate becoming too clean anytime soon.