Monday, July 28, 2014

Amy Allen Receives Four-Star Review from French Publication

     Congratulations to... country/blues/Americana artist Amy Allen, who has received a four-star review in the French publication, Routes du rock. Reviewer GĂ©rard Desmeroux wrote the following about Amy's latest CD, "Someday Is Today":

     "Amy Allen comes from Eldorado (Arkansas) where she began to sing as a child in the local church. Today she's relocated in Nashville after travelling and singing everywhere, including the White House and the Ryman Auditorium … and some shows in Kenya. Amy has a really beautiful voice and she sings with assurance. By dint of singing different styles of music, it's difficult to define exactly her today work; a little bit country, a little bit Americana. It's probably easier to say that today she's a pop singer with country influences. We also must note her skills as a songwriter and she's penned the 11 songs for this CD, "Someday is today", which is her second album only. This record is notable for Amy's voice and thought the instrumental support is varied, it keeps the right place and the good level. The keyboards are present on "Cryin' Time" and especially on a very exciting "Gotta Find JT". Amy sings "Tail Shaker" and "Thought of Being Alone" with all her energy and so, brings the audience to her Rock side. With "Abbey Lane", the album includes a tribute to the Beatles. We've found here a genuine singer whose Pop style is really pleasant." -- G.D.

     You can hear songs from "Someday Is Today" at Amy's website: . Amy is represented by Whiting Publicity and Music City Artist Management. Booking inquiries: (615) 423-9857 or

Amy Allen performs in Nashville

Sir Paul McCartney Presents Award to Nashville Singer/Songwriter/Educator Suzahn Fiering

By Chuck Whiting
MCAU Editor

          NASHVILLE, Tenn. (2014) – When it comes to success in the arts, Nashville singer/songwriter/educator Suzahn Fiering has done it all -- performing on stages around the world, landing songs on popular TV shows, and working with legendary artists such as Vince Gill, Larry Gatlin, Pete Seeger and Victor Wooten.

            She stepped to even greater career heights on July 31 when she received the "Honored Friend Award" from the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts. LIPA founder Sir Paul McCartney presented the honor to Fiering during a star-studded graduation ceremony in Liverpool, England, attended by students, staff and other award recipients from around the world. Nashville's "jazz diva" delivered a poignant and humor-laced speech to the students and attendees as part of the celebration recognizing her contributions to the school as an educator, organizer and fundraiser. Fiering co-hosted fundraising events with McCartney at "Bonnaroo 2013" and Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Sir Paul McCartney congratulates Suzahn Fiering
 onstage during the LIPA ceremony

             The internationally known jazz/folk/Americana vocalist, professional songwriter and guitarist celebrated the award with a month-long European tour that included stops in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland and Denmark. She will stage a "mini-Beatlefest" concert/party/jam after she returns to Nashville in late October or early November.

            Fiering first learned about LIPA several years ago when she served as the international events manager for Gibson Musical Instruments. Through her efforts, the company funded the "John Lennon Scholarship" and donated guitars and other instruments. With Gibson on board, she was able to facilitate partnerships with other major music manufacturers and organizations. The artist now serves at LIPA as a regular guest instructor and Nashville liaison, booking celebrity and music industry leaders for master classes.

            "I never would be receiving this award had I not followed my heart," said Fiering, a Warner/Chappell Music tunesmith whose songs have aired on radio in more than 41 countries, on more than 20 network TV shows, and in numerous independent films. "I was very impressed by the clear, clever and progressive vision Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty, the dean and CEO, had for the school. It is an honor to receive this award from an institution and men who embody my core beliefs. "

            Fiering's affiliation with LIPA has given her the opportunity to work closely with McCartney, an artist she considers to be the "greatest living songwriter".

            "At 'Bonnaroo', my job was to take Sir Paul's arm, walk him around, and introduce him to backstage guests who made donations to LIPA," Fiering added with a smile. "It was incredible and Paul was great to work with. During Paul’s show we danced, partied and carried on backstage for more than three hours. Paul later told me it was one of his favorite stops on the tour."

            Another more comical experience occurred during a VIP graduation party in Liverpool. Fiering found herself standing in a circle with Sir Paul and three awkward looking, tied-and-coated English gentlemen. After being introduced, the men started mumbling and looking down at their shoes. In her typical happy-go-lucky manner, Fiering broke the ice, asking the pop legend why he played the ukulele on his rendition of "Something" during his world tour.

            "Paul swung around and directly faced me," the Nashville artist continued with a laugh. "His eyes got really big, his voice rose in pitch, and in an animated way he said, his Liverpool accent getting stronger as he went, 'Well, ya know, Georgie wrote it that way, and I said to him, we should play it like an anthem-y type ballad. And so we did.' He was silent and introspective for a few seconds, and I could see melancholy in his expression. Then he piped up again and said, 'I hear you play jazz guitar. You should play jazz ukulele.' I smiled and told him that was a good suggestion. Needless to say, I now play jazz ukulele and even play a few Beatles songs on it."

            Fiering launched her celebratory tour at the legendary Fredericks On Hope Street on July 29 with an honorary performance with Parr Jazz and the Geni Lamb Band for LIPA students, staff members and friends. Other stops included the "La Rouche Bluegrass Festival" in France from Aug. 1-3; Grotto Mai Morire in Avegno, Switzerland, on Aug. 5; Talmassons, Italy (as a guest of the mayor) on Aug. 10; and Odiles Gibsons’ (grand niece of Charles De Gaulle) Concert Series in Toulouse, France, on Aug. 23. She plans to share more Sir Paul memories after she returns home.

            During her LIPA master classes, she shines a spotlight on the commercial facets of her art. She shares insights on the skills students will need after they graduate. Although the artist is often serious, she presents her thoughts in a humorous and accessible way, touching on topics such as marketing and interpersonal skills. She emphasizes the importance of diversity in the marketplace by performing jazz and Americana numbers on her guitar.

            When it comes to teaching, Fiering has many career-related stories to tell. She begins by taking her audiences back to her formative years in New York City, where she first discovered her love of music and later trained as an audio engineer. After freelancing in recording studios while running nightclubs in between, she landed a job with RCA and BMG.

            "When you're working for a label, it's all about one thing: sales, marketing and PR," Fiering said. Record labels have a bottom line, and their goal is to meet it. It is not art. It is a business."

            After joining MCA Music, she was transferred to the label's office in Nashville. She performed countless shows and began penning songs for Warner/Chappell, eventually collaborating with legendary engineer and producer Richard Adler on her highly successful jazz/Americana album, "Paris Without His Kiss".

            "It was Richard who convinced me to become an international touring artist," Fiering added. "I thought I was happy as a corporate person. I was playing jazz on the weekends, but in reality a full-time performer, songwriter and educator is what I always wanted to be. Nashville was a turning point for me."

            Her students also hear how she has emerged as a professional songwriter, earning credits that include TV shows such as "Oprah", "Desperate Housewives", and "Coyote Ugly". Other Suzahn Fiering songs can be heard on programs aired by networks such as Disney and National Geographic. She even has four songs at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington as part of a permanent collection of contemporary songwriting and two songs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

            Fiering loves to share her collaborative experiences with Roger Daltry, Sean Lennon, Julian Lennon, Reba McIntyre, Ashley Judd, former Vice President Al Gore, and so many others. One of her favorite experiences was dining out with Gloria Steinem in Manhattan.

            "My students make me a better songwriter and teacher,” Fiering noted.  LIPA offers them a state-of-the-art facility in all disciplines of the performing arts with encouraging instructors who constantly challenge them. It's a safe place to try new things, and students blossom beyond their wildest dreams."

            A critic for The Birmingham (England) Post summed up the artist's musical talents this way: "An accomplished composer and guitarist, Suzahn's writing style is influenced by blues, R&B, and pop -- although traditional jazz runs throughout like molten steel... and she can scat with the best of them."

            Back home in Music City, four-time Grammy-winning producer Richard Adler wrote that "Suzahn is a wonderful teller of stories through song and a great guitar player with a rich and colorful voice. Her ability to write and play in so many styles so well is a sight to behold."

            LIPA's students, faculty and supporters know her best as an "honored friend" who has made significant contributions to their careers.

           To learn more about Suzahn Fiering or to book her for musical or educational opportunities, visit .

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Brenda Lee White Steps Onto National Scene With 'It's Not About Me Anymore'

By Chuck Whiting
MCAU Editor

            NASHVILLE -- Brenda Lee White is a country and contemporary Christian artist from Jacksonville, Ala., whose richly textured soprano vocals remind listeners of legendary singers such as Patsy Cline and Martina McBride, and Christian singers like Natalie Grant.

            The artist, who has performed extensively in her home state of New Jersey, is stepping onto the national music scene with her first album, "It's Not About Me Anymore". White plans to launch a regional tour around the project, with a second album planned for 2015. 

            "I believe that I am unique in my own style, while also showing appreciation for some of the greatest singers of all time," said White, who moved to Alabama in 2011.

          Hear the songs:

            The artist's large repertoire includes new songs penned for her album by respected Nashville songwriters; recent country hits; and classics recorded by Cline, McBride, and many others. She effortlessly brings heartfelt melodies and lyrics to life with soaring vibrato, sustaining power, and gentle inflections. Her "beautifully toned" instrument easily transitions from country to Christian to patriotic -- an emotional powerhouse for any occasion.

            White has performed at a host of events. Highlights include the "9/11 Tribute" celebration at Middle Township Municipal Building in Cape May Courthouse, N.J.; a welcome home celebration for troops returning from Iraq at Northfield (N.J.) Elementary School; an author spotlight event at the CLC Bookstore in Northfield, N.J.; Community Church of the Nazarene in Northfield; and at various churches in Wellington and Cape Town, South Africa.

            She is just as at home in a concert hall as she is in a restaurant, church, fair or festival. White inspires show-goers with country power ballads (songs of hope), patriotic songs honoring America, and inspirational/Christian standards. She adds depth (and laughs) to her shows with her "outgoing, bubbly personality and sense of humor". Her one-of-a-kind musical/comedic presentation makes it easier to connect with audiences and make new fans. The artist is building a strong fan base through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, CD Baby and ReverbNation.

            "Describing myself, I would have to say I am not the 'usual' stereotypical country singer," the artist added. "I grew up in South Jersey, and I don't have that country accent."

            White says she inherited the desire and passion to sing from her mother. The artist remembers sitting for hours playing her parents' old country and gospel records. Before long, she knew the words of just about every classic country and gospel song ever written.

            "Growing up, my parents loved country music," she continued. "So, I grew up on their music and became a fan way back then. That's the reason they named me Brenda Lee."

            She sang with the praise team at Community Church of the Nazarene in Northfield for eight years. That led to a host of solo singing appearances at other churches, weddings, funerals and baby baptisms. Many in Cape May are still talking about her heartfelt rendition of "God Bless America" at the town's "9/11 Tribute".

            "(Brenda's) rendition of 'God Bless America' was very moving," said Charles M. Leusner, deputy mayor of Cape May Courthouse, N.J. "(She) has been blessed with a gift that (she) shared with us on that day."

            While visiting Nashville to conduct research for her new album, she had the opportunity to briefly step into Patsy Cline's shoes by recording the country classic "Crazy" at the Ryman Auditorium. In June, she recorded her first album of country songs at Kim Copeland Productions on Music Row.

            White hand-selected six songs for her album with the help of veteran producer/songwriter Kim Copeland and some of Nashville's top songwriters. Her goal was to find encouraging tunes of love, inspiration, hope and change.

            "These are songs that will touch the listeners," White said. "I want to inspire the world with these songs. The lyrics will touch or relate to anyone who has ever loved or been in love."

            The gentle ballad "Forever Everyday" allows the listener to see life through the eyes of a child.

            White encourages her fans to believe in themselves with the soaring "I Hope Your Heart Finds Wings".

            "Harmless Heart" expresses the "touching experiences" of a confident, faithful woman who tries to hold onto a man with a broken, untrusting heart. 
            Her favorite song from the album, "It's Not About Me Anymore", reveals how raising children unexpectedly enriches a parent's life with a deeper love that is directed toward others.

            White plans to sing songs from her album, as well as country classics such as "Valentine", "Crazy" and "Strawberry Wine", at entertainment venues, restaurants, conferences, fairs, concert halls, community events, schools and churches.

            "I've known Brenda since she was a child, but I didn't realize the talent she'd been blessed with until years later when I overheard her singing in the congregation at church," said Mary Lou Homan, director of music ministries for Community Church of the Nazarene. "She sang so beautifully that you could actually 'feel' the message of the song. Her music truly comes from the heart. I know she will go on to touch the lives of many for years to come."

            "She has a beautiful vocal texture and an effortless delivery that is as smooth as a sip of fine whiskey, and a thoughtful array of songs that reflect some life experience," Copeland said after working with the artist in her Music Row studio. "She understands each song. She makes you believe that she has lived each of them, and it makes you want to hear her stories again and again."
            For booking information or to hear selections from her new album, "It's Not About Me Anymore", send an e-mail inquiry to Brenda Lee White at or visit

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Insights on PR: Write and Edit with Accuracy and Clarity (to Leave a Lasting Good Impression)

By Chuck Whiting
MCAU Editor

(Editor's Note: I will be co-leading the "Reaching Your Dream" artist career-building/publicity workshop and vision sharing with Amy Allen in Nashville on July 26. Please join us! Learn more at

            NASHVILLE - In this mad, rushed, fast-changing world, it's essential to make your point quickly and write in clear, easy-to-read fashion. Otherwise, the news media (or readers in general) will likely pass on your story. They don't have time for verbal mishmash (unless you happen to be a big star).
Chuck Whiting leads his PR workshop

            Here are a few writing and editing tips for those of you who understand the importance of "words" on the road to success.

            * Remember that the "words" you write are a reflection of who you are. A well-written press release or biography can open the door for publishing deals, song cuts and concert bookings. A poorly written item can leave a lasting poor impression.

            * "Accuracy" is the chief goal of any writer. Exaggeration (or hype) can hurt your reputation. Base your story on proven facts, and use words with exact meanings.

            * Your story needs to be "clear" from start to finish. Use simple words, write short sentences, and keep paragraphs to three sentences or less. Use strong transitions to weave related or unrelated thoughts into a well-organized story. Otherwise, the reader will lose interest and stop reading.

            * Write press releases and biographies in third person (using "he" or "she"). First person is sometimes used for blogs, editorials and letters. "Modesty" with confidence is important in this business.

            * Get to the point quickly by answering the questions "who", "what" (your hook), "when" and "where" in your first sentence (the "lead paragraph"). Use subsequent paragraphs to answer the questions "why" and "how".

            * Make sentences easier to read by starting with a noun, followed by a descriptive action verb. Starting with an "independent clause" (rather than a "dependent clause") will reduce the number of commas, making for a better flow.

            * Write to meet the needs of your audience. A Tweet cannot exceed 140 characters. A calendar item should range from 100 to 250 words. A press release or story of any length should follow the inverted-pyramid structure (presenting information from most important to least important). Think "brevity", but be sure to answer "all" of the essential questions a reporter might ask.

            * Follow the media writing rules in the Associated Press Stylebook (to meet the needs of print journalists).

            * Demonstrate perfect grammar, punctuation and spelling. Check and double-check everything in your dictionary. Don't depend on a software program like Microsoft Word to catch misspellings. Laziness can result in embarrassment.

            * Add life to your stories and biographies with "direct quotations". They give you the opportunity to express your thoughts creatively in your own words.

            * Use a font that is easy to read such as Times or Times Roman (12 point). Helvetica and Verdana are often used. (Avoid Comic Sans.)

            * Double-space "printed" materials (for easy editing). Double-space between paragraphs for "online" copy (for easy reading).

            * Indent all paragraphs in "printed" materials and "online" whenever possible.

            *  Include contact information such as name, e-mail address, company name and telephone number.

            Remember to write and edit your words wisely. If you follow these tips, you stand a better chance of landing a story (or a lasting good impression).

            Chuck Whiting founded Whiting Publicity and Promotions in 1993 to provide exposure for artists and the organizations that support them. He is a former newspaper reporter, the author/co-writer of the book/song “The Littlest Star”, editor of Music City Arts Update, and host of the songwriters show “Tunesmithing”. He teaches communication courses at Middle Tennessee State University and Motlow State Community College. Join Chuck at the "Reaching Your Dream" artist career-building/publicity seminar and artist vision sharing in Nashville on July 26. To learn more, visit


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Photos: 'Score-Com' and 'Film-Com' Spotlight Composers and Filmmakers From Around The World

     The 2014 installments of "Score-Com" and "Film-Com" were a resounding success with filmmakers and composers converging on Nashville from around the world. Following are photos of award-winning composer Stephen Endelman's presentation on Music Row, the "Film-Com" mixer at Zeitgeist Gallery, and the "F-C" exhibits (with music) at LP Field. All photos by MCAU Editor Chuck Whiting. 

(Photos Copyright 2014 -- reprinted by permission only)