Archive for September, 2011

Artist Feature: John Mayer

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

John Mayer is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Born on October 16 1977 in Bridgeport, CT, Mayer grew up in nearby Fairfield. At age 13 he got his first guitar, inspired by the performance of “Johnny B. Goode” in the 1985 film Back to the Future.

 

His early inspirations came from blues artists, particularly Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Mayer became obsessed with the instrument, working for over a year after high school to buy a Vaughan’s signature model, and intended to forgo college for a music career. Persuaded by his parents, he attended Berklee College of Music, but left after only one year of study to become a professional musician along with college friend Clay Cook, forming the duo LoFi Masters.

 


Buy the mp3 backing track for "Say" or others by John Mayer

 

 

After playing several local venues, the two grew apart due to musical differences, so Mayer began his solo career.  He released the independent EP Inside Wants Out in 1999, which contained many songs co-written by Cook. 

 

In 2000 he began to receive more recognition, and signed with Aware records, leading to the release of his first full-length album, Room For Squares, in early 2001. Through a deal Aware had made with Columbia Records, Mayer was picked up by the recording giant, who re-mixed and re-released Room For Squares, adding a new track and including four from Inside Wants Out. The album landed hits “Your Body is a Wonderland” and “Why Georgia.” At the Grammys in 2003, Mayer won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Your Body is a Wonderland.” 

 

 


Buy the mp3 backing track for "Your Body is a Wonderland" or others by John Mayer 

 

 

Later that year Mayer released his second studio album Heavier Things to positive critical reviews, although it did not match the commercial success of his first album. It did land him his first #1 single with “Daughters,” which would go on to win Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2005 Grammy Awards. Feeling that his song was undeserving, Mayer gave the top piece of the award to Alicia Keys for her nominated “If I Ain’t Got You.”

 

At this time Mayer began to move away from his acoustic, pop-oriented style and began to collaborate with highly-regarded blues artists such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton. At the same time he formed the John Mayer Trio with Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan, creating a much different sound from Mayer’s solo efforts. The trio released one live album Try! and proceeded to take a break in mid 2006, although they have worked together since and plan to make another album in the future.

 

 


Buy the mp3 backing track for "Gravity" or others by John Mayer 

 

 

In September 2006 Mayer released his third solo album, Continuum, highlighted by songs such as “Waiting on the World to Change,” “Gravity,” and “Heart of Life.” In 2007 he was nominated for five Grammys, and came out with wins in Best Pop Song with Vocal (“Waiting on the World to Change”) and Best Pop Album.
Mayer was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2007 along with John Frusciante and Derek Trucks in a story called “New Guitar Gods,” highlighting Mayer’s blues playing along the lines of Vaughan and Clapton.

 

His most recent album, Battle Studies, was released in November 2009, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Charts and receiving gold certification less than a month after the release.  He is currently on a world tour in support of Battle Studies, culminating this June at the Rock in Rio in Madrid, Spain.

 


Buy the mp3 backing track for "Heart of Life" or others by John Mayer

 

Check out the Red Karaoke Store! You can buy all of the mp3 backing tracks for John Mayer
and much more!

 

 Bigger than my body

 Waiting on the world to change

 Your body is a wonderland

 

More Information:

John Mayer Official Website

John Mayer on Facebook

John Mayer on Twitter

Artist Feature: Elvis Costello

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Right now you can go to Rolling Stone’s homepage and find a list of what they consider the 100 best songs from The Beatles. Though excited about the list, here at Red Karaoke, we were stricken by the eloquent introduction of this amazing collection by none other than the estimable Elvis Costello. Instantly distracted we began thinking of our favorites of Mr. Costello’s oldies inspired sound. So before enjoying your favorite Beatles, why not take a look at a more modern take on what they do with our Red Karaoke feature on Elvis Costello.

 

Born Declan Patrick MacManus, Elvis Costello was bound for greatness, the son of Irish musician, jazz trumpeter and singer Ross MacManus. In fact, Costello’s first musical appearance was along side his father, singing in a 1974 commercial.

 

After toying around with a folk group called Rusty and then performing on his own under the stage name D.P. Costello, taken from his father’s stage name Day Costello, he eventually debuted his first solo album in 1977, called My Aim is True and single Less than zero. Due to trouble importing his records into the US, Costello decided to sign with Columbia Records, where he was able to form his hot and cold backing band The Attractions.

 

Following the release of Costello’s first major single, Watching the detectives, and an appearances on Saturday Night Live, he was able to see success in a whirlwind tour and several other hits including a cover of Burt Bacharach’s I just don’t know what to do with myself, (I don’t want to go to) Chelsea and Pump it up.

 

In the eighties, Costello began a more soul infused sound, possibly his most successful experimentation with genre, spawning favorites such as I can’t stand up for falling down, Watch your step, and From a whisper to a scream, the latter of which mirrored the growing tension between band members Bruce and Pete Thomas.

 

Punch the clock, Costello’s 1983 album included his first top forty single and international hit, Everyday I write the book. Still, the mid eighties saw only turmoil for Costello and his band. Despite plans to retire, 1986 saw the group back in the studio to record Blood and chocolate, which included the post punk signature song of Costello’s, I want you. But there was no bigger hit for Costello in the eighties than his single Veronica, the first with his new label Warner Bros., whom he signed with in 1989.

 

Though Costello released much of his own music in the nineties, including experimentation with classical instrumentation, he also participated in more writing and other projects, including writing music for Wendy James. By the end of the nineties, he had collaborated on music for several films including God give me strength for the film Grace of my heart, I’ll never fall in love again for Austin Powers and even I throw my toys around for the children’s movie Rugrats.

 

Lately Costello has spent much of his time touring, including reuniting with The Attractions for a brief appearance to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You can enjoy singing all of these great songs from Elvis Costello, and many more, right here on Red Karaoke.

Small changes to Virtua Sing

Friday, September 16th, 2011

We’ve updated the Virtua Sing player, in hopes that it will make things a bit easier for those new to using Virtua Sing, and also to make it run more smoothly each time you use it.

 

The first major change is that now, the music starts loading only after the player has been fully loaded on the user screen, so you won’t have to wait so long to see something. Now, you can start playing around with the recording tool and get used to the system while the music loads (try the dances, change avatar, etc.).

 

Also we got rid of the obligatory step of The Configuration Assistant. To access the microphone and the cam we rely on the Adobe Flash Player tool which is easier to use (less steps to start singing). However, if you want to remember those settings for the next time you sing, you have to go through the configuration assistant process by clicking on the corresponding button at the foot of the player.

 

Some other small changes include the ability to save your Virtua Sing avatar as your profile picture, which already was an option, but now the quality of the saved image is much better and doesn’t appear cropped oddly.

 

 

Check out Virtua Sing, and whether its your first time or already a favorite way to sing, as always, we love to hear your feedback and know what we’re doing right, what we could do better and fresh ideas from all of you great singers out there. Drop us a line here, in the forums or in a message to share what you think.

RK Fave Five: Van Morrison

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Happy birthday Van Morrison from Red Karaoke! At 66, Morrison is the king of Celtic soul with his transcendental and inspire song writing and music. Join us as we share our five favorite songs from Van Morrison that you can sing here on RK.

 

Gloria

Originally recorded by Morrison’s band Them in 1964, Gloria was the B-side of “Baby, Please Don’t Go”. The song became a garage rock staple and a part of many rock bands’ repertoires. It is particularly memorable for its “G–L–O–R–I–A” chorus.

 

Brown Eyed Girl

The catalyst for Morrison’s whole career as a solo artist, Brown Eyed Girl was his first single after leaving his position as lead singer for Them and would lead to his contract with Warner Bros. Records. It is listed as one of the top most played song by DJs and has been covered by hundreds of bands over the years and has earned many awards for Morrison, most prominently when it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2003, when it was listed as one of the The 365 Top Selling Songs of the 20th Century by RIAA.

 

Moondance

Morrison did not release Moondance until November, seven and a half years after the same named album was released. It reached the Billboard Hot 100, charting at #92 and is the most frequently played song by Morrison in concert, as it is the only song known to have been played over a thousand times.

 

Domino

Domino, released by Warner Bros. Records in October 1970 as the first of three singles from the album and reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Today it remains Morrison’s highest charting single ever, surpassing Morrison’s signature song, “Brown Eyed Girl” which had charted at number 10 in 1967.

 

Wild nights

Morrison has continued to perform Wild nights in concerts throughout his career and it is one of his most covered singles. John Mellencamp and Meshell Ndegeocello are among the artists who have released their own renditions.

 

Enjoy singing your own renditions of all of Van Morrison’s greatest hits here on Red Karaoke.