3.31.2009

Artist Spotlight: TMG Artist of the Year, Jeff Chandler


This week on the TMG artist spotlight, I'd like to introduce you to our very first TMG Artist of Year, Jeff Chandler! His album is currently in production with TMG, so you won't be seeing his cover art just yet! But I wanted to share with the world some interesting history Jeff shared with me and let you get to know who he is! Thanks so much, Jeff, and congratulations on winning the TMG Artist of the Year! Be sure to check out his performance and all the others, including Ron Walters, Sarah Scharff, The Cliftones and Sally Jayne, at TMG Artist of the Year page.

1. When did you begin singing/performing?

I was 16 years old. Had never sang a note...pretty much. I certainly had never had a solo before. Christmas time of 1991, my music minister at the time, Tony Kimbrell, let me have the lead "shepherd boy role" in our church's Christmas play. I loved acting. Being in front of people has always been fun (and mortifying) for me. Tony let me know that with that role I would have to sing a solo. So I learned it and sang it. It was awful, in my opinion. Like Michael W. Smith with a bad cold. (Nothing wrong with Smitty, I've always wanted to be him really and at times thought I was, but that's another boyhood dream story for another time).

I still have the VHS tape of me singing that first song. Scary! The funny thing was the response of the audience every night. People responded to it like I was Pavarotti. A scrawny little, nasally-singing kid with a towel on his head was making people cry with this debut solo about the birth of baby Jesus. I still don't believe it. It really became a defining moment for me. Up until this time I really had a focus to get a baseball scholarship and play for the Braves. This was an OBSESSION for me my entire boyhood. I completely dropped baseball-which was a huge deal-and gave my life to music. And here we are...

2. What inspired you to begin singing/performing?

This is interesting. Besides the story above, my mother tells me that when I was 10 I was in the kitchen with her; she was watching Richard Roberts (Oral's son) sing on television. I was apparently mesmerized by Richard and his ministry. I told her, "That's what I'm going to do", and then went about my business.

3. What kind of hurdles, if any, did you have to go through to be where you are today?

Holy cow, where do I begin? I guess I can honestly say: Mom warned me not to do this! LOL!! She wanted me to go to work for AT&T like my father had for 35 years now. I rebelled....(smile)...and I've paid for it dearly.

The last decade I've spent writing, touring, trying-no-beating my brains out to get a record deal, playing for no one (literally), to singing on stage with Casting Crowns for 12,000 people. The playing for no one was funny. I'll digress momentarily. We had a promoter/pastor who hired us for $1000 to play an event he was putting on. Apparently he wasn't a good promoter. NO ONE, not a soul, came to the event. There was another band there and we literally played for the other band and then they took the stage and played for us. It was awkward to say the least. You feel bad taking a grand to play for the other band...but we did. LOL!!!

We finally got a "record deal" in 2006, which basically amounted to nothing but a fair amount of debt for us all and loss of publishing on some of my songs. We had set out with the illusion we would replace U2, but what we did was get our single out to about 40 stations (who LOVED it by the way) and then faded back into oblivion.

It's funny, the statement, "to get where I am today"-I'm really nowhere anyone would want to be with my music accomplishments thus far, save this-I FINALLY do have a record deal I believe in with TMG! Excited to see where we go together in 2009! AND I did manage to get a song on Casting Crowns latest record. Mark Hall (lead singer for Crowns) asked me on a youth trip if they could use the song for "The Altar and the Door". So I guess I'm making some headway and it's about darn time.

4. What would you tell other aspiring artists about the music/recording scene?

My advice is this: No one, and i mean NO ONE, will ever believe in your music as much as you do. All the label reps that stroke you and make empty promises are making the same promises to many other hopeful youngsters who are just as or more talented than you. Don't rely on someone else to "get you out there." If you don't get yourself out there it won't be done. Consider a distribution deal with TMG. ;-) AND, never, never quit on your dream.

5. How would you describe your musical style?

Rock-opera-billy

6. What has been your most embarrassing moment singing/performing in front of an large audience?

OHHH...SO GLAD YOU ASKED THIS...

I was 17 and performing to a track at a local church. I was singing "I Believe in Miracles" by Russ Lee and Newsong. There is an extensive instrumental in the middle of the track and I was trying to decide how to pass this time vocally, so it's less awkward and impacting to my audience. I had decided to ad-lib and build with the music of the track, which built to a head at a certain point and then EXPLODED into a radical accordion solo! LOL! I'm so serious here too! It really did erupt into something that sounded like an accordion solo...amazing.

Anyhow, if you've ever performed with tracks you know the importance of timing your cues. Well, I mistimed this one horrendously. My plan was to turn my back on the audience, then at the supreme moment of climax, I would turn abruptly, leap toward the crowd with a mighty yell as the instrumental tsunami (headed up by the accordion) overtook them like never before! They would, of course, be moved beyond human emotional limits and soar to new levels of pleasure and euphoria, and buy out all my tapes! This was the plan....

What DID happen was this: I turned my back on the audience, mellowed out to fake them out and draw them in, began to sway to and fro (the whole time imagining they were swaying with me), and with the quickness of a kung-fu-master I spun about, lept forward with a powerful-vocal-tricked-out-yell....4 bars too soon. The poor folks just stared at me staring at them while the music quietly continued to build, and FINALLY went into the big instrumental...

I've never wished I could disappear until that moment. Ugh.

7. Do you prefer the studio or the stage? Why?

I love both. In the studio you can eat more snacks and watch YouTube videos, unlike on stage. But onstage is more exciting!

8. Have you started writing your next album?

Soon. I'm already in talks with one of my great friends, Aswan North, about writing for the next album. Shameless plug for Aswan here. Please check him out: myspace.com/aswannorth. His music speaks for itself, you'll love it. I'm a big fan!

Thank you so much, Jeff! You are an inspiration to anyone interested in the music biz and you are truly great at what you do!

3.03.2009

TMG Artist Spotlight: Pekints


This week on the TMG artist spotlight we feature Pekints new album, Party for Eternity, available now in stores! His new rap sound will be sure to meet you where you are and bring a light into a dark world.

Enjoy!

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1. When did you begin singing/performing?

I really can’t remember exactly when I started. You know everybody gets a chance to sing in one place or the other while growing up. However, I started getting really serious with singing and performing in 1993 when I gave my life to Christ. I joined the church choir and the music team and it went on from there.

2. What inspired you to begin singing/performing?

Appreciation! That is the first thing that comes to mind. Before I was born again, I had lot of stuff that could make people happy, but I kept feeling a vacuum inside of me. Moreover, I suffered a lot spiritually. I kept on having these horrible nightmares in which strange people repeatedly tried to kill me. I would run so hard in these dreams that I would wake up panting and sweating. Sometimes while lying on the bed awake, I would suddenly feel a strange presence and invisible hands virtually trying to strangulate me. I won’t be able to scream, wake up or run. It was crazy, but guess what… When I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, I was instantly delivered from these oppressions. I was so grateful to God for deliverance, healing and salvation. That is how I got inspiration to sing his praise and tell the whole world what God has done for me and could do for anybody that would come to him.
3. What kind of hurdles, if any, did you have to go through to be where you are today?
It has been an exciting challenge for me to be where I am now. Things get so difficult sometimes in many perspectives and you wonder if God actually called you into the ministry. But God has been more than faithful and merciful to me. He has been there to see me through every mountain and valley and I am very confident he will be there till the end. So despite the hurdles, I know with God, my future is a great one.
4. What would you tell other aspiring artists about the music/recording scene?
Just love it. You really need to love and enjoy what you do. If someone gets involved in the music/recording scene just for the money or fame, there could be serious disappointment lurking around because money and fame don’t just come like that. But if you have a message or talent you really want to share with the world, just keep doing what you do best and have fun at it. Do it with all your heart, mind, talent and resources. When it is time, God will open the door and take you to the next level.
5. How would you describe your musical style?

Contemporary gospel music spiced up with hip-hop, rap, and slow jamz.

6. What has been your most embarrassing moment singing/performing in front of a large audience?

Oh man!!! I have had many embarrassing moments on stage, but I think the worst case happened at a wedding reception. I was invited to perform at a wedding reception weeks before the event. There was no problem. I composed a special song for the couple and even sent them a copy. They were thrilled. However, just one day before the main event, I caught a cold and lost most of my voice. To make matters worse, we could not get a replacement. So I had to GO AND SING. I prayed and went by faith. I managed to pull it off with a rather rough voice. Strangely, many people came up to tell me they really enjoyed the performance. No one seemed to have noticed I had a cold!

7. Do you prefer the studio or the stage? Why?

Stage of course! There is so much energy one could express on stage and there is so much room for creativity, ad-libs and add-ons. Moreover, I believe the Spirit of God has a greater opportunity to move and bless the audience in a special way because of the flexibility on stage. Don’t get me wrong, God moves in the studio too.

8. Have you started writing your next album?

Oh sure. And I can tell you that this one is fully loaded. You will love it. Check my website for details.

9. Do you have any gigs lined up in the near future? If so, where?
Its God’s choice Christian Bookstore (Cd signing) Mar. 27th Christ Embassy Church, Upper Marlboro, MD (Performance) (Please see website for updates)

www.myspace.com/pekints
email: pekintsmusic@gmail.com

Thank you.
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Thanks. Pekints!

Look for his album, Party for Eternity, in stores NOW!