|LIFE FOR A SONGWRITER/MUSICIAN IN LOS ANGElES CAN OFTEN BE
A TEST OF WILL AND DETERMINATION. The music business can be a
dog-eat-dog world when climbing to the top; artists soon come to find
that there are more people willing to help themselves than to lend a hand.
But it is not always this way.|
On Sept. 15, longtime songwriter/musician and event organizer Kiki Wow gathered an amalgamation of local talent to compliment her 6th Annual Songwriter’s Circle. Held every year since 1994, the sixth edition of Wow’s songwriter’s ring was part VII-1 Storytellers and MTV Unplugged. The event, which featured comedian and Campus Circle writer Lord Carrett at the break, showcased nine musical acts performing folk, pop, rock and Latin-jazz.
with 15 years to her credit as a singer/songwriter, Kiki Wow knows. firsthand the frustrations and hardships upcoming songwriters are often up against. It has been her goal for the past six years to encourage artists’ self-promotion and networking while providing them a venue to showcase their talents. Hoping to make things easy for the artists at her shows, Wow, through her business Wow Entertainment, does the promoting, press releases, films the event for the artists and has a photographer snapping photos. Her contacts allow her to setup artists so that they may perform amongst their peers, industry folks (i.e. Dreamworks), media (i.e. Music Connection Magazine, Campus Circle) and club managers.
In this era of pay-to-play, some artists are having a hard time finding somewhere to play, and Wow chalks it up to a lack of hustle to self- promote. "Musicians are good [at music], but don’t know how to promote themselves," says Wow. "If they’re not out bringing crowds to their shows, their not going to get invited back to the club."
After placing an ad for the event around town and in the trades, Wow listens to each submission, carefully selecting the right artists from the right genre. With her reputation on the line, a successful Wow never brags, but admits her strengths to be "My pretty toes and an ear for music:’ With legendary songwriters Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Paul McCartney looking on from their frames right above the stage, the dusky Cat Club off Sunset served as the site for this year’s assembly. The club’s black walls and black leather couches were reminiscent of those ’60s cool Hepeat clubs, but lacked the right atmosphere for an event of this nature. Though the somber decor may have absorbed the energy out of the top of the line-up, the tempo of the show steadily progressed.
Most of the roster, which included Wow performing on her birthday, are little known, soon to be known or completely unknown, but are all capable and accomplished musicians. Pop-rock guitarist Greg Williams has performed with a number of big name acts) including Hootie and the Blowfish, Shawn Mullins and Great White, while Lilith Fair-type songbird Laurel Wiley is currently being produced by Heart’s Nancv Wilson.
In addition to these talents, the twin Rivera brothers, Latin-jazz set was one of the highlights of the night. The twins’ music was along the lines of Steely Dan with a squeeze of lime. What was more impressive them their unique songwriting abilities was the brothers’ aptitude of instrument playing, Guitars, bells, trumpets, chimes, drums and whistles - they shared or rotated leads, while awing the audience with their dynamics.
The event’s hostess, Ms. Kiki Wow strummed an acoustic in Sheryl Crow-like fashion while friend Buddy backed her up on bass and David Rivera banged the skins.
Closing out the show was Jason Ebs and his band, Twisted Roots. What had been intimate, conscious songwriting up to this point, Ebs and band made it dear that they had no intention of playing ballads. With his dreads flying about, Ebs played rock music with a crispy Jon Bon Iovi-Iike voice. Other performers included the rhythm and blues of us July, singer Ilaria, 10m Folden and the group Marmalade Skies.
What makes an event like this SO special is that it gives songwriters an
opportunity to congregate. The ability of songwriters to work together for
this event, or to share industry tips, is the sole purpose of Songwriter’s
Circle. Whether they are just looking to place a song, or if they are
performers, when the industry has them down, it’s reassuring and
promising to nave a circle of friends like this one.
Singer/songwriter Kiki Whitman is another example of a musician helping to perpetuate her own buzz. She runs a
monthly songwriting circle sponsored by the folks at Guitar Center. Over the years, Whitman has been building up a name for herself. Plus, she does a promotional campaign to support the event and bring the circle to the industry’s
attention. Seek out a similar evening in your town. If there isn’t one, you might want to think about starting one yourself. You’ll learn a lot from organizing such an event. |
|SONGWIRITING CIRCLE SUCCESS
Usually, songwriters’ circles are marred by one OF three problems:
they are either special seminars, with a hefty price tag, where you’re lectured by a host of clowns who penned some obscure Seventies pop tripe, or they’re poorly attended makeshift gigs masquerading as open mic nights, or, worse yet, they’re
laden down with a bunch of lackluster talent that was never screened in the first place.|
Weil, from what we’ve heard, local promoter/musician Kiki Whitman has sidestepped those prob- lems with her local songwriting circle, which debuted at the Moondog Cafe last month. As a matter of fact, the response was so overwhelming that Whitman has elected to carry on with the series. The next event takes place at the Moondog on October 1, but is already full, in terms of the talent roster. However she is taking advance slots for the show after that.
For further information, call 818-
|If you have been longing to experience true live talent right here in
Los Angeles, you need to check out a very successful annual grassroots
production - KIKI’S SONGWRITER’S CIRCLE = hosted by Kiki Wow ~ where
accomplished songwriters/musicians gather to play their best 3 hit songs at
The Cat Club located at 8911 Sunset Blvd., on Friday, September 15th from
8:30 to 11 :30 p.m, This event is designed to showcase 10 established acts
to record labels, publishers and management companies and Guitar Center
has even stepped in to sponsor the equipment for the second year. This
year’s show will also feature comedy skits in between acts for a well
rounded evening .- music and laughter! The cool vibe and energy of Kiki’s
shows reminds you of the days when you first discovered music. |
Kiki, musician and founder of Wow Entertainment comments, "I started out the circles promoting friends and talented musicians, now these shows are so popular we’ve outgrown the venues. The musicians I feature are pre-selected and have a level of talent which is ripe and ready for picking. We invite industry professionals, publishers and labels who are interested in new artists and material as well as provide a network for established musicians to collaborate. I selected artists who had great songs and who play with passion."
Another reason the night is a packed house is because it’s only $3 to get in to see 10 artists and 3 comedians. Artists sell their tapes/CDs and get 75-100 new listeners, the club is happy with the crowd, and the audience is stoked to hear good live music again.
Please contact Kiki at (818) 753-1113 for reservations on our industry
|BEST BUDDING SCENE IN A BUCOLIC LOCALE
Music promoter Kiki Wow has made it her personal mission to make sure there’s live music at Plaza Linda seven nights a week. So Far she’s accomplishing precisely that, in a venue that’s miles from the regular traffic of a downtown. At a glance, an average week begins with multi-instrumentalist Tamas Marius, on Sundays from 4:30-7:30pm. Every Monday through Thursday, from 5-7pm, you can enjoy some silky lounge standards from Dino Vera. Then there is the variety of other acts Wow brings to the Carmel Valley Mexican restaurant: from classical guitar virtuoso Goh Kurosawa and folk singer-songwriter Amy Obenski to the Appalachian Americana of Little Black Train and a jazz trio featuring Kenny Stahl on flute and Bob Burnett on seven-string guitar.|
17 March 2011
Monterey County Weekly
|It’s always a great day when you write a new song - it’s a day worth living! There’s something magical happening inside, something important brewing, stirring, making you a bit restless and sometimes irritable - then one blessed day comes, you decide to pick up your guitar (or paintbrush, etc.) and forget about time, things to do, and be with your tool and express yourself. That’s creation. Expressing yourself, good or bad, pretty or not - my mistakes use to bother me, now they are a part of the process, a hiccup in the perfection, a natural imperfection. No pressure, just fun.|
|You definately have signature sound!|
Toni Casala, Children in Film
|"Kiki Wow is a unique treasure to the songwriter community. As the beloved host of the famous Monday Night Open Mike at Kulaks Woodshed, Kiki's unabashed encouragement of young songwriters has become so legendary that, literally, songs have been written about her! But gracious though she may be as a host and emcee, her own songwriting shows the craft of a true professional. The lyrics are wide and deep; the music deceptively simple and accessible, but the unusual chord changes reveal the depth and complexity of her compositions. Her songs stay in your head and express so beautifully the mixed feelings of the heart. Kiki claims she wants her music to make you feel happy--or horny...preferably both! She's appeared on ABC's "The Norm Show" portraying (of all things!) an open mike singer, her songs have been heard in several independent films, she's currently completing her latest CD release Top Of The World, produced by Grammy-winning producer CJ Vanston. To find out more about what's so Wow about Kiki, visit her website at www.kikiwow.com."|
Garret Swayne, Host of The MainStreet Songwriter Showcase at Café Bellissimo
|It’s so difficult for me to say nice things about me. That’s the toughest part about this business, or any business - is self promotion. I’m pretty humble by nature, so I felt it easier to hear from other people, their thoughts and take of my tunes. Thank you all for your kind words.I now host and produce a music and arts tv show in Monterey and I used to host a music show every week on the web and am Past President of Warner Bros. Toastmasters. I’m finding that I’ve said just about everything I ever wanted to or needed to be said -- and often things I shouldn’t say but I do anyway.
I have included a few of my speeches; it was hard to choose which ones, so check back, I will rotate them for your amusement.
Oh - and everybody can be a better communicator, check out what you don’t know at Toastmasters International.