Danielle Morgan – Singer, Songwriter & Musician

Written by: Frank Iacono

Danielle Morgan Musican

London-based singer, songwriter and musician Danielle Morgan is making a big impact in the UK and internationally, sharing her music, performed with great passion and attitude. Those who have seen her “live” write and talk about how they are uplifted by Danielle’s universal themes and original melodies, delivered with real power and honest emotion, supported by her amazing band.

Danielle began her musical journey at a young age, and it was her path to enter the world-famous BRIT School in London. She has composed over 70 original songs and works with co-writer John Merrigan, and has also worked with highly credited Los Angeles, California Producer, Jonathan Smith [a.k.a. TheRealJonSmith] – (Luna Halo, four-time Grammy Award winner Kevin Max, etc.) among others.

Danielle’s compositions are diverse in topic and eclectic in mood. She writes about her life experiences that everyone can relate to and interpret for themselves. Her vocals are compelling, uniquely her own.

Recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios, Danielle released her debut EP, The Session in June 2016 to critical acclaim. 2019 saw Morgan inking a global distribution deal with Universal Music Group to build on her strong fanbase and social media profile. In 2020, she is very excited to be performing new songs to audiences around the UK, Ireland and beyond. July saw the release of her new EP entitled The Faces of Danielle Morgan and further EPs / album release are planned in the coming months before getting back on the road.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Danielle Morgan where we talked about her musical influences, her songwriting and recording process, her experience in the music industry and how COVID-19 has affected her musical career.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and whom or what would you say inspired you?>

DM: As a young girl, I always loved performing at family events but early on I got into Johnny Nash, an America reggae star who sang: “Tears on My Pillow” which combined reggae and country and I loved it. I “stole” the tape from my parents and played it over and over, and absorbed the melody, emotion, and sincerity of those songs. I then got into Motown and whilst my friends were listening to more contemporary music in the 1980s, I was listening to that, hidden away in my bedroom.

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

DM: When I was 16 at music / drama college in London, I was heavily influenced by musical theatre – strong songs with a message and a big sound. I liked Crystal Gayle, Neil Sedaka, Billy Joel and all the Motown stars; especially how they crafted their songs and got the message across simply and directly. At 18, I was approached by a major record label to take on my songs, but I didn’t like how they wanted to change them or how they said I’d have a pop lifespan as an artist of 12-18 months! No thanks!

TCS: For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Danielle Morgan or your musical career, please share with us how you first started out in United Kingdom and eventually became a singer, songwriter, and musician?

Danielle Morgan Singer

DM: My early path took me to the BRIT School in London and that set me off writing songs. But after a few years, I realized that I had no real-life experience. From then on, a lot of things happened to me, some good and some bad. I turned to my song writing on the piano to help find my expression, only for myself, and to relieve those stresses. After a long break from the business, I found myself auditioning for a band led by John Merrigan and I began to love performing again. That led to me having the confidence to share some of my personal songs and the reaction was so positive and loving that I decided to once more embark on a professional music career. Since then, I’ve worked with amazing people and recorded at places like Abbey Road; and the journey continues.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs from your EP The Session is the track called “No Trace of You,” so could you describe the history behind the song as well as the music video concept?

DM: Normally, I don’t interpret my songs, only because everyone will take the meaning for themselves. “No Trace of You” is not about a personal relationship, it’s about moving from one chapter of your life into a new one and leaving the past behind.

We contacted a number of people involved in shooting videos and only one that came back who understood the meaning was director Nick Kirk. We shot the video over a weekend, with the track freshly recorded at Abbey Road, produced by LA based therealjonsmith. It was an amazing experience and the storyline shows me leaving the life of a hotel maid (though my old life was actually a London police officer), waving goodbye as I enter the world of a music singer! It turned out to be pretty prophetic!


TCS: Can you tell us about your new EP and introduce us to the band line-up?

DM: In July 2020, I will be releasing a new EP entitled The Faces of Danielle Morgan and I am really looking forward to sharing those songs with my fans and your readers! This is the first in a series of EPs we plan to release in 2020 to get more of the new tracks out and we hope this will lead to an album by the end of the year. There is so much new material ready to go!

The band consists of:

  • Danielle Morgan – Lead Vocals / Piano
  • John Merrigan – Drums
  • David Barbour – Guitarist
  • Peter Rutherford – Bassist
  • Andrew Dascalopoulos – Keys
  • Lucy D. – Backing Vocals
  • Rob McCann – Harmonica

TCS: What financial impact has the coronavirus pandemic had on both personally and professionally? Have you had to cancel or postpone any tours or festival appearances?

DM: We have to see the financial impact in the context of so many others losing dear friends and relatives – our health is before our wealth more than ever. But, yes, we had to cancel so many shows and summer festivals which we had spent a long time securing – it was extremely hard on the band, the artists and ourselves. Luckily, we’ve been able to work with promoters and others to minimize the impact and we are looking forward to getting back on the road.

TCS: Amid this pandemic, what’s your daily routine been like? And since musicians spend so much time on the road, have you found it hard adjusting to so much time at home?

DM: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were rarely at home, either gigging, rehearsing or doing promotional activity. We are blessed to be living in a beautiful part of the world, on the coast and close to the countryside. It’s made us appreciate so much more what we have on our doorstep. Our daily routine takes us to the beach or on walks in the local area and we are much calmer.

TCS: Is there something you’ve been putting off for a long time, but are now doing with this time at home?

DM: We have been too busy to work on releasing some new tracks and finishing others that we’d started. The time we have now has meant we’ve been able to finish arrangements on some great new songs and to work on our musical theatre shows.

TCS: Tell us about the background behind another favorite entitled “Take Him Away” and the special Lockdown Edition music video”?

DM: This is one of our favorite songs to perform live and always gets the crowd going with its energy and positive vibe – the lyrics speak for themselves! We wrote it with Dave Barbour who brought the guitar sound to what was originally a piano-based track! John and I were putting out videos in the early part of lockdown, and after many requests we decided to record the song with the full band working from home to hopefully bring a smile to our friends. We really enjoyed doing it, though it’s complicated to record and mix it live on video. But it’s honest music and because of the response we will roll-out more lockdown videos in the coming weeks.


TCS: Have you been doing any live-streamed concerts during COVID-19 or do you plan to? A lot of artists have been doing them, do you think it’s a challenge to make them original and interesting?

DM: Yes, we have done quite a few live tracks online and some videos with the band working together from home. It’s been a lot of fun and much needed therapy to stay in contact and keep playing together.

TCS: As a musician, have you found this quarantine to be a highly creative time period for writing and recording new music or has it been difficult to focus on creative endeavors?

DM: Initially, it was a difficult time as we were trying to absorb what happened and to guess what was going to happen. But fairly quickly, we took a decision to be positive and focus on what we could do from home. We have written a lot of new songs and begun work on a new musical drama. So overall, it’s been a very productive time creatively.


TCS: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you see yourself doing instead?

DM: John and I would always have a connection with music – it’s in our blood but if we left the industry, we would probably be running our own small hotel focused on great food and a space for musicians to come and work in a rural setting and be inspired to create. I think we will do this anyway!!!

TCS: What kind of advice would you give to other musicians who are trying new creative ways to supplement their income?

DM: We think it’s important to stay focused on practical things to stay safe and well in mind and body. To get replacement income, there are lots of ways to set up virtual gigs, or crowdfunding. There are interesting things happening in theatres and gig venues, so it’s important to stay in contact with them. Above all, it’s really important not to devalue your work just for short-term gain. Your work is art and personal and don’t let anyone take advantage even though things are challenging.

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Stacey David Blades – Lead Guitarist & Songwriter

Written by: Frank Iacono

With L.A. Guns, Stacey David Blades has shared the bill with Alice Cooper, Whitesnake, The Scorpions, Dokken, Skid Row, Warrant and more. He’s been around the world 10 times, done 4 albums with the legendary late producer Andy Johns and on the bill of many prestigious music festivals including M3, Rock Weekend (Sweden), Rockin The Rivers, Buffalo Chip and more! Stacey has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Metal Edge, and Premier Guitar Magazine to name a few. Stacey is proudly endorsed by ESP Guitars, Pig Hog Cables, Crafter Guitars and Crate Amplification.

Back in April of 2009, Stacey wrote and published a very revealing and often-humorous autobiography, “Snake Eyes: Confessions of a Replacement Rockstar.” The book received high marks from fans all over the world. In 2010, Stacey also released his first ever solo instrumental album, Symphonic Slam. It is a remarkable collection of rocked-out classical numbers by Strauss, Bach, Handel, Beethoven and more.

Blades has a vast Music Production Library with Jason Donnelly for Music by Design. They’re music can be heard on such TV hit shows as “Duck Dynasty,” “Shark Week,” “The Wahlburgers” and “Pitbull and Paroles” just to name a few. In the summer of 2016, Stacey did a very big successful tour with Bobby Blotzer’s RATT Experience, playing arena’s, amphitheaters and stopped over to play a sold-out London show and headlined “Hard Rock Hell” Festival in North Wales.

Stacey’s new active rock band Electric Radio Kings is taking the Nation by storm with the release of their album Purrr, produced by Metallica’s longtime engineer Mike Gillies.

Their single Back to Black hit the airwaves nationally last spring of 2019. ERK broke the top 30 at @28 on Billboard Mainstream Rock charts. ERK is in pre-production again with Mike Gillies to work on their highly anticipated follow-up album.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Stacey David Blades. where we talked about his musical influences, his songwriting and recording process, his experience in the music industry, his new band Electric Radio Kings as well as his short and long-term future plans.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and whom or what would you say inspired you?

Stacey David Blades: I started my musical career at a very young age. I was 9 when I began playing the piano with extensive lessons up until the age of 11. Then one Christmas, I got this little acoustic guitar and that was it!!! That guitar never left my hands. At the time, I was getting very good at piano so after a year of lessons on the guitar I got really good pretty quickly! After taking proper guitar lessons for three years, I purchased my first electric guitar. I am so grateful to have had a musical family and blessed to have been in a position to take lessons for all those years as a child.

(Photo Credit: Arjen Van E)

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

SDB: Early on, I was really into bands like The Cars, Cheap Trick, Ozzy, Rush, Journey, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen. I was all about listening to different styles! With that, I was also very much into bands like U2, Missing Persons, The Motels and Duran Duran. Form that early new wave sound mixed in with Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick, I think all of these bands impacted and shaped my musical style.

TCS: For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Stacey Blades or your musical career, please share with us how you first started out in Toronto, Ontario Canada and eventually became a well-known guitarist in popular bands like Roxx Gang, LA Guns and now Electric Radio Kings?

SDB: I had played the club circuit for quite a few years in Toronto. In 1992, I finally got my big break when I joined Virgin Recording artists Roxx Gang from St. Petersburg, Florida. I was in that band for 8 years then moved to Los Angeles, California. About a year after the move, I landed the gig with LA Guns. In 2017, I formed Electric Radio Kings (ERK), my dream band, with the goal of playing something a little alternative, punky and modern. I’m a huge Stone Temple Pilots (STP) fan so this is the band I have wanted ever since the mid 90’s.

TCS: Can you introduce to the Electric Radio Kings band lineup? And, how would you describe your overall sound and musical genre?

SDB: We have the awesome Peter Ross on Lead Vocals, me on Lead Guitar, David Harris on Second Guitar, Carl Raether on Bass Guitar and we’ll be announcing our new drummer in July. This is the dream team lineup. I’m the only original member left from the earlier lineup. When we started, we had a very Velvet Revolver vibe but now I’d say the band has morphed into more organic sound similar to bands like Rival Sons, STP and a little White Stripes. Our new album will absolutely bleed those sounds. Every song on the new album is a little different. You may also hear early sounds from The Cult, Soundgarden or even legendry David Bowie.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs from your album Purrr is the track called “Back to Black,” so could you describe the history behind the song as well as the music video concept?

SDB: “Back to Black” was actually a remake of Amy Winehouse’s 2006 song. It was our old lead singer Paul Christiana’s decision to record it. Mike Gillies, longtime Metallica engineer-extraordinaire, did an amazing job crafting that into a masterpiece! Nationally, we did quite well with that track scoring #28 on Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts last year and got over 1,100 spins Nationally on Active Rock Radio. This was our second time working with the great “Mason Wright,” who directed and shot the music video. We also had our friend Cassiopee’ play the ghost girl in the video. We think it turned out fantastic.


TCS: As an established musician with an interesting career background, how has the coronavirus pandemic affected you both personally and professionally? Have you had to cancel or postpone any tour dates or festival appearances or delay an album release?

SDB: Well everything has been on pause and it really sucks for musicians. We halted production on recording and postponed shows as well as cancelled a big PR campaign we had planned. However, over the last 3 months we’ve been on such a creative high that we totally wrote the new record.

TCS: What effect do you think shutting down music venues across the country has had on our culture? And, what do you think we’ve learned as a result of this pandemic?

SDB: I think that we’ve learned how life can truly change on a dime. People are starving for live music, so I think we will ultimately come out of this for the better on all avenues but businesses, like music venues, are really suffering right now.

TCS: What inspired you to write your first book entitled “Snake Eyes: Confessions of a Replacement Rockstar?”

SDB: I thought I had a very interesting story to tell and once I started writing it, I couldn’t stop. The book chronicles my childhood, early exposure to music up to when I replaced the legendary Tracii Guns in LA Guns. Along the way, you’ll read how I discovered the Sunset Strip music scene, handled relocation to join Roxx Gang, experienced drama amidst stalkers and strippers and so much more.

TCS: Describe for us the song writing process and video concept behind the single entitled “Jack Black Flower”?

SDB: I think “Jack Black Flower” was actually one of the very first songs I wrote for the band. I thought Paul did a great job with the vocal melody and lyrics. This track turned out so great in the studio that we decided to release it as the second single. Additionally, we also produced a music video too. It’s just a live video spattered with some images from different decades in L.A. It’s about the pitfalls and vices of moving to that city to make it as an actor or musician.


TCS: As a recording artist, how have you embraced social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to market your songs, albums, merchandise and/or appearances?

SDB: Absolutely. As a recording artist, you either embrace social media or you drown.

To stay connected, please join us on the following:

TCS: Tell us about the background behind another favorite entitled “Sympathy For Me”?

SDB: “Sympathy For Me” was one of the first ERK songs written. The music video was a ton of fun to shoot. I thought the recording, which was produced and engineered by Alister James, also turned out quite good too.


TCS: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you see yourself doing instead?

SDB: At the age of 11, I started playing golf. By the time I was 17, I was a really good golfer. By 20, music had turned into my main passion and became a full-time thing, so I stopped playing. If I hadn’t had music in my life, I would have probably pursued a golfing career.

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for you and Electric Radio Kings?

SDB: For Electric Radio Kings, we are totally focused on recording our follow-up to Purrr. Once again, we’ve employed the services of producer Mike Gillies. We feel this record is going to be MONSTROUS! With that, our goal is to become the biggest new rock band of 2021. Unfortunately, 2020 has been cancelled.

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Sean D. Austin – Singer-Songwriter, Paranormal Investigator & Demonologist

Written by: Frank Iacono

Sean Austin is a singer-songwriter, published author, paranormal investigator and demonologist. Currently, Sean is starring on the Travel Channel’s new paranormal show called Ghost Loop. Previously, he also starred on the Destination America Network (Discovery Channel) pilot series The Demon Files with retired NYPD police officer-turned-demonologist, Ralph Sarchie, upon whom the movie Deliver Us from Evil was based.

On and off of TV, Sean travels the country with fellow paranormal investigators, documenting evidence of the paranormal in video, photo and audio forms. He not only employs his growing medium and psychic abilities to investigate and help spirits and families find peace, but he also uses the latest paranormal technologies to “see” and “hear” entities to determine whether or not specific hauntings are residual or intelligent, friendly or malevolent.

With a strong Catholic faith, Sean’s pursuits in the paranormal are grounded in his religious beliefs. In his first published work Shadow Chaser, Sean shares some of the experiences that shaped his path in the pursuit of the unexplained and unknown. In the book, he discloses these profound encounters with the hope of helping people and expanding upon spiritual awareness.

Sean’s musical style exists in the vein of the Goo Goo Dolls and Pearl Jam. His music is heartfelt hitting home to the emotional high and low points of life’s obstacles with doses of encouraging hope within every shadow of our yesterdays. Fans of new Pop Rock Music 2020, Maroon 5, Switchfoot, The Voice artists, America’s Got Talent and American Idol will enjoy listening to Austin’s songs.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Sean Austin where we talked about his musical influences, his songwriting and recording process, his first published book and soon to be released second book, his work on Ghost Loop and The Demon Files as well as his short and long-term future plans.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you first wanted to be a musician and whom or what would you say inspired you?

Sean Austin: I first realized I wanted to be a musician around age 12, when I watched Pearl Jam’s music video for their song “Jeremy”. Watching that video and seeing how they represented such a taboo subject like teen suicide, coupled with Eddie Vedder’s highly emotional and forceful vocal performance, it truly left a lasting impression on me. I honestly had full body chills seeing Eddie’s eyes roll up into his head as if he was actually possessed with the spirit of Jeremy Wade Delle, a high school student who shot himself in front of his English class because he was being tormented. From that moment, I knew exactly what my destiny held for me from a career perspective. That experience lured me right in with the desire to sing and play guitar. From there, I took three guitar lessons and then my ear became my teacher. This led me to writing songs and being in a band. Ultimately, I would gravitate toward being a solo artist. On my first solo project, I actually played all the instruments including drums, bass guitar as well as sang.

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

SA: As I mentioned above, Pearl Jam was one of those defining bands that truly influenced me as a musical artist but there were a few others too. Equally, I was also motivated by emotional and inspirational bands such as the Goo Goo Dolls and Swithfoot. The songs these bands create really resonate with the music that I would ideally like to produce. Music has always been my “invisible therapist”. Like those artists, I too enjoy singing about real-life experiences, expressing emotions that hopefully inspire and/or help others cope with daily situations that we all face. The power of being able to extend your emotions from writing lyrics, adding music and then releasing it as a song can really be soul healing. The ultimate goal is to have someone listen to my music and be as inspired the same way my favorite bands moved me.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs off of your Shapeshifter album is the track called “That’s Enough,” so can you share with us the meaning behind the song?

SA: “That’s Enough” was written about someone involved in a toxic relationship. Sometimes, in a relationship, we let things buildup and fester behind the scenes without being honest to ourselves or with one another leading to more chaos. This song examines how people sometimes shutoff their feelings – ultimately leaving the other person emotionally caught up without explanation. This can be a push-pull, back and forth kind of thing but truthfully the individual has to learn to lead more with their head rather than their heart. Even if there are still feelings, he/she has to know when it’s time to walk away. There are always valuable life lessons to be learned but the most important is to not let history repeat itself.


TCS: What inspired you to write your first book entitled Shadow Chaser?

SA: Honestly, the main reason I decided to write Shadow Chaser was because I felt compelled to share some of the experiences that have shaped my path in pursuit of the unknown. In my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined that I would become a published author but in hindsight it was the best decision I ever made. In the book, I disclose my profound experiences in the hopes of potentially helping one person or thousands of people while expanding upon spiritual awareness. As the saying goes, everything happens for a reason and with that kept in mind we should all share our own spiritual experiences for the greater good. Today, my mission or calling is to help souls.

TCS: What is the title of your second book, what is it about and when will it be published?

SA: I plan to call my second book Shadow Chaser The In Between with a tentative Summer 2020 release date. Essentially, this book will serve as a continuation of paranormal experiences and cases that I’ve worked on since the completion of Shadow Chaser. We cover subjects including the demonic possession of a pregnant girl, haunted woods with a demonic pig, a shapeshifting demon forming into a spider and my personal experiences with the actual Amityville Horror House in New York. Additionally, I also provide prayers for the dead giving incentives to earthbound spirits to find peace and accept God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. So, it’s not all dark and evil!

TCS: I understand that you have some connection to the actual Amityville house and the spirit of a young child named John, can you share some specific details with us?

SA: Yes, the connection all started one day while I was live streaming in front of the Amityville house and by the DeFeo gravesite. This little boy, named John, started coming through on my spirit box even asking for prayers. I know that demonic entities can disguise themselves as any voice but according to professional opinion demons would never ask for a prayer. So, I prayed for the little boy as I would any earthbound spirit. For weeks following and even up until today, I’ve felt a presence that has awakened me many times at 3:15 am. After having all of these experiences, I began writing the story about this and all of the unsettling experiences involving the case. I will delve more into the story, and what transpired in my new book.

TCS: Describe for us your experience working with the Spirit Hunters on the Travel Channel’s new series Ghost Loop?

SA: When paranormal entities terrorize the living through endless and repetitive supernatural cycles, manifesting again and again in the same location, it is known as a “ghost loop.” Now, a team of highly specialized paranormal experts known as Spirit Hunters, who focus on this distinct type of haunting, are stepping in to help both the living and the dead. At each haunted location, my team and I build an emotionally charged trigger environment to lure the entity and break the terrifying cycle.

The most important reason why I got involved in the show was based on the opportunity to help people from across the country who are dealing with these types of hauntings. We don’t charge people for this kind of service which is great. Having the financial backing to reach a great number of people that I would’ve never been able to reach on my own is the special factor that attracted me to this project.

TCS: In the Ghost Loop episode entitled “Alarmed and Dangerous” explain how you the Spirit Hunters were able to help a Houston, Texas woman who was being terrorized by an aggressive entity?

SA: In this episode, the Spirit Hunters head to Houston, Texas, to help Becky, a woman being terrorized by an aggressive male entity who rushes her from her front door. The house is steeped in bloody history, the home is packed with negative energy that threatens to tear the team apart.

The story involves a man who was very abusive toward his girlfriend. One night, he lost control and began attacking her. In defending herself, she took matters into her own hands and shot him dead. The man seemed to be manifesting in Becky’s house in one concentrated area. In order to remove the “ghost loop” haunting, we first had to lure him out by recreating a trigger environment linked to the 1920s when this murder allegedly took place. This allowed us the best chance to have the entity listen to us and either accept his judgment in the light or we would need to force him out by blessing the home. In this case, I believe he decided to accept our offer and go towards the light. Becky has not seen this man’s spirit manifest since we were there.


TCS: As a practicing Catholic, under the apprenticeship of retired NYPD police officer-turned-demonologist Ralph Sarchie, tell us about how you learned your crafts of paranormal investigation, mediumship and demonology?

SA: Within the first few years of conducting investigations and having experienced many unique happenings, it truly felt like I had triggered an internal spiritual awakening. As a result, I believe that I had advanced my education and knowledge of the Paranormal but realized that I still needed more training and understanding on why these things occur and how best to protect myself from them.

With that, I purchased several books including Ralph’s Beware of the Night. At the time, I had my own radio podcast and later had him on as a guest and we discussed his book. The first time we chatted, we got into many deep conversations about what he calls, and I now also refer to as, “the Work”. This references the spiritual “calling” of God to be a religious Demonologist. Essentially, investigating cases of the demonic and assisting in the exorcisms of humanity’s most ancient–and most dangerous–foes.

Ralph taught me a lot about demonology especially concerning the different types of cases you can encounter in the process. With the combination of on-the-job training and reading his book now known as Deliver Us From Evil, the name of the movie based on his book, I have learned a great deal of valuable information that has helped me formulate a definitive direction of who I am as an paranormal investigator as well a religious demonologist.

I was tremendously proud to be associated with Ralph. He was involved in the paranormal during its pioneering years when it wasn’t “cool” to be a paranormal investigator. Back then, most people became investigators for research and to genuinely try and help people, not just for the fame on television like it is today.

TCS: Describe for us your experience working with Ralph Sarchie on Destination America’s series The Demon Files?

SA: Working with him on Destination America’s series The Demon Files was nothing short of humbling. It was truly a gift to be a part of such a great show with someone who is so well respected in this field. Ralph has really honed his craft. He has a strong willed personality but shines in his sound belief in faith and knowledge. He approaches each case with the ultimate goal of helping people. I have nothing but the upmost respect for him and for “the Work” he’s accomplished, and I will always be grateful for everything he has done for me personally and spiritually.

TCS: In The Demon Files episode entitled “The Mirror” explain how you and the team helped Leigh-Ann and her family when they were being plagued by demonic attacks?

SA: “The Mirror” was a really emotional case for the team. In this episode, an evil latched onto a family forcing them to reach out to Ralph and his team for help. During the investigation, we found out Leigh-Ann, their daughter, who struggles with addiction and even tried to kill herself, had previously made a pact with the devil by cutting herself over a pentagram. Additionally, we discovered that there was another boy who allegedly took his life on the property too.

Once we entered the home, you could feel the high level of oppressive energy in the house. You could cut through it with a knife. As we investigated, we smelled Sulphur. Ralph performed a religious provocation to force the evil entity out, so we could expose exactly what it was, so we could properly move forward and perform an exorcism on the property. At one point, as Ralph stood near the mirror in the upstairs bathroom, I tasted crushed pills in my mouth. I didn’t know at the time, but Leigh-Ann had taken a bunch of pills in front of that mirror when she attempted to end her life. Another interesting fact we learned about the mirror was that it had been in house with the previous owner and death. It really seemed connected to what was going on.

 

Towards the end of the night, I was on Leigh-Ann’s bed trying to coerce the alleged boy spirit who took his life to crossover. As soon as I did this, I felt the presence of a demonic entity in the room with me, and I saw this red like mist appear in front of the bed. At the same time, I could see a creature with scales all over its face with piercing fangs and cat like eyes. I stood my ground but then the window drape began to move violently, and I jumped to my feet. Earlier that night, Ralph had been in her room as well and a bunch of DVDs were thrown off the shelf in front of him and one of those DVDs was the movie based on his book Deliver Us From Evil.

In hopes of having Leigh-Ann regain her life and faith, we performed a full exorcism over the house and also had her say a revoking prayer three times in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We felt that this would provide her with the best chance to live without this dark cloud that had been haunting her.

TCS: What is the most bizarre paranormal situation that you’ve worked on during your illustrious career?

SA: Bizarre? Hmm one of the stories I am writing about in my second book is about a girl who was possessed while she was pregnant. The amount of experiences and evidence I have without even being in the same state as the girl is truly astounding. I have recordings of her speaking Latin, English, backwards and even hissing at a crucifix without even seeing me on the phone. I once received 13 scratches on my arm while praying for her on the phone. Oddly enough, I heard her being choked with laughing coming through the phone. I even had one experience of her and her friend calling me screaming bloody murder as they were driving. I could hear pelts hitting the car. Both of them in terror screaming “what is happening right now?” They explained how black birds were hitting the car as they were driving home. To this day, I have never experienced similar things to that level and I believe it’s important to share this horrific unsettling story in hopes of preventing other people from messing around with dark magic.

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Sean Austin?

SA: As previously mentioned, I’m currently working on my second published book. Additionally, I also have a new EP being released in the near future entitled Foresee. Equally, I hope to continue being active as a paranormal investigator and religious demonologist trying to make a significant difference. While I am on this planet, my mission is to help any person or earthbound spirit that I come in contact with in any way possible.

To stay connected, please join me on the following:

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Kassie K. Lead Singer & Songwriter

Written by: Frank Iacono

Kassie K. is a Canadian-born singer-songwriter from a small city an hour outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Kassie who first gained music recognition for her fitness parody “All About Those Gains,” has since attracted fans from across the globe with her vast vocal variability as well as her exceptional lyrical talent. This pop music sensation, who recently signed with Mi5 Recordings, continues to record covers for her fans on social platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook; but her main focus nowadays is working on her original work – something not unfamiliar to the young artist.

Since a young age, Kassie loved music. With the support of her parents, she began taking singing lessons and performing at local festivals in grade school. By the time she was 11 years old, Kassie was already writing and recording her own music. During high school she fronted the four-piece pop/rock band, Bell Tower Dreams, winning Band of the Month honors in 2009 for local prominent radio station 99.3 CFox. Citing musical differences, the band eventually went their separate ways leaving her with the necessary experience she needed to thrive as a songwriter and performer.

Since making her debut as a solo artist, Kassie has released a total of six original songs. Her first release under the Mi5 Recordings banner, “Out of Sight,” garnered high praise from those within the music industry. With its synthesized pop sounds and strong vocals, she introduced herself in bold fashion turning heads and making everyone take note.

Her latest single entitled “Let Go” is a great track that truly demonstrates her exceptional lyrical talent, powerful pop vocals and solid guitar work. Her vocal talent is obvious from the first verse of any of her songs; her voice dances through her ballads, reaching out to touch the heart of the listener. Even more moving are her vividly real lyrics that spell out her desires and emotions unfettered by what they “should” be. She is incredibly honest in her music and is not afraid to change aspects of her style between songs, which is to her benefit.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Kassie K. where we talked about her musical influences, her songwriting and recording process, her experience in the music business, her parody music videos as well as her short and long-term future plans.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and whom or what would you say inspired you?

Kassie K.: Ever since I can remember, I always knew I wanted to be a singer. When I was really little, I actually preferred singing over speaking during conversations. As a child, I was always profoundly infatuated with performing. I would often sing and dance for anyone who was willing to watch and listen. Even now, whether I am performing for just one person or a large crowd, that feeling of excitement, passion and genuine happiness that I feel while on stage is unmatched. I’m not sure if I could say any specific person or moment in my life inspired me to become a singer – it has always just been an innate part of me. Music has always been and always will be a huge part of my life.

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

KK: Growing up, I was obsessed with the major pop icons of the time such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the Spice Girls. However, due to my parent’s influences, I also grew up listening to and becoming enamored by artists like Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Whitney Houston and The Beatles. I definitely drew inspiration from those artists who had both a vocal and storytelling perspective. During my adolescence, I started to become more influenced by pop/rock bands like Paramore, Rise Against and Jimmy Eat World, which definitely helped shape my musical style at the time and led me to fronting 2 pop/rock bands.

Although these styles had a dominant focus during different times of my life, I have never boxed myself in with a particular genre. My playlists can be wildly unpredictable, playing everything from Hip Hop to Classical music. I feel that my love for diverse music has ultimately helped shape my style in such a way that I often don’t write a song with the intention of following a strict genre guideline, but instead simply create something that I enjoy, and hope that others will too. I think that’s why I have always been such a huge fan of the band Queen – they never let anyone box them into a straight-line genre, they just created music that they loved.

TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Kassie K. or your musical career, please share with us how you started out in Vancouver, BC, Canada and eventually became a solo recording artist and songwriter?

KK: I have always had a passion for music and songwriting and have been performing ever since I was very young. I started performing at the age of 5 performing in local festivals and showcases. By the age of 11, I started writing my own songs. When I was in high school, I started learning guitar and joined my first band – an all-female pop/rock trio. Unfortunately, we only played a few shows before separating. Later on, during my senior year I joined Bell Tower Dreams, a pop/rock band out of Vancouver, BC, Canada as their lead singer/songwriter. We released 2 physical albums and won a Band of the Month contest with a prominent local radio station, earning radio play and headlining a showcase.

Being so young, I remember having to get a fake ID just so that I could perform in the bars around town. After several years of success, we eventually decided to part ways due to musical differences. Although leaving the band was an extremely difficult decision, it was important for me at that time to follow my heart musically and go back to my roots as a pop artist. Being on my own has afforded me the opportunity to collaborate with so many artists and producers across the world. Equally, it has allowed me to create and release music I love while also being able to play shows around Vancouver. I am extremely excited for everything I am currently doing musically and cannot wait to share what I have been working on with everyone.

TPC: How would you describe your overall sound and musical genre?

KK: I feel like my style is always evolving so I always have such a hard time answering this question. In today’s age of music, artists don’t have the same pressure to stick so closely to one genre or style anymore. Current music is continuing to create new subgenres which I feel is amazing, as it creates more variance, moods and diversity within a specific genre. I’m definitely inspired by new things every day, so trying to fit myself into a box in which I have to stay the same all the time is just not me. Although my current music falls somewhere on the pop spectrum, I’ve created alternative rock, electro-pop, indie pop, country pop and electric dance music (EDM) tracks. I would definitely say that I am more focused on expressing the message behind my music rather than making music that fits within a certain genre.


TCS: Personally, one of my favorite tracks is your song called “Let Go,” could you describe the creative process behind the song as well as the in-studio music video concept?

KK: Thank you so much! This song was actually written several years ago but was never properly recorded until just recently. When I was writing the song, I had been going through a hard breakup and was experiencing a lot of mixed emotions. I was scared to let go of a relationship that I cared so deeply for, but at the same time it also caused so much pain and heartache. I think I was in love with something that “could” or “should” have been, and not what really was. Like all my music, my songs are an outlet for how I am feeling and what I am going through. It can be a bit personal, having my diary out on full display, but it’s always been how I’ve worked my way through things. This particular song was written on my couch with just a few simple chords on my guitar, which definitely kept the pop/rock vibes during production. The music video concept was simply a fun way to show my fans the creative process of being in studio. We actually filmed at the location where I primarily record and mix my songs so that place is like a second home to me.


TCS: What would you say is your motivation and muse when you write songs? Is there a specific formula that you follow?

KK: My muse for creating and writing new music is simply my life. All of my songs are very personal and have such a strong connection to either something I’ve gone through personally or witnessed from someone else. I’ve definitely had my share of heartbreaks and missteps, and like many people; I used to bottle up my emotions, which made it a lot harder to move forward. Writing music to me has always just been such a great way to express and put words to how I am feeling. It’s almost like finding comfort in some sort of musical closure. However, it’s important to note, that just because I write a sad song, it doesn’t mean that I’m still in that place currently. I am actually a pretty darn happy person! However, I don’t think anyone really forgets the feelings we once felt or the memories we’ve made in our past, and often those are the songs which are most raw and real, and yet therapeutic to create.

When it comes to writing a new song, I don’t really have a set formula. Sometimes I’ll just be driving in my car and a melody pops in my head, so I’ll use a recording app on my phone and just sing. I literally have THOUSANDS of voice notes on my phone and will listen back to them during a writing session and see if anything stands out and build off that. Sometimes I’ll create new music or melodies by just goofing around on my guitar or piano, while other times I’ll write lyrics over a pre-made beat or instrumental. Literally no song creation for me is the exact same. In fact, sometimes a song can take less than an hour to write completely, while others can take months and, in some cases, may never get finished.

TCS: Tell us about the background story behind “What Do You Want From Me”?

KK: This song is actually one of my own personal favorites because of how personal and honest it is. I’ve always been brutally honest in my lyrics, but I was never great at sharing this honesty – maybe for fear of judgement or unwanted sympathy, or maybe for people figuring out whom the song was about. This particular song was written about an ex right after we broke up. We had broken up and gotten back together a couple times – and there was always this hope that things would change. I wanted so badly for this person to come around and fix what was broken. The song for me was about the frustrations of being with someone I loved, but also feeling like I was in a state of delusive contentment, like I was stuck in a loop of being strung along, while also being deeply loved and relied upon. I had given so much of myself to the relationship, without getting the same in return. It was exhausting. The song itself, is about that longing for things to change, but when things finally do, it’s too late. The honesty behind the song, was that there actually was a change, but time had changed my point of view, and it didn’t matter anymore, it was too much to go back from and even though it hurt a lot at the time, I needed to let go, and I needed him to let me go too.


TCS: Could you describe for us one of the weirdest experiences you had during the course of your music career?

KK: I can’t say that I’ve had anything particularly weird happen, but my cats definitely start to freak the hell out whenever I start to sing – definitely hurts the feelings a little bit lol.

TCS: As a recording artist, how have you embraced social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to market your songs, albums, merchandise and/or appearances?

KK: It’s honestly amazing how many social platforms we have now to connect with each other! Instagram has been a huge for reaching new fans and showcasing my music. With Facebook, people are only able to find you when they already know you, but with apps like Instagram and now Tik Tok, you are able to reach millions of people across the globe who can stumble across your content randomly, through related hashtags, or as a recommendation (or tag) from friends and content creators. You can interact with fans on a personal level and show them pieces of your everyday life and creative process through “IG Stories”, while also being introduced to so many other talented musicians. I actually recently released a song titled “Out of Sight” which was a collaboration project with Jameo, an EDM producer out of Los Angeles, California, who I originally connected with through Instagram.

 

YouTube has also been amazing so far for my career. Several years ago, I created fitness parody music video on YouTube, which I then simply shared to my own pages via Facebook. The video ended up going viral and was reposted on websites and other Facebook pages from Australia to Germany, acquiring over 12 million views worldwide. Due to the success of the parody, I released a follow up fitness parody the following year, which was also picked up and shared internationally, this time receiving notable media attention from websites like ESPN, People Magazine and Kiss Radio. It’s pretty cool that I still have fans who found me through my parodies and have continued to follow my musical journey and support me and my music. Aside from my parodies, YouTube has always been an amazing place to share and promote both cover songs and original music.

TCS: Can you describe for us the history behind your viral fitness parodies and the worldwide attention that they received with notable features by ESPN, People Magazine, CBC and Kiss Radio?

KK: The first fitness parody I created was honestly just the result of me wanting to put together a super simple and fun music video with my friends. I had been a gym rat for a while and when I heard Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” my mind instantly went to “All About Those Gains.” I was just messing around one day and ended up writing the entire song in one session and everything kind of just snowballed from there. I’ve always been really into comedy, and thanks to my dad I grew up listening to a lot of Weird Al Yankovic (he was actually my very first concert!) so writing and filming a fitness parody was totally up my alley.

 

I ended up releasing the music video for “All About Those Gains” on Reddit, Facebook and YouTube. Within about 2 weeks, the video went viral. Based on the success of the parody it led me to create another parody the following year. This time, I selected Mariah Carey’s classic holiday hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” changing the title to “All I Want For Christmas Is Gains,” which quickly gained international attention. It’s always funny how sometimes the simplest of videos can reap the biggest success. Both parodies were produced at no cost and were filmed primarily with an old iPhone using no tripods or fancy equipment and were edited on my computer through Windows Movie Maker.


TCS: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you see yourself doing instead?

KK: Honestly, I am not really sure. Music has always been the one constant in my life. Currently, I am also working as a personal trainer and health coach, which I absolutely love. Gotta pay those bills! Fitness is so much more than just lifting weights and getting in shape, the biggest transformations come from within, and it’s amazing to get to be a part of someone else’s life journey. Moving into the health and fitness industry was a natural transition for me, not just because I was already active and had experience in psychology, but because it allowed me more freedom and time to pursue my music career. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that my ultimate dream job is to work in an animal sanctuary petting lions all day.

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Kassie K?

KK: Well I am really excited to announce my recent signing to Mi5 Recordings! Coming from Vancouver, BC this is such an amazing opportunity for me to work with some highly talented and experienced industry professionals – ultimately helping to take my music to the next level. In the short-term, I am looking forward to releasing a digital album and physical compilation of my previously released singles as well as some of my soon to be released tracks entitled Happy Never After. I have SO much going on right now, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited and prouder of the music that I am creating. Long-term, I am really looking forward to working with Mi5 Recordings and enjoying the adventure.

To stay connected, please join me on the following:

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Inga Rudin – Lola Montez

Written by: Frank Iacono

Inga Rudin - Lola Montez

The Nashville-based band Lola Montez, led by frontwoman Inga Rudin, has only been together for a short time, but they have certainly developed a unique top-notch sound and style that is truly different from what currently permeates today’s airwaves and music charts. The origins of the band can be traced to casual encounters and coincidences over several years within Nashville’s burgeoning music scene. What was once friendly acquaintances pursuing separate projects eventually became fiercely committed bandmates sharing in the thrill of musical co-creation.

Lola Montez’s innovative approach to rock has been described as pissed-off punk. From a songwriting perspective, no subject matter is out of bounds including a date gone wrong, confessions of a jilted lover, wasted youth and surreal erotica. Along with Inga, who previously toured with the band Naked Beggars, Lola Montez features guitarist Blake Scopino formerly of Paryah as well as former Skinny Molly and Blackfoot drummer Kurt Pietro. The band is intent on hitting a raw nerve with music fans far and wide.

Lola Montez’s latest release entitled Dissonant Dreams sounds fresh, yet familiar which is no easy task in this day and age. You hear musical influences, but you don’t hear a cookie cutter approach to rock. Inga’s brazen vocals are powerful and flexible. She can fluctuate from a harder edged approach into a beautiful ballad-like tone at will. Blake’s guitar has a fiery fretboard but remains bright with clean chords. His rhythms are unique and allow for some interesting syncopated beats from Kurt on drums. Dissonant Dreams asserts Lola Montez plenty of muscle but with its pop sensibilities firmly in tow. You get hooks alongside a brooding, drop-tuned guitar coated with an icy edge. For this band, the attitude is in the authenticity.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Inga Rudin from Lola Montez where we talked about her musical influences, her songwriting and recording process, her experience in the band Naked Beggars, her bands new CD as well as her short and long-term future plans.

If you like bands that put their own twist on rock music then give Inga and Lola Montez a listen, I’m sure you’ll love their sound.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician?

Inga Rudin: I would say there really wasn’t a specific age, I pretty much realized right away that I wanted to be a musician. At the age of 3, I began writing, singing and performing. The desire was always there. The path just needed to be shown. Lola Montez, the band, encompasses everything I have ever wanted to accomplish in my music career, including my aesthetics, my vocal variations, dancing and performing!

Lola Montez

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

IR: Over the years, I have been influenced by so many different artists and bands. As I am evolving as a musician, I am still being influenced today. Personally, I love to listen to different vocal and musical styles. Throughout my life, I’ve observed many people especially those who have appeared in movies of the 50s, 60s and 70s. All and all, as a performer I believe all of these activities have helped shape my musical style and provided our band with its original flair.

TCS: Can you please describe for us Lola Montez’s overall sound and musical genre and introduce us to the band lineup?

IR: We could never seem to find a specific genre that truly defined our music. So, I just made one up. I call our musical genre Dream Rock because we have a heaviness, a darkness and an intense yet dreamy sound which is also very danceable.

The band lineup consists of:

  • Inga Rudin – Vocalist
  • Blake Scopino – Guitarist
  • Carl Ray Hopper – Bassist
  • Kurt Pietro – Drums

Lola Montez: Carl Ray Hopper, Inga Rudin, Kurt Pietro and Blake Scopino – Photo by @tattoosbyhollychase

TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Inga Rudin and your musical career, please describe how you started out from Livingston, New Jersey and eventually ended up being a lead singer for Naked Beggars initially and now with Lola Montez?

IR: I was born and raised in Livingston, New Jersey. In 1998, I made my way to Nashville, Tennessee where I met a few musicians and together we formed the hard rock band Naked Beggars. We were lucky enough to have Eric Brittingham and Jeff LaBar from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based 80s group Cinderella as part of our band lineup. Naked Beggars was active from 2003 until 2009. During that time frame, we released three albums: Naked Beggars, Spit It Out and XXX.

Around 2015, I began searching for new band members to collaborate and perform with when I first met drummer Kurt Pietro and then guitarist Blake Scopino. From the start, the three of us knew we wanted to work together. We began writing and recording but realized we still needed to find a bassist. Enter Carl Ray Hopper and the rest is history. We were actually working with Carl Ray last year before he took a nasty spill on his motorcycle and had to be in a wheelchair for quite some time. He is, however, one strong dude and is back at it and working as hard as ever! We love him!

TCS: Can you please share with us the origin of the unique Lola Montez band name and perhaps elaborate on its specific meaning?

IR: When I was researching potential band names, I came across the name Lola Montez. I discovered that Lola Montez was a dancer in the 1800s and she was free-spirited, risqué, wild yet looked up to by others. And I thought, this is totally cool because it really described our style of music and truly captured us. Everybody in the band agreed and liked it too, so we went with it, and that’s one of the things that’s hard to do: name a band.

TCS: Take us behind the scenes in the making of Lola Montez’s first album release entitled Glean Deluxe. What was your favorite part of its production and the most challenging from an artistic perspective?

IR: We were writing pretty vigorously for almost a year and had many songs written. In the process of developing our songs, the band also cultivated our relationships too. My favorite part was writing together and preparing myself to record. It was both fun and extremely fulfilling. During this time, the band pushed ourselves to make each song shine. It’s so exciting when a song hits it peak and is ready to be recorded. My least favorite part of creating this album was actually recording the songs. Although I must admit that I love the end results. It’s just a personal preference. Through the release of Glean Deluxe, the members of the band honed our skills and we established some really good chemistry.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs off of Glean Deluxe is the track called “Strange Things,” so can you share with us its meaning as well as the concept behind the video concept?

IR: The song “Strange Things” came later in the writing process for Glean Deluxe. We really, really loved it. The song was written about how we should trust in our future and follow our path. In other words, “stranger things have happened”. So, simply just let it happen.

As for the video concept, I wanted to create a kind of Alice in Wonderland vibe. For example, here you are at a young age, here you are at an older age, but it usually doesn’t turn out as we imagined it. At the end of the day, it’s okay though. I always like to add a bit of quirkiness to everything I do. In other words, do what is least expected.


TCS: I can’t imagine what it felt like to walk out on stage to perform for the very first time. Could you tell us about the experience and how it compares to your performances today?

IR: The first time I stepped onto stage as the lead singer of Naked Beggars can be described as a bit rough. I was really nervous, so I drank a lot of beer. Honestly, I can’t really drink too much, if at all. Thankfully, because I was so nervous, I never got drunk. I’ve definitely come a long way since that initial performance. Today, I remain focused, dive into myself, jump onto stage and simply perform. There is truly nothing like performing live. The excitement gives me an electric feeling. I love to engage with the audience as much as possible. It’s never the same experience twice. Each performance is unique.

TCS: Tell us about the background story behind another great song entitled “Monster” from your second album Dissonant Dreams?

IR: Before the #MeToo movement gained its widespread media coverage and discussion against sexual harassment and sexual assault, the song “Monster” was written. There are plenty of men and woman that cross the line and make someone feel uncomfortable every day. And, this is what this song is all about. At the time, this song was written about someone specifically but today it symbolizes the extent of problems associated with harassment and assault.


TCS: Could you describe for us one of the strangest experiences you had during the course of your music career and what you learned from it as a performer?

IR: One of the strangest things that happened to me during my musical career involved a garbage can. Yes, you read that correct a garbage can. I once walked right off the edge of the stage and into a garbage can. That alone probably isn’t that strange or weird, but I just kept singing as if nothing happened. As a performer, I learned that I must always check where I am stepping.

TCS: Tell us about your experience as lead singer in the band Naked Beggars and your hit “Through With You”?

IR: Well, that was certainly a great time. Overall, what an amazing learning experience. I was truly honored to work with so many great musicians. I learned so much from that band, including how to tour. We made 3 albums and had that last release right as I was entering in with the new band. It was an older song that had not been released in which we decided to go ahead and release. I guess at the time, when we wrote this song, we decided against releasing it for some reason. We have more that we can release. Lol. With that band we had lots of writers and the songs were almost endless. We all did try to write together. Some us would pair up and write and then bring it to the main band later. Those writing sessions were really awesome.


TCS: As an independent artist, how do you market your songs, albums, merchandise and appearances?

IR: From a marketing and advertising perspective, I am very aggressive with all of the promotional aspects for Lola Montez. Essentially, I come up with all of the ideas and implement them. These strategies range from email marketing to social media marketing to radio/talk show marketing to news media marketing. Touring provides an added ripple effect. Utilizing these concepts is the only way to get yourself out there today. We do what we have to in order to drive people to our live show which can be described as unique. All of the hard work is really rewarding especially when you get a great response. Not only to the showmanship but to the actual songs. That truly is the most fulfilling part. I love playing live.

To stay connected, please join us on the following:

TCS: If you weren’t in the music industry what would you see yourself doing instead?

IR: If I weren’t in the music industry, I would have loved to have been a mechanic. My grandfather was a mechanic. However, I feel I am not strong enough to do that job. But it is really gratifying to fix shit. LOL.

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Inga Rudin and Lola Montez?

IR: Well, this band and I will continue to push and move forward. As a matter of fact, we are currently in the writing process right now. Additionally, we are in the middle of making some new music videos and recording a new song. Both should be released soon. Equally, we are planning on releasing Dissonant Dreams on vinyl. So, if you love Lola Montez and love vinyl its a perfect match. We are currently accepting pre-orders. Reserve your copy and Order Now. As musicians, we will always continue to evolve and keep changing. There is no end in sight for Lola Montez.

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Jean-Francois Perotin – The Rockin Krolik

Written by: Frank Iacono

Jean-Francois Perotin - The Rockin Krolik

Jean-Francois Perotin (a.k.a. The Rockin Krolik) is a french born Canadian singer-songwriter. The Rockin Krolik writes and sings wearing his heart on his sleeve finding inspiration in everyday life, relationships, nature, society and last but not least…us, the people of the world!

In a roundabout way, The Rockin Krolik’s debut album All About The Journey (released June 2019) is an introduction. The release features a selection of 10 songs written over the last 20 years proving that it’s never too late to fulfill a dream.

Tracks like “Out Of Here” and “Human Nature” off the record give listeners a taste of his melodic rock, featuring catchy hooks with a sprinkle of his folk and pop influences. Tugging on our heartstrings, The Rockin Krolik introduces us to his world, which invites us to think, feel and celebrate.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with The Rockin Krolik where he talked about his musical influences, his songwriting and recording process, his new CD All About The Journey as well as his short and long-term future plans.

Check out the article below, and make sure to follow his journey!

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and whom or what would you say inspired you?

Jean-Francois Perotin: For as long as I can remember, I always enjoyed performing, singing, goofing around and dressing up. I used to play my older brother’s vinyl records and listened to albums from The Beatles, Supertramp, The Smiths, B52’s and sang along. It just always felt natural to sing. It wasn’t until I was 25, when I picked up a guitar and began my career as a musician. I was highly influenced by artist/bands such as Pearl Jam, The Cranberries, Alanis Morissette amongst other artists. By writing and performing my own music, I felt like I could freely express myself.

Jean-Francois Perotin - The Rockin Krolik

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

JFP: Pearl Jam and especially lead singer Eddie Vedder is by far my main vocal influence. The Cranberries for the simple melodies and Dolores O’Riordan’s voice and harmonies as well as Alanis Morrissette for her unconventional song writing style and word placement. All in all, as a songwriter I work to be as honest as these artists and keep doing what feels right. It’s what I think influenced me the most…how real, raw and true to themselves they truly are.

TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with The Rockin Krolik or your musical career, please share with us the origin of this unique name and its specific meaning?

JFP: I created The Rockin Krolik about 4 years ago. My full name, Jean-Francois Perotin, is French and it is usually a mouth full so I thought that I would pick a name that would allow me to create a brand and perform as either a solo artist or band. I’m serious about my music but want to have fun while doing it. So, my nickname “Krolik” was an obvious pick. It means bunny in Polish…my wife is Polish. I do, however, realize that it’s still a mouthful for some though!

Jean-Francois Perotin - The Rockin Krolik

TCS: How would you describe your overall sound and musical genre?

JFP: I would describe my overall sound as Rock with some 90’s Alternative and Pop Rock influences. However, the acoustic versions of my songs probably have more of an indie rock and folk-like vibe sound.

TCS: Take us behind the scenes in the making of your first full album experience entitled All About the Journey. What was your favorite part of its production and the most challenging from an artistic perspective?

JFP: As a 100% novice, this was such an amazing learning experience. I worked with Anton Evans of Village Works Canada who is a very hands-on Producer. It was such a great fit working with him. He was very cooperative during the entire process. A true mind reader as to what I wanted as an end result with the songs. Anton used bed tracks with guitar and vocals that we recorded together, and we then took one song at a time and built them up layer by layer. Anton did all the heavy lifting, I provided direction and feedback and showed up whenever he needed me to re-cut vocals, guitar, add harmonica and some electric guitar.

The production highlight was my collaboration with Ontario-born vocalist & guitarist Cheryl Ireland who graciously agreed to record the track entitled “A Minute Longer” with me. I felt good about this song, but this duo exceeded my expectations.

The main challenge was probably to let go and trust someone else to work with my music and also remain open to their suggestions and input. It would have been counterproductive to be too protective anyways. The whole point of working with a producer like Anton is to get their feel and sound.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs off of All About the Journey is the track called “Out Of Here,” so can you share with us its meaning as well as the concept behind the video concept?

JFP: I wrote the first words for this song about 20 years ago in Berlin, Germany…when I took a trip to visit my brother who lives there. I just needed a break and a change of scenery for a bit to get perspective.

I remember walking the streets, walking a lot actually, sitting in cafés, drawing and writing, just enjoying life and feeling like I was experiencing something beyond anything I had ever felt before, being free, feeling free with a clear and light mind, clear and light heart.

The song evolved slightly over the years…About 4 years ago, I reworked the rhythm pattern a bit and came up with what it sounds like today…It was also the first really upbeat, positive, happy song I wrote.

For the video, I had two concepts in mind…I always refer to Ferris Bueller when I talk about this song because of how free he chooses to be so I thought about going down that path. In the end, I decided to go with the animals. First because, I love animals and second because I felt they represent freedom better than anything else!


TCS: In what ways have the places where you have lived affected your musical tastes and the music in which you create?

JFP: I moved around a lot in the 90s and the early 2000s until my big move to Canada in 2008. My experience in these countries as well as the people and friends I crossed paths with along the way helped shape who I am today and have had a direct influence in the way I write and see the world. I think that the more exposure you get, the more you can rely on real-life experience to write songs and as a result get closer to being honest and true, which I believe is how people relate to songs.

TCS: Tell us about the background story behind another favorite off of the album entitled “Human Nature”?

JFP: I wrote “Human Nature” after 9/11. Like millions of people all over the world, I was deeply affected by the event. Since my teenage years, I have visited the United States many times and developed strong friendships with many people.

The irony of all this is how easy it is to hide behind religious beliefs to excuse or explain acts of violence, from all sides.

When our leaders around the globe, make decisions they do not have our best interests at heart and ultimately innocent people pay the price.

So yes, religion and the political climate is at the center of this song, but the theme remains universal. Is this Human Nature? Is that the best we can do, the best we can be?


TCS: Could you describe for us one of the weirdest experiences you had during the course of your music career?

JFP: I can’t really think of anything really weird, but I was playing in a marina one night in the south of France and my back was to the water. It was an extremely windy night, so much so that a gust of wind blew a speaker off its stand and in the water. I had to quickly stop playing, strip and then dive into the water to get it back. Thankfully the wind helped dry it quickly and I was able to continue.

TCS: Describe for us the song writing process and video concept behind the single entitled “My Last Breath”?

As you may have already guessed, the song “My Last Breath” is about the end of a relationship that sucked the life out of me. With a break-up, you don’t get instant relief. In some cases, you may have to deal with someone who does not want to let go or just can’t move on. Continuously, denying that the end has come, and that things won’t be the same again. These are certainly tough times, and I think that anyone can relate no matter which side of the situation that you are on.

“My Last Breath” came from the fact that I was already emotionally drained from the relationship itself and breaking it off was the last straw. It truly felt like any attempt to answer the questions, explain or justify myself got me closer to my actual last breath.

As for the video concept, I came up the idea while I was putting together an Instagram/Facebook post. I originally wanted to shoot the video in a lake or maybe even a river but when the opportunity arose to utilize my neighbor’s pool before the end of the summer season, I took it. As they say timing is everything. I wanted to be 100% under water the whole time to make the audience hold their breath too as they watched. So, tell me did it work?


TCS: As an independent artist, how do you market your songs, albums, merchandise and appearances?

JFP: DIY!! Full stack creative!

Last year, I came across the CD Baby conference videos on YouTube. They were both eye and mind opening! From there, I bought Ari Herstand’s book How To Make It in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician and joined his Facebook group. From there, I discovered “Indepreneur”. In my opinion, these guys are the best on the market. Especially, when it comes to marketing for musicians, and there are a few out there, using the tools and technology currently at our disposal but also adapting to this ever-changing environment. It’s tough to keep up as an independent artist and it gets overwhelming quickly!

Facebook is by far my main platform and where I focus most of my marketing activity and keep updated. I have learned through “Indepreneur” to create targeted ad campaigns to reach out to potential fans around the world and, once in my ecosystem, keep them “warm” and engaged. I have my shop set up on Facebook and my website for merchandise.

Locally, I gig around (on average twice a month) and perform at showcases whenever the opportunity is available to promote myself and sell merch (e.g., CDs, & T-shirts)

Overall, time is of the essence and it most be used wisely. The key is to use whatever time I have to do something, anything (even small) for the business and do it consistently.

To stay connected, please join us on the following:


TCS: Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What’s one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

JFP: It is really difficult for me not to say Pearl Jam but even harder to select an all-time favorite song from their vast music library. However, a band that I only started listening to when I moved to Canada is called The Tragically Hip. Prior to that, I had never heard of them before. And, one of my favorite songs of theirs is a tack entitled “Bobcaygeon“.

TCS: If you weren’t in the music industry what would you see yourself doing instead?

JFP: I would say I am an artist at heart. I think being a musician allows me to check the most boxes from my to-do list including self-expression both mentally and physically as well as performing. Additionally, I also love to draw, sculpt and work with wood. So, to answer the question, I would say I would either be a graphic designer or a cabinet maker of sorts!

Jean-Francois Perotin - The Rockin Krolik

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Jean-Francois Perotin and The Rockin Krolik?

JFP: Consistency remains the main goal. I have a Facebook Live event every Friday at 8am EST that I want to continue doing and getting better at it.

I also want to release music more often, 3 to 4 times a year, instead of waiting to have enough material for an album. If I have a song that I feel may be a good single, I will work to release it.

Most importantly, I want to connect with my audience no matter how big or small. Perform, perform and perform some more! That has been my goal since the beginning.

Last but not least, I want to take pleasure doing what I do. Have fun. Life is too short not to! After all, It’s All About the Journey! 🙂

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Michelle Leigh: Lead Singer & Songwriter

Written by: Frank Iacono

Michelle Leigh, touted as “The New Queen of Southern Rock”, hails from Bakersville, North Carolina; a small Appalachian town steeped in the tradition of mountain music and gospel hymns. Michelle grew up in what she calls a “Norman Rockwell” setting, where doors were never locked, neighbors were always quick to lend a hand and no matter how old you were, manners were always in style.

Edgy and honest, Ms. Leigh’s songwriting style amplifies real-life situations, real-life problems and real-life solutions. Her music says out loud what everyone else is already thinking. Her country rock sound has been described as Sugarland soaked in Janis Joplin and Tina Turner overtones, with a healthy mix of Dolly for inspiration. Her smoky vocals and driving rhythms, will break your heart with a ballad, and then heal it with a hard shot of whiskey.

In 2012, Michelle was listed in the Top 25 out of over 2,200 entries in GAC/ Music City Songwriter’s Competition for her ballad “Babydoll”, and Honorable Mention in the Smoky Mountain Songwriter’s Competition for the rock-infused song “Black Ink”. The following year, she was named the winner of the Charlotte Music Awards 2013 Women in Rock Showcase.

In both 2015 and 2016, she was presented with the prestigious Josie Music Awards Southern Rock Artist of the Year. Equally, she was awarded the highly-respected 2016 JMA Southern Rock Song of the Year for “Somebody’s Someone”. During 2017, she was honored with the People’s Choice Award-Jacksonville for Country’Southern Rock and the JMA Southern Rock Video of the Year for “Devil Music”. In September, JMA awarded her with the 2018 JMA Entertainer of the Year Southern Rock and 2018 JMA Video of the Year for the hard-hitting “Blood Water”.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Leigh and asking her a few questions about her musical influences, her songwriting and recording process, her new smash hit single and award-winning video “Blood Water” and her short and long-term future plans.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and what was the first instrument that you learned how to play?

Michelle Leigh: At a young age, I taught myself how to play a little piano on an old player piano my family had in our back bedroom. I have ALWAYS loved music and singing-far back as I can remember.

TCS: Could you tell us in your own words how you would describe your overall sound and musical genre? And, what famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

ML: I would describe my overall sound and musical genre as Country flavored Southern Rock! I love all kinds of music, but 70’s & 80’s Country artists like Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Travis Tritt…I LOVE the sound of all those guys! My influences? I admire so many, but I love Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, Ann Wilson…gosh, the list goes on and on. I think anyone an artist admires ends up being somewhat of an influence.

TCS: Can you introduce us to your band lineup and tell us what each person does?

ML: The band lineup consists of:

  • Michelle Leigh – Lead Vocals
  • Stewart Dalrymple – Bass, Vocals & Acoustic Guitar
  • Doug Green – Lead Guitar
  • Andy Orth – Keys
  • Robb Williamson – Drums
  • Barry Lee Harwood – Special Guest Guitarist on occasion (formerly of Rossington Collins)

TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Michelle Leigh or your musical career, please describe for us how you started out from Bakersville, North Carolina, a small Appalachian town steeped in the tradition of mountain music and gospel hymns, and eventually ended up being a southern rock lead singer?

ML: I was very active in my high school chorus, college tour choirs and beauty pageants. That lead to acoustic performances with my brother Mark, then onto performing with my own bands. My style of singing and certainly my writing style has always been on the edgier side. Southern Rock gave me a much-needed home when Nashville didn’t really want anything to do with me.

TCS: Michelle, could you tell us a little bit about your experience competing in the 2018 Josie Music Awards and how excited you were to win Entertainer of the Year (Southern Rock) and Music Video of the Year for the song “Blood Water.”

ML: I am VERY PROUD to be a six-time Josie Music Awards (JMA) winner! The JMA’s are the largest independent music award organization, part of The Josie Network, LLC of Brands. This year, I won a JMA for Music Video of the Year for “Blood Water,” a hard-hitting video dealing with sexual abuse. It’s a very difficult topic, and I felt strongly about it being addressed head-on and no punches pulled. The gamble paid off.

In 2018, I was honored to be nominated for 6 Josie Music Awards. Although with this year’s STIFF competition, I honestly believed that I might receive only one of the awards. I truly didn’t think I was even going to get anywhere NEAR the Entertainer of the Year…So, I’m sitting their drinking water, ready to hear anyone’s name but mine! Then Miss Heidi Parton and Josie Passantino called my name for Southern Rock Entertainer of the Year. It didn’t really register at first, but I tell you, I was SO blown away! I am NOT a “tears” person, but I was boo-hooing like a baby when I accepted the Entertainer of the Year! It is my most treasured award, to date!


TCS: How would you describe your overall songwriting style?

ML: Raw and honest. I do not shy away from hard topics. I do have some softer songs, but I prefer to write about real life topics. Music really helps people, you know?  Music heals.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite tracks off your Redemption album is a song called “Devil Music” which you co-wrote with Charlie Kelley. Can you share with us some of the background behind your hit and the video produced by Built to Fall Productions?

ML: “Devil Music” started out being a tribute song for the late Popcorn Sutton, his widow had asked me to write a song for him. The song took a turn away from Popcorn’s story and wasn’t fitting what I wanted to convey about him. So, I initially scrapped it and wrote another one called “The Legend” for Popcorn. However, I felt “Devil Music” was too good to throw away, so I gave it another go. I fixed a few things and the rest is history.

Doug Green, my guitar player, heard the song and instantly came up with the video’s storyline. I called Michael Spears, the owner of Built to Fall Productions who handles all of my music videos and told him the storyline and he loved it. We were able to film the video at a buddy’s house down in Black Creek community in Middleburg, Florida. Gene Rogers and his wife Christy opened their home and property up to us for the weekend. Two days later, the raw footage was completed! I do want to mention that Doug’s girlfriend Renee Closson, built MANY of the props, as well as handled costuming and makeup. She was awesome!


TCS: I can’t imagine what it felt like to walk out on stage to perform for the very first time. Could you tell us about the experience and how it compares to your performances today?

ML: My very first solo performance was for the Miss Mitchell High School pageant. My mother made my outfit and I sang “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. I was really terrified! Today, I still get butterflies, but the good kind! The excitement gives me an electric feeling. There is truly nothing like performing live.

TCS: Could you describe the song writing process and video concept behind the single entitled “Lightning in a Bottle”? And, please tell us a little bit about your experience competing in the 2019 Josie Music Awards and how excited you were to win Music Video of the Year for this song?

ML: The song title “Lightning in a Bottle” came from a person I used to know who once used that phrase. Over the years, it stuck with me – the meaning of catching such a rarity and doing the impossible, if only for a short amount of time. Everything has a shelf life, love is no exception.

The video was definitely challenging. The Sr. Manager and Owner of B2F Production had this fantastic Wizard of Oz meets Mad Max apocalypse vision. Personally, I think they did a great job of capturing that vision. I loved winning the 2019 JMA award for Video of the Year for “Lightning in a Bottle, although I must admit it was TOTALLY unexpected, as was my Entertainer of the Year win too. I’m truly very blessed.


TCS: Could you tell us one of the strangest places that you played during the course of your career?

ML: I once played at a bar that had those awful, snappy rat traps all over in the bathrooms and seating areas! That wasn’t much fun!

TCS: How do you market your songs, albums, merchandise and appearances?

ML: To stay connected, please join us on the following:

TCS: In the YouTube description of your official music video for “Black Ink” you say, “the smoldering vocals and steely lyrics of this song remind us that it is unwise to tick off a songwriter.” Can you provide the source of inspiration for this track? 

ML: Ha!  No.  I’ll just say that it came from a betrayal by a very close friend.


TCS: How much fun did you have with the official video for your song “Triple J” back in your hometown of Bakersville and at Mack Kell’s Pub and Grill in Asheville, NC?

ML: That was such a great day! Thomas Delmer “Artimus” Pyle, the drummer from Lynyrd Skynyrd and 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, played my “leading man” in the music video. We also had some AWESOME special guest appearances from Charlie Kelley, my producer and his wife Nan. However, my favorite part of the video is the special footage of California Chrome, one of the most famous racehorses in history, which was provided by Sherman Racing. I must say THAT was incredible to me. It is something that I will always treasure.


TCS: Can you share with us your involvement with The Salvation Army and Brother Wolf Animal Rescue charities?

ML: I am a huge supporter of The Angel Tree program by The Salvation Army. And as far as animals go, I will support and donate to about any charity that helps all furbabies!

TCS: From a song writing, studio recording and accompanying music video perspective, can you share with us some of the details surrounding the single entitled “Somebody’s Someone?” 

ML: “Somebody’s Someone” was a result of me being totally disgusted with the actions of those Westborough Church cowards. I was watching their ignorance on the news one day and said, “Don’t they realize that the soldier in that casket is somebody’s father, son…somebody’s someone?” When I sat down to write the song, I decided to use several scenarios of bullying as examples of things we see happening in our own daily lives.


TCS: If you weren’t in music industry what would you see yourself doing instead?

ML: I actually own my own decor business. I design, build and install commercial holiday decor for malls, hotels, casinos and amusement parks.  I love everything about my music, but I also love doing custom holiday decor too!

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Michelle Leigh?

ML: I have a brand-new CD in the works including 4 music videos and I’m booking now for a 2019 Tour. Additionally, I will be doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING possible to keep that Entertainer of the Year award!

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Jessie Goergen: Lead Singer & Songwriter

Written by: Frank Iacono

Jessie Goergen (a.k.a. Jessie G.) hails from the small coastal town of Brookings, Oregon. Jessie’s heritage spans across four generations of commercial fishermen and she is no exception. The oldest of three, Jessie grew up in a tightly knit, labor intensive, feast or famine community where the women work right alongside the men.

As a youngster, Jessie spent much of her childhood tagging alongside her father on the docks or aboard the hand-built family boat searching for Dungeness crab and albacore tuna and selling their catch at the market. Fishing wasn’t just to pay the bills; fishing was a way of life and Jessie’s early means to support her true passion—to become a performing artist.

In high school, she started her first rock band and quickly learned what it was like to be paid to play!
 Her open eyes, love of music and determination to succeed earned Jessie a scholarship to attend Linfield College in Oregon where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and The Fine Arts.

In the summer of 2013, Jessie entered a “Battle of The Bands” contest where she won the opening slot to perform before Grammy award-winning country music artist Gretchen Wilson. It was after that once-in-a-lifetime chance that the young, aspiring singer and hit-recording artist “clicked” naturally to form a magical working relationship and kinship.

The newfound friendship later moved Jessie to make the bold decision to follow her dreams in Music City. Gretchen has since signed Jessie to Redneck Records and the two have been hard at work not only on her studio album, but on their upcoming summer tour where Jessie will be featured during Gretchen’s performance.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessie G. and asking her a few questions about her musical influences, her songwriting and recording process, her new smash hit single “Army Ranger” and her short and long-term future plans.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and what was the first instrument that you learned how to play?

Jessie G.: I started singing when I was in diapers! I used to send out little notes and call family members around my hometown inviting them to attend a talent show I was hosting in my living room. Once they arrived, I made them sit on our couch and watch me sing and dance.

At a young age, I took piano lessons but quit. Later, I was thankful for the training I received, especially since Linfield College in Oregon required students to be proficient in piano to Graduate with a Bachelor of the Arts in Music. Now, I only play instruments if I’m writing by myself otherwise, I leave it to the professionals.

TCS: Could you tell us in your own words how you would describe your overall sound and musical genre? And, what famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

JG: It’s actually hard to describe my overall sound and musical genre especially since it is so heavily influenced by all the varied music I listened to when I grew up. It’s definitely country with the lyric style but it is very rock influenced with the melodies and instrumentation. Sometimes people say they hear punk and hard rock influences in my music too. That makes a lot of sense to me since my dad blasted Aerosmith and Metallica during my entire childhood. My mom balanced it out with Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood and Shania Twain! I’ll just say Country Rock is the genre!


TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Jessie G. or your musical career, please describe for us how you started out from a small coastal town in Brookings, Oregon and eventually ended up being a lead singer?

JG: I was born and raised in a commercial fishing family. We have been farming the seas for 4 generations. With this hard feast or famine lifestyle, I learned at an early age what it meant to work hard. I also learned the skill of being able to live as a self-employed entrepreneur. I grew up competing in all of the local fairs, talent shows and country showdowns that my county and state had to offer. In these competitions, I regularly won first place which encouraged me to keep pursuing a musical career path. Equally, I received a college scholarship for vocal performance and continued to hone my craft. In my heart, I knew that God gave me this gift to share with the world and I knew I would never completely give it up, but I never considered it as my primary career until I met Grammy award-winning Gretchen Wilson. She helped make my dream of becoming a performing artist a reality.

TCS: Jessie, could you tell us a little bit about your experience competing in the “Battle of the Bands” and how that led to your being discovered by Gretchen Wilson?

JG: When I heard that legendary country recording artist Gretchen Wilson was coming to town and there was a chance to open up for her, I literally JUMPED at the opportunity. She was the only relevant female performer in the country and rock scene that truly inspired me. I grew up singing her songs in the competitions I mentioned. I always loved her sound and style. By listening to her music, I could tell she was a true badass. So, I entered into the “Battle of the Bands” and earned the opportunity to open for her! When the time came to meet her after our show, I was honest and real with her. I asked her what I needed to do in order to get to where she is today. Meeting her was truly a career changing moment.

TCS: How excited are you about the release of your brand-new single “Army Ranger” co-written with Melanie Meriney and Michael August?

JG.: To say I am excited is an understatement. This is definitely the proudest I’ve ever been about my music!

TCS: Can you share some of the background on the filming of the official music video for “Army Ranger”?

JG: At the time, we had a small budget and limited resources so my friends, who are all active service members, agreed to gather their gear and uniforms. They even agreed to take part in my video too! I was also convinced to have my real-life boyfriend, who currently serves in the Army, play a part in the recording. We share a steamy kiss at the end. It’s pretty amazing to have people I love be a part of the production.


TCS: Personally, one of my favorite tracks off your new album is a song called “Drop A Line” which was co-written alongside Joshua Withenshaw and Davis Branch, and produced by Grammy-award winning entertainer Gretchen Wilson. Can you share with us some of the background behind you’re hit?

JG: The track, “Drop A Line” is definitely one of my favorites too. I wanted to include a fishing song because of my family lineage with commercial fishing, but I also wanted it to be clever. So, we decided to create a scene of fishing and fishing words with the double entendre of love.


TCS: I can’t imagine what it felt like to walk out on stage to perform for the very first time. Could you tell us about the experience and how it compares to your performances today?

JG: At first you have to work through many things. Stage fright. Not choking. It took me years to get to a place where I could be fully present on stage. It took a long time to be comfortable enough in my stage presence and to be able to improve speaking to my audience. I’ve definitely come a LONG way since the beginning.

TCS: Tell us about the background story behind your performance of “You Lit a Fire” at the BULL Sessions in the Bloodworks Live Studio?

JG: I wrote “You Lit A Fire” a while ago with Davis Branch and Matt Hundley. That song is a very conversational and vulnerable song. The Bloodworks Studio version is one of the first recorded performances released so far. I was so emotional singing it that day. I can’t wait until we release it on the record.


TCS: Could you tell us where some of the coolest and strangest places that you played during the course of your career and what you learned from the experiences?

JG: The coolest place would be in an Apache Helicopter Hanger. The strangest or weirdest place but a ton of fun, was someone’s backyard. I’ve learned that if you play for 2 people or 20,000 people you still have to bring your 100% every time.

TCS: What is the inspiration behind “Cardiac Arrest?” It’s a great song.

JG: I had the idea for this song in my head for the longest time. I wanted to write about the correlation between having a heart attack and suffering from a broken heart. I called my mom up because she’s a nurse and asked her what some medical terms were associated with having a heart attack and how to save someone and then the song wrote itself!


TCS: How do you market your songs, albums, merchandise and appearances?

JG: To stay connected, please join us on the following:

TCS: If you weren’t in music industry what would you see yourself doing instead?

JG: Prior to getting my big opportunity with music, I was going to practice law. I don’t know where life would’ve taken me but I’m really happy that it took me here!

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Jessie G.?

JG: Touring, touring and more touring! When you are a new artist, you simply can’t rest! The fishing industry is closely related to the music industry; working on a fishing boat (just like the music industry) toughens you up. You can’t be sensitive or expect a big payday; you have to dive in, go 100%. The harder you work, the more likely it is for a greater pay off. I’ve been doing this since I was 12.

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Steve Harris: Lead Singer of Hillbilly Vegas

Written by: Frank Iacono

The name of the Oklahoma-based band Hillbilly Vegas gives you an idea of what to expect from their music – a southern influenced, rockin’ good time. Recently, Hillbilly Vegas, featuring lead singer Steve Harris, signed with Bristol Records and have garnered worldwide distribution with The Orchard, wholly owned by Sony Music Entertainment, and Perry Music Group. The first single entitled “Field Fulla Hillbillies” was written by Grammy Nominated country music singer/songwriter Davie Lee Murphy. “Field Fulla Hillbillies” is receiving positive reaction from radio stations across the country, who are testing and adding the track to their playlists, and it is sure to be a top charting song.

In the 1990’s, Steve was the singer of the popular Dallas, Texas-based Cold Ethyl but like so many other great bands during the same time frame their future was cut short by the emerging Seattle grunge wave. Although it was discouraging, he never completely left the music business. He became a club owner, a writer and part-time performer for many years until everything changed in August of 2008. At that time, he was named as one of the many singers being considered to replace the departed Scott Weiland in the hard rock supergroup Velvet Revolver. However, he and Kerry Plummer, who fronted the nationally popular Loaded Gunn, had been writing and putting together Hillbilly Vegas for 8 months by then and suddenly Steve lost his passion for Modern Rock. With that, he decided to return to his roots and focus solely on Hillbilly Vegas.

Blasting intensity right out of the gate, Hillbilly Vegas got loads of traction with their debut album Ringo Manor. The album moved a whopping 10,000 copies which is highly impressive for an emerging indie band. Equally, their first single entitled “Little Miss Rough and Tumble” scored major chart action by appearing on the National Country Music charts for 26 weeks.

Now, with deeper attitude and edge, they’re celebrating the freewheeling spirit of 76’ and getting everyone to “Shake It Like A Hillbilly” with their fiery, rockin’ new single and high energy video. The same video that landed the band the coveted title of 2016 LiftMaster Garage Band. As the 2016 winner, Hillbilly Vegas performed with country star Lee Brice during the Coca Cola 600 Sprint Cup Series race in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Along with their existing racing sponsorships with Dennis Schoenfeld Racing and Jake Davis Motor Sports the band feels like they’ve got some good mojo happening with the new sponsorships and their future singles, including the crackling party anthem “High Time For A Good Time” which will be used by Rocky Mountain High Brands in a national ad campaign. Times are good in the Hillbilly Vegas universe.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Harris and asking him a few questions about his musical influences, his songwriting and recording process, his upcoming tour schedule and his band’s short and long-term future plans.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and what was the first instrument that you learned how to play?

Steve Harris: When I was very young I discovered The Partridge Family, an American musical-sitcom starring Shirley Jones and featuring singer, songwriter and guitarist David Cassidy as Keith Partridge. From that moment, I was instantly hooked and wanted to be just like the character portrayed by Cassidy. As far as instruments, I started playing the guitar when I was a teenager. My ultimate passion and desire was to create my own music, so I taught myself how to write songs.

TCS: How did Hillbilly Vegas get started? And, how would you describe the Hillbilly Vegas’ musical genre and overall sound?

SH: We got our start much like everyone else, get a few musicians in a room, and they’re going to start a band every single time. Within six months we had our first contract offer. I think our musical genre can be defined as a combination of Southern rock, country and classic rock. Overall sound…LOUD is probably the best way to describe it…just kidding. Honestly, we are a live band and that’s where we are most comfortable.

TCS: Can you introduce us to the Hillbilly Vegas lineup and tell us what each person in the band does?

SH: The Hillbilly Vegas band lineup consists of:

  • Steve Harris – Lead Singer
  • Stacy Thornburg – Lead Guitarist
  • John Reed – Rhythm Guitarist
  • Robb Edwards – Bass Guitarist
  • Troy Hollinger – Drummer

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and helped shaped your musical style?

SH: Oh I don’t know…to be honest life itself is an influence. Where you grow up, what you’re exposed to, what your level of education and personal development are, and etc. Personally, I love musical artists from the 70s including lead vocalists such as Paul Rodgers from Free and Bad Company, Mark Farner from Grand Funk Railroad, Lou Gramm from Foreigner and so many more.

TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Hillbilly Vegas or your musical career, please describe for us how you started out and eventually ended up being the lead singer of the band?

SH: Again, as I mentioned Cassidy’s character Keith Partridge was my first big musical influence. When I was a child that show made me want to be a lead singer in a band. I suppose if you are born to be a performer it’s just inside you. But, for me it took a while to channel my creative energy. I didn’t know how to start a band let alone be a part of one, so I tried theatre and some other similar activities like that until I finally met some guys in high school who had a band and needed a singer. I told them I was a lead singer…I really wasn’t but my theatre background helped. We played our first gig at a skating rink. I just pulled out every David Lee Roth, lead singer of hard rock band Van Halen, move I’d ever seen and the rest was history.

TCS: From an in-studio perspective, which aspects of your 2016 album entitled ’76 did you find least problematic to put together and which were the most troublesome?

SH: Well, truly the ’76 experience was a joy. The back story being…we recorded our first album at Ringo Manor in Nashville, Tennessee but we weren’t completely happy with the overall experience. Our producer was a great guy, but the daily notes that we received from A&R, our recording label, when we arrived at the studio were a real drag. Some “suit” representing the label would listen to our daily work every evening and decide what he thought would be “better.” As a band, we are very proud of all of our work, but it was a constant struggle to maintain some of our own personal identity. With that, we decided that in order to maintain the integrity of ’76, we would leave Nashville and complete the recording process and bring the finished product back to them. So, we moved to Empire Sound in Carrollton, Texas. The most troublesome part of the experience was really just knowing when to quit. We had such a great time being alone in the studio with renowned Texas rock engineer and producer Alex Gerst that we could have kept recording for months.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs off of that album is a song called “High Time For A Good Time” so can you share with us some of the background behind the hit?

SH: The song “High Time For A Good Time” is a very 70s rock influenced song. Stacy, our Lead Guitarist, brought the riff to rehearsal one day and it immediately painted a picture of good times and getting lost in the moment. I wanted anyone who heard the song to feel like they’ve heard it before and been there before. To me, music is a feeling more than anything and I hope this song gives people a good feeling.


TCS: Can you describe the first time you stepped onstage to perform and tell us how does it compare to being on stage now?

SH: The first time I stepped onto a stage to perform I was 6 years old and was wearing a donkey suit for a Christmas play. I made lots of donkey sounds and got a bunch of laughs…I was the loudest guy on stage even though I wasn’t supposed to have any lines or make lots of noises. It’s just the same today minus the donkey suit.

TCS: Tell us about the background story behind another great cut entitled “Long Way Back”?

SH: My grandfather was in the Navy during WW2. He shared a lot of war stories with our family all the time. One particular story always stuck with me. He was stationed on the USS Decator DD-341 and they were in North Africa. During liberty one day, he was sitting on the beach and he could hear music echoing from the ship anchored just off shore. It was the old song “Wreck on the Highway”. He recalled at that moment he never felt so lonely in all his life. He decided if he ever got back to Cecil, AR he was never leaving again. He did, and he didn’t. That’s the story of the song “Long Way Back”.


TCS: What’s the most unusual place that you’ve played or made a recording? And, how did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

SH: We once played a venue early in our career that had a pair of Conway Twitty’s pants framed and hanging on the wall. I couldn’t help but wonder why pants? Most of the time you see maybe a jacket, scarf, guitar something like that…but pants. So I had to ask during our performance. How is it that his pants are framed on the wall on this stage? The patrons and management didn’t see the same humor in it that I did and we were asked politely to never return. So that leads me to believe it’s quite a story and they don’t want it to get out…haha!

TCS: Another one of my favorite songs is the track called “Little Miss Rough and Tumble” so can you share with us the inspiration behind it?

SH: That song is very close to my heart. It’s simply about my daughter and how watching her grow up seemed like a blink of an eye.


TCS: How do you market your songs, albums, merchandise and appearances?

SH: For the majority of our career we’ve been completely on our own. We’ve done anything and everything possible to market our music. We recently signed a record deal with Bristol Records who are part of the Sony family and suddenly we have a lot more resources. They are doing an amazing job getting our music and message out. We have high hopes for this new relationship. However, we will never stop hustling and using any trick we can find to get the word out.

To stay connected, please join us on the following:

TCS: How in your opinion do you think people can broaden their horizons when it comes to different types of music?

SH: With today’s technology, music lovers can simply go to their favorite online music service such as Spotify, Pandora and iHeart and select any type of station they want to listen to when they want to listen. Our various Hillbilly Vegas stations on the aforementioned platforms as well as some others play a lot of artists that I never heard of before, but I truly love hearing their music. It’s interesting to see who those music services think sound similar to our music and place on our stations. So, I’d suggest just hitting a station and finding some good stuff you haven’t heard before and give it a listen.

TCS: What do you see yourself doing if you weren’t the lead singer in a band?

SH: For me, I would explore other creative escapes such as voicing cartoons. Prior to discovering music, that was my dream.

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Hillbilly Vegas?

SH: The short-term future for Hillbilly Vegas is to simply board our tour bus and bring our music to as many music lovers and fans as possible. We’re all about creating fun, positive energy and memorable music that gives people a good feeling. I love hearing songs on the radio that stir up feelings that take me back to good times and great places – if we can do that for people, then we’ve achieved success. We can’t wait to get out there and shake the world’s hand and welcome them in to the Hillbilly Vegas family.

The long-term is a bit murkier, we would love to become a highly successful band and be able to keep doing what we are doing at a high level. But you never know what the next day brings in the music industry. So for now, we will remain focused on the short-term and let the long-term sort itself out.

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Daniel Mason – Lead Singer & Songwriter

written by: Frank Iacono

There is something to be said about Daniel Mason, the way he captures an audience with his soulful voice – brings back a taste of Blue Eyed Soul with a mix of Country, Pop and R&B – and writes with integrity and truth.

Daniel Mason was born in Paris, Kentucky to a small impoverished family. Daniel emerged and matured his God given talent in the local church. Raised by a Mother that influenced him with musical artists ranging from Marvin Gaye, Michael McDonald, and Hall & Oates to Michael Jackson.

From there he developed guitar and writing skills at an early age. As most serious hungry artists, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2008 to establish himself as a Singer/Songwriter. After 3 years and 500+ shows as a lead singer of a local favorite Nashville trio Amber’s Drive, Daniel Mason is pursuing his own music career. He currently is out in support of his long-awaited debut solo album.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing country soul singer-songwriter Daniel Mason and asking him a few questions about his musical influences, his songwriting and recording process, his upcoming tour schedule and his band’s new self-titled album.

Q&A Session

TCS: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and what was the first instrument that you learned how to play?

Daniel Mason: The first time I realized I wanted to be a musician was after hearing the legendary King of Pop Michael Jackson sing and perform at the young age of 5. The acoustic guitar was the first instrument I learned to play at the age of 11, but actually my voice was the first instrument that came naturally to me.

TCS: How would you describe the Daniel Mason Band’s musical genre and overall sound?

DM: I would describe the Daniel Mason Band’s musical genre as a blend of Soul, R&B, Folk, and Country which we call Southern Soul or Vintage Pop.

The Daniel Mason Band lineup consists of:

  • Drums / Joel Burns
  • Bass, Vocals / Scott Barritt
  • Lead Vocals, Guitar / Daniel Mason
  • Lead Guitar, Vocals / Jase Hackman

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

DM: As I mentioned, Michael Jackson was my first big musical influence that, after singing his songs over and over, helped develop my vocal and musical creativity. His vinyl 45 single of the song “Billy Jean” was my first record purchase as a child. In my teens, my parents bought me the Garth Brooks “No Fences” chord book and I learned every song. So, Garth was a huge influence as well.

As my music and vocal matured I naturally found my home in the Soul/R&B world. I started getting more and more into 70s and 80s R&B/Soul music and that led me to discovering soul singers such as Marvin Gaye, Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald and pretty much all the artists/bands that came out of the Muscle Shoals era.


TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Daniel Mason or your musical career, please describe for us how you started out and eventually ended up being the lead singer in the Daniel Mason Band?

DM: It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I started writing songs on a consistent basis. I played a few open mic nights and performed with a cover band for extra cash. My first real band was following college when I played in a Christian pop band called Another Level. We toured around the Kentucky area playing at college coffee houses and various festivals. After what I like to call a “Summer of 69,” the group broke up, I got married and took on a day job.

It wasn’t until the summer of ’08 that my passion for singing and writing music could not continue to stay on hold. As a result of having a long talk with the man upstairs, the family packed up and moved to Music City. From there, I started getting out networking and performing which led to connecting with a couple singer/songwriters. We started performing the songs we wrote around Nashville. It eventually evolved into an Americana/Pop Country Trio named Amber’s Drive that ended at the end of 2016 after 3 years/500+ shows. This led to the beginning of creating my own solo project. Once we hit the studio running, I felt at home in what we were developing and bringing to life.


TCS: How excited are you guys about the release of the new self-titled debut album?

DM: Very…it actually is the first solo project I’ve ever had the pleasure of releasing (won’t be the last). It felt good, it felt right…it was a long time coming.

TCS: From an in-studio perspective, which aspects of the album did you find least problematic to put together and which were the most troublesome?

DM: My strength is vocal, so going in the vocal production was definitely the least problematic. On the trouble side of things, we didn’t really have any on the production it was mainly on the actual release date that was originally planned. Some ‘life events’ happened that were out of our control and we pushed the release date up to late Sept. The overall vision of the project came to fruition and the end result was something to be proud of.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs off of your album is a song called “And The Some,” so can you share with us some of the background behind the hit?

DM: “And Then Some” is actually our first single release off the album. This song was written by Gary Cirimelli and myself. I had this progression and melody idea that I wanted to develop and I showed it to Gary after a previous writing session where “One Of Us Lied” was born. He loved it and said he wanted that to be our next write. I had written down ‘give 110 percent’ in my lyric notes from the saying “Always give 110 percent”. I’m a sports fanatic so I’ve heard this term many times. I thought it could be a great way to express to women how much you love them as if to say, “I love you this much…and more!” Gary said, “I’ve got all that you need, and then some?” and from there we knew we had something special and finished it before the end of the session.


TCS: Can you describe the first time you stepped onstage to perform and tell us how does it compare to being on stage now?

DM: The first time I stepped out on a stage was brutal and nerve racking. I wasn’t one of those kids that just was born on the stage. Though I wanted to be in the spotlight, I gradually over time became more and more comfortable with the stage.

TCS: Tell us about the background story behind another great cut entitled “Somewhere I Gotta Be”?

DM: I wrote this tune with a good friend of mine Nathan Picard. We had just finished up on a song when I told him I had this really cool melody idea I had thrown down really quick. It was so rough, I was almost too embarrassed to show him ~ but I did because that’s what you do ~ lol. I didn’t want it to be your typical country ‘train’ song though the lyric idea I had was “train, train don’t be late!”. It quickly developed into the urgency of this guy that has somewhere he’s gotta be. And he’s telling the train don’t be late and the plane don’t delay, because he’s got somewhere to be with his baby.

Then Nate had this great line “no matter the miles it ain’t to far” which had this guy in the song willing to go anywhere it took to be with his love. We had a blast writing this song because it came together pretty fast. Once we established the theme it wrote itself.

TCS: What’s the most unusual place that you’ve played or made a recording? And, how did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

DM: We would get pretty creative in the studio to find the sound we wanted. One time we took bed mattresses out into the middle of the studio floor and made like a little 4 wall house and sang and played our instruments inside. Surprisingly it turned out amazing. It was weird and unusual but we got it done. We still experiment to this day in the studio ~ whatever we need to do to get the sound we are looking for.

TCS: Another one of my favorite songs is the track called “You Don’t Have to be Lonely” so can you share with us the inspiration behind it?

DM: I had written this chorus idea about a girl that was being ignored in her relationship. All I had was a rough recording of the chorus but I felt like it was strong enough so I showed it to friend and cowriter Mark Ham. We messed around with it a bit to see if we could come up with anything but nothing really was coming to us. So, Mark took the rough idea home and ended up getting inspired and ran with it lyrically. When we meet up a few days later to write he had written most all the verses. The song was pretty much finished apart from a few adjustments we made.

TCS: How do you market your songs, albums, merchandise and appearances?

DM: Truly, the best way to find out information about the Daniel Mason Band is by visiting our website at danielmasonband.com. On the site, you can listen to our songs, discover our upcoming appearances, order our album and purchase other merchandise. Additionally, Elle Bobier and her team of amazing people at Ethereal Promotions also do a lot of promo/social media for us at facebook.com/etherealpromotions.

If you want to stay connected on our social platforms, please visit the following:

TCS: Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What’s one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

DM: This is a tough one, I really can’t answer specifically because I love so many. It’s like asking me which one of my children do I love more. Music to me is like a sixth sense. Like when you smell, taste, see or hear something and it quickly takes you to a moment in your life’s history.


TCS: What do you think the world would be like if music was never invented? And, what do you think you would you be doing instead?

DM: One word…BORING. I think it would be very boring.  I’d probably be doing something constructive, some type of woodworking; like building houses.

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Daniel Mason?

DM: In the short-term, I plan to do more writing, more recording and a lot more performing. The goal is to put together some tour dates and hit the road running to reach more fans with our music. We want to be classified as a working band, providing for our families while making music we love. We want to put the right people in place that have the same vision as we do for our music and want to see us be successful. In the long-term, I will always be writing music and (Lord willing) performing it. I believe the progress of our short-term goals will in return determine our long-term goals.

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.