May 20 2016

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 74) “Toni Tennille – A Memoir of Sunshine and Shadow” [part 1 of 2]

Whenever I get the opportunity to interview a famous songwriter, I feel the need to step up my game and ask questions that my listeners are dying to know.  This, of course, is rarely the case on my radio show, where I had a wonderful conversation with the lovely Toni Tennille.  She, along with the Captain, contributed several definitive pop songs of the 1970’s, and in our conversation, Toni happily shares some stories behind the tunes.  I tried to discuss the very compelling book (Toni Tennille: A Memoir) that she wrote with her talented niece, Caroline Tennille St. Clair. This was a challenge, because the publisher never sent the book to me as assured, but Toni understood this and gave me two full episodes of warm and fun conversation. I learned a lot about her role as a prolific songwriter and classically trained pianist, as well as the often disheartening marriage with Daryl Dragon and their partnership as a musical act. Take a listen, and you will enjoy Toni Tennille’s southern charm and friendly personality as much a I did!   ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Toni Tennille

Cathryn Antoinette “Toni” Tennille is best known from her ’70s and ’80s chart-topping hits with the pop duo Captain & Tennille.  After thirty-nine years together, Toni and husband Daryl Dragon separated in 2013 and finalized their divorce in July of 2014.  Suddenly single, Toni has found peace in her new life surrounded by family, her dogs and cats, and the music she still loves to play on her grand piano.  A classically trained pianist and a prolific song writer, Toni has also released numerous solo albums celebrating the romantic music of big band and American standards.  She has just completed a memoir of her life and career which will be released in April 2016.

Toni Tennille 008 singing loud

Visit Toni Tennille’s website:
www.ToniTennille.net

A very special THANK YOU to Toni Tennille for the use of her images and music! © 2016 Toni Tennille, all rights reserved

Captain & Tennille - ''You Never Done It Like That''

January 15 2016

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 66) “Richard Sherman – Serenading the Kiss Goodnight For Walt Disney”

“Richard Sherman – Serenading the Kiss Goodnight For Walt Disney”
including the song “A Kiss Goodnight” sung by Ashley Brown

I certainly hope you enjoyed the first part of my series, when I talked to songwriting legend Richard M. Sherman.  But if you missed it, you can go back and listen to it here, and then come back and hear part two!  In this episode, Mr. Sherman and I discussed how he and his brother Robert wrote songs together, and he gave me insight on what makes a great song.  Richard also shared the story behind the writing of a tune that is now used as the soundtrack during Disneyland’s closing fireworks show, called “A Kiss Goodnight.”  Then I picked up some note cards and asked a mixed bag of questions, and got some great answers from Richard, including a backstory on the Mary Poppins experience.  When you hear Richard M. Sherman offer up the wisdom of more than six decades of his experience, you’ll feel that there is, indeed, a great big beautiful tomorrow!

~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Richard M. Sherman

Over the years, Richard M. Sherman and his late brother Robert B. Sherman, wrote more songs for motion pictures than any team in cinematic history.  As the foremost composer-lyricists in family entertainment, they have written the soundtrack of our childhood, most prominently working for Walt Disney.

Richard’s achievements include:  Two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins (score) and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” (song), nine Oscar nominations, three Grammy Awards, twenty-four Gold and Platinum albums, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, an honorary Doctorate from his alma mater, Bard College, and in 2008 at the White House, ‘National Medal of Arts’ the highest honor bestowed on American-born artists.

The Sherman Brothers wrote over 200 songs featured in Walt Disney’s films, TV shows and theme parks. Their 36 feature Disney film credits include:  Mary Poppins, Jungle Book, The Parent Trap, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Happiest Millionaire, and the Winnie the Pooh series. They wrote Disney’s long-running TV theme song, “The Wonderful World Of Color,” and their many contributions to Disney theme parks include: “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room,” “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” (Carousel of Progress), and “One Little Spark” (EPCOT).

Get the reissued edition of SMASH FLOPS
featuring songs by Sherman & Larsen.

Available at iTunes!

Insert

 

Richard Sherman Plays ''Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'' at D23 Event

Visit the Sherman Brothers music website:
www.ShermanMusic.com

Special thanks to Richard M. Sherman for the use of his images and music.
© 2015 Richard M. Sherman – All Rights Reserved

December 18 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 63) “Cindy Alexander – An American Girl’s Sweet Musical Journey”

“Cindy Alexander – An American Girl’s Sweet Musical Journey”
including the songs “Burdens and Bones (How Bad Do You Want It?)” and “American Girl”

Today is my final interview show of the year, and what a way to wrap up 2015!  All month long, it has been De-CIN-ber, in honor of my latest featured guest Cindy Alexander!  In this conclusion, we talk more about her songs and life, but Cindy also shared stories of her voyage through the music business and her success so far.  Parts of her musical journey are bittersweet, as she expresses in a song from her latest EP An American Girl.  The track is called “Burdens and Bones (How Bad Do You Want It?)”  It allowed Cindy to tell a story publicly about how she was led to a disappointing situation, one of which she was narrowly taken advantage by an entertainment mogul.  I appreciate that Cindy shared that story on the program.  The personal responsibility and grace that Cindy shows as she pushes on through her challenges is something that inspires me, and of course, I’m sharing it with you.  I really hope you enjoy my three part series featuring the wonderful singer/songwriter Cindy Alexander.  Here are the links to hear PART ONE and PART TWO, in case you missed them.  Blessings and best wishes!  ~Dean

Featured Guest:   Cindy Alexander

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Cindy was trained at the acclaimed USC School of Drama but realized quickly that there was enough “drama” in real life and the best part she could play… was herself. So, she wrote what is now 7 cd’s (and added to numerous compilations and soundtracks) worth of her life, which she has performed all across the United States, Japan, Germany, Ireland, and islands as far as Barbados and Guantanamo Bay. Music has always been the key to her adventure, and she soaks up the stories of those she meets, the cultures, the geography, the spirit and the down and dirty details of the road she travels. As a seasoned writer and performer, she has tackled numerous subjects – not only the classic singer/songwriter confessional fare of dysfunctional relationships, marriage, and motherhood, but also her personal discovery and recovery from breast cancer, the perils of the entertainment business, classic literature, sexuality, spirituality, history and the human condition. There is no topic which is out of bounds – she tells The Truth.

Cindy Alexander CONNECTS, and her relationship with her fans has funded her recording projects and fueled her continued success as a touring indie musician.

Cindy’s new EP An American Girl is available NOW at

blue elan logo

Cindy Alexander 000 American Girl cover

CINDY ALEXANDER - Play (Official Lyric Video)

Visit Cindy Alexander’s website:
www.cindyalexander.com

Special thanks to Cindy Alexander for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Cindy Alexander – All Rights Reserved

December 11 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 62) “Cindy Alexander – Writing Through the Curves”

“Cindy Alexander – Writing Through the Curves”
including the songs “See You In L.A.” “Anesthesia” “Heels Over Head” & “Old Dreams”

Did you miss the premiere episode of StrongWriter On the Radio featuring my special guest Cindy Alexander?  Part One can be heard by clicking here, and Part Two has lots of talk about Cindy’s music and songwriting.  I had a lot of fun hearing behind the scenes tales of making her music videos, and we started to discuss her newest project, An American Girl.  I was not expecting Cindy to turn the tables on me, but she asked me to explain my own cancer experience on my show.  After all, she was gracious enough to share her double mastectomy story with me, and for that, I appreciate her.  But the music goes on, and Cindy is writing strong and beautifully.  Please enjoy this episode, and be sure to listen to the conclusion next week!  ~Dean

Featured Guest:   Cindy Alexander

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Cindy was trained at the acclaimed USC School of Drama but realized quickly that there was enough “drama” in real life and the best part she could play… was herself. So, she wrote what is now 7 cd’s (and added to numerous compilations and soundtracks) worth of her life, which she has performed all across the United States, Japan, Germany, Ireland, and islands as far as Barbados and Guantanamo Bay. Music has always been the key to her adventure, and she soaks up the stories of those she meets, the cultures, the geography, the spirit and the down and dirty details of the road she travels. As a seasoned writer and performer, she has tackled numerous subjects – not only the classic singer/songwriter confessional fare of dysfunctional relationships, marriage, and motherhood, but also her personal discovery and recovery from breast cancer, the perils of the entertainment business, classic literature, sexuality, spirituality, history and the human condition. There is no topic which is out of bounds – she tells The Truth.

Cindy Alexander CONNECTS, and her relationship with her fans has funded her recording projects and fueled her continued success as a touring indie musician.

Cindy’s new EP An American Girl is available NOW at

blue elan logo

Cindy Alexander 000 American Girl cover

CINDY ALEXANDER - Play (Official Lyric Video)

Visit Cindy Alexander’s website:
www.cindyalexander.com

Special thanks to Cindy Alexander for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Cindy Alexander – All Rights Reserved

November 13 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 58) “Shelly Peiken – Conversations With a Serial Songwriter”

Today, I wrap up my conversation with the incredible Shelly Peiken!  If you missed the first half of our talk, you can listen to it right here.  We continued the conversation as Shelly and I discussed her forthcoming book, Confessions Of a Serial Songwriter.  I asked her about some of her collaborative relationships and how each partner brought a unique dynamic to her creative efforts.  I also attempted to bond with Shelly by reminiscing about the seventies music we grew up with and how it influenced us.  Then it was just chitchat leading into a parting piece of what I called “Shelly wisdom,” and I know you’ll just love listening to her for the entire episode.  She is one of the best there is.  ENJOY!  ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Shelly Peiken

Shelly Peiken is a multi-platinum Grammy nominated songwriter who is best known for her #1 hits “What a Girl Wants” and “Come On Over Baby”. She earned a Grammy nomination for the song “Bitch” recorded by Meredith Brooks. She’s had hundreds of songs placed on albums, and in TV and film.

Her “Serial Songwriter” Facebook page has become a forum for all things songwriting and ideas about navigating a changing music business as a creative person and parent.

In June of 2014 Shelly was invited to blog for The Huffington Post. She is well known in the music industry as mentor, panelist, consultant and guest speaker.

Shelly is a New Yorker at heart who enjoys her life in Los Angeles with her husband, composer Adam Gorgoni and their daughter, Layla.

 

I’ve always been inspired by the place within that’s in a continual state of pursuit; a search for something different, something better, or what might have been …while still feeling that if given the choice, I wouldn’t trade my world for any other. Life isn’t perfect. But some days it’s filled with so much joy it seems as perfect as perfect can be. Still, that state comes and goes. It’s from that divine discontent songs can’t help but emerge.

Visit Shelly Peiken’s website:
www.ShellyPeiken.com

Special thanks to Shelly Peiken for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Shelly Peiken – All Rights Reserved

Shelly Peiken’s book
Confessions Of a Serial Songwriter
is available for pre-order now at her website!!

Shelly Peiken 008 Pre Order book

SHELLY PEIKEN: Confessions Of a Serial Songwriter

November 6 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 57) “Shelly Peiken – What a Girl Writes”

“I wanna thank you, Shelly Peiken, for giving me some great insight on songwriting.”  This is what I said to my very special guest after shaking off the nervousness of interviewing a truly creative professional songwriter.  As you will sense from the conversation, Shelly has a warm and calm demeanor, and definitely has a passion for creating songs, often with a partner (“I like the company.”)  She had some helpful things to say about getting writer’s block out of your system, and advice on how to help creative ideas flow more freely.  She and I briefly reviewed her four biggest songs, as I am sure she’s done so many times.  But it was fun to hear about how, in the 1980’s, she went about submitting her material to a major recording artist, and how one of those songs got onto a debut album, which soared to triple platinum status.  Please enjoy the program, and don’t miss the conclusion in the following episode!  ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Shelly Peiken

Shelly Peiken is a multi-platinum Grammy nominated songwriter who is best known for her #1 hits “What a Girl Wants” and “Come On Over Baby”. She earned a Grammy nomination for the song “Bitch” recorded by Meredith Brooks. She’s had hundreds of songs placed on albums, and in TV and film.

Her Serial Songwriter Facebook page has become a forum for all things songwriting and ideas about navigating a changing music business as a creative person and parent.

In June of 2014 Shelly was invited to blog for The Huffington Post. She is well known in the music industry as mentor, panelist, consultant and guest speaker.

Shelly is a New Yorker at heart who enjoys her life in Los Angeles with her husband, composer Adam Gorgoni and their daughter, Layla.

I’ve always been inspired by the place within that’s in a continual state of pursuit; a search for something different, something better, or what might have been …while still feeling that if given the choice, I wouldn’t trade my world for any other. Life isn’t perfect. But some days it’s filled with so much joy it seems as perfect as perfect can be. Still, that state comes and goes. It’s from that divine discontent songs can’t help but emerge.

Visit Shelly Peiken’s website:
www.ShellyPeiken.com

Special thanks to Shelly Peiken for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Shelly Peiken – All Rights Reserved

Shelly Peiken’s book
Confessions Of a Serial Songwriter
is available for pre-order now at her website!!

Shelly Peiken 008 Pre Order book

SHELLY PEIKEN: Confessions Of a Serial Songwriter

October 30 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 56) “Laura Pursell – I’ll Be Seeing You In L.A.”

“Laura Pursell – I’ll Be Seeing You In L.A.”
featuring the songs “Home” “Some Other Time” & “I’ll Be Seeing You”

Today is the final episode of my conversation with Laura Pursell and her dad Bill Pursell.  If you missed the previous episodes, you can listen to PART ONE here … and PART TWO here.  As we wind down our time together, father Bill gives his insight on making records in his day (1950’s & 60’s) in contrast to the present.  Laura, still dealing with her laryngitis, contributes stories and displays that wonderful father-daughter banter that led me to share this visit as a three-part event!  I am looking forward to seeing Laura perform live in L.A. now that her voice is all better.  As you will discover, her vocal style is classic and smooth, with a touch of class!  I hope you enjoy!!    ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Laura Pursell

(with special guest Bill Pursell)

Laura Pursell is at home singing with a solo guitar or a 32-piece orchestra. What started out as coffee house gig with a jazz duo on Santa Monica Boulevard in 1997 rapidly progressed into a series of concerts, benefits and appearances culminating in a show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville with her father, pianist Bill Pursell. In 2001, she had the honor of singing for Betty and President Gerald Ford in Palm Springs.

After studying songwriting with Harriet Shock and Jai Josefs, she began working with British songwriter/composer Chris Cutler, shaping demos for other songwriters. Realizing they had hit upon a unique writing and production style, a blend of British rock and jazz, they wrote and produced their own song, “Found.” Over the years, Laura has recorded and performed with some of the greatest and accomplished jazz musicians on the West Coast, including Earl Palmer, Ron Anthony, Barry Zweig, Ron Eschete, Doug MacDonald and countless others.

Bill Pursell wrote 8 out of 10 arrangements of their new album The Very Last Dance Hall Left In L.A. and played piano on all 10 tracks. The rich orchestration, recorded by Nashville’s A-team players. Mr. Pursell is perhaps best known for his hit record “Our Winter Love,” but also played piano on many of Johnny Cash’s albums in the 1960s, and worked as a session musician and arranger for Patsy Cline, Johnny Paycheck, Hoover, Joan Baez, Eric Andersen, Scotty Moore, J.J. Cale, Willie Nelson, Dan Fogelberg, and others. In 1985, Pursell was named Composer of the Year by the Tennessee Music Teachers Association.

Visit Laura Pursell’s website:
www.LauraPursell.com

Special thanks to Laura Pursell for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Laura Pursell – All Rights Reserved

Laura Pursell’s album
The Very Last Dance Hall Left in L.A.
is now available on iTunes!

Laura Pursell 001 Very Last Dance Hall cover

I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)

October 2 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 52) “Leslie Becker – Broadway Does Nashville”

“Leslie Becker – Broadway Does Nashville”
featuring the songs “Nothin’ Between Us” “I Cried” and “Green Eyed Girl”

I love finding treasure.  Every once in a while, treasure finds me.  Or to be specific, one day recently, a lovely woman tweeted a polite request to be a guest on my show.  Turned out, she is a very talented songwriter and stage actress, and I soon found out that she IS a treasure!  Leslie Becker, along with her producer Joe Vulpis, has put together six cool country songs in an EP, titled Get Yourself a Cowboy.  We’ll talk about that, as well as her story and stage career.  So, please enjoy the show!  Leslie was so nice, I’m going to feature her twice!  Does that mean I’ll have her on next week?  In a New York minute!

Featured Guest:   Leslie Becker

Leslie has spent much of her life in the entertainment industry. Despite her early start in a professional ballet company and training as a classical pianist, she always gravitated toward country music both as a listener and writer.

An avid songwriter in many genres, but her highly infectious hooks and melodies and her desire for good storytelling always leads her home to country music. Through a series of “divine interventions” she landed in Nashville and quickly began recording her songs. It only took hearing two songs for producer Joe Vulpis (Lady Gaga) to scoop her up and produce a record of songs showcasing her unique storytelling.

Her songs infuse a combination of contemporary country hooks with traditional blues, rockabilly and sass. Her early influences were Delbert McClinton and Reba McEntire, add in some Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and you’ve got yourself songs that make you want to crank of the volume and sing out loud!

Still actively working in the Broadway community in New York City, she is an advanced BMI lyricist with a major Broadway musical in development and as an actress, she is currently appearing on Broadway in the new musical AMAZING GRACE. Other Broadway credits include WICKED, ANYTHING GOES, Frank Wildhorn’s BONNIE & CLYDE, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, SHOW BOAT, NINE, CINDERELLA.

BROADWAY STARS PERFORM LESLIE B. SONG

Visit Leslie Becker’s website:
www.LeslieBMusic.com

Special thanks to Leslie Becker for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 LesliebMusic – All Rights Reserved

Leslie Becker’s EP
GET YOURSELF A COWBOY
is now available on iTunes!

Leslie Becker 001 Get Yourself a Cowboy

September 18 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 50) “Natalia Segura – It’s a Beautiful Day For Conscious Pop”

“Natalia Segura – It’s a Beautiful Day For Conscious Pop”
featuring the songs “Beautiful Day” and “World Peace”

Today, “My Mind’s Made Up” to have a “Beautiful Day” with my featured guest Natalia Segura! This lovely young woman calls herself a conscious music singer-songwriter, and you’ll hear her explanation on what that is all about.  Then, Natalia and I discuss her music video, a project she completed while seven months pregnant. The discussion moves from her beginnings in Sydney, and then to her songwriting and making music in New York.  She is a wonderful woman to interview, and please stay tuned for part two in episode 51! Enjoy!!

Featured Guest:   Natalia Segura

Natalia is Australian born and raised Latina Singer, Songwriter and Actress. Her parents both escaped war-torn El Salvador in the 80’s with Anmesty international to start a new life in Sydney, Australia. They blessed the world by giving birth to an open and warm woman grounded in respect for life on a spiritual level, never judging, always learning. (please see her “Heritage” video bio for her personal story).

Her genuine approach to life highlighted by her journey puts you at ease reflecting a confident humility and sweetness that lingers after meeting her. One cannot quite place a finger on this “conscious lyricist” who’s described by her friends and production crew as a “Glamour hippie” from “Down Under.”

Natalia grew up rocking the Latino music scene in Sydney, Australia since her early teens (please view her “musical journey” video bio for her personal story). Being influenced by not only her Australian upbringing but her Latino roots, those elements she incorporated in her music after spending time in South America.

Her music is dubbed as “Conscious Music” or “Conscious Pop” as a forefront to a rebirth of the 70’s movement in social and political change and a spiritual evolution in the modern platform of pop as she sees it as the most vast to explore. Using subtle lyrics and catchy melodies, Natalia’s music is not only radio friendly, but accessible to all ages.

A seasoned live stage performer, Natalia is touring with her band in 2016. Her debut single, “Beautiful Day” was released on June 30th with her EP slated for later this year. Experience the #ConsciousPop page for a sneak peak of her EP.

Natalia Segura’s single
“Beautiful Day”
is now available on iTunes!

Natalia Segura 021 Beautiful Day copy

Natalia Segura - Beautiful Day

Visit Natalia’s website:
www.NataliaSegura.com

Special thanks to Natalia Segura for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Natalia Segura –  All Rights Reserved

September 11 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 49) “Brian Hutson – Betting On a Dream and Letting It Ride”

“Brian Hutson – Betting On a Dream and Letting It Ride”
featuring the songs “Let It Ride” and “She’s My Woman”

Here’s a story that sounds like a dream come true if that dream includes New York City stardom.  Well, perhaps it’s too soon at the moment, but I believe my featured guest Brian Hutson is getting there, steadily and surely.   Sit back as we get acquainted, and you will learn just how this young man was noticed by a notable music producer and began a dual life, adding singer to his already filled resume (he’s an investment banker in the city.)  And there are two songs that you can listen to, as well as Brian’s advice for singers and songwriters.  He’s a class act, and I know you’re going to enjoy the ride!!

Featured Guest:   Brian Hutson

New York City’s Brian Hutson is a classically-trained singer with a rich and powerful voice.  He splits his time as a nine-to-five investment banker on Wall Street, and at night, he transforms into a smooth crooner. His broad range of vocal repertoires includes jazz, pop, easy listening, Broadway, opera, and classical music.

After graduation, Brian began working on Wall Street, balancing the demands of his job with time for his creative outlet – singing and songwriting.

While singing Michael Bublé’s Everything at his office holiday party, Brian was discovered by AP Music Group President Joe Vulpis. Vulpis immediately took Brian into the studio and recorded their first two singles, Let It Ride and She’s My Woman. Released to radio in June 2015, Let It Ride is now #10 on the AC Top 200 chart. Both songs are available worldwide for download.

New singles, Let It Ride and She’s My Woman, now available worldwide for download on Amazon Music, Google Play, Spotify, and more.

BRIAN HUTSON - Let It Ride (Live at Radio Launch Party)

Visit Brian Hutson’s website:
www.BrianHutsonMusic.com

Special thanks to Brian Hutson for the use of his images and music.
© 2015 Brian Hutson