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July 18, 2014


July 17, 2014


"Elaine Stritch was a name that I had heard here and there for years growing up but if I were asked what she looked like, I would have crumbled.  Then I started hearing about  "Elaine Stritch at Liberty" -- a one-woman tour de force about the tumultuous career and fiery spirit of Broadway legend Elaine Stritch -- as performed by one woman Elaine Stritch.  So, I bought two tickets and took a friend to go see this woman that I sorta recalled.

At the time she was doing "At Liberty" (an incredibly successful run on Broadway then a national tour of it) -- garnering some of the best reviews of her storied career -- she was 77 years old.  The curtain opened and out came this fiery, feisty woman in a silk cream blouse over black stage tights and black dance shoes.  The outfit would have looked age-inappropriate on anyone -- except Elaine Stritch:  She had a great pair of gams for a woman half her age, an energy that could flood a stadium and charisma that hypnotized everyone who happened to just catch a glance at the 77 year old powerhouse.

She was a legend who always acted like one of the ensemble regardless of where her name was billed -- perhaps some of this was out of fear or lack of confidence or an inner-awareness that she wasn't as pretty as everyone else, she couldn't sing as beautiful or technical as everyone else and life just wasn't handed to her as easily as it appeared to be to every one else. But there was one thing that she was better at than any of her contemporaries -- being Elaine Stritch.  And every character she played, every role she ever performed, you always felt like you saw a part of Elaine Stritch -- I don't mean that she couldn't embody a character and her acting was always the same "Jennifer Aniston in Every Movie" acting style -- but that she brought such an honesty to every role that you felt like you were gaining some insight into the character and the character that was playing her.

I want to say that "At Liberty" had no set or props -- I think I'm correct in saying that was Elaine Stricth standing in front of you on the stage -- the place she called home...and when she would move onto a new topic she would pivot and clap toward the back of the backstage -- that's all and you were then transported to a very different place than she had just presented to y ou.

An admitted alcoholic (who still drank one martini every day  -- no more/no less -- at 3 p.m. until she died), one of the most shocking unveilings by Stritch was when she went to an audition with three (maybe 4) martinis under her belt.  She immediately decided she hated the head writer or creator of the show "I could barely see what they looked like."  Playing scene after scene for this audition which was to be the TV Pilot of a new half hour comedy show, she changed almost every line word by word just to spite the head writer/creator under the pretense of being a free spirit/improv-trained actress. Despite being a shoe-in for one of the four ground-breaking roles prior to the audition, Stritch was passed over and Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty would become some of the richest and  most popular super stars in the history of television -- at an age where your choices of roles were usually either the sassy grandma or the crotchety grandma.

Ten years after "At Liberty" Tina Fey cast Stritch as Alec Baldwin's horrendous and hysterical one-line-zinger-throwing mother on "30 Rock" and she stole scene after scene -- even picking up a well-deserved Emmy award along the way!

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Stritch at a fundraiser a couple of years ago...she seemed distracted and a little  confused about what all was going on, which broke my heart to see. I wanted to meet that feisty, fiery character I had been reading about--  the one who could act out a song til you broke down in hysterics and the one who, if you were paying close enough attention, would have been able to give you some insights into who she was or what she was doing -- a quick wink that said, "Keep up, kid, I'm the puppet master on this stage regardless of what any of it might look like."

And right as I got out of my own head and looked back at this feeble, brittle woman whose capacities were being diminished merely by the facts of life, something caught my eye and I looked right into those eyes that seemed more filmy than before but more buoyant as well. "Keep up kid..."

And before I knew it, I was laughing out loud, soaking in this over the top yet subdued performance by someone who had spent way too much time at boring industry events and fundraisers that simply funded the egos of dimwits. I looked right through her and what I hope she heard me saying was that she quite possibly was the coolest damn Broadway legend I would ever have the honor of almost being punked by again.

Stritchy, thanks for showing us how to handle life when it gets really hard especially at our own hand.  Cheers, and here's to the ladies who lunch... aren't they a gas?!"

With respect and admiration,

July 7, 2014


June 20, 2014


(From "The Wrap" June 20, 2014)

141 million users have generated 459 million interactions
In just one week, more users have discussed the World Cup on Facebook than the number of people who talked about this year's Super BowlOscars and Sochi Games combined. It's already a record for a single event on the social media giant, and it still has three more weeks of matches to come.

Of course, the Super Bowl and Academy Awards cover just a few hours, while the Sochi Games is a weeks-long competition.

Thus far, the World Cup has scored 274 million more viewers than the most recent Super Bowl, 339 million more than the Olympics and bested the Oscars by 434 million. Here's the full breakdown comparing the soccer tournament to other major 2014 events:
World Cup Week 1 (June 12 – June 18): 141 million Facebook users generation 459 million interactions (Posts, Comments and Likes)
Super Bowl XVIII on Feb. 2: 50 million users generated 185 million interactions
Sochi Games, Feb. 6-23: 45 million users generated 120 million interactions
86th Academy Awards on Mar. 2: 11.3 million users generated 25.4 million interactions

Facebook's data team also looked at where people around the world are having their conversations. The following list is based on the number of people talking about the World Cup so far, weighted for the size of the Facebook population in each country (meaning the number of daily active people):
1. Brazil
2. United States
3. United Kingdom
4. Indonesia
5. Mexico

June 17, 2014



“(Winds of Samsara) is a production of truly epic proportions…groundbreaking…nuanced, cinematic quality…a not to be missed musical experience”*

 Stunning Two-Year Collaboration Celebrates Connections Between
India & South Africa from Mahatma Gandhi to Nelson Mandela &
Features More than 120 Musicians from Five Continents

JUNE 18, 2014 (LOS ANGELES) -- Winds of Samsara (, the first collaboration between world-renowned South African flutist Wouter Kellerman and Indian Composer/Producer/Artist Ricky Kej is now available for pre-order on ( and ( )prior to its worldwide debut July 15, 2014.  Two years in the making, the boundary-breaking New Age album spotlights the musical, cultural and political connections between India and South Africa from Mahatma Gandhi to Nelson Mandela.  It boasts performances by more than 120 musicians from five continents and pushes the boundaries beyond what the New Age genre has ever produced.  Winds of Samsara Mastering Engineer is 3-time GRAMMY® winner Gavin Lurssen (including 2001 Album of the Year for O, Brother Where Art Thou? and 2008 Album of the Year for Alison Krauss & Robert Plant’s Raising Sand).  A deluxe edition will be available later this year and includes a 5.1 HD Surround Sound mix by GRAMMY®-winner P.A. Deepak (2009 Best Sound Track Album Compilation from Best Picture Oscar® Winner Slumdog Millionaire).  “Winds of Samsara” is distributed by Listen 2 Africa, a global company founded by GRAMMY®-winning producer and recording industry veteran Dave Love. Artists such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba, Oliver Mtukudzi, Hugh Masekela and other top talent from this musically and culturally rich region of the world are a part of Love’s ongoing commitment to southern Africa. For more on the label:

“Making this album has challenged us as artists to push borders aside and have the one common thread truly be the universal language of music.  We’ve recorded: in L.A., Seattle, Melbourne, Johannesberg, Bangalore, Bulgaria, full orchestras on most of the tracks, choirs in Australia, India and the U.S., and we’ve used instruments in unexpected ways such as a Dobra, pedal steel guitar and complete string sections playing in Classical Indian styles.  The album’s messages of world peace and positivity ring true from the core of the collaborative process and the authenticity of the talented musicians who transcended borders and cultural barriers from the start.  What bound us all together was the desire to create music that could help affect positive change in the world, and we hope people are moved by the end result,” said Kej and Kellerman.

About Winds of Samsara
What do Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, an Indian composer of timeless melodies, a vivaciously virtuosic South African flutist, and more than 120 spirited musicians from five continents all have in common? Discover the answer by pre-ordering Winds of Samsara today before it streets July 15, 2014.

A truly global effort, this album is the manifest dream of Wouter Kellerman and Ricky Kej, an unlikely but star-matched collaborative duo. Drawing from disparate cultures, the pair has melded their creative influences into the unique and wonderful sonic gumbo contained within this album. Winds of Samsara speaks to themes of peace and positivity, spinning together forward-moving harmony, progressive composition, and technical prowess with a verve and passion never before attempted in the New Age genre.

About Ricky Kej
A true wizard of the keyboard, manuscript page, and recording studio, Kej has earned multiple awards and honors for his composition and production exploits. His projects include creating music for five feature films, twelve albums released by Universal Music, and over two thousand commercials seen by audiences around the world. A student of both Western and Indian classical music, Kej composed original works for the opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup 2012, held in Dhaka, India; the ceremony was telecast to more than 200 countries and widely heralded for its artistry and execution. For such efforts, Kej was declared an “India Rules Artist” by VH1 in 2013.  Kej was nominated for a Cannes Advertising award for his Nike Jingle, and his previous album Shanti Orchestra was nominated for a ZMR Award (New Orleans) and a Hollywood Music and Media Award (LA).

​Combining a keen sense of culture-jumping harmony, melody, and pacing, Kej synthesizes cutting-edge music technology and traditional instruments of both Indian and European origins into his work, both within the new age genre and beyond. He currently runs two state-of-the-art studios in Bangalore, the Raveolution Studios, where much of Winds of Samsara was developed from spark of an idea to finished album.
About Wouter Kellerman
Globe-trotting flutist and composer Wouter Kellerman’s album Two Voices won the 2011 South African Music Award (the nation’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards in the United States) for Best Instrumental Album, reinforcing the artist’s standing as one of his home country’s most innovative musicians. Whether writing intricate instrumental compositions or delighting audiences with a magnetic alchemy of warmth and technical mastery, Kellerman finds his inspiration in the spaces between cultures and countries, genres and disciplines. He thrives on experimenting with the shades, textures, and colors that his flute can bring, pushing the instrument into new planes of creativity.
The last few years have seen Kellerman performing in Berlin, Shanghai, New York, Sydney, and beyond, including an appearance in front of 700-million people as part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Ceremony. Amidst such fun, Kellerman simultaneously channeled his musical and life experiences into collaborations with renowned Indian composer and producer Ricky Kej, often working with his partner digitally, from oceans apart, to sculpt the beautiful musical journey of Winds of Samsara.

Kellerman and GRAMMY-nominated pianist Vincent Lyn will be performing at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall on October 4, 2014.  For more information, visit

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For More Information & Images of Ricky Kej, Wouter Kellerman, and Cover Art
Ron W Roecker
Enfluence Group

June 16, 2014


Amy and her manager Jennifer Cooke had given me the exclusive several months ago to announce a remix album that was in the works.  Because of an incredibly busy touring schedule for her amazing new album "How Mercy Looks from Here," the remix album was put on the back burner! Until today when they announced August 19 will be the day that "IN MOTION: the Remix Album" is finally available!!!

Amy is so excited about this project and so grateful to the powerhouse producers who have come together from Dave Aude to Chris Cox to Tony Moran and more!!

I'm supposed to be getting a review copy soon (cross your fingers) and I'll let you know everything then.  However, I do know the track listing -- it's refreshing to know that they really dug into her amazing catalog and didn't remix just her  pop hits. Take a look...I've heard a couple of tracks and they are FABULOUS!!

1. That’s What Love Is For (Amy Grant Featuring Chris Cox) Radio Edit
2. Stay For Awhile (Amy Grant Featuring Tony Moran and Warren Rigg) Radio Mix
3. You’re Not Alone (Amy Grant Featuring Guy Scheiman) Radio Edit
4. Every Heartbeat (Amy Grant Featuring Moto Blanco) Radio Edit
5. Better Than A Hallelujah (Amy Grant Featuring Mark Picchiotti) Gospel Radio Edit
6. Love Will Find A Way (Amy Grant Featuring Ralphi Rosario) Big Room Radio Edit
7. Baby, Baby (Amy Grant Featuring Dave Aude) Radio Edit
8. Say Once More (Amy Grant Featuring Hex Hector) Radio Edit
9. Out In The Open (Amy Grant Featuring 7th Heaven) Radio Edit **Digital version bonus track
10. BONUS MIX: Stay For A While (Amy Grant Featuring Tony Moran) DESTINATION Mixshow Edit
11. BONUS MIX: Mega Mix (Amy Grant Featuring DJ Andy 7th Heaven)

"YouTube Sensations" and Winners of the Voice " Really Famous for 15 Minutes but Then What? By Enfluence Group Chief Brand Navigator Ron Roecker

I think there are going to be bazillions of reality show and online sensations that will get 15 minutes a piece. And with each wave there might be 1-2 who make it (a la Justin Bieber and Lana Del Rey). Why wouldn't all of these artists then make it if they are the toast of the 'Tube? Because there may be 5 million directional signs that say LOOK HERE, but as soon as the people at the front of the line decide to TURN LEFT instead, everyone else is going to follow. People quickly follow on the heels of other people so they can seem/be in perfect step with those perceived to have their fingers on the pulse.  People follow people not signs. So, if you don't want everyone to abandon you as soon as the next sensation pops up , artists have to give fans a reason/a connection to stay tethered to them even when others are consumed by the next shiny object.

Scenario: an unknown artist will be discovered by someone and they tell 3 million friends and then they tell 3 million friends, etc. Before you know it FLASH IN THE PAN -- but the reality is that the New IT artist most likely hasn't had time to truly engage any real numbers of fans let alone the avalanche of fair weathered fans from a social media perspective - there's so much happening around them that they're not thinking - 

"Oh, I need to have a virtual one-on-one relationship with my new fans so when the fanfare dies down, fans will be emotionally engaged with me and won't simply up and leave me for the next hot thing"... these artists are thinking "YES, I'M FINALLY FAMOUS! OMG, LOOK EVERYONE I'M FAMOUS!!" while their new managers are saying yes to anything and everything in sight to capitalize on the 15 mins and no one's paying attention to the 16th minute and beyond.

Artists who had successfully engaged and tethered substantial fan bases before they "made it" include Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Sara Bareilles. I would say Idena Menzel is the most recent example of someone who's built a very loyal fan base and now that she's been catapulted into the Frozensphere she will have an easier time holding on to that spike in fans; and Bette Midler might have been one of the original ones -- establishing ties that have been unbreakable for decades from her bath house-performing days). 

My advice to potential Sensations 1) Don't make it a goal to become a YT sensation; make it a goal to engage as many fans as possible with behind the scenes content, personal anecdotes, and inspirations and avenues through which you create 2-way communications with your fans and potential fans; make your fans ambassadors for your brand. Bottomline: New artists have to engage fans as if they're famous before they're famous or they probably won't stay famous once they get famous!" Ron Roecker, Chief Brand Navigator, Enfluence Group (