Sting Captivates With No-Frills Preview At Tony Awards

Singer/songwriter Sting gave fans a preview of his upcoming album and Broadway play at the 2014 Tony Awards (photo: Huffingtonpost.com)

Singer/songwriter Sting gave fans a preview of his upcoming Broadway play at the 68th Annual Tony Awards (photo: Huffingtonpost.com)

On a night highlighted with spectacular performances and memorable moments, Sting gave audiences a simplistic, no-frills preview of his upcoming Broadway play. Wreathed in a single spotlight and accompanied by a five-piece band and a choir, the beloved musician launched into the song, “The Last Ship,” with a thick Northern English accent and an acoustic guitar.

The play by the same name (The Last Ship) will mark Sting’s debut as a Broadway composer, yet another accomplishment added to his already prolific career. Last year the former Police frontman released a collaborative album which featured songs from the project and included vocals from such contributors as AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and British actor/singer Jimmy Nail.

The Last Ship will make it’s official stage debut tomorrow (June 10th) at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago before making its way to New York and the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway on October 26th.

As avid supporters of the arts, we would love to wish Sting and the entire cast and crew of The Last Ship good luck… but we won’t due to superstition. So, in an attempt to appease the gods of fate I will simply say “break a leg!” 🙂

Karaoke Myth #1 – Karaoke music is cheap and easy to make

Dragon

There are many things about karaoke that are not well-understood by the fine folks that love to sing it, and even more misunderstood by the ones that don’t. In an ongoing series, we’re here to help you sort out the myths from the facts.

Karaoke Myth #1 – Karaoke music is cheap and easy to make.

People who embrace this myth may have been exposed to the worst that karaoke has to offer: the MIDI recording, or the “vocal eliminator”. These two have done more to damage the reputation of karaoke than all the drunks in Singapore.

MIDI and Karaoke

Let’s start with the first disaster: MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and it’s been a fantastic tool for musicians since it was first standardized back in 1983.

One excellent use of MIDI is to use one instrument (say, a keyboard) to trigger “samples” of other instruments, in a way that synthesizes some of the original sound the sampled instrument might have made. This handy trick has allowed many innovative developments in music, and in some cases has become an instrument in its own right.

The trouble with this approach for creating top-notch karaoke is two-fold. First, one must have very high quality samples to work from. If you’re trying to replicate the sound of a string orchestra or  a brass band, you’d better have some terrific samples or you’re going to churn out something akin to the sound of an eighties-era video game.

Continue reading