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BMI’s ‘Who’s Next’ at ‘Writers on the Rise’ Event in N.Y.
2/22/ 2007 — BMI’s New York Writer/Publisher Relations department hosted its first “Who’s Next: Writers on the Rise” event on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the Redeye Grill in Manhattan.
The packed media reception featured Josiah Bell, Dave Katz, Claude Kelly, Lady GaGa, Lanz, Matthew Mayfield, Curtis Richardson, Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik, Brent Smith of Shinedown and Frankie Storm, 11 of BMI’s top up-and-coming songwriters and composers whose work is elevating them within the global music industry and community.
Josiah Bell: Songwriter/producer/engineer; signed first production deal to M2 Entertainment at 14-years-old; produced and wrote six songs for Stellar Award and Grammy-nominated gospel artist Vickie Winans at age 15; produced and wrote two songs for gospel artist Smokie Norful, including the hit single, “Can’t Nobody”; Smokie’s CD went Gold and won a Grammy for Gospel Album of the Year. Josiah is currently working on a solo project.
Dave Katz: Prolific songwriter for bands like Coheed + Cambria, Gym Class Heroes, Boys Like Girls; wrote and produced “Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)” for the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack; worked with Roger Daltry on his 1992 release, Rocks in the Head.
Claude Kelly: Singer/songwriter/vocal arranger for artists like Carl Thomas, Trey Songz, DJ Clue, Ray J, Danity Kane, Brooke Hogan, Frankie J
Lady GaGa: Singer/songwriter and N.Y. native, GaGa was chosen by the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame as one of nine performers in the 2006 New Songwriter’s Showcase, and as result, was signed to a production deal with Sony’s multi-platinum producer, Rob Fusari; since then GaGa has been in the midst of a label and industry frenzy!
Lanz’s: Songwriter/rapper. By 13, Lanz was already making an impression on New York’s underground rap scene, performing at clubs around town. At 16, her razor sharp lyrics and delivery on tough issues caught the attention of Interscope/Geffen/A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine, who signed her. Currently finishing up her debut CD.
Matthew Mayfield: Lead vocalist/guitarist for Moses Mayfield who was writing his own songs by 12. For him, songwriting is about connecting on a personal, emotional level, “dealing with my own demons and other peoples’ demons, vicariously.” Moses Mayfield has opened for Switchfoot, The Fray, My Morning Jacket and will be opening for Pete Yorn in early ’07. Debut release on Columbia set for March 27.
Curtis Richardson: Has written for Jennifer Lopez and LL Cool J (No. 1 hit “All I Have”), Joss Stone, Rihanna, Sharissa. Coming up in ’07, Curtis will be writing with Craig David, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Chaka Khan.
Steven Sater: A multiple threat with projects in theatre, film, music and television. Sater makes his Broadway debut with the book and lyrics to Spring Awakening. His partner, Duncan Sheik, wrote the music to the smash musical, which topped some of 2006’s Ten Best lists from Time Magazine, USA Today, New York Magazine and both critics from Time-Out New York and The New York Times, placing Spring Awakening among the front-runners for this year. In just a matter of weeks, the CD is already No. 3 on the Billboard charts for Cast Albums and Virgin’s No. 1 best seller for Cast Albums.
Duncan Sheik: Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/recording artist who scored for film and the stage; produced Gold records for himself and his peers; year-long ride on the pop charts with “Barely Breathing”; new CD White Limousine. Broadway debut with writing partner Steve Sater of critically acclaimed Spring Awakening, the new musical based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 play about a young person’s sexual awakening.
Brent Smith: Lead singer and songwriter for Atlantic platinum recording artists, Shinedown. Brent currently co-wrote the album cut, “There and Back Again” with RCA chart-topping American Idol finalist Daughtry and is currently co-writing in all genres, including rock, pop and country.
Frankie Storm: Philly-based 24-year-old singer/songwriter currently working with production teams like Stargate, Soul Shock and Karlin and the Underdogs.
Full article at BMI.com
Lanz on tour with Snoop Dogg
8/27/2007 — LANZ, the Voice of Generation Young $ Restless, has landed a spot on Snoop Dogg’s tour to mark her debut into the big leagues.
Winning a tour of this level for a new artist should be unusual. But this is no surprise if you know the tale of Interscope Records’ freshest signing. Forever defying the odds to carve out her own destiny, Lanz was a high school drop out at 14. By 15 she was scrubbing toilets at New York City’s infamous Quad recording studios. By the age of 16 she had made a name for herself on the harsh NY underground rap circuit. Lanz earned respect through her victorious battles and her relentless determination to perform, the determined contender delighting in winning over a hostile crowd. All before she was club legal.
Gaining respect and support early on from A- list producers like 3-6 mafia, cool and dre, focus, stargate, jr rotem ect.. Her sound is edgy and the chilling honoesty of her lyrics make it clear she has taken her turbulant childhood angst and turned it into fuel for her fire. Now, barely 18, with a record deal under her belt and an album slated to drop Feb 12, and an 11-city tour with Snoop Dogg. One thing is for sure.. theres a new fire starter taking the stage. Watch out!
Lanz at her Old Stomping Ground
5/20/2007 — Lanz performed a short set at The Pyramid’s Traning Camp night last Tues (5/15).
Billed as a night with a Bad Girl, Lanz was once again joined on stage by her hype man – and host of Traning Camp – Mental Supreme. Lanz’s fierce performance got a great reaction from the packed club, as did her shout out to her old sparring buddies.
The show was part of filming for Lanz’s EPK, which took her back to the days of interning at Quad Studios and riding the subways alone at 3am.
Lanz in the Studio
10/9/2006 — Lanz is currently in the studio creating her debut album with some of hip hop’s heavyweights.
Over the summer she was in Atlanta recording with Organized noise (Outkast) marrying her east coast flow to the laid back sounds of the dirty south. You can hear the lyrical rapper flawlessly take on the “ATL” swagger on tracks like” Sip it Slow.”
Then onto LA, where Lanz laid down tracks with Oscar-winning team, Three6 Mafia, who also feature on “Swerve,” one of the tracks they produced. (Hear the tracks on the music page)
Her next stop is Miami’s infamous south beach where she’ll be working with hot producing twosome Cool and Dre. Overseeing the album’s development is executive producer Nile Rogers. Watch out for the debut album by Lanz. Coming next Spring!
Lanz Tears Up the Stage at Lollapalooza
8/10/2006 — Lanz tore up the stage at this year’s Lollapalooza. Following her 45-minute set, with hype man Mental Supreme, Lanz spent nearly an hour signing autographs for the Chicago festival-goers. Lanz said: “I felt so alive on stage. The most amazing feeling is to be validated. If I would have just impacted one kid I would have felt success, so it was amazing to see people of all ages taking me in and singing with me.”
See review below by Jack Spilberg – glidemagazine.com
“With a bit of a sparse crowd off to the side on the cool and shady tree-lined BMI stage, female rapper Lanz proceeded to astonish anyone who happened to witness her forty-five minute set. She can accurately be described as “shorty,” petite and only sixteen-years-old, but this female busts out with a surprisingly powerful voice and a lyrical flow worthy of respect. Fresh off signing her first major contract with Interscope Records, Lanz is poised to quickly gain momentum as she joins the ranks of label mates M.I.A., 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, and Eminem. Look out for her debut album due out in Spring 2007.”
Full article at glidemagazine.com
This will be Lanz’s only performance for the next few months as she continues recording record her album with a range of top hip hop producers including Three 6 Mafia, Stargate and Organized Noize.
*Photos above by Scott Newton
5/1/2006 — Lanz will be playing at Lollapalooza this summer. She will perform at Chicago’s Grant Park on a line up that includes acts from Kanye West to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. See http://www.lollapalooza.com for more details
What if a young woman could storm the rap world with a fresh sound and a hard-hitting message? What if her songs were so catchy and thought-provoking they had your feet fighting your brain for dominance? What if she proved the cynics wrong, and created her dream from nothing – her way and against all the odds?
What if becomes a reality when you’re talking about 17-year-old Lanz. The young female rapper is quite simply a force of nature; so powerful and magnetic that all you can do is follow in awe, in the wake of her tough searching lyrics. Lanz has never been about creating chaos without reason or anger without direction. Her petite frame houses a resounding voice – a voice for today’s youth. “Generation Young & Restless”, a phrase Lanz has coined to represent herself and her generation.
“It embodies who I am. I have always lived on the edge of my seat. From an early age I have been moving – and I’ve never stopped since. “
Strong words, backed up with an iron will forged by her rollercoaster childhood and teenage struggles on the streets of New York. Restless is a feeling that Lanz has known since early childhood. Born Alana Michelle Josephs, Lanz, an only child, was six when the home she knew was torn apart by her parents’ acrimonious divorce. The young girl was forced to remain with her father. Shuffling around endlessly, the pair would stay with strangers and host families from New York to Washington to Boston, and everywhere in between.
Separated from her daughter, Lanz’s mother called on all her resources to make a new home for them, at times living in her car to save money. After two heart-breaking years of being away from each other, Lanz and her mother were reunited, the two “best friends” began living together again. But the blissful reunion was soon shattered by the ordeal of her mother’s viciously volatile relationship with a new man. Witnessing his often drug-induced behavior coupled with her father’s absence left a painful mark on the growing girl, which can be heard in the traumatic “Daddy” and the turbulent “Grow Up”.
Searching for strong male role models, the then 11-year-old found them in Hip Hop. She closely identified with the lyrics of rappers like Tupac, Eminem, DMX and Nas, burying herself in this new world, where she finally felt like she belonged. With her headphones ever-present, the words of her icons became the soundtrack to her young life. Inspired by them, Lanz’s childhood poetry progressed into raps, the seeds of which have become the powerfully honest songs of today. Love songs like “Have You Ever” which lays her heart open, raw and bleeding, and “Happy Home”, which will undoubtedly become the anthem of every dispossessed child.
For a while the lunch room became her stage as she spit for an awed crowd, but traditional education was fast becoming an issue for the young and restless teen. Lanz struggled to conform, but by the end of 9 th grade, it became clear her attention and her focus were far beyond the pages of her text books. Feeling trapped and frustrated, Lanz started acting out, desperately trying to make her mother see that she needed to leave school to follow her dreams. After many teary fights and drawn out arguments, and despite intervention by the school, Lanz finally got her way and dropped out.
“Walking home that day after signing my release papers, I felt freedom, but there was also a huge sense of responsibility. I grew up in a second right there.”
Lanz’s journey to the top of the music scene began when she hit local music stores to find producers to collaborate with. But, despite working with some amateur producers in the South Bronx – whose studios consisted of a mic and a mixer in their bedroom – the young teen knew she had to take her efforts to the next level. In 2003, pretending to be 20, a 14-year-old Lanz placed cold calls to the renowned Quad Studios, trying for any kind of unpaid position. Without a high school diploma, she was met with constant and frequent rejection. Undeterred, Lanz presented herself, unannounced, in person to the manager of the midtown NYC studio.
“I told him I would work harder than anyone, put in more hours than anyone. Hell, I’d fucking scrub the floors better than anyone else he could hire.”
Her persuasive argument, so impressed the manager he gave her a job as a lowly intern. Her first task was scrubbing the toilets in the studio. Although it was far from the glamour and success she dreamed of, Lanz was doing it; following her dreams in New York, the home of Hip Hop. A BMI contact, impressed by the youngster, referred her to Club Downtime, which became her entry to the underground rap scene. Through endless nights of grinding away, Lanz quickly made a name for herself, rapping and battling across New York City. Every night of the week she performed at a different club from Pyramid to Speed, The Remote Lounge, Rare – never relenting, never taking no for an answer.
“Getting into the clubs was always an arduous task because I was underage, even with a fake ID, but I knew I had to. This was my life. I’d given up everything for it. I’d wait on lines with 50 to 100 other MCs with the same dream, sign my name on a list and just hope for that one chance to get on stage. When I was turned away at the door, I’d stand outside and spit, drawing in a cipher of other MCs until the club owner would come out to see who attracting all the attention.”
A cap covering her long blond hair, the lyricist would rap with ravenous energy at the audience, at producers, at anyone who would listen, demanding their respect. Any dismissal of this tiny girl soon changed when she opened her mouth. She became accepted on the circuit, her skills and her tenacity admired. The buzz started to build as she began to storm more and more stages. Riding the subways home alone at 2am, Lanz sometimes found herself questioning the many risks she had taken, wondering whether she was being courageous or just naïve.
“I didn’t always know how I was it was going to make it happen or what my next step was and damn, the world felt dark to me sometimes. It was the love of the music that kept me going. I knew failure was not an option.”
Lanz continued recording demos and rapping on the underground scene, where one night, despite being unsigned, she was singled out by DJs from Sirius Satellite Radio for a 30-minute special on her. Lanz’s achievements also included battling to victory at Columbia University. With all the growing interest, and being the instinctive business woman that she is, Lanz knew she needed expert guidance developing her career. So she built a team around her consisting of some of the industry’s most highly regarded professionals. Meanwhile, record label interest grew and Lanz found herself in negotiations with a major label.
While in Los Angeles during negotiations, Lanz heard that her powerful songs had reached the ears of Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine. In an ironic twist to a long-held dream, A&R Mark Williams threw Interscope’s check book into the ring to bid for the then 16-year-old. Lanz had long fantasized about signing to the same label that boasts a superstar roster of Tupac, Eminem and 50 cent among its artists. Being invited to Jimmy Iovine’s house for that first meeting represented the mark of recognition she had fought so hard for.
“As we pulled up to Jimmy’s home, the size of which I’ve never seen before, I remember stepping out of the car and looking up at the stars, thinking “ok God, it’s all in your hands now.”
Lanz signed with Interscope in February 2006 and, after blowing away an unsuspecting crowd at Lollapalooza on the BMI showcase stage, she took her writing skills into the studio to record her debut album. With her hard incisive lyrics and soft catchy melodies, Lanz has attracted collaborations with some of the most respected producers in the business. She has laid down tracks with producers like Three 6 Mafia, Focus, Stargate, JR Rotem, Organized Noize, Emile and Syience.
“When you’re creating waves in uncharted waters there’s always going to be haters who try to sink your float. No matter how many times they try to stop me, I’ve kept right on my beautiful struggle. I’ve felt both the pain and the love so I speak for the kid always pushed on. I show them how to shove back. I’m not just trying to make it, I’m trying to be one of the best to ever do it.”
The message is simple: never underestimate Lanz. She’ll raise the bar and then push herself, and everyone else, higher.
Fittingly one of Lanz’s favorite caps says “UNSTOPPABLE” on the brim, underneath are the words “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL”. The young and restless generation has found its voice – and it’s unstoppable
Full profile at BellyUpAspen.com
Nile Rodgers on Lanz
Below is an excerpt taken from an article with Famed Music legend, Nile Rodgers, speaking about Lanz’s project and the first meeting that made him decide to work on Lanz’s album.
Q: “What are some of the factors that influence your involvement in a project or that make you decide not to take on a project?”
A: There are a number of things. Usually the seal and the credibility of the person who’s recommending the project. Secondly, my own enthusiasm after I become familiar with that work. I can’t work with a person unless I’m a fan. Let’s say it’s a new artist – I have a new artist right now, she’s signed to Interscope.
A: “Is that Lanz?”
Q: Yeah. The first day I met her I became a fan. I was in a studio which was the last place I wanted to be. I was managing a producer, a hip-hop producer, a guy who I love, and I was trying to help him get his life together. I said the greatest thing that ever happened to me was when I was younger. I listened to business people, and they said to me there’s gonna come a day where you’re not gonna be the hot guy. There’s gonna come a day where you’re gonna be sort of passé in the business. He said I could teach you how to be rich your whole life. I was like ‘Wow, really?’. Because all you got to do is be successful for a short period of time, and then do the right investments and set your life up properly and you will never ever have to worry again. He says think about it. He says being a musician is like being a professional athlete, especially being black you only have a certain amount of time. So do it well and do the proper investments and you have earned your life forever. So I tried to help this dude out, and he said, “I’m working with this new artist, help me figure out the deal.” I was like, I don’t wanna be here, and I was falling asleep ‘cause I was up the night before. This little white girl, tiny little Jewish girl from New Jersey walks in the studio, I’m like I definitely don’t wanna be there. And she’s doing hip-hop and she opens her mouth and the most brilliant shit comes out of her mouth. And I’m like, “What was that?” And then she started doing this other rhyme and she had a hook and she was singing, and then she went right from the singing right into the rhyme. There’s a few people who can do that but they don’t, because in hip-hop you’re either a rapper or a singer, and she did it without even dropping a beat. She kept doing it over and over again and it was always spot on, so I developed my own relationship with her. The next thing I know, Jimmy Iovine (Head of Interscope Records) and these guys are signing me up as the executive producer of the record. Go figure.