features

The Aftershow: BBC editor, special events Guy Freeman

The key to making music work on TV is... “An occasion - it needs a reason. If you just call it music performance then that sounds specialist to a lot of people and something that may not be for them. ...

Hitmakers: DJ/songwriter Jonas Blue reveals the secrets behind Mama

Mama started out in November 2016. I was actually in an Uber in LA when I came up with the title, and when I have an idea I quickly put it in my phone. A few months later I came back to London and went into the studio with a couple of songwriters, Sam Romans and Ed Drewett. We had booked the day just to write a song and see what would happen. They asked me if I had any ideas so I looked through my phone and saw that note, which said, ‘Mama… Could be a cool idea for a song title’. Whenever I start a song I never have any pre-planned musical ideas. Generally, it will be me coming up with something fresh on the day. I loaded up a piano, which is the way I always start my music - it’s never at the computer - and I always focus on the melody first. I had this melody and I knew that it had something about it, so I kept it on loop for a while and then worked on crafting the song with the guys. We pretty much came up with Mama in one day, but it took a second session to complete it because it felt like the drop was lacking. That’s when we put in the secondary hook, ‘Mama, mama, mama, hey’. I always had in mind that it would be William Singe on the vocal. I’d become a massive fan of his YouTube covers and knew he was an amazing talent. He’s Australia-based and I was lucky that I’d had a No.1 with Fast Car over there and could use that as the entry line. I reached out to him on Twitter and said, ‘You have to sing this song, I didn’t envisage it with anyone else in mind, it was only you. Please, please, please can you sing this song?’ Usually, I record everyone in my own studio - I’m quite particular about how things need to sound - but he was in the middle of a 43-date North American tour and had a gig every single day. The good thing was that we had a great demo - Sam and Ed both sang on it - and I just asked William to put his own spin on it. He had a USB mic in his laptop and did the initial demo, which sounded great, but there was an issue with his laptop and we lost it because I only ever got the one initial bounce. He got a new laptop straight away and re-recorded it, and the song you hear today is pretty much him recording it on the tour bus. Mama is basically aimed at a girlfriend or a friend. It can be your mum, your sister, whoever - it’s just that very American way of calling someone. I wanted to create a song about being carefree, just enjoying life and music and not thinking too hard about anything. I made a conscious decision to take Mama down to 104bpm from where I’d been with my previous single, By Your Side, which is around 123bpm, to explore a different kind of sonic. There is definitely an American influence to the verses, but it still has this very danceable drop and big chorus in the breakdown, which is part of my sound. I only put music out if I get that gut feeling that it’s going to be something amazing and impact the world. Mama got off to a little bit of a slow start, but then it caught on and became one of the biggest records of the summer. It was pretty much a projection of my life at that time and I’m so glad it has gone on to do the amazing things it has.Writer’s NotesPublishers: UMPG/Warner/Chappell/Warner-Tamerlane/ Songs Of Roc Nation/Sam Roman MusicWriters: Jonas Blue, Ed Drewett, Sam Romans Release Date: 05/05/17  Record label: Positiva/Virgin EMITotal UK sales (OCC): 914,544 

A kind of Magic: How André Rieu became a cinema box office hit

André Rieu might not be the most obvious leading man on the silver screen, but his box office returns speak for themselves. The Dutch violinist and conductor has set a series of records with screenings of his annual hometown show. The 2017 Maastricht Concert In Cinemas, which coincided with the celebration of “The King Of Waltz’s” 30th year in the Johann Strauss Orchestra, grossed more than £1.44 million over one weekend in July after being broadcast across 586 locations in the UK and Ireland. The concert went on to be screened in 700 more cinemas across Europe, including Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Israel. A second wave of screenings were then held in France, Germany, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, bringing the total of participating cinemas to over 1,500.   “It allows talent to reach audiences in a very effective way,” explains Caspar Nadaud, CEO of production and distribution company Piece Of Magic. “Cinema is where you go to see a feature film - that is the home of the cinema - and we definitely do not intend to compete with that, but more than 100,000 people went to a cinema broadcast of the Maastricht concert this year. “André started with this eight years ago, so he has been a pioneer in the event cinema space. He immediately saw the opportunity and has been building his audience through the years. His fanbase became aware of it and they go back each year. “It has also been a fantastic way for André to connect with the section of his fanbase that can’t go to his concerts.” Rieu previously partnered with event cinema specialist CinemaLive before taking his business in-house with Piece Of Magic, which he founded with his son Pierre and Nadaud earlier this year, to produce the André In Cinemas series. CinemaLive teamed up with Sassy Films and Take That to broadcast the band’s Wonderland concert live from The O2 on June 9 to almost 500 cinemas across the UK, Ireland and selected territories worldwide, grossing almost £1m. Past CinemaLive releases have included Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano, Nirvana: Live At The Paramount, Imagine Dragons: Smoke + Mirrors Live and Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years Of Grateful Dead. “Cinema is part of the puzzle,” says Nadaud. “The cinema release fits into the calendar of the artist really well. We look at touring schedules and TV appearances and make sure that that becomes an integral part of its release pattern. “One of my key responsibilities is to talk with labels, management and the artist to explain how cinema can be a great way to reach your audiences. That’s an ongoing process, but luckily we are seeing more artists embrace it.” Rieu’s Christmas With André 2016 show became the highest-grossing single day music concert of all time when it brought in £1.17m. The figure surpassed his own record of £1.03m, set 12 months earlier. Last year’s show raised £1.6m over two dates, according to ComScore. Piece Of Magic also produced Avicii True Stories, which was released in October and featured the DJ’s final Ibiza performance from 2016. “We can see from the pick-up that we had with Avicii on social media that the younger audience is very interested in this kind of content,” adds Nadaud. “It needs to be a unique event - you can only see it in cinemas so it’s not available anywhere else at the same time. “It’s important that the talent is really behind it and if you have that combination then I think it could be suitable for all artists.”

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