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Awaken & Nekokawa News

          AWAKEN & NEKOKAWA NEWS Our interview with:

                          IMANI ZUBEH

Groove, you're looking for groove? The city of Fukuoka, Japan, should be proud to count Mr Imani Zubeh amongst its population: the man knows how to jazz a piano! You can hear Imani on various recordings, like Wendy Moten's, or as a tour member of Cheryl Lynn and Ray Parker Jr's bands. Mr Zubeh recntly released an album on CD Baby: From This Moment On. (review on next Awa-news) Today, lets ask him to tell us his groovy secrets and a litlle bit more about Fukuoka.

-Nice to meet you, Imani. Please use three words to introduce yourself.

-Imani Zubeh: Thank you Gilles, its nice to meet you also. 3 words huh? ummmmmm 1. Independent 2. Perfectionist 3. Studious

-What brought you to become an active musician?

-Imani Zubeh: My Mom truly thought I had talent and suggested that I take it seriously. Plus, its a FUN occupation if you can get work!

-You live in the beautiful city of Fukuoka. How do you feel the Japanese live scene is compared to your home country?

-Imani Zubeh: The live scene in Fukuoka is very active, but the musical genre is not as diverse as Detroit, Michigan where you get the best of everything, from Classical & Jazz to Metal Death, Rap or R&B, etc. 

-On the everyday life part, what do you love or hate specially in Fukuoka?

-Imani Zubeh: Well, I wouldn't say its as cut and dry as "HATE" or "LOVE", but more of a Gray area of the "foreigners blues" sometimes.... where they look at you with that "Bi-ku-ri-shita" look or in English....the look of surprise, that you are there. Fukuoka, even though the largest city in Kyuushu, is still pretty much "i-na-ka" or country in its approach & acceptance of foreigners. Its not like Tokyo where they are used to seeing and interacting with us.... (foreigners)

-Artists often have a special relationship with Japan. Do you feel Fukuoka inspired you in a way that no other place could have done?

-Imani Zubeh: Yes, Japan in general, not just Fukuoka, has taught, inspired & instilled in me, patience.

-Among your work, what is the piece that you think represents you the most, and why?

-Imani Zubeh: I think number 5 on my CD, From This Moment On, because it has elements of classical...(the orchestration), Latin, Jazz and crunch guitar, which I just LOVE!

-Any song you're ashamed of, and why?

-Imani Zubeh: Well, I wouldn't say "ashamed", but maybe just a little anxious to finish my CD and I'm a little sorry that I didn't mix the kick drum a little further down in the mix on the 1st tune on the CD. It just seems a little too loud for me.

-If you had a magic wand, in what band would you play right now?

-Imani Zubeh: "Sixun".... from France.

-What would you say to Awa-news readers who might not know you, to convince them to listen to your albums?

-Imani Zubeh: Whoa! GOOD QUESTION! Well, I think I'd say that I'm a fan of self-expression and creativity and not following the norm, and if there's anyone else out there that likes being original, then you have a kindred spirit in me and maybe not only would you enjoy my music but maybe I'd also enjoy what you do, whether it be musical or not & I think our dialog would be enjoyable and beneficial for both of. And oh, sorry for the "run on" sentence..... ha ha ha

-Do you have a funny, surprising or stunning memory to share with us about playing with Cheryl Lynn?

-Imani Zubeh: Yes, I do. The 1st time I played with Cheryl, I was the only keyboardist and I didn't have much time to rehearse her music before hand because I was on the road with another artist at the time. Anyway, when the band landed, we set up at SIR Studio's in LA to begin rehearsals. I didn't have my gear, and was unfamiliar with what I had to work with. Anyway, to say the least, when she arrived and asked us to play "Got To Be Real, I sounded REALLY BAD. Unfamiliar gear and no rehearsal, you can imagine. Anyway, after a week of rehearsal, the show sounded great, but she was still raggin' on me about the horn sound... KNOWING that I wasn't using that gear on the actual tour, which was the Blue Notes in Japan. Anyway, I tweak and tweak the horns for hours, 'til it was to her liking or she was tired.... ha ha ha   Of course I couldn't say.... "BUT CHERYL, THIS IS NOT THE GEAR THAT I ORDERED FOR THE ACTUAL GIG".... I just had to take it because, that's what being professional is all about... doing what the client asks for. Anyway, we arrived in Tokyo a day before we had to perform and I immediately began editing my sounds on all the keyboards and getting them sounding like the record. Up all night and then went to sound check.... When we hit the first song, she stopped it in the middle, looked at me and said.... WOW, THOSE KEYBOARDS SOUND GREAT! YEAH!!!!! That whole night we really didn't need a light show, 'cause my smile was so big, it light up the whole venue!

-Last but not least, would you openly admit that you are an Awaken fan?

-Imani Zubeh: Even though I am new to "Awaken", I am now and openly admit that I am a fan for life and look forward to being "Awakened" on a regular basis! Thanks so much for a great time Gilles, it was truly enjoyable!

Imani Zubeh Thanks to you Imani, and keep on grooving!


Inner Child Radio Interview:


Hello Music Album Review

Music Feedback Report
From This Moment On
By Imani Zubeh From the Hello Music Screening Team
Prepared on December 29, 2010 © 2010 Hello Music
Feedback Summary
We've listened to your release, and here's what our Screening Team thought.
From This Moment On by Imani Zubeh

Published: October 22, 2010 Feedback Report Created: December 29, 2010
Genre Classification:
Style Classification:
Avant-Garde (Jazz) Contemporary Urban Funk Instrumental (Jazz) Latin Jazz
Smooth Jazz World Fusion
Excellent Qualities:
Vocals - Lead Energy Instruments - Lead Instruments - Rhythm Vocals - Background
Arrangement / Instrumentation Production Quality

Potential Opportunities:
Digital Distribution Industry Education Courses Internet Radio Airplay
Licensing - Placement Licensing - Licensing - Licensing - Licensing - Licensing - Licensing - Marketing Services Promotional Use Touring - Open Mic Touring - Opener for Major Artist
Film Industrial Micro Other TV Web

Detailed Feedback Results This section contains your combined overall results. A total of 2 Screeners listened to your release.
An overall rating of 3.50 stars means this release is above average and stands out compared to most of the music we hear.

Based on this rating, we anticipate being able to provide you with a variety of exciting opportunities.

Based on our listen, the music on this release seems to best fit in this genre:

Based on our listen, the following aspects of this release are outstanding.
Vocals - Lead
Lead vocals are the first thing that most listeners pay attention to, so a great performance is essential. Your lead vocals really grabbed us. We don't tag a lot of releases as having great lead vocals, so this is an excellent strength for you to have.
We thought your track had rousing energy that moved us as listeners. You sound confident in your musical skills and the parts you're playing.
Instruments - Lead
We felt the instrumental leads on this track were tuneful, interesting and well-articulated. There's no overplaying here, and nothing seems to be lacking either. Spot on.

We think your rhythmic elements on this release can hang with the best of them. Tight, clean and interesting playing.
Vocals - Background
Great background vocals can really enrich a melody and song. Yours impressed us.
Above almost everything else, melody is an essential musical quality. Yours jumped out at us. Good melodies don't come easy; you should be proud.
Arrangement / Instrumentation
Having a good arrangement, with the right instrumentation, helps give listeners a better sense of what's happening melodically and harmonically. Your arrangements were just right. Nice job.
Production Quality
All the elements in the mix here sound clear, and they coalesce into a cohesive sound that suits the composition. This is very much its own art form. Nice work.
No Qualities That Need Work - On this release, nothing stood out as needing significant improvement. It's possible that we think you've nailed it - or perhaps we think you still have room to grow, but you just need to continue refining your craft. Either way, keep up the great work.
Our Screeners think that your music would be a good fit for these opportunities:
Digital Distribution
Sure, CDs are great, but you need to make your music available online for fans to buy and download. Digital downloads have grown exponentially in the past few years - and will continue to grow in the next few years. Digital downloads now account for at least 35% of music purchased in the U.S. (up from 20% in 2007). By the end of 2010, digital downloads are expected to grow to 50% of the market (read about it here: Artists at every level can benefit from digital distribution - especially when digital is combined with traditional distribution channels.
Industry Education Courses
The music industry is changing quickly. What worked ten years ago doesn't work today and what works today might not work next year. While we wish artists could focus completely on their art, those who become successful are savvy about the industry. Don't worry - we're not pushing dull theory courses that have no connection to the real world. Our partners offer hands-on courses that teach musicians the nuts and bolts of everything from songwriting and recording to distribution and licensing.
Internet Radio Airplay
We want your songs broadcast to the masses and internet radio is booming. A 2009 study showed that 42 million Americans (17 percent of the country) listen to internet radio in any given week and nearly half of all Americans have ever listened to internet radio. This audience is growing every month and our partners can help get your songs played on various internet radio outlets.
Licensing - Commercial Placement
Build up your audience - 30 seconds at a time. Your music is catchy and would work well in advertisements for products online, and on TV and radio in local, regional and national commercials. We'd like to connect you to our partners to help you place your songs.
Licensing - Film
Your music would make a great addition to a film soundtrack. Being placed in a film soundtrack lets you reach a wider audience of moviegoers who might never have heard of you. In addition, movies may include your track in their soundtrack and they often have large promotional budgets - meaning free marketing for you.

Business doesn't have to be boring. More and more companies are recognizing that music can enhance their websites and spice up their PowerPoint presentations. This emerging field offers another way to generate revenue from your music - and one that many artists are not aware of. We'd like to connect you to our partners to help you tap into this growing market.
Licensing - Micro
Some of our partners are out there making "micro-licensing" deals. These deals typically use music in a limited way; the pay is smaller than licensing for film or TV, but these payments can really add up - and it never hurts to add additional promotion and revenue streams for your music. In addition, these deals offer exposure for you and your music.
Licensing - Other
We are working with partners to license music for other purposes such as for use in video games and toys. We will look for a specific outlet that would be a good match for you.
Licensing - TV
TV shows often have large dedicated followings. TV shows tend to license lots of music - and the viewers of those shows often spend a good amount of money buying music. These days, music supervisors for TV shows are actively looking for music that matches the mood and tone of network and cable shows. We think your music would work great in an episode of a TV series and will work with our partners to try to place your songs.
Licensing - Web
Your music would sound great online! As the web becomes more sophisticated, cool new ways to use music online have emerged - on websites or internet ads for instance. We're working with a variety of partners to license music for web use and we want to help you find the best match for your songs.
Marketing Services
You're amazing and not enough people know it. Your music has the potential to attract a lot of listeners. We'd like to connect you with industry partners who provide marketing services to independent artists so you can spend your time and energy making great music.
Promotional Use
Many artists agree to let companies use their music for free in exchange for promotion. This often has cool perks - such as retailers setting up in-store kiosks to promote your music or giving you freebies (what some people in the music industry call "swag"). While we'd all prefer to be paid, these promotional-use opportunities can bring result in a lot of exposure while someone else picks up all the costs.
Touring - Open Mic
Whether you're a beginner songsmith, an up-and-comer, or a seasoned pro, open mic nights are a great place to test out your material on a savvy audience. At these informal shows, you can test your new material to see how people respond to your songs and performance. Open mics provide an intimate setting where you can connect with fans, meet other talented musicians, and - who knows - maybe even catch the ear of a music business pro.
Touring - Opener for Major Artist
You're ready for more exposure - and one great way to get it is to pair up with a well-known artist as their opener for live shows. Booking agents often look for up-and-coming bands to support major artists. We think this type of tour would help you broaden your fan base. You'd also have the chance to meet successful artists and learn from the pros. In addition, you would meet booking agents and promoters who can see you do what you do best - make great music.
Now that your music has been evaluated by our team, we will work to pair you with some opportunities from our partners. Our Opportunity Alerts will be coming your way soon - we hope you take advantage of them. You can also prequalify for opportunities on your Hello Music dashboard.
Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to listen to your release and for being part of the Hello Music ecosystem. We look forward to hearing more of your music so we can give you feedback on your newest recordings as well as even more amazing opportunities.
Sincerely, Hello Music

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