My good friend and neighbor, Irving passed away on the 19th. Today was his funeral and as expected I was touched by how much he was loved by his family and friends. Today he was called a regular man who took the time to care about people and make the world a happier and better place for anyone he could help. That’s pretty special if you ask me – far from regular. It was good to know you Irving.
I am not very good at pulling pictures together from shows – I wish I had more… but a good friend, Jeff Fullerton was there last night and took these great shots… I thought I would share them. This link should get you to all of the pictures, both of my band and of Max Klau’s band (and yes I was playing keys for Max’s show) … http://www.flickr.com/photos/8587491@N02/
Skope: How does it feel to be chosen as an A2W artist on Skopemag.com? Bill C: I want to thank you guys for choosing me as an A2W artist. Having such a respected industry voice behind my work is a great feeling; self affirming; like the proverbial notch in the belt.
Skope: What have you been working on and promoting recently? Bill C: I released the CD “Bounce” in June and have been performing festivals and clubs in the Northeast US this summer. It has gotten a great response regionally and attracted attention well beyond our Boston base. The band has gotten very tight and I am torn between extending our performance schedule and getting to new material.
Skope: What about your music do you feel sets it apart? Bill C: There is a major crossover of diverse influences in my music. It is generally classified as jazz because each band member has the freedom to creatively interact with each other through the music. But, the grooves are very soul, funk and blues influenced, and working with a multi-percussionist brings various Latin and African influences into play. For example, in “You Know Me” you can hear that Bossa influence as the song travels between modal jazz and bluesy chord progressions. But when you take a step back and listen to the finished product it is a very simple medium tempo ballad that has gotten play on pop and r&b stations. We received a review last year where the writer penned us as “Soul, Funkified Jazz” and I think it hits home pretty well with what I do.
Skope: How did you start creating music and what are your long term plans with your band? Bill C: I started as a sideman performing other peoples music. Initially, I was intrigued when a couple of my friends started to woodshed with the Guitar and Drum sets they got for presents. I started to learn the songs by ear and after a couple of months auditioned for a band that was playing clubs in Troy NY. For A long time I learned everything from the band, picking up songs by ear and rehearsing and performing with some very talented people. It was a powerful education. Long term I hope to keep performing and expanding our tour. I would like to add a horn section eventually. This band started as a duo, piano and percussionist. As a quartet the energy has been great, but I miss the horn section from the bands I performed with in my early days.
Skope: When you are creating music what do you use as inspiration for lyrics & instrumentals? Bill C: Inspiration is everywhere. Life is inspiration. With “Bounce” it seems I have chronicled what’s been going on recently. I am in an incredible relationship and Michelle shows up everywhere in the music. My mother passed away. I lost a job that paid the bills and we struggle with that. My Dad has pulled things back together after becoming a widower. Almost everyone I know is struggling with the economy. There is plenty of inspiration to go around. There is a line in the song “Bounce”, “One thing you’ve got to know before you find yourself tumbling down down… is how to Bounce”. I’ve always felt I was able to bounce and that has come in very handy in the past few years.
Skope: What is the most exciting aspect of being a musician in the digital age? Bill C: The most exciting thing has to be getting an email from someone in Norway or Japan or South Africa saying they heard my music and it meant something to them. That someone takes the time to contact me about a song they heard is great. The “digital age” had made it possible for me to reach people that normally would not have heard my music. And it makes it possible for them to get back to me.
Skope: What can we look forward to that our readers should know about? Bill C: There is more music in the works. I prefer to perform the material live before recording it. It’s part of the process of letting the band interact and pull the songs together. That’s where the jazz influence comes in. I get to hear everyone’s approach to the song and it evolves to a different level.
A friend of mine who manages a newsletter aksed me this question: How do l focus on becoming successful? The question took me back a bit but here was my reply…
That’s a tough question because I do not think I have achieved success. I do honor the journey though and realize that I have made some “wins” recently that can be put in the “things I wanted to achieve” category. I do have ambitions and would be a fraud to deny that my hope is that bigger things are yet to come. But at the end of the day I am a performing musician working for the pay, a song writer striving for recognition and a musician that understands his limitations and shortcomings enough to work on them every day.
At this point in my career I believe that having an audience to listen is success. That’s my gauge. If I walk out the door and get my band and gear to a show, the reward is that there is an audience – people listening and appreciating what I have to offer – what I say and what I play. When the audience goes away so will I and until then I will do the only thing I really know how to do – and the one thing that my soul tells me I have to do – I will perform. I will look to reach people with my music and make my attempt at touching something in their heart.
So how do I focus on becoming successful? That WAS the question, right. I try to take care of the not so simple task of reaching someone with honesty and integrity, of being true to who I am and who I am not, and shamelessly putting my entire soul on the line – for everyone to judge and consider. And on a more tangible level, I try to identify the small steps I can take every day that will help me be that person I just said I was trying to be. Like for instance, today it included sending an email to a friend and try to honestly answer the question he asked me.
I just received notice today that one of my songs (You Know Me) has just won the honorable mention in the 2009 Billboard Song Writing Contest. I got a nice certificate and letter. It’s a nice validation so thank you to Billboard.
I was recently asked in a radio interview how I came up with the groove for this song; a hard question to answer. My writing is usually done at the keyboard and is as more sub-conscious than analytical thought process. Ideas come to me through my playing and I try to develop them.
Of course the development includes a fair amount of critical through so I think I can answer this question through a post analysis of what I did.
The song is based around the intro, which is a modal pattern (C Dorian) with that ascending bass line. I liked this sound and it reminded me of some of the Jazz coming out of the late 50’s – 60’s, and smattered about in early fusion projects.
This kind of style often creates a very laid back mood but I wanted it to groove so I added those anticipations to the bass. Once I did that, it really took on some life and gave it a hint of Latin rhythm.
That feel set up the verse with a slight Bossa groove. But I still felt that it should have a touch of r&b / soul to feel to it so the traditional IV – I pattern found in many Bossa tunes was supported by the trap set playing a more standard rock ballad style while the percussion and bass laid a little more on the Latin side.
The bass plays a big role in the feel for this song. By over emphasizing that fretless phased sound (thanks Jaco for such a lasting impression) the intro seems to surround and wash over you.
The lyrics were inspired by my wife of course. As I was writing this I thought of how Jobim would use simple imagery to tell his story. I thought of Ipanema and wanted to capture the impact meeting Michelle had on me through that technique.
This all sounds so dry for what I think of as a sweet and somewhat wet song. I hope you enjoy it. Be well.
Then later that week I will be a guest on WEIB FM (106.3) on their morning show. We will be announcing a performance in western MA that WEIB will be hosting.
Just writing all of this stuff out is overwhelming. The response from this CD has been fantastic and I didn’t even mention the coolest thing of all… I am in negotiation with a publicist who has a Canadian artist that wants to record some of my music on his upcoming CD. He is a well known recording artist in Canada who has spent time in the states on Broadway and on some impressive sets in Hollywood. Wish me luck…
Well that’s the update for the past two weeks…. and I can only hope there’s more to come. In the meantime, if you are able to make it to Scullers I want to thank you for taking part in the fun. The show starts at 8:00 so you’ll be home at a reasonable time – unless you want to join us later on Newbury Street for the after party! If you can’t make it you can order a CD or download for your MP3 player at http://www.billchampitto.com/downloads.html. I hope we can catch up real soon. Be well.
I have already had some great things happen with the music from “Bounce” and have blogged about some of it. Well, here’s some cool news. My Dad listened to the CD and said he liked it. ok, so that may not count much in your book so…
I received a third place from the folks at the Artistic Freedom Collective and AFC RADIO in their songwriter contest. 13 Judges from three different countries and all aspects of the music industry completed the final judging.
I like and believe in my work. Most people can tell whether an artist believes in their performance. And industry people smell that a mile away. So it’s cool to get recognized by people in the industry with a sincere mind set of bringing good music to the front.
But what really gets me jazzed is when I hear from someone who randomly decides to send me an email to say how much they liked one of my songs. Thanks for your support.
Oh, about the contest. I will be featured on their station for the month along with the first and second place song writers. AFC Broadcasts 24/7 via streaming programs and has live shows throughout the week. More information on the afc can be found at www.afcollective.com
I am so excited about winning this category at the Independant Music Awards. Rigamaroll is always so much fun to perform because of its high energy and open “jam” format that gives the band a chance to let it out. There’s a new studio version on my new CD with Nez and Marcus trading fours, Keith taking a solo and kicking off a doubletime swing piano solo… we had fun and did this song in one take.
I am really hoping to see everyone at the CD release party on May 12. The line up will include me on both keyboards and that beautiful grand piano, Keith on bass, Ricardo Monzon on percussion and Nez on Drums. We may have one or two surprises up our sleeves as well.
I just finished up tracking some of the songs for the new CD. I’m running out of time (and out of money) to meet the publisher’s deadline – but working hard to get done.
So far I have Silently She Calls My Name, Bounce and One Day mixed. I think we’re in good shape with just a few more tweaks. A Better Way, Can You Tell Me and A Strange Place are tracked. A Better Way has changed a lot from the first mix (the early release) with a new vocals, bass and organ.
So here’s a quick run down of some of the songs.
Silently She Calls My Name: It was written with a kind of Latin Rock groove to it featuring some incredible percussion work by Ricardo Monzon and drummer Andrew (Nez) Nesbitt, as well as some intricate B3 work.It uses imagery that reflects how you can be mesmerized and enthralled without a word being spoken.
Bounce: is jazzed funk – and the song literally bounces thanks to a simple and catchy keyboard hook lifted by a solid rhythm section performance from bassist Keith Kirkpatrick, Ricardo and Nez.The lyric speaks to the importance of being able to “bounce” when dealing with hard times, job loss, financial and other social pressures.While this does apply to my own life, I see this as a recurring theme for many people I know and meet.
One Day: Another reflection on the impact on people of the current economic situation, the song reminds you to keep focusing on what’s really important in your life – the people you love.This light 12/8 groove and modal flavor conjures up some old Steely Dan ghosts with an updated beat.
I hope this post finds you well. Things have been heating up with the new CD in the works. I’ve recently been notified by Billboard Magazine who is considering two of my songs for recognition in their 2009 awards.
There two very simple ways for you to help me out with my career. I have been selected to participate in two competitions that require voting. Please help with the following if at all possible.