NASHVILLE MUSIC NEWS – ED HALE ANSWERS 20 QUESTIONS
Singer / songwriter / recording artist Ed Hale‘s latest single “Scene in San Francisco” from his current solo album, Ballad On Third Avenue, quickly climbed atop Billboard’s Top 40 in the Adult Contemporary format reaching #25, making Hale the #1 Most Active Independent Artist eight weeks straight. The song also reached #13 on FMQB’s Adult Contemporary Chart. His alter-ego, the Britpop/Indie-rock outfit Ed Hale and the Transcendence just released their fifth album, the epic rock-opera styled All Your Heroes Become Villains to widespread critical acclaim. It debuted at #16 on the CMJ Most Added Chart and continues to garner new fans on college radio as well as commercial Modern Rock stations.
Hale took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and answer 20 questions.
The latest book or movie that made you cry? A Separation, the Iranian film that came out last year and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. What a magnificent piece of work that was. As was his acceptance speech.
Name a fictional character most like you? Uhhh, just one? Impossible. But off the top of my head… Catcher Block in Down With Love, Cary Grant in Philadelphia Story, Sherlock Holmes as revamped by Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr., Oskar Schindler as played by Liam Neeson in the Spielberg movie. Captain von Trapp in Sound of Music… Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady… It all depends on the mood I’m in I guess.
The greatest album ever? We get this one a lot. And I repeatedly say that it’s an impossible question to answer. But if I had to choose, it would come down to attempting to choose between The Beatles (White Album), Springsteen’s Born to Run, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, Lou Reed’s Transformer, Roxy Music’s first album, Radiohead’s O.K. Computer or Kid A, Jeff Buckley’s Grace, U2?s Achtung Baby… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg really, as anyone will tell you. But how’s that for a start?
Star Trek or Star Wars? Neither. But if forced into it, Star Wars for sure. Preferably the first three and definitely not any of the last three.
Your ideal brain food? Seriously? Well if you really want the secret, go to your local health food store and grab a bottle of Advanced Gingko Smart by Irwin Naturals and skip trying to get smart with food ’cause it aint going to happen. Not as fast as it can with a good smart supplement. But prepare to fly. You need to have something to DO if you take things like that. Your brain starts working at hyper-speed! But from a different angle, Sunday morning news shows turn my brain on, as do seventies Woody Allen films, or Californication. That show, for as vulgar as it is, still has some of the best writing on television. Or anywhere for that matter.
You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why? Depends on what we’re talking about. Career wise? Entering the Billboard Top 40 as an independent artist with no help from a major record label. Or the last Transcendence albums Nothing Is Cohesive or Rise and Shine. I also have a non-fiction book I’ve been working on for the last seven years with a small group of kickass pop-culture geeks that is just about to be released. Major proud of that. But we’re leaving out the big stuff. I think getting to go to Iran as a Civilian Diplomat to discuss peace with their government was a major highlight. Something I will never forget. But more than anything, meeting my wife, discovering that true love really does exist… that it wasn’t just in my imagination, or something I fantasized about, but that it was real. But the catch is that you have to commit. Through that commitment, the other in turn commits and then it really kicks in, in a way that we never really understand until we experience it firsthand. That was something I wanted my whole life but was never sure really existed until I experienced it myself.
You want to be remembered for…? The fact that I never gave up on art, that I stayed committed to the very end no matter how bad it got. And that I loved madly passionately deeply unconditionally uncontrollably and gave it all I had.
Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are? Lao Tsu, Siddhartha The Buddha, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Einstein, Picasso, Jesus of Nazareth, Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, Nikolai Tesla, Malcolm X, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Ram Dass… These are all people with a courage and inner strength that I am still waiting to develop or be gifted with, you know. And then of course there’s Prince and Bowie, Marc Bolan and Donovan and Lou Reed, Roger Waters, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Ray Davies, John Lennon and Paul McCartney and George Harrison… musical inspirations. Hundreds of them.
The creative masterpiece you most wish bore your signature? When I was a kid I would have said The Wall by Pink Floyd. Or The White Album by the Beatles. Or maybe even The Plastic Ono Band album by John Lennon. Now I don’t know. I mean, there are so many. Have you ever seen The Statue of David up close and in person? It’s quite the site. It’s mind boggling really. How someone can become that good at something. Almost anything by the man known as William Shakespeare… forget about it. Or perhaps Apocalypse Now by Coppola… a real masterpiece.
Any hidden talents? None. Absolutely none. I have no rhythm, extremely uncoordinated, not double jointed. Not very good at sports. Just nothing. If I’ve got it, I try not to hide it ’cause I haven’t got much. (laughs)
The best piece of advice you actually followed? My old man gave me a coffee mug when I was sixteen years old that read on one side “Do What You Love” and on the other side it said “Love What You Do”. I used to stare at that thing every day for years and contemplate what it meant and how deeply profound those simple words were… I’m actually quite good at following advice. For being so rebellious. I’m kind of a split personality when it comes to that.
The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed? Who me? Steal? C’mon. My personality! It’s all stolen!
You feel best in Armani, Levis or what? Neither. Jeans suck unless they’re big and baggy and even then… For me, a skirt and a t-shirt. If no skirts allowed, then leather pants. Just something about them. And frankly I don’t care who makes them.
Your dream dinner guest at The Ritz would be? When are we going to The Ritz? (laughs) Oh I don’t know man. Too many to choose just one. And too many to fit in the ballroom there that’s for sure.
Time travel: where, when, and why? Time travel, definitely. Without question. And soon. Within our lifetimes I would wager. Not much of the past in terms of going back to check it out interests me. Because we’ve already been there and done that. Unless we’re talking way back, as in back to the Jurassic Period to be able to see what the earth looked like and to get a real feel for dinosaurs. Or even thirty-thousand years ago to get a tangible feel for what prehistoric humanity looked and acted like. That would be cool. But for me it’s all about our future. I’d love to go forward in time enough to see what other life forms other than humans are like. To be able to communicate with them, and share data with them. To see what kind of technology we come up with. That’s the ultimate trip. Way hipper than going back to like ancient Egypt or “the old West” and all that other shit people fantasize about.
Stress Management: hit-man, a spa vacation, or Prozac? Again, that all depends on what we’re talking about. All of the above! They’re all essential elements of surviving this business.
Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…? Coffee for sure. Though I prefer espresso even more. Vodka, hardly. Not much of an alcohol person. There are other things that do the job much better, as Rufus Wainwright once so elegantly put it, “…and then those things that we don’t mention…” Cigarettes, I quit smoking when I was 25 because I knew that was one of those things you don’t get a second chance with. Smoking fucks your whole life up. IN every way. But God did I love to smoke. Cigars even more. When I’m older and no longer need to run around big stages singing my butt off I’ll return to my love affair with cigars. And chocolate, you know, compared to love and sex… I can take it or leave it. I never crave it. Though Fran’s Grey Sea Salt Caramels in Dark Chocolate… I can eat a whole box of them! Easily.But essential to life stuff is more like, a good connection with the Divine Force in the universe, true love, regular sex and passion in your life, music, loyal friends and family, making the world a better place and the thrill of victory celebrations after winning those small battles when fighting the good fight, things like that. You’re speaking more exogenous and I think we transcend that kind of thing after a while here.
Environ of choice: city or country? And where on the map? Definitely BOTH. Can’t have one without the other. For me personally I mean. In the States, New York is where it’s at. The City. And on the weekends you’re only an hour from upstate where it’s totally secluded and woodsy. Anywhere in the Hudson River Valley area like Woodstock… That’s paradise up there. It’s the best of both worlds. Or even further up like rural Vermont. The Colorado mountains. It’s beautiful out there too. But again, there’s no city like New York City. Just nothing close in the US. Where on the map if not in the United States, that’s easy. Italy. Hands down. Rome, Florence, or Venice. Live in the center of Florence as your primary home. The art and culture that surrounds you there is unparalleled on earth. And then you take the train into Rome when necessary for business and spend your weekends in Venice or on the beach just outside of Venice, or even down in Gaeta or Bari. That’s the life.
What do you want to say to the leader of your country if you could? Without fear of being arrested or worse? Stop threatening, invading, attacking and bombing other countries. Or else stop talking and acting like you’re different than any of the other evil bastards who have ruled nations before you. Talk is cheap. And so is charm. Ever heard of actors? (laughs) So if you’re really “the change guy”, then show us some change. Stop perpetrating the reputation of the United States as being the big bad bullies of the world and start leading through example. God knows we need it now more than ever.
Last but certainly not least, what are you working on now? HAHA! Where do you want to start? Promo’ing the latest single “Scene in San Francisco” is a full time job. The music video for that song is complete and looks amazing! I’ve got a few photo shoots coming up with a new stylist that are very cool and cutting edge. There are three different albums by either me solo or Ed Hale and the Transcendence that have already been recorded but still not released that we are working on getting out to the fans sometime soon along with the new Ex Norwegian album called House Music. That’s all very exciting. In the background of all that of course I am still in the studio almost daily recording three new albums, all very different from each other… that’s the most challenging aspect of the career, fitting everything in. Mixing the creative with the business. Wearing all the different hats. And you know, more than anything perhaps, I’m most excited about doing the tour this year and playing live with the guys. Can’t wait to get up on stage again.
ED HALE “SCENE IN SAN FRANCISCO” DEBUTS IN THE AC TOP 40 — #1 R&R NEW & MOST ACTIVE SONG OF THE WEEK
In less than four weeks from its debut, Ed Hale’s latest single “Scene in San Francisco” blasted into the Adult Contemporary Top 40 this week landing at #33 (as measured by Mediabase) earning both #1 A/C New & Active Song of the Week (most active new songs on chart) and #1 Most Active New A/C Independent Artist (BDS/R&R/Mediabase). The song tied for the #4 spot on the Most Added Chart and picked up Sirius XM satellite radio station The Blend for rotation.
This is Hale’s third single from his latest solo album Ballad On Third Avenue. (Dying Van Gogh Records) The album’s second single, “New Orleans Dreams“, peaked at #10 and is still in heavy rotation on the AC Top 100. Hale is also enjoying widespread critical acclaim for the new Ed Hale and The Transcendence album All Your Heroes Become Villains, a heavier Brit-pop/modern rock-opera collage created with his long time bandmates in the group formally known as Transcendence.
”Scene in San Francisco” was written by Ed Hale and William Sommer. Produced and Engineered by Fernando Perdomo, Executive Produced by Roger Houdaille and Nahal Mishel-Ghashghai, mixed and remixed by Zach Ziskin. The song is being serviced to Adult Contemporary radio by MVP Entertainment and South Beach Marketing and Promotion, to Triple A radio by FMQB and Marathon Music, and to College Radio by The Syndicate.
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GET READY TO ROCK! INTERVIEW WITH ED HALE
1. What are you currently up to?
a. Currently up to our necks is what we’re up to! Total madness. But a very cool kind. Semi-controlled madness. Just a lot of incredible things happening right now all at the same time. It’s a thrill and a rush for sure. But it also requires extreme focus and attention, which isn’t usually the stuff of artists if you know what I mean… More than anything else I’d say we’re all very excited about the upcoming release of the new Transcendence album All Your Heroes Become Villains. It’s hitting retail and digital stores all over the world as we speak and people are loving it. The concept of the album is resonating with people at this time. One critic called it “The perfect soundtrack to a beautiful apocalypse.” That pretty much sums it up I’d say. So that’s a good thing. Right now t’s making a big splash on College Radio here in the States.
b. Oddly enough, at the same time we’ve got this other thing happening with my last solo album Ballad On Third Avenue which was totally unexpected. The second single “New Orleans Dreams” has been climbing up the Adult Contemporary charts here in the US and spinning in 21 other countries. Including the UK of course. Right now the song is currently #10 in the US. Because of this, there’s a whole new interest in this solo album. We didn’t see this coming. So we’re literally working PR and promo on two totally different albums at once by the same artist. AND trying to book two separate tours to support these two very different albums. It’s insane.
c. We’re doing a ton of press, which is always fun, and at the same time we’re working on the music videos for the “Villains” album. Of course we are also planning the US tour, deciding which cities to hit and which other countries to books some shows in. That’s a daunting task. But obviously well worth it once we’re on that stage. We love performing live. It’s THE rush of all rushes. If that doesn’t sound like enough, we’re also in the studio and just about halfway through recording two new “Ed Hale solo albums”. We’re still attempting to get our minds around what these new albums ARE… what their all about… We recorded about 20 songs so far and we’ve found that about a third of them sound like Adult Contemporary, a third of them sound like a more mellow singer/songwriter vibe, and another third sound more like they belong on a Transcendence album. They’re more alt-rock. It’s weird how we work like that. It confuses some people… but not us. We’re used to it.
d. And of course there’s the mysterious The Great Mistake album that we still haven’t officially released, but it’s been sneaking around the internet for a few years. We just found the master tapes and gave them a listen and they sound incredible. Just over the top raw garage rock but catchy as hell. So now we are all involved in this heated debate as to “when should we release this new-new album?” It obviously doesn’t make sense for us to release it now. And yet it sounds so damn good we want to! Take French band Phoenix and mix it with some Strokes and Vampire Weekend… add some early seventies Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground or Wolf Mother and you get a pretty good idea of what the sound of this new new album sounds like. It’s done. Just needs to be mastered. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I just love it.
ED HALE TEE’S NOW AVAILABLE
We’re super excited to offer these beautiful Ed Hale print tees for sale, and just in time for the holidays!
Also available, are these stylish American Apparel black shirts with “All Your Heroes Become Villains” across the front and Ed Hale and The Transcendence on the back.
“NEW ORLEANS DREAMS” RISES TO #16! NOW RECEIVING NEARLY 1000 SPINS PER WEEK!
You read it right! Ed Hale’s latest single, “New Orleans Dreams”, is now receiving almost 1000 spins per week on over 150 radio stations across the United States, making it the #16 most popular song in America in the Adult Contemporary radio format, according to FMBQ the radio tracking agency. Congratulations to Ed and his band of merry pranksters! Fernando Perdomo, Zach Ziskin, Roger Houdaille, Matthew Sabatella, Greg Byers, Ricardo Mazzi, Bill Sommer, Karen Feldner, DJ Kamran Green, and Cynthia Kivlan.
ED HALE LIVE IN SEATTLE
A new post, courtesy of the Dying Van Gogh Records YouTube, of Ed Hale live in Seattle, Washington last year as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival. Enjoy this very acoustic live performance of “It Feels Too Good” from the Ballad On Third Avenue album.
SINGER ED HALE TAKES HIS “NEW ORLEANS DREAMS” ACROSS THE POND AND BEYOND
Ed Hale‘s latest single “New Orleans Dreams,” which was released this week in the US, is quickly gaining attention in the Adult Contemporary radio world, picking up spins on over two-hundred radio stations coast to coast. The delicate acoustic ballad with the poignant message about Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans has also started picking up airplay in over twenty-one other countries, including far away Australia, New Zealand, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, and Sweden among others. Today it was announced that the song was added to the “New To Q” radio station, a popular national radio station in the UK that is broadcast out of London and associated with the uber hip Q music magazine. The United Kingdom has treated Hale’s latest album more than kind, as his “New Orleans Dreams” are now spinning in all four Countries in the region: Britain, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Hale, who is half English, says that he couldn’t be happier.
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HELLO MY DOVE MUSIC VIDEO
New music video for the song “Hello My Dove” off the Ballad On Third Avenue album.
ED HALE AND CREW BEGIN RECORDING NEW ALBUM — FOLLOW UP TO BALLAD ON THIRD AVENUE
Ed Hale and a handful of his fellow Transcendence members are in the recording studio in New York City this week and have begun work on a new album, the followup to last year’s commercially successful Ballad On Third Avenue. Their band, Ed Hale and the Transcendence, have a new album being released September 6th — the long awaited rock-opera concept album All Your Heroes Become Villains, on Dying Van Gogh Records. This new album the band just started recording will be released as an Ed Hale “solo album”, not to be confused with Ed Hale and the Transcendence. (confused yet?) Ed Hale’s solo albums tend to be quieter, more tame and on the acoustic side, though they usually feature the same roster of musicians he has worked with since first appearing in the public eye in 2002 with his eclectic debut, Rise and Shine.
Although Ballad On Third Avenue is still active and going strong on radio — the second single “New Orleans Dreams” is scheduled to hit Hot AC radio stations all across the US, the UK, and seventeen countries in Europe on August 15th — the band felt that they just might be able to “squeeze in a few weeks in the recording studio to complete a new batch of songs” before promotional and touring efforts begin in earnest for the All Your Heroes album. The “new batch of songs” will most likely be a full length of 10 to 12 songs and follow in the same footsteps sonically as Hale’s last solo effort: stripped down acoustic singer/songwriter whisper-pop. The style was new territory for Hale, who has largely been associated with the “alt-rock” genre over the years. But the new format treated the singer well, fueled by the first single “I Walk Alone” which garnered airplay on over one-hundred Triple A radio stations across the United States, bringing Hale’s music to a whole new legion of listeners and fans.
The new album is tentatively being called Born to Lose, at least as of today, based on the song of the same name. But things can change quickly and dramatically in Hale’s camp as those close to the artist know only too well. The album was originally slated to begin recording on June 1st and was going to have Hale attempting to create a contemporary hit Top 40 album; but the idea was vetoed by Dying Van Gogh Records label mate Roger Houdaille, who is producing the album. “Ed already has enough songs to record ten more Ballad On Third Avenues if he wants to and right now that’s how people relate to him. So I don’t think we should mess with that. I didn’t think it was a good idea for him to jump into a totally different sound again after only one album. Especially now that he is starting to get more attention and momentum. He can do his Top 40 album later,” offered Houdaille with a laugh.
Hale reports that he has been brushing up and learning to play a host of new instruments over the past few months in preparation for the album, including the ukelele, balalaika, mandolin, autoharp, glockenspiel, dulcimer, Persian setaar, a chinese guqin zither (really?!), and the Turkish oud. “If I’m not going to get my shot at recording a Top 40 album right now then at least I want the new album to go in somekind of new direction. I don’t want it to be “Ballad On Third Avenue part two.” So I figured why not try to make something as organic as we can… you know like we’ll use all these traditional stringed instruments from all over the world to mix things up a bit, but still make it sound like a modern record.” “Mixing things up” is certainly territory Hale and company know well. The band’s debut disc Rise and Shine was a world-music meets modern rock fusion that included musical styles from all ends of the earth and back that turned more than a few heads, earning the band two hit singles in the process. The band has continued to change and evolve its sound with each successive release, challenging listeners to keep up with their fervent quest for the new and different. The rapid and prolific pace at which the band records and releases albums on that quest culminated in what many believe is their best album to date, 2005′s Nothing Is Cohesive.
But that was over five years ago. Since that album’s release, Hale or “the band” have recorded four more albums, two of which have yet to be released: All Your Heroes Become Villains, scheduled for release in September of this year, and The Great Mistake, scheduled to be released in January 2012. In the meantime fans can look forward to what awaits on this new new album. Hale and his merry men of Transcendence plan on staying in New York for most of the summer or until they finish the project. No release date is set yet.
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