Entertainment behind the scenes
Regina Spektor apparently inspires a special kind of devotion from her fans.
The Russian-born singer-songwriter performed last night before a raucous, adoring audience at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles that sang along, word-for-word, with her quirky piano songs for most of the 90-minute show.
At rare quiet moments, both boys and girls in the standing-room-only throng shouted their love for the charismatic Spektor — with at least three proposing marriage.
This writer, who attended the show with his wife, managed to restrain himself.
But one young man with a shaved head, standing only about 20 feet from Spektor’s piano on the stage, cupped his hands to his mouth to holler his full name and desire to marry her. Later, he bellowed to the singer: “I want to have your babies!”
A beaming, ebullient Spektor clearly enjoyed the lively crowd as she threw herself into energetic versions of songs from her latest album, “Far,” as well as 2006′s commercial breakthrough “Begin to Hope” and 2004′s “Soviet Kitsch.”
(Corrects name of Heart album to Jupiters Darling, in paragraph 9)
Ann and Nancy Wilson, the frontwomen of veteran Seattle rock group Heart, and British musician/producer Jeff Lynne will share the secrets of their success during panel sessions at a music industry convention in Hollywood this week.
They are the top-billed attractions at the fourth annual ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo, which runs April 23-25 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. Other panels will feature such heavy-hitters as Chaka Khan, Natasha Bedingfield, Wyclef Jean and songwriter Billy Steinberg.
The Wilson sisters will also receive the Founders Awards during ASCAP’s 26th annual Pop Awards dinner at the venue on Wednesday. The black-tie dinner honors the writers and publishers of the year’s most-played compositions represented by ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).
“Being honored as songwriters is really important to us,” Nancy Wilson told Reuters. “We usually get passed over on a lot of lists … I’m not sure why.”
“When you consider all the incredible songs that have been written, you never feel worthy enough as a writer. Being a fan of great writing, you’re always, “Oh my god, but I’m not Bob Dylan!” If we do some little version of spirit-lifting for people with our songs then we’ve done a good job.”
Heart — with Nancy on guitar and Ann on vocals — broke through in the 1970s with such eventual classic-rock staples as “Barracuda,” “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man.” They enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s with ballads from outside writers, such as “These Dreams” and “What About Love?”
These days Heart are reaching a younger demographic thanks to Guitar Hero and “American Idol”
“We still get compensated for the work,” Wilson said. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving if songs keep on rolling. The catalog of course has done pretty well overall, which is kinda surprising in the climate of today’s nonmusic business.”
In between lucrative casino gigs and co-headlining tours with Journey, Heart are slowly recording a new album, the follow-up to 2004′s “Jupiters Darling,” and hope to release it in the summer of 2010.
Lynne, the bearded Svengali famed for leading the art-rock band Electric Light Orchestra, is also working on a solo album, which he hopes to release later this year. It would be the follow-up to his first solo outing, 1990′s “Armchair Theatre.”
ASCAP will present him with a lifetime achievement award before he discusses his career during Friday’s session.
He jokingly told Reuters that his pearls of wisdom might include such nuggets as “just do what I do” and “get a good lawyer.”
“You’ve just gotta love it,” he said in a more serious vein. “You can’t really do it unless you love it to bits, and you’d rather be doing it than anything else. I’m still getting thrilled with music even after 40 years of doing it professionally.”
As with Heart, Electric Light Orchestra is experiencing a bit of a resurgence among younger fans, Lynne said. He has just finished producing five tracks at his home studio with singer/songwriter Regina Spektor, and plans to work on some songs with Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh.