The Los Angeles Music Awards (LAMA)

Written by on October 28, 2010 in Live Reviews, October 28, 2010 - 1 Comment

I’m writing today to give you a preview of an upcoming event which I’ll cover in  more detail after it happens but which I feel is big enough to warrant at least two articles. The event is the LA Music Awards and the presentation ceremony scheduled for Nov 18, 2010 at the spectacular Paramount Theater on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood Ca.

The Los Angeles Music Awards

This is an important story for any music publication but is especially important to us blues fans because of the special ‘Producers Choice Award’ going to blues artist  ‘Papa J’ (a.k.a. Jeffery Hudson) for ‘Entertainer of the Year’.

Way to go Papa J! And Shari Puorto, also a So. Cal. blues artist and friend who won this year’s award for ‘Best Blues, Roots, Americana’ ‘Song of the Year’ for her new single titled ‘FREE’. (listen here: Thanks to Papa J and Shari for keeping the blues on the map and in the spotlight!

This is a huge red carpet event produced for the last 20 years by Mr. Al Bowman, (pictured below) chairman and CEO of these organizations:

The Los Angeles Music AwardsLos Angeles Music Awards

Hollywood FAME Awards

Phoenix Music Awards

Al is a big wig in LA (and nationally) and has come a long way since he once chauffeured the stars. It’s a little known fact that ‘Big Al’  a.k.a. ‘Al Bow-man The Limo Man’ made a lot of his industry contacts as a limo driver back in the day, no kidding.  Rubbing elbows with a veritable who’s-who in the entertainment industry, while giving them a ride at the same time has proven to be a preamble to success.  Al has obviously made all the right turns to wind up here, being one of the biggest music awards producers in the country.  His name is synonymous with music awards and he is ultra well known, liked and hugely respected by everyone in the entertainment business, including  his industry peers .

Al learned the ropes of the business from cats like the late Bill Gazzarri, (pictured below) the ‘Godfather’ of Los Angeles rock and founder of ‘Gazzarri’s Crazy Horse West’, one of Hollywood’s best known and most popular music clubs since it opened in Feb 1967 up to its closing in 1993, hosting bands like ‘The Doors’ and  ‘Van Halen’ as house bands.

The Los Angeles Music Awards

Bill passed the torch directly to Big Al before he left us in 1991 at age 66. In March of that year Gazzarri had a long in person conversation with Al just three days before he died. In a heartfelt gesture Gazzarri gave Bowman his trademark white fedora (pictured above) and his wishes that Bowman continue to ‘carry the torch’ for independent artists and dubbed him the ‘Godson’ of LA music  leaving Al with a huge weight to bear and a mission to help promote, produce and propel up and coming indie artists to stardom and beyond. Nine months later Big Al hosted his first awards show and the rest they say…is history.

Al has accomplished the mission many many times over by giving artists who would have otherwise probably remained anonymous if not for his awards, efforts and encouragement.

Artists like (to name names): ‘Sugar Ray’, ‘Dream Theater’, ‘Everclear’, ‘Machine Head’, ‘No Doubt’, ‘Korn’, ‘311’, ‘System of a Down’, ‘Black Eyed Peas’, ‘Hoobastank’, ‘Tia Texada’, ‘Static X’, ‘Bloodline’, ‘Indigenous’, ‘Joe Firstman’, ‘Cirrus’, ‘ZebraHead’, ‘Lit’ and ‘Walter Trout’ to name just some of the many bands and artists who have launched their incredibly huge careers at one of Al’s awards productions.

Many more have Al to thank for their success than I have room to list.  I spoke with Al about the awards and when I asked him what, if one thing he would tell an upstart musician trying to make it in the business?  His answer: “Get a good publicist”.  “Publicity is everything in this business, and anyone who says different hasn’t sold a million records.”   When I asked about all the purists who believe it’s all about the music and think the song will make them stars, he stated: “You see, it’s not all about the music, it’s about how many and which people hear your music…of course you have to have a good song… goes without saying, but to reach any level of fame you have to be popular, and popularity is created by publicity guys “.

The Los Angeles Music Awards

Speaking of publicity guys, I couldn’t tell you about the LA Music Awards without mentioning my pal, Doug Deutsch (Pictured above with LAMA winner Justin Foutz). Doug is one of the top publicity agents in the business today and has a stable of artists spanning nearly every musical genre out there, and his efforts have cast many Los Angeles artists into the limelight including these, who have either been nominated for or won  LAMA’s this year alone:

Blues Gone South – Nominee, “Best Blues, Roots or Americana Artist”
Papa J – Winner, “Producer’s Choice – Entertainer of the Year”
Justin Foutz – Winner, “Country Artist of the Year” ; Nominee, “Country Album of the Year”
LeReverie – Winner, “Producer’s Choice – Breakout Single of the Year”
Eileen Carey – Winner, “Producer’s Choice, Dance Single of the Year”
Michele Vreeland – Nominee, “Female Singer/Songwriter of the Year”
Glenn Patrik – Nominee, “Best Blues, Roots or Americana Artist”
Megan Bobo (of the band) Neverwonder – Nominee, “Female Vocalist of the Year”
Peter Lust Jr. (of the Feisty Piranhas) – Winner, “Rock Drummer of the Year”
Feisty Piranhas – Nominee, “Showcase Artist of the Year”
John Enghauser -Nominee, “Male Singer/Songwriter of the Year;” “Hot AC Single of the Year;” “Male Hot AC Artist of the Year”
Natasha James – Winner, “Producer’s Choice – Country Songwriter of the Year”

Anyone who doubts the importance of having a great publicity agent should just double check this list and then count the unrepresented nominees and winners and let the numbers decide for them.

Being nominated for a LAMA is just about as prestigious as winning the actual award, both Al Bowman and Doug agree on this, Al told me “You earn the nomination and win the award… just being nominated for a LAMA has launched many a career”.

Believe it. I’ve seen some of the artists it’s happened to with my own eyes and can personally attest to the validity of the statement.

In my conversation with Mr. Bowman I asked him how many of the ‘runners up’ go on to reach fame and he told me “All of them… who had the drive and motivation to stick with it.”  He went on “If you’re nominated for one of these awards it means you’re talented enough to make it in the business… if you win the award it means you’re talented enough and have put forth the effort necessary to get the needed exposure… Without both of these things going for you (the artist), you don’t have much chance of breaking out big … there are a lot of really good musicians out there whose careers died on the vine because of poor promotion and lack of publicity”.

I quizzed Al about the award selection process and he explained how every artist has to meet  exactly the same criteria and can expect fair and equal consideration of their material, talent and promotion skills. “For the same entry fee every artist has the same chance to end up on the red carpet. They need talent, a good song, a good recording and great publicity”. And no, Al doesn’t do P.R. work on the side in case you’re wondering.

From the stage of the Whisky at the LAMA voting party,

The Los Angeles Music Awards

Al imparted words of wisdom to the throngs of fans and the musicians they came to support. “Don’t blow your entire budget  making your record, save half for promotion and publicity, otherwise you’ll end up with a great record that nobody will hear”. Any musician serious about success would do well to listen to him, he knows the business and what it takes to make it.  “Not everyone who wins a LAMA will become a superstar but everyone who does can if they want to.”  Free advice from one of the biggest players in the business, and you heard it here first.

The Los Angeles Music Awards

These awards come packing with tremendous credibility, the panel of judges is like a who’s who of music production starting with:

David Kershenbaum.

The Los Angeles Music Awards

(pictured above and below) link to bio:

NOTE: All panel members bio info taken directly from their official websites.:

‘David Kershenbaum is internationally known as a producer, entrepreneur, and A&R man. Kershenbaum’s productions are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of record sales around the world and his touch has aided or rocketed some of the biggest names in the business: Duran Duran, Janet Jackson,Tracy Chapman, Joe Jackson, Bryan Adams, Cat Stevens, Tori Amos, Josh Kadison, and Blessid Union of Souls. As a producer he has earned 75 international gold and platinum albums. His work has yielded multiple Grammys and an Oscar nomination.’

Uschi Wilson:  Director Special Events, Paramount Studios

‘As a well accomplished special events, food and beverage and management professional, Uschi has worked at The Studios at Paramount for nearly 18 years.  She spearheaded the development of the Special Events Department into a venue widely regarded as one of the most creative and innovative for all types of events. Constantly looking for the next creative market, she exemplifies the results-oriented professional and exhibits a keen sense of the client’s goals.  By always keeping their needs in mind, she is able to define the best course of action to create extraordinary events.’

Brian Stewart:  Marketing Exec. Music Connection Magazine

Brian and Music Connection are the largest on-line trade publication on the web.(see photo with Ron Nevison and 2010 LAMA winner Shari Puorto below)

The Los Angeles Music Awards

Diana DeVille:  a.k.a ‘The Rock Goddess’ National Band Mgr. Niji Management Group

Ron Nevison:  (see photo above) Producer/Engineer Multi-Platinum – 100 million sold

Multi-platinum record producer Ron Nevison, throughout his career, has operated much like a surgeon, brought in during a critical point in a band’s career to bring them back to the top from the commercial brink. Whether kick-starting a stalled hit maker like Jefferson Airplane back into flight as Jefferson Starship, or breathing fresh air back into an outdated band’s sound- such as was the case with Heart and Chicago, via seminal 1980s Billboard # 1 ballads like ‘These Dreams’ and ‘Look Away,’ respectively, Nevison has rarely had a patient- metaphorically speaking- that he couldn’t heal with his multi-platinum production touch. Critics first took note of Nevison’s exceptional ear far ahead of many of his pop-rock peers, with one prominent example of the latter being Rolling Stone Magazine’s observation in their 1973 review of “The Who’s” Quadrophenia, which Nevison engineered, that the album had been “magnificently recorded.”..  click the link for full bio.

Robin DiMaggio:  Record Producer, Lopez Tonite Percussionist

wikipedia:  Robin DiMaggio is a drummer/percussionist based out of Los Angeles. He has performed/recorded with a variety of artists including Steve Vai, Paul Simon, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Diana Ross, Dr. Dre, Luther Vandross, Sean Lennon, Johnny Cash, and Chris Isaak as well as sitarist/composer Ravi Shankar. He has also worked as a producer/songwriter and a composer/arranger. He is currently playing drums on Lopez Tonight, hosted by George Lopez.

Here is the complete official list of this years LAMA winners:

  1. Hot Adult Contemporary Single of the Year – Truth On Earth – “Flip Flop from the Top”
  2. Pop Artist – Sarah McMullen
  3. Triple A Artist – Anne Simoni
  4. Rock Artist – The Lost Boys
  5. Hot Adult Contemporary Artist – Alexa James
  6. Country Artist – Justin Foutz
  7. Jazz Artist – Storeytime
  8. Male Vocalist – Kirk Hulshoff of Zombie Shakerbox
  9. Rock Drummer – Peter Lust of Feisty Piranhas
  10. Female Singer / Songwriter(s) – Truth On Earth
  11. Female Vocalist – Juliette Goglia
  12. Pop single – Madisen Hill – “Suga”
  13. Male Singer Songwriter – Gonzalo
  14. Country Single – Hopdown Bilby Band – “ Bad Times”
  15. Record of the Year – Jesse Hiatt – “Choose Your Road”
  16. Country Album – Keaton Scott – “Memories”
  17. Hot Adult Contemporary Album – Sarah Lonsert – “Dreams & Poetry”
  18. Americana, Blues & Roots Single – Shari Puorto – “Free”
  19. Rock Album – Jon Magnificent – “You Won’t Believe This”
  20. Rock Single – Zoe Scott – “Eight Lovers and a One Night Stand”
  21. Americana, Blues & Roots Artist – Patti Rain
  22. Instrumental Artist – Adriano Aponte
  23. Electronica-Dance Artist – Kris Serale
  24. Showcase Artist – Spirit Soul and Friends
  25. International Artist – Lace Bentley – Kingston, Jamaica
  26. Music Video of the Year – The Spectaculars – “Hup Two”

That rounds out the panel of experts, the winners, and the whole scoop on Big Al Bowman and the LA Music Awards.  Next up, the presentation ceremony and full pictorial coverage of the gala event!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I Love LA…Be cool blues fans and…

Thanks for the ride!