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Featured Artist

Featured Artist – Paul Avgerinos

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Read Below To Find Out What Happened When We Interviewed Paul Avgerinos.
Listen to his Grammy nominated track ‘BHAKTI’ here:

 

Q. What was your first reaction upon hearing the news about your Grammy Nomination?

Well, my first reaction was to cry like a little baby, I was so happy. I was among great company within the category, I go back about 30 years with some of these artists. David Darling played on an album for me in 1994/95 and I know Peter Kater; he released one of my albums in ’98 so its really great to be in this fine group. It’s a great honour to be nominated this year. I have been really active with the whole Grammy process. It feels like the right time for me too.

Q. How would you explain your music to those who may not have heard any of your songs?

I would start off by saying what I do is ambient/new age and it is healing, uplifting and spiritual music. I just take it from there and see how people respond to that. Usually one of those words normally starts the conversation going effectively.

Q. What kind of music do you like listening to?

I listen to a lot of classical music and among other kinds. It just depends on my mood, like anyone. Sometimes I need to wake things up a bit and I put on some pop, rock, R&B even House music. I like all kinds of stuff.

Q. What do you enjoy most about creating music?

I think there are 2 aspects that are wonderful. One is all the peace and joy that you find going though the process. Then of course people’s reactions are great. Such as ‘this is so soothing and uplifting thank you so much for creating this’. So basically the enjoyment and the positive feedback.

How did you get into creating music?

It started mostly with trying to heal and uplift myself. I was trying to further my own spiritual awakening and find a path through music that was fulfilling and up-lifting. As I got better at it, I realised that I could help other people with my music, so it was a natural evolution and a lot of artists start out that way. They start to figure out how to be in this world with music, their emotions and spirit and once it starts to become a way to reach happiness then it expands out to other people and its a blessed process.

Q. To others wanting to create music what advice would you give them?

What I tell all my friends and colleagues, especially younger people, is to ‘find your Bliss’, ‘the heart of your music’ and ‘what is it about music that really lights you up?’. Find particular artists, styles, instruments or ways of doing things and explore them deeply. You will never be disappointed with the results. It’s a sacred process, it really is. It’s like going into a fantastic temple with great powers and blessings available and all you have to do is go in with humility and sincerity and you will be blessed. Of course, combined with that, don’t get frustrated when you do get rejection and disappointment. That’s part of the path and it takes many years to build a career. Think of it as a life’s work.

Q.Have you experienced any difficulties in the music business? if so, what were they and how did you overcome the situation?

I remember I was on a label and I really wanted them to release my next album but they kept saying no and pushing me off. So I kept revising it, thinking: ‘I should make it better and they will accept it’. I was really obsessed with this one label and thought that was where I was supposed to be, but they kept saying ‘No we’re not into it’ and this went on for about 5 years. I was really stuck. Revising the same album over and over and, meanwhile, people were forgetting about me because there’d been 5 years with no album. Finally Peter Kater, god bless him, came along and released the album, ‘Sky Of Grace’, on one of his own labels at the time. That broke the jam and I started getting into the flow again. That’s an example of being distracted and focusing on the wrong thing. Keep doing what you believe in and things will work out one way or another.

Listen to Paul’s Grammy nominated track ‘BHAKTI’ here, you can also find Paul on his:
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Facebook
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Featured Artist – Steve Kornicki

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Q. What made you first start producing music? when did you know you wanted to make a career by creating music?

I have always been fascinated by electronic sounds, thanks to my dad who had an extensive record collection of artists from the 70s. He had music from artists like Mike Oldfield and Synergy ‘Larry Fast’. I was completely fascinated by that kind of music, so I started working with electronic music around 1988, it was then I first began using multilayered textures. At that time we used tape and I produced a number of tracks with layers of electronic sounds and various instruments. I began studying music professionally when I was 13 with the guitar, by the time I was 17 I was composing music for classical chamber ensembles and I knew then that music would be my path and I have loved it ever since.

Q. What have you been working on this year?

Since 2005 I have composed about 300 production music tracks specifically for placements and various media, which is such a large catalogue for a single composer like me. This year I have been focusing specifically on composing music for the concert hall, symphony orchestra and bold string ensembles. We have plans to produce some new production music and I’m working with my brother Kevin Kornicki, who is my personal percussionist and also a composer, so we collaborate and we have some plans for new tracks to begin working on this year and into next year.

Q. What has been your proudest personal achievement throughout your musical career?

I am very fortunate to have had some degree of success with my original music in several areas. Regarding my production music, I lived in Los Angeles for 3 years where I connected with music supervisors, music libraries and I got a placement of my track in the CBS Prime time show, CSI Miami in 2010. That was a pretty big event for me, it was a huge placement and probably one of my biggest achievements.

Q. You have been composing music since 1987, how has the internet and technology helped you as a composer?

The internet has been enormously helpful in a lot of areas. The ability to share and transfer music files to clients and collaborators is probably, for me, the first and biggest advantage of the internet. Most of my music production placements have been negotiated solely by e-mail correspondence, that alone and the speed at which you can deliver music and correspond with contacts is huge. I shared on social media Brian Eno’s 1979 lecture ‘The studio as a compositional tool’ and I think that sums up what today’s modern studio composer is really about. Basically, using the recording studio as tool or musical instrument in itself, creating new sounds. Technology has affected every musician to some degree, even classical musicians. I saw a cellist at a recital who was reading a spooler off an ipad on stage which I thought was really great to see, because much of the time you see classic musicians being very anti-technology. The ability to record and produce in a home studio environment is key. 95% of placements I have had in the media have been composed, mixed and produced by me in my home studio, music notation programmes allow composers to create very high quality scores and parts that you can self-publish as a composer. The last thing I have to say about technology is that the latest sampler is a very important new instrument for me. Much of my production music is created from sounds I record myself, edit and play back in real time from a mini keyboard connected to the music sampler programme. So some of these sounds are actual instruments and others are just objects of a percussive nature. Real life objects like hitting a metal lamppost, tin cans and ceramic glass bowls can get you some really original sound textures. Technology is really important to me.

Q. Throughout TV and Film where would your dream track placement feature?

For me, any placement in a prime time TV show or successful and well distributed motion picture is a good thing. After all, as composers, we want our work to reach the widest possible audience and also benefit from it financially. So, for me, anything like that would be a good thing.

Q. What do you have planned for the future, have you anything exciting you’re working on/coming up?

There is always good stuff on the horizon. As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on new production music with my brother Kevin (a percussionist/composer) and we are exploring a drum and bass type sound where we are going to integrate world percussion with the sample of percussive object sounds that I mentioned earlier. I’m looking forward to a performance of one of my symphonic works that will be played by a professional symphony orchestra here in the U.S. for the concert hall. The piece will be premiered in January 2015. This piece was nationally recognised here by the College Orchestra Directors Association with a citation of excellence. So that’s a big thing for me and that will reach a huge audience and we will have it recorded. It’s a symphonic piece with 70 players so that will be really great.

Q. What tips do you have for music producers on creating music or getting their music heard?

Persistence. There is a lot of rejection and you have to knock on a lot of doors in order to find the right one. Be thankful for the success you do get, persist and don’t dwell on the negatives. If someone is not responding to you that person probably is not right for your music. Remember, a yes is a yes, a no is no and maybe could lead to possibilities.

Featured Artist – Kyven

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IMG_8311_Kyven
Read Below To Find Out What Happened When We Interviewed Kyven
Kyle Ewalt and Steven Shewbrooks.
Listen to ‘Be The One’ from their latest EP!

 

Q. How did Kyven come to be?

Kyle
Steve and I met in college (Berklee in Boston), we became room mates in the second year. Steve was a music synthesis major and I was a music business major and vocalist. As music students do, I recorded a couple of dummy vocals over Steve’s production and thought wait, that actually sounds really good. From that we thought we should really do this, that really started it. We wrote 3 or 4 songs together and we used them for different projects, after college we both independently moved to New York and dove right in. Now we have been writing songs together for 11 years.

Q. What has been your biggest challenge as a duo to date within the music industry?

Steven
When we create music we want to get it out to as many people as possible and want it to be successful. There are a lot of projects we finish and end up waiting, you cannot force radio stations to play stuff. You can try your hardest to get your material out there but things have changed with social media and how everything is done nowadays. When we first started it was all about the physical CD getting it into the right hands, but since then it has become a lot more accessible to get our material out there.

Kyle
I think what is interesting when we were finishing up school was that the record industry was is completely difference from what it is now. The digital evolution has completely changed what it means to be an artist, producer, record label. We had to learn along the way on how to do this, but we feel very lucky to have been featured in as many TV shows and picked up by companies which we have. It’s really tough out there but independent artists can succeed in ways that they couldn’t succeed in the old model.

Q. Throughout your career what are your most memorable moments ?

Steven
For air play I would say, when we were first starting in the placements we would be watching TV, and suddenly our music would be blasted on Jersey shore with our name flash underneath. We thought this is crazy I’d be at home with family and music that I created is now being seen by millions of people. Similarly a lot of stores play our music, being in a mall walking past a store and hearing, thinking ‘is that our music?’. It has happened more than once. So that to me is just amazing as we are able to take something we created and have it be accessible to so many people.

Kyle
For live performance we got the chance to gig quite a lot here in New York. We had a performance about 5 months ago at a place called canal room, a cool downtown space. We went for it, we had backing singers, backing dancers and the sound in the venue was really great so to be able to perform our music was quite thrilling, and fun.

Q. Your new EP was released on the 6th November. What can you tell us about it?

Kyle
The EP is titled ‘For Commercial Use Only’ and the reason for that is Steve and I felt really fortunate that we have been placed in so many stores and television shows. The advertising world is it’s own special format but it’s kind of the holy grail on creating relationships there. We are doubling down on our intent to work with ad agencies, music managers, brand managers and we wanted to be very explicit and say hey guys pay attention this ones for you, and not that they’re totally accessible and relatable for our general audience. But they are inspirational in a way that we wanted to just flex our muscles and say we can do this, we can rival stuff that is on the market right now. We have been in the game long enough, we wanted to make a focus on this and see if it works.

Q. When creating music do you have a set process or designated roles?

Steven
It depends sometimes, I will write a track more lyrical but most often I will create a track with a beat, i’ll come up with some keyboard parts, play in some ideas then send it off to Kyle or send a bunch of tracks. Then ask do you feel any of these? I can sit there and write a bunch of vocals to things that I have but when I send Kyle the instrumental and he comes back with something that is so incredible, I’m like ‘Thank god we didn’t use whatever I was writing for the melody! This is so much stronger, so much better!’.

Kyle
I am a writer for both dance-pop music and theatre. I think in the story line and lyric line. I think you’re under selling yourself, what comes my way is in really good shape. Essentially I can just lay a melody line or vocal line and come up with a concept right on top. Maybe copy and paste or move around the structure if I want to go to a bridge a little earlier. Steve is funny, I can tell by e-mail if he really likes it or not depending on how many capitals there are and if i get a text too. When it comes to reactions between me and Steve we don’t get flustered. We both know our intention is to get the best song so we will just say were not feeling it. ‘That’s ok, cool’ and I will write something new. Its a good relationship; we don’t get offended.

Q. Who would you love collaborate be with?

Kyle
Speaking from a business perspective, I would love to collaborate with Taylor Swift and the reasons are that at the moment she is the queen of pop, she is very open to exploration and trying new styles, she is tall and slender like I am so an stage we would look good performing together. We have collaborated with female vocalist in the past and it does something to round out the sound if my voice is complemented with a female and Steve does really great work in production to balance the two and if there is riffing going off he will let the female voice sore. So that works.

Q. How has social media and the internet impacted on your music career?

Kyle
It made our career. When we first started out it was when MySpace was the social media and through that we were contacted by a distributer who put us up in eastern Europe in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. We had a top 8 dance song in Poland off that. Steve reached out to the DJ Serge Devant, who we ended up collaborating with on 5 or 6 different songs and Serge is very well known worldwide. Him featuring us kicked up our recognition. He was based in New York so he would come over and chat. We did make albums early on but it’s changed over to digital. We have done all our songs online. I looked and 90% of YouTube posts with our music are not posted by us but by our fans. In the comments section it will be who wrote this song, links to Amazon iTunes.

You can find Kyven and their latest EP ‘For Commercial Use Only’ on:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kyvenmusic
Website – http://kyvenmusic.com/

 

Featured Artist – Jim Gaven

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JimGImage2Read Below To Find Out What Happened When We Interviewed Jim Gaven.
Click below to listen to his most popular track ‘Make This Moment Last’.

 

Q. What inspired you to create music and become a singer/songwriter?

At first it was actually Chris Carrabba from Dashboard confessional, he inspired me to be a singer songwriter when I heard his music. I thought wow this is one guy and his guitar, I thought maybe I could do the same thing. But that inspired me to get into music not to be a singer/songwriter, I really wanted to play guitar and my good friend from high school played, so I thought it would be cool to jam with him. I taught myself how to play guitar and discovered I could sing and play which then lead to writing my own lyrics.

Q. For people who have never heard your music before how would describe your sound?


I would say it is a nice blend between the Goo goo dolls, Matchbox 20, John Mayer and Matt Nathanson. Kind of like an acoustic pop/rock fusion.

Q. Your songs aim to uplift and inspire your listeners, which one of your own tracks inspires you the most?

There are two songs of mine that inspire me the most, the first is ‘my life juice’ and the other is ‘locket’. Both songs speak about friends who were in a time of need, even though the theme of the both songs are the same both songs are very different. ‘My life juice’ is about a friend who didn’t want to come out of the closet because he was afraid that people would think of him differently. So I wrote about that whole experience. how he kept a secret which he shouldn’t, but was living in fear. The song locket was a really intense experience I had with a friend who was not in a good place and I wrote a song about, no matter how negatively your feeling think of this song, me and know there are people who care about you. Those song mean a lot to me because they’re about close friends and experiences. I like to take a bad situation and make it positive and hopeful.

Q. What has been the biggest highlight/ achievement or most memorable experience of your music career so far ?

There are a lot but my favourite was singing the national anthem for a professional soccer team last year. The Columbus Crew, they’re part of the ‘MLS’ and I was asked to sing the national anthem. Which was in-front of near 20,000 people, the largest crowd I have ever sang to before. The rush I got from hearing my voice over the loud speaker, over the entire stadium, was amazing.

Q. In Pursuit of F8th was your last album, released last year and inspired by your wife what was it like creating the album and what was the reaction to the album?

I recorded all of it in my home studio, I tried to do a lot of the recording when my wife wasn’t home as most of the songs were about her so I didn’t want her to know. I wanted to surprise her,  a song I wrote directly prior to that album happened to be our wedding song that we danced too. Which was a song I recorded and wrote when she wasn’t home, so it was really tough and was a game of cat and mouse for a while. This album the recording, writing, mixing, mastering and all the instruments, was all me. It was a truly solo effort and I was confident enough in myself to make a solo effort from start to finish and the reaction has been fantastic. The album is on CD Baby and people have been buying it, which is great.

Q. What response did you get from ‘Make this moment last’ which was released in 2010?

I think ‘Make this moment last’ has been my most popular song, it has been used in wedding slideshows, videos and has had a few placements on TV networks. That is the song that has been used quite a bit which is about a relationship way before I met my wife and actually started in 2008, I finally got around to re-writing the second verse as something didn’t seem right to me and I recorded it in 2010.

Q. What are your feelings on the changes within the music industry in terms of digital music increasing in popularity. Which do you prefer CD’s or Digital?

Digital music to me is awesome, you literally have it at your fingertips and the ability to purchase something on your own. I prefer digital now, even though I am from an old school trade of thought. I still use CD’s in my car it wouldn’t be the same without a CD to pop in and to have the physical product, which I hope never dies as it’s like a nostalgic thing like Vinyl have come back over past couple of years. Some musicians and people in the music industry are like why its an out-dated thing, but its a nostalgic thing and its great that there are so many different music platforms. But digital to me is my favourite as it gives the buyer the freedom and choice to choose an album or purchase the single you really want.

Q. What plans do you have for the future?

I am actually recording another home studio album that should be out in the Spring, the hardest thing is finding time to get it done. There is so much going on in my life to allow me to really get it done but I am working on it, I am in the vocal stage so near the end of the whole process aside from mixing and mastering. I am going to call the album ‘Reflections’ which is going to be about me. This past year I have learned a lot about myself, being an adult dealing with certain situations and experiences in terms of maturing and learning about my faults and successes.

Q. Finally, what tips or hints do you have for other music creators?

I would say be true to yourself the best musicians and songwriters have created something that is eternal they have created something that is timeless. Not to follow the crowd and whats popular on the radio but write something from the heart and pave your own way. You don’t have to be on a reality TV show like Americas got talent or the Voice or even go Viral to make a difference with your music.  Try to be original work hard and it will create opportunities that you never really thought were possible.

JimG Image

You can find Jim on:
Website – http://jimgaven.wix.com/music

Hints and Tips – For Music Creators

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office desk
For all music creators
Some hints and tips from our artists

We recently caught up with some of our artists and asked them to give their advice on succeeding in music to aspiring musicians. Here are some snippets from their interviews. Their full conversations will follow shortly so stay tuned.

“Don’t follow trends. If you follow trends you are always going to be a step behind what someone else has already done. Just do what you do in its entirety and hope that eventually the trends find you”.
Mary Jennings

“Stay true to yourself, try to create something eternal. The best songwriters and the best musicians have created something in their music that is timeless. Not to just follow the crowd and whats most popular but write something from the heart. Pave your own way, you don’t have to go viral or be on TV to make a difference with your music. Try to be original, work hard and be persistent. This will create opportunities you may never have really thought were possible”.
Jim Gaven

“The biggest thing for musicians is to not be afraid, make that first step. Be consistent, strong-willed and just do it. Try not to over analyse your music, it leads to negative feedback from yourself and other people when it takes you too long to just release your music. Don’t be afraid to really go for your dreams”.
Don Soledad

“Persistence. There is a lot of rejection and you have to knock on a lot of doors in order to find the right one. Be thankful for the success you do get, persist and don’t dwell on the negatives. If someone is not responding to you that person probably is not the right fit for your music. Remember yes is a yes, no is no and maybe could lead to possibilities”.
Steve Kornicki

“Find your Niche, that could sound like anything. Think about who your music might touch and keep trying until you reach those people”.
Aaron English

Featured Artist – Mary Jennings

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Read Below To Find Out What Happened When We Interviewed Mary Jennings
Her Latest Single ‘Home’ Is Out Today

 

Q. Mary, what have you been up to this year?

Well this year I have been busy working on new music. I moved back from New York to Nashville (Tennessee) about a year and a half ago. Since then I have been doing tons of co-writes, performing a lot of shows and mostly preparing for the release of these new songs.

Q. To someone who has never heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

I would describe my sounds as, well… I am a piano playing, looping, bold, singing female rock pop electronic artist. I often get compared with the storytelling and emotional writing of Joni Mitchell with the the pop influences of an Annie Lennox, the electronic vibe of an Imogen heap and the rock sensibilities of Florence and the Machine. So if you were to fuse all of that together somewhere in there you would find what I do.

Q. You describe music as a source of therapy for yourself. How important has music been in your life?

Music has been incredibly important in my life. From a very young age, my parents were both really into music so I always had music going on in my house. I always found that music got me through the toughest times of my life. It was there for all the wonderful times too but the most important part for me was how music and songs could put worlds and melody to feelings that I had such a hard time describing. Again, from a very young age music helped me get through heartbreaks, through my parents getting divorced, through all kinds of issues it even especially helped during the loss of my mother when I was 18. It really got me through that, so music has always been incredibly important in my life, not just my own but music in general.

Q. What has been your influence/Inspiration for your music?

The main inspiration for my music, pretty much anything that could happen in the daily life of ‘me’ I guess! One of the most powerful influences I have had has been my mom. Being an only child, I primarily grew up with her. She was my best friend and losing her was a really powerful moment in my life… that’s what really inspired me to keep doing music and do it professionally for my whole life. In terms of what I write in a song, it varies, if it’s happened to me I will write about it. It could be something as small as a 30 second exchange between me and a stranger to something as massive as a 20 year long relationship I’ve had with a best-friend. So the emotions vary, the stories vary, but I will just say if its in front of my face I will write about it.

Q. Take it or leave was your last album back in 2012, it had so much power and emotion that made listeners engage in every lyric. What was it like creating ‘Take it or leave’?

‘Take It Or Leave’ was so much fun to create because it was my first ever live album. I had released a full album the previous year with produced songs and things like that and, while that was great and wonderful, to then capture something when its happening right in front of your eyes so you can capture every imperfection and raw moment in a show, tape it and put it out there in the open there is something that’s really vulnerable about that. It’s also really exciting and its kind of like, if you really want to see what I am capable of at the end of the day, ‘Take It Or Leave’ is the album to do it as there are no cheats and no edits. There is just one shot and all of those shows were so much fun in general and the venues were so cool. I have nice memories from playing all those songs.

Q. What song do you have the most fun or like most when performing live, and why?

That is a really hard question because they are all fun for different reasons. They all have a different value in a show. I would say that, if I had to choose one, it would probably be ‘The Darkness’, simply because it is such a lively kind of up-tempo song, when I am performing live the loops are really elaborate so its fun to perform it that way. It’s generally the one that my band mates will really get into because its so, you know, up and all over the place! I tend to get a decent audience response from it as well so its definitely the most fun I would say.

Q. What has been the biggest challenge for yourself as a singer/songwriter?

There are plenty of challenges but one of the biggest is that as a singer/ songwriter you can write songs, anyone can write songs, but when you start getting them out there, out into the world and in front of other people you run the risk of being judged and that’s normal. When your really into your songs and they address your emotions its hard not to take those judgements personally. They are your story and your emotion. Initially my biggest battle was accepting peoples criticisms as, not judgements against me personally, just judgements of the music and that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Now I would say that I have gotten past a lot of that and just figure if somebody can feel it, awesome but if they don’t then that’s okay too. But at this point a lot of the difficulty is breaking through the noise. With the power of the internet there are a lot of opportunities for me as a singer/songwriter but that equally means there are a lot of opportunities for everyone. So, to find your niche, your demographic and your fan base can also be one of the biggest challenges.

Q. What is your ultimate goal within your music career. Has it already happened or are you working towards it?

It is currently happening, it can happen better than it’s happening now but my ultimate goal is nothing crazy. I mostly just want to make a decent living writing and playing music for the rest of my life in what ever capacity that may be. If that’s writing songs for other people, awesome. If that’s placing my songs in TV and Film, fine. If its touring then it doesn’t matter, just as long as I can make a stable living doing the one thing I feel like I know I can do.

Q. What hints or tips do you have for other artists about the music industry or creating music?

I get asked this every once in a while and I say the same thing every time. Don’t follow trends. If you follow trends you are always going to be a step behind what someone else has already done. Just do what you do in its entirety and hope that eventually the trends find you.

Q. Your latest single ‘Home’ has just been released. What is the song about?

‘Home’ was inspired by watching the TV show ‘The Walking Dead’. I am sure there are lots of people out there who watch it, but if they haven’t then I believe it is a show secondarily about zombies and the apocalypse and primarily about human instinct and survival. When I watched the show and I realised that people are kind of just wandering around aimlessly because they’re just trying to stay like zombies, it really started getting me thinking- what is ‘Home’? What makes home for someone? I realised that, well at least in my opinion, ‘Home’ is not a place, ‘Home’ isn’t even things, and I would go as far as to say it isn’t even people. ‘Home’ is a state of mind and a sense of self-awareness. As long as you can survive, you can always recreate that and make it home, because home is up here (taps head).

Q. So you’re back in the studio creating new music is there anything else your fans can expect from you?

Just lots of new music, I mean I haven’t released anything since 2012 and obliviously ‘Home’ is out now but I will be releasing a new single every two months for at least the next year and then release an album. My ultimate goal is to put out new music as frequently as possible.

Home-CD-Cover-Final

You can find Mary on:
Website – www.maryjennings.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/maryjennings
Twitter – www.twitter.com/jenningsmusic

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