On a perfect spring night in lower Manhattan at the world famous Living Room venue, hundreds of hopeful songwriters turned up to be discovered as the next big thing. Just like the “superstar” has shows like American Idol and The X factor, songwriters now have a shot too. The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) held their annual NY Chapter Pitch Session to find the undiscovered gem of a writer in the lower east side of New York. Now in its fourth year, the event gives songwriters a unique chance to have their music heard by A&Rs at various labels. Imagem Music’s President, Rich Stumpf, who runs the annual event, says “the heart of publishing is creative. We can’t forget that.”  With that in mind, this event allows the music business to get back to its core: a great song.

At the first meeting, which took place on April 12th, writers attended to hear briefs for this year’s participating artists as well as hear from creative’s from various publishers. This year’s participants included David Stamm (BMG), David Hoffman (Shapiro Bernstein) and Paris Hill (Universal), who provided valuable insight into the cuts process. Up till May 9, writer’s have had the opportunity to send in songs to be considered Jessie J, Kat Graham, and Celine Dion. The top ten songs are then heard and critiqued by the A&R’s of these projects on May 16th, where the writers and the community will find out if their song is in contention to be a part of one of these hot new albums.

“AIMP pitch events provide an invaluable opportunity for upcoming writers to experience real constructive feedback and make connections,” says Brandon Lowery, who was discovered through this event. Lowery has gone on to write hits such as Gym Class Hero’s “Stereo Hearts.” “It is helpful to the state of your craft because you can observe industry people process the music they hear on a day to day basis and gain insight into making your music more incisive.”

Pete Ganbarg, chief A&R and EVP for Atlantic Records, who has A&R’s popular acts including Daughtry, Kelly Clarkson, Train and Cobra Starship says, “I’m very happy to have been part of the AIMP sessions which are so great in connecting talented young songwriters with the real-world needs of our A&R department.  We definitely were able to meet many promising writers in the process.”

The second session, which takes place at 5:30 on May 16th at the Living Room is open to the public. Come and hear the next generation of songwriters and find out if they make the cut!


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In 1985, Doug Van Pelt photocopied a letter-sized sheets of paper, bound them together, and handed them out in person on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It's all digital now, but, along the way, Van Pelt stirred up quite a few waves, played some seriously heavy music, and made a few friends along the way. Here: A quick look back at the magazine's 35-year history with Van Pelt and new owner, David Stagg.


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My Epic performing their last final show before COVID-19

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My Epic's last full-length album came out in 2013; despite a number of EPs along the way, the band's dedication to their craft, lyrical approach, and unyielding approach to let the music come naturally has made them critical darlings. Now, they're learning to interact and feed a rabid fanbase in between albums and in a new normal.


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Comrades 2020

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The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.


Photo by Quinsey Sablan

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