News — Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Koza Mostra 0

Koza Mostra

It was just a year after the 6-piece Greek band Koza Mostra were formed that they represented their country performing ‘Alcohol is Free’ at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Malmö, Sweden in 2013.

But founder member, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Ilias Kozas, wasn’t sure about performing in front of tens of thousands of people live and millions watching around the world.

Artist Spotlight: El Amir - A James Bond Guitarist 0

It is indeed a busy time for Amir, we talk just as he starts the second leg of the Hans Zimmer tour, whilst also preparing for the launch of his solo album on February 28th and, he’s just back from recording the flamenco guitar parts for the new James Bond movie “No Time To Die"...

Interview with Snow Owl (Juan Garcia-Herreros) by Lars Mullen 0

Legendary bassist Snow Owl (Juan Garcia-Herreros) talks to Lars Mullen about his experiences on the World of Hans Zimmer tour and his Phoenix bass guitar.

Artist Spotlight: Grant MacLeod - The Munro Bagpiper 0

Grant MacLeod is on a personal quest to climb each and every Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands, play his bagpipes and say a big hello from the top of each and every one of them. I ask Grant how this unique offer started...

Artist Spotlight: Diane Eaton - French Horn Player at the Symphony Orchestra Basel 0

Diane Eaton - French Horn Player at the Symphony OrchestraAmerican born Diane Eaton, a long-standing member and French horn player in the Basel Symphony Orchestra, one of Switzerland’s oldest and innovative orchestras.

“I’ve been with this orchestra now for 33 years”, says Diane “And still enjoy every rehearsal and performance. I was born and raised in Seattle on the west coast of the United States and have acquired my Bachelor's degree in music performance in North Western University, in Chicago, moved to Europe when I was 22 years old and went on to finish my studies in Berlin. Both these cities are known for their music colleges, especially for teaching brass.

Artist Spotlight: Abigail Zachko - impressive, young and talented 1

Abigail ZachkoThere are still many extremely talented young musicians willing to carry the guitar into the future and Abigail Zachko in the USA is one of them.
Abby has only been on the planet a mere 16 years, and already at a level many old school players would love to be at, achievements so far include being hailed as one of the most exciting new guitar players in the industry, a recording artist and runner up in Music Radar’s Young Guitarist Of The Year 2018. Envious? Yes, we are.

Artist Spotlight: Mindi Abair - Saxophonist Extraordinaire 0

Mindi Abair Saxophonist extraordinaireMindi Abair has certainly paid her dues in the studio and on the road as an unforgettable live performance artist. Described as the most recognised and sought after saxophonist, Mindi has played all styles from jazz to r&b to rock, touring and recording with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including, Aerosmith, Duran Duran, Gregg Allman, the Backstreet Boys, Keb Mo, Smokey Robinson and Joe Bonamassa. Her list of awards and ‘best of’ titles are endless and she was the only one surprised when she walked away with 8 awards at the 2018 Independent Blues Awards, which included the well-deserved Artist Of The Year.

Artist Spotlight: Tom Doughty - World Class Lap Steel Guitarist 0

Tom DoughtyTom Doughty and his relationship between mind and body is tempered by a serious motorbike accident in 1974 which left him with a spinal injury and a permanent disability that affected his hands and fingers. He, therefore, approached his instrument with a completely new and individual flavour, because he had to and not out of choice.

“I don’t have a choice,” explains Tom, “There is no choice...

Artist Spotlight: Usama Allati (Music Exceeds Borders) 0

Usama Allati liveWriting the Artist Spotlight feature I get to interview Fusion artists around the planet, how lucky am I? My next Fusion gig bag safari is a return call to the Middle East, Palestine in fact, to interview another incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist, Usama Allati.

We talk about his new project ‘Music Exceeds Borders’, how he grew up on a mixed recipe of classical and flamenco (with a large helping of Western rock) and his love for his ‘monster bass’ he refers to as a ‘spaceship.’

“It’s officially called the Oasis Custom Handmade 9 string Bass, made by Brazilian luthier Mauricio Costa who owns the company MG Bass in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA,” says Usama. “I contacted him in 2017 saying I wanted a bass made to my personal specifications within the tonewoods and hardware. The fingerboard is extra wide to cater for 9 strings which are tuned in 4ths and features a wave design inlaid with wenge, maple and mahogany exotic tonewoods. The 5-piece mahogany/wenge neck is of the straight-through body design, whilst the body itself is constructed from three layers of mahogany capped with imbuia, and it is the one and the only bass of this kind in the Middle East.

Artist Spotlight: Ahmad Hani - World Class Bass Player Against All Odds 0

Ahmad HaniThere are countless, everyday stories about the trials and tribulations that have squashed many an inspiring youngster’s dreams of becoming a musician. The cost of equipment for example, or not enough dedication from other band members, or getting married and not having enough time to commit to rehearsals. However, Ahmad Hani’s story about his road to success is far from every day.

“I was born in Egypt,” says Ahmad, “But my family moved to Dubai when I was just one year old, then when I was eighteen, I moved back to Egypt to attend university. I enjoyed learning other languages and dialects at school within multi-national classes. I made friends with students from the likes of India and Sudan. I loved all the sports, but my heart was in music. We always had music of some kind playing around the house as my mother was and still is a classical pianist and at the time, my Uncle adored The Beatles and we also had two TV channels broadcasting in English and Arabic.

I was just 14 when a friend in my class from Palestine introduced me to Iron Maiden. I loved this band, but at the time didn’t really think it was music and I was a little unsure about playing Iron Maiden loud in the house. In ’97 it was time to look at my future and in my heart, all I wanted was to be a musician, but my father was totally against my wish, he wanted me to study accountancy at university. This was just the start of a very difficult and epic journey for me. I agreed to go to university, but against his wishes, I bought a bass guitar and hid it under my bed. I could only play it unplugged during the night when everyone was asleep.

So far, Ahmad had struggled to play his bass in the dark without an amp and in fear of his father finding out. Pretty hard going you may think?