I would like to thank the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) organization for asking me to participate in CD Roulette this past Sunday. CD roulette is a competition that allows bands to submit 1 song and have a panel of judges critique and score them. The ultimate goal for bands was to win a slot at either Summerfest or Bastille Days. I have judged beat battles, rap battles and even pencil popping battles, this was my first time judging a song battle. The panel of judges was on point all day as well. Sometimes you walk away from competitions feeling like scoring our outcomes were a bit skewed or like someone didn’t understand what was asked of them in the competition. Every song had a critique period so there was no misconceptions about who won, or why.
The other judges on the event were my good friend Michael Mann, who operates Music Mann Studios in Milwaukee, Jason Klagstad who is the Senior Vice President at K-Nation Entertainment, and Legendary Milwaukee Recording Engineer Ramie Espinoza. I told Ramie he was a Milwaukee legend and he asked me why I would say that? I think that I caught him a bit off guard. I let him know that I was familiar with his history and the sheer volume of records that he had cut in the area, I knew his pedigree. The four of us got along as if we had always known each other and we has a blast of a time at the event! The musical styles were all over the place for the event from Blues to Metal and everything in between. Conspicuously absent from the musical offerings was Rap/Hip-Hop. Unfortunately I have found that to be the case at a lot of events and hope that sooner or later the Hip-Hop community gets on board with these kinds of events. The WAMI has this CD Roulette thing right. We just judge the recording and the best recordings won. You know what else was telling about the best recordings? The bands were polished and professional. You could tell when you looked in their eyes when they won. We listened to the songs anonymously and we didn’t know one band from another as we listened. What I will say about all of the songs we listened to yesterday was that you could feel when the judges were switched on. There were songs that got responses from us that did a lot to offer encouragement and improvements and then there were others that just would light us up and you could here that we enjoyed it in our feedback. Yesterday’s big winner was a band named Milwaukee Soul. They are a blues band that blew me away with their authenticity and great recordings. I thought someone had put a blowfly CD in when I first heard it and it felt like an infusion of fresh life into a genre that time is slowly removing from the landscape of popular culture in America. I am happy to have been asked to judge at the WAMI event and I am looking forward to the next time the WAMI board calls on me for my assistance! Peace, Xilla For more information about Madison Media Institute, visit our website www.mediainstitute.edu