“I always enjoy sharing my end of year music playlist with all of you — and this year we heard a lot of great songs. Here are some of my favorites.” -@BarackObama
Paul Grein caught up with Music Director, Adam Blackstone and Show Director, Hamish Hamilton, to talk about this year’s Super Bowl. Here’s an excerpt…
Blackstone, 40, is Emmy-nominated for outstanding music direction for his work on the halftime show. It’s his third nod – which means he has been nominated for all three of the shows on which he has served as musical director.
Blackstone thinks this year’s halftime show had both universal and specific appeal. “Our world is going through a lot right now,” he says. “People were excited to see people have fun. People were excited to see people interact with one another. We cannot [overlook] the fact that there was something cool about seeing hometown heroes be in L.A. and get to be celebrated as well.
“I was very excited to be a part of history that many kids, and specifically Black and brown kids, can see the potential of where you can go and where you can be. I don’t think when Dre and Snoop were growing up that they even thought there would be an [opportunity] for them to be on that grand stage. I try to be a part of history to give those dreams and aspirations to young kids, my children included.”
When Blackstone is serving as musical director on a show, he tries to put himself in the audience’s shoes. “I approach my musical direction with what would I want to see at a concert. What song do I want to hear? What catalog is the most powerful in the limited amount of time we are given?”
He enjoys the challenge of Super Bowls. “I look forward to [working with] these incredible artists each time. This one was even more special to me because I grew up listening to this music.” […]
View the Full Article at Billboard.com.
As a father of two, how does he stay sane at home? And how the hell does he get any work done? He answered these questions and more, his demeanor always warm, candid and open. Maybe, like me, you’ve watched this 2007 video on repeat, marveling at the stank in the sauce. Maybe you dropped a comment on this one like, “Whatever the bassist did was enough to put me in the grave.” Perhaps you’ve only heard Adam Blackstone’s musical alchemy unconsciously, in a packed stadium or on your own couch, bringing light to a disquieting world.
Check out the full article HERE and his interview below!
This year, Adam Blackstone had one of the more unique challenges in the history of the Super Bowl halftime show. The music director was tasked with designing a setlist for not one but two headliners: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. For his work, Blackstone was just nominated for an Emmy, his second for Best Music Direction. “I was charged with the task to make their condensed time of a show feel like a headlining moment for each of them,” says Blackstone in an exclusive new webchat with Gold Derby. “So I think that was one of the biggest initial mental and creative challenges right off the bat.”
For the full interview, click HERE!!!
Amos Lee is one day away from releasing Spirit – his first studio album in three years – but PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the official music video for his new track, “Vaporize.”
In addition to longtime members of his road-tested band, Lee called upon the talents of drummer Mark Colenburg and bassist Adam Blackstone – the latter a veteran of dates with Jay Z, Justin Timberlake and Al Green. “I really wanted to work with those two guys for a long time, and making records gives you an opportunity.” With his new supercharged rhythm section in place, the musical interplay kicked into high gear. “Some of the arrangements were improvised and some of it was set forth before, but ultimately it was a really organic experience. It just came about listening to what was happening at the time in the room with each other.”
Check out the full interview and video premiere on People.com!!
The city of Cleveland, Ohio is anxiously awaiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annual Music Masters Concert! This year will be in honor of Smokey Robinson with Adam Blackstone as Musical Director!
Check out the full interview HERE!!
Music industry veterans Matt Alonzo and Adam Blackstone have joined the creative and production team of AXS TV’s upcoming SKEE Live as director and live music director, respectively.
SKEE Live, an hourlong weekly music and culture series hosted and curated by DJ Skee, premieres at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on July 30 on AXS TV, which was developed by Mark Cuban to feature live entertainment.
The Hollywood Reporter has the first look at the show’s trailer, above.
Alonzo will set the tone and creative vision for SKEE Live segments including “Up Close,” “Off The Top” and “Spotlight” featuring top athletes and musicians. In addition, Alonzo is leading the overall show creative team to guide the look of the show including set production, graphics and lighting.
Alonzo has directed music videos for the likes of Pitbull, Odd Future, The Game, Far East Movement, Chris Cornell, Ice Cube, New Boyz, Xzibit and Tyrese. His video “Fly Like a G6” for Far East Movement gained international attention when it was nominated for best video at the Japanese MTV Video Music Awards.
Alonzo’s big break came in 2008 when he filmed and edited a Lil Wayne concert that amassed more than 10 million YouTube views.
While SKEE Live promises to bring the latest in music and culture to viewers, it’s also a great opportunity to discover new artists and expand your musical horizons. If you’re inspired by the performances on the show and want to learn how to play music yourself, there are plenty of resources available online. Websites like https://staytunedguitar.com/ offer guitar lessons for beginners and more advanced players alike, as well as tips on music theory, guitar tuning, and more. Whether you’re an aspiring musician or just a fan of great music, SKEE Live is sure to deliver some unforgettable performances and experiences.
Also as live music director, Blackstone will oversee the weekly live performances from the Conga Room in addition to his role as band leader for the SKEE Live house band, Skeetox.
Blackstone most recently served as music director for two of the year’s big tours — Rihanna and Maroon 5 — and is currently in Maryland for the “Legends of the Summer Tour” featuring Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z. He has crafted live shows with artists across all genres, including Demi Lovato, Kanye West, Eminem, Chris Brown and Janet Jackson.
Additionally, Blackstone has toured with John Legend and Pharrell and served as Jay-Z’s musical director and collaborator on various albums and DVDs.
We’ve only seen the Mexico City and Toronto legs of Rihanna’s 777 tour, but for each performance, both the singer and band appeared loose, limber and unafraid to play with the conventional structure of the singer’s biggest hits. According to Adam Blackstone, Rihanna‘s bassist and musical director, that’s exactly the plan. “We’re going to keep it loose this whole week,” Blackstone tells Fuse. “We’re going to go with the flow. We got a couple of surprises up our sleeve. We know what the fans want to hear and there’s so much to choose from that we’re able to dibble and dabble into her catalog. New York will be different than Paris will be different than London.”
Blackstone revealed that the major mechanics of the tour were hatched as late as early October, with setlist construction falling to Rihanna, Blackstone, keyboardist/co-musical director Omar Edwards and Roc Nation President Jay Brown. “My role is to put her hits in a sequence that could relate to the people immediately,” says Blackstone, who’s worked with Kanye West, Jay-Z and Maroon 5. “We’re not doing a long show in relation to a tour or stadium show. We wanted to inspire the people immediately and consistently.” The bassist admitted that paradoxically, Rihanna’s numerous hits—9 No. 1s on the Billboard 100—actually makes it a tougher process to construct the nightly set.
With 200 journalists all clamoring to get near the singer (us included!) to discover the “real” Rihanna away from the cameras and glitz, Blackstone says it’s hiding in plain sight. “She’s exactly the same person away from all of that. It’s very weird that she’s the same, but I think that’s why people connect with her. She’s a very down-to-earth girl; she’s a 24-year-old girl growing into her womanhood and it’s exciting to see the evolution of where she’s come from seven years ago to this world superstar phenomenon. She’s so humble and eager to learn, but she knows what she wants. She’s a boss in her own right.” …CONTINUED
An Excerpt from February 2008 story in The Trentonian,
“And the Grammy Goes to,” by Scott Frost
“…Let’s take you back to 1988. A 6-year-old musical prodigy takes the stage at El Bethel church on Euclid Avenue in Trenton. The son of a popular jazz player around town, Rod Blackstone, the child plays the piano and drums so brilliantly his father takes the kid on the road with him and puts him in sessions with adults.
“He started out on drums when he was 6,” said the elder Blackstone. “Not just banging; he had perfect pitch and perfect rhythm. I knew from the very beginning he was going to be a professional musician. I had to put him in with men, even when he was 6 years old.”
Blackstone said he learned to love music in church first. He didn’t even start playing bass guitar until he reached high school in Willingboro, and only took on that project recreationally because no one else wanted to play the instrument in school.
It looks like he picked the right track. From then on bass became his muse, and right now, he’s considered one of the industry’s top bassists. There’s even a life-size cutout of Blackstone at the Wachovia Center’s Ibanez Guitar presentation, alongside Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Victor Wooten.
His music has taken him to Hollywood with Jay Leno and late-night New York with David Letterman. He’s toured with Jon Legend and Pharell (including a Brazilian Live8 tour in front of 125,000 people) and played bass in Dave Chappelle’s “Block Party” concert movie. Production credits include works with Scott and Joss Stone and as Jay-Z’s musical director and collaborator on the hip-hop mogul’s “Fade to Black” DVD. In fact, Blackstone is seen right there on center stage at a sold-out Madison Square Garden with the New York MC and Beyonce doing their thing for what was supposedly his farewell tour.
Yet, despite all his success, Blackstone sees Sunday as a starting point for him. He laughs when The Trentonian asked if he already dusted off the mantle at the homestead he shares with his wife Kaisha Askins in case he needs room for two golden statues come Monday morning.
“This is an honor and an accomplishment that I’ve dreamt about my whole life. But it’s weird, man. I kind of feel it’s the most validating thing from the musician’s community, however, like I said, this the start of what God has for me to do,” Blackstone said. “There’s tons of music and tons of movies and other types of artistry that people will enjoy, and they don’t win anything. But just to have the buzz around town … that’s what I want to hear.”
And it all started in Trenton.”