We have two stars with global travel and music influences this Friday, Ben Jaimen from Germany/Israel/Argentina and Kat McDowell from Japan/New Zealand and many places in between. Both are entering the US music world more or less for the first time (although both have been here before and Ben actually recorded his debut album in LA).
Ben Jaimen is a native of Germany with family in Israel and Argentina, Jaimen moves easily among those and other countries, picking up musical influences while retaining a certain humble cosmopolitan air. Music training in Israel, college in London, summers teaching music to disabled barrio children in Cordoba, he has seen and given a lot for such a young man and it shows in his eyes and his smile So it not surprising that a recent conversation I had in Beverly Hills with Jaimen was punctuated by pretty girls asking for his autograph and hoping for hugs (they got them) and couples who just want to stop by and bask in his reflected glow.
Jaimen has sung in front of huge audiences - 1 million people in Germany, so he has developed a stage presence and a set list that reads well to large crowds. Jaimen’s songwriting, singing and stage presence are exact – rehearsed and developed with hand and arm gestures practiced until their timing and photogeneric quality are perfect. He has reached the point in his career where he has complete control over his craft and his technique. He can assemble and deliver a song or a performance precisely to the blueprint. Not surprising for a man who has sung to a million people at the Brandenburg Gate, written hundreds of songs, and is working with voice coach Ilana Martin (Sean Combs, Patti LaBelle, D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer) and pianist Davy Nathan (Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo, Eric Benet and The X-Factor). How well this will work in the US market which rewards creativity and standout differences remains to be seen, but if he gets it right, I think he will go on to very big things.
Kat McDowell is world traveler by birth. Born in Japan and raised in New Zealand, her mixed heritage has become a source of inspiration for the emotional connection she builds into every song she writes. After years of success in the Japanese market, which included numerous EP's and full length albums, huge concerts, radio and television, she took a chance and stepped outside of her comfort zone by hitting the road. And she wasn't kidding - over 1000 shows, including festivals like Australia's One Movement and stops in countries from Nicaragua to America. Miraculously, she is still standing and still singing!
Kat's hard work has paid off with a built a fan base that loves her authentic and honest songs, her optimism and upbeat stage presence and personality. She also toured Tsunami ravaged towns, bringing music hope and understanding.
Her inspirations are the Foo Fighters and Jason Mraz, so she builds songs around life experience and deep human emotion. Her newest single, "Human," is a case in point. Written after a particularly heated argument, Kat turned on her unending optimism while keeping a delicate, almost indistinguishable, aching hurt just below the surface. She can be musically simple and acoustic or bring in pulsating guitars to infuse an island-style feel, similar to Colbie Caillat's early work, part of her international influences . Her skill with making the complex sound simple, and the simple glorious are legendary, and we are so happy to have her with us this Friday.