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Multi-Talented Musician Prem Murti Makes a Song Worthy of Award Nominations and International Recognition

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Never in a million years did I expect that composer/musician Prem Murti and I would cross paths. The Indian-based composer/performer produced the song “Love and Peace” is up for consideration on the Grammy® ballot in “Best Global Music Performance and has won the Best Music Video and Best Experimental Film honors at the Canadian Cinematography Awards (CaCA). It also received multiple Josie Awards nominations — Song: Vocal Event of the Year; World Artist of the Year: Prem Murti of India; Songwriter of the Year: Mike Greenly; Musician of the Year: cellist Tess Remy Schumacher. “Love and Peace” is up for consideration on the Grammy® ballot in “Best Global Music Performance.” There will be a show in Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House on October 22, 2023.

Prem Murti

It’s not that Murti doesn’t already have something of a track record — so to speak. He was part of “Divine Tides” — the 2022 Grammy Award-winning full-length release (“Best New Age Album”) by Stewart Copeland , former drummer of The Police, and Ricky Kej. He did the official Lo-Fi mixes for the album.

But it was thanks to his connection to my friend Mike Greenly that I was turned on to the song, A multifaceted artist — skilled in singing, music composition, production, mixing, engineering, and voice-over artistry — Murti has worked with several notable record labels, such as Saregama, Zee, and Shemaroo as well as collaborating with numerous artists in India and abroad since 2013. Based in Chandigarh, India, Murti gained fame when his rendition of the song “Toofan Ko Aana Hai (Ik Pyar Ka Nagma Hai)” went viral across social media platforms during the pandemic. He also co-arranged and sang lead vocals on “Vande Bharatam” for the Republic Day parade at India Gate as 500 dancers performed to it. With Kej, he made “Salaam” — an anthem dedicated to India’s armed forces.

Though Greenly is gay, he didn’t write the lyrics to “Love and Peace” with Pride or same sex relations specifically in mind. His message was meant to be far more universal than that. But LGBTQ-identified people are reaching some of the highest positions in society now and attaining more cultural relevance. For example, Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Eric Varadkar, came out as gay. (He’s of Indian and Irish descent.) Pride Month has become more visible than ever.

Even with Pride month in the rear mirror now, “Love and Peace” struck me as the perfect song to highlight LGBTQ pride by writing about Prem Murti. Greenly’s lyrics squarely keep the sentiments of that recent month in mind while suggesting loving acceptance of every diverse individual among us.

Recognized for his calming and restorative voice, the youthful Murti performs a vast repertoire of devotional songs, mantras, and other spiritually uplifting compositions. Buoyed by Murti’s beautiful and exotic music, “Love and Peace” has a universal quality that makes the message all the more profound.

T2C: Have you always focused on being a musician?

PM: Yes, it was always my childhood dream to pursue a career in music. Despite not having any musical background, I began a journey of self-teaching. Along the way, my friends and audiences recognized my blessed voice, encouraging me to include a focus on singing. As a result, I’ve found a balance between being a composer-producer and a singer. In the song ‘Love and Peace,’ I not only composed and produced the track but also performed the Shanti (Peace) Mantra section.

T2C: It seems like a unique combo of people. Do you always do such eclectic music?

PM: While producing music, I prefer not to confine myself to any rigid style. Instead, I think of whatever serves the song best. Since ‘Love and Peace’ is about harmony and togetherness beyond any geographical or language barrier, the selection of musicians and singers from different cultures was an obvious choice. For other projects, also, I would go with anything that will make our listeners feel good.

T2C: Are you planning a full album?

PM: While I have a deep appreciation for music albums, as they provide a compilation of songs with a shared flavor, I wanted to take a different approach for ‘Love and Peace.’ Instead of releasing an entire album, I aimed to combine the efforts of 5-6 songs into a single track, with the goal of creating a distinctive and exceptional masterpiece. There are additional factors influencing my preference for singles over albums, one being the shift in how contemporary audiences consume music.

T2C: Have you done music for films?

PM: I would love to, but until now, my focus has primarily been on creating music, doing production and mixing for independent artists. That’s kept me occupied. I’ve also been actively involved in singing and providing voice-overs for various projects. However, I’m always open to new opportunities.

T2C: What was the origin of your “Love and Peace” song?

PM: There are certain topics or ideas that we often don’t have the opportunity to fully explore when we’re focused on creating ‘commercial’ music. Love, in its broader sense … peace, in light of the world’s current climate of hatred and conflict … and spiritual themes and social issues are a few examples. These subjects have always inspired me and I’ve longed to create meaningful art around them. In this particular song, everything came straight from the heart, without adhering to any typical format. The inclusion of the Shanti (Peace) Mantra in Sanskrit was an unconventional choice, but it’s been widely embraced and loved by everyone. Furthermore, Natalie’s addition of some Hawaiian traditional lines beautifully complemented the song and harmonized with its essence.

T2C: I assume you had a musical idea but of all the lyricists, how did Mike Greenly enter your sphere of reality. What did he bring to it that you didn’t find elsewhere?

PM: I and Mike Greenly were in contact via email, sharing our thoughts and philosophies. We both had an interest in collaborating and creating something new together, although the specific topic was not yet clear. When the idea for the ‘Love and Peace’ song emerged, Mike was the first lyricist who came to mind. I believed he possessed the maturity and sensitivity required to write on such a subject. I had trust in him based on his previous works, which I had explored.

When he sent me the first draft of the lyrics, I knew I wouldn’t need to seek out anyone else for this song. I truly loved the lyrics. There were a few lines that I asked him to revise, and he graciously made the changes. Mike is an enthusiastic individual and was always prompt in making adjustments to the lyrics whenever I requested. Consequently, there was no need to search for another lyricist for this particular song.

T2C: Who did the production and how was it done?

PM: I composed and produced the song ‘Love and Peace’. The song is about peace, so I wanted it to sound very ambient and soothing. The selection of instruments like acoustic guitar, flute, cello and violin was done accordingly. However, considering the concept of peace and silence, it was also important to incorporate elements of contrast and dynamics. Just as you can’t fully appreciate light without darkness, I wanted to provide a contrast that would capture the listener’s attention. This is where my singing part came into play, utilizing large drums, electric guitars, heavy orchestration, and thick layered vocals. These elements added a powerful and intense dynamic to the song, creating a striking juxtaposition against the peaceful elements.

T2C: How did you find the musicians you used and what’s their backstories?

PM: Before I started working on this project, I had already established connections with so many musicians and singers through various social media platforms. They loved my musical style and singing and were also willing to collaborate with me in future. When the idea of ‘Love and Peace’ came, Natalie Ai Kamauu was our first choice as a lead singer because of her soothing and peaceful voice which was apt for this song. When it came to the lyrics, we sought out the expertise of Mike Greenly, a highly experienced songwriter who possessed the necessary skills to craft the ideal composition for this particular piece.

Once we had a basic foundation of the song ready, I approached other singers and musicians who seemed suitable for it. Annemarie Picerno has not only provided backing vocals but has also served as a guide throughout the process of releasing the song. Another lovely musician on our team is Tess Remy Schumacher, a talented cellist who, despite being senior to me, has consistently shown tremendous support and enthusiasm. She approaches music with the curiosity and dedication of a lifelong student. An Vedi, as a skilled violin player, and Russ Hewitt, as a talented guitarist, brought an extra dimension to the song.

T2C: You and your team were nominated for various Josie Awards. How did the awards organization hear of you and the song?

PM: ‘Love and Peace’ was my first song with this incredible team of singers and musicians. Receiving recognition at the ‘Josie Awards’ earned their trust. I was absolutely thrilled and honored upon hearing the news of our song and our team being nominated in various categories for the ‘Josie Awards’. It validates all the hard work, dedication, and creativity that went into creating the song.

I’d like to thank my collaborators, especially Annemarie Picerno (vocalist) and An Vedi (violinist), for keeping me informed about the award shows happening around us. Additionally, I actively promote my work through various channels, such as social media, music platforms, and my official website. This helps in gaining visibility. Furthermore, positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations have also played a significant role.

T2C: Given the Pride Month that passed us this summer, did you see the song’s connection to universal love … not just personal love, but the general love that Pride Month embraces?

PM: The song goes beyond personal love and does aim to highlight the concept of universal love. It explores the idea of love that transcends individual relationships and embraces love and acceptance for all people. The song celebrates the notion of love that unites everyone and promotes inclusivity and understanding.

Watch the “Love and Peace” music video here:

Prem Murti’s Website: http://www.premmurti.com

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

Madonna; Jellybean and David Salidor

MADONNA’S BACK — (via Deadline) Madonna is teasing she is back working on her biopic and is titling it Who’s That Girl.

The singer shared a social media post where she is seen with a typewriter and making edits to a movie script.

“I Need A-lot of Bandz to make this………..OKAY. (Story of my life),” she captioned the post on Instagram.

In one of the pictures from the slideshow Madonna teased, you see a line drawn across the title M Untitled. The new title of the biopic is Who’s That Girl, a nod to Madonna’s 1987 film and song of the same name.

The script is noted as being “Rewritten by Madonna and ECW.”

News of Madonna working on her biopic comes almost a year and a half after the project was paused indefinitely. In January 2023, it was reported that the film at Universal Pictures had been scrapped.

Madonna was set to direct the film about her life and career, penning the script with Diablo Cody and Erin Cressida Wilson. Julia Garner had been chosen by the Queen of Pop herself to star in the film after proving to be a standout in a singing and dancing boot camp.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Garner is still attached to star in the film now called Who’s That Girl.

Following the biopic getting put on pause, Madonna suffered a “serious bacterial infection: in June 2023, which made her postpone her Celebration Tour. After recovering from health complications, Madonna embarked on her tour in October 2023 with stops in cities like London, Paris, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, San Francisco, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and many more.

Having lived through Madonna’s hey-day (and survived) I will admit it’s quite the story: From Patrick Hernandez to 610 Broome Street, Jellybean, Shep, PR-man David Salidor, MTV, Mark Kamins, Preston Powell and Seymour Stein and Warren Beatty too, I wonder just how forthcoming she’ll be. To me, the truth is, those early days were simply astounding and do make a terrific story, but that said, they’ve have to be told honestly and a accurately.

Julia Garner would be great, though I wonder again, what exactly was involved in Madonna’s so-called boot camp? Madonna can be, somewhat demanding!

BIDEN OUT — I knew it was a forgone conclusion after that first (and last debate with Trump) but Biden is officially out; with Kamala Harris eyed as the new choice. Biden did, btw, endorse her, though as of this writing she has not been formally nominated.

Topsy-turvy? Yes. More to come? I’m sure. Stay tuned.

Amos Lee

SHORT TAKES — Amos Lee was terrifically impressive on CBS’ Saturday Sessions this weekend. Stellar in fact.

Adrian Niles

Reminded us of Adrian Niles from years ago … After a seemingly endless heat wave in NYC, I heard one of the weather-heads describe the break in the heat as borderline comfortableGuess Who Don’t Sue: What enterprising director had a red-hot doc ready to go on a iconic superstar, but he let his reps go fingering he could do it with his own mojo? He couldn’t and the deal fell through …

Steven J. Immerman

Brad Balfour interviewed Steven J. Immerman on his In Search Of Pleasure Island tome for the Irish Examiner. Check it out here: https://irishexaminerusa.com/wp/?p=29625

We watched Sofia Coppola’s On The Rocks with Bill Murray and Rashida Jones. Coppola’s Lost In Translation (2003) is perhaps my all-time favorite film. This was a different, lighter path, but we definitely give it a thumbs up. Murray, as usual, was terrific …

Katy Perry

I’m a bit bothered by all this media-backlash about Katy Perry and her comeback single “Women’s World.” There were disturbing items about it in both SHOWBIZ 411 (https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/07/19/katy-perrys-new-single-womans-world-fails-to-launch-with-just-3k-sold) and the Daily Mail (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-13635579/Katy-Perry-comeback-music.html); citing everything from Dr. Luke’s involvement to a hideous video for the song. It all seems a bit unwarranted. It may not be “Firework,”  but not totally a disaster. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVIJUH29pjU … And, great quote from Peter Frampton on the passing of Bob Newhart: We were friends and when I took him to lunch, it was the Four Seasons. when he took me to lunch, it was some place else. It was the accountant in him.” Much-missed and thank you Bob! for all the laughs.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Andrew Sandoval; Bob Merlis; Roy Trakin; Roger Grimsby; Bill Beutel; Spike Jonze; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent & Laura Denmark; Susan Storm; Geraldo Rivera; Rosanna Scotto; Paul Mescal; Paul Undersinger; Harrison Jordon; Jordon Gray; Lori Immerman; Vinny Rich; Scott Stark; Don Wardell; Marsha Stern; Billy Smith; Robert Funaro; and CHIP!

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Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes

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Patti Lupone is on a roll. Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes will be released digitally on July 19, and on CD on August 30, from Center Stage Records. Her first new studio album since 2006, the Grammy Award winner’s new double album can be pre-ordered now at Amazon and www.CenterStageRecords.com, and the digital album can be pre-saved at https://orcd.co/lifeinnotes.

Never say never, LuPone also returns to Broadway in The Roommate  this fall. It’s been more than two years since LuPone tweeted “Quite a week on Broadway, seeing my name being bandied about. Gave up my Equity card; no longer part of that circus. Figure it out.”

The three-time Tony Award winner will star opposite none other than Mia Farrow in Jen Silverman’s new play “The Roommate,” directed by Jack O’Brien (“Shucked”). The Roommate will begin previews at the Booth Theatre on 45th Street in late August and then open in mid-September.

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

24 BACK — (Via TV Line) The clock is ticking (again): A movie adaptation of the hit Fox drama 24  is in early development at 20th Century Studios, our sister site Variety reports.

Keifer Sutherland

Brian Grazer, who executive-produced the original series, teased the prospect of a film version in a June interview with MSNBC’s Squawk Box. In a discussion of different legacy IP brands at his production company Imagine Entertainment, Grazer mentioned a 24 movie in the works “that we’re going to do in a very interesting way with Disney and Fox.”

The project is still in the very early stages, though, so there’s no word yet if Keifer Sutherland will return to reprise his role as counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer in the film. Sutherland starred as Bauer during 24′s original run, which aired for eight seasons on Fox beginning in 2001. The real-time thriller became a hit and won a number of awards, including Emmys for best drama series and for Sutherland as best lead actor in a drama. Sutherland returned as Bauer for the limited series 24: Live Another Day, which aired in 2014. Fox also tried a spinoff, 24: Legacy, in 2017 — with Corey Hawkins taking over the lead role — but that was scrapped after a single season.

The way I see if – and, as a longtime fan of both the show and Sutherland – is that if Keifer is not there, it’s not worth doing. Agreed?

Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford


SHORT TAKES — I watched an interview with Kathie Lee Gifford on Today Wednesday and didn’t even recognize her. Check out the clip here: https://www.today.com/health/news/kathie-lee-gifford-hip-surgery-rcna162079 … Great Micky Dolenz interview from the Monterey Country NOW by Dave FariesMicky Dolenz of The Monkees – and much more – still thrives on stage with songs and stories. | Music | montereycountynow.com

Brad Balfour (Film Festival Traveler) interviewed Steven J. Immerman on his In Search Of Pleasure Island tome this week… Home Depot loads in their Halloween-toys and treats this weekend. It may seem a bit early, but October will here before you know it. A PR-source of ours was about to work on a Halloween-movie coming out in September and had a co-promotion event with the store and the movie; then it all fell apart. Seems to me this would have been a superb tie-in … One of the great A&R men of them all Ed Rosneblatt passed this week in LA. From Peter Gabriel to Madonna to Neil Young; Eddie had a hand in it. Take a look at this story from Hits:https://hitsdailydouble.com/news&id=341939&title=EDDIE-ROSENBLATT-1934-2024 

Cameron Crowe

Meryl Streep is set to essay Joni Mitchell in a film by Cameron Crowe. Big news for sure. Crowe’s Almost Famous is a stone-called classic; as is Crowe …

Francis Ford Coppola

This year’s Kennedy Center Honors will be awarded to director Francis Ford Coppola, rock band Grateful Dead, blues and rock singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval and the venue The Apollo. The ceremony will take place on Dec. 8, for broadcast on Dec. 23 …

We haven’t weighed in on Apple +’s Presumed Innocent; the re-working of Scott Turow’s book (in 1987) and movie (in 1990), but the finale is next week and the show’s just been renewed for a second season. Jake Gyllenhaal has been great, as has Bill Camp, but David E. Kelly’s words have been just off the charts. For me, it’s the best Kelly’s done since Big Little Lies. If you haven’t seen this series yet, watch all the 8 episodes. It’s a gift for sure. Stunningly good … Just received: NYC’s legendary West Bank Cafe will close …

Tom Viola (by Tristan Fuge)

After an extraordinary run of 36 years, Broadway Cares’ Tom Viola is leaving. Bravo Tom! … RIP Bob Newhart!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Hoda Kotb; Roseanna Scotto; Ray ‘Pinky’ Velazquez; Jim Burgess; Stephanie Shepherd; Monica Lynch; Robert Dragatta; Len Berman; Brad Balfour; Jim Milliot; Sue Simmons; Cindy Adams; Liz Smith; Claudia Cohen; Neal Travis; Richard Johnson; Howard Smiley; and SADIE!

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Broadway

A Tribute to Tony Award-Winning Composer Steven Lutvak

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NYU Skirball Center will honor the late Tony Award-winning composer Steven Lutvak, the musical mind behind the Tony Award-winning musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, with performances and tributes from family and friends in a celebration of his life on Thursday, July 18 – which would have been his 65th birthday – at 3:00 PM. The event will include performances by Broadway Inspirational Voices, Crystal Monee Hall, Bryce Pinkham, Catherine Walker, Scarlett Strallen, Catherine Porter, Lori Wilner, and Jenna Pastuszek, and feature songs from A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award for Best Musical, 2014), his albums Ahead of My Heart and The Time It Takes, and several never-before heard works-in-progress. Admission is free, but reservations are encouraged. For tickets, please visit tickets.nyu.edu/stevenlutvak

Born and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Lutvak was a talented multi-hyphenate, working as a cabaret performer, music arranger, director, and as a performance coach in addition to his songwriting and compositional work. As a singer-songwriter, he performed across the country, including successful New York engagements at Carnegie Hall, which led to releasing two albums, The Time It Takes and Ahead of My Heart.

Mr. Lutvak made his Broadway debut with A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder in 2014, for which he composed the music, and co-wrote the lyrics with Robert L. Freedman. The musical won the Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Musical. The pair had previously written the musical Campaign of the Century together, which won the California Musical Theater Competition from the Beverly Hills Theater Guild.

Other musicals by Mr. Lutvak include Almost September, The Wayside Motor Inn (an adaptation of a play by A. R. Gurney), and Esmeralda. For the screen, Mr. Lutvak composed the title track for the film Mad Hot Ballroom, and the score to Anything But Love, starring Eartha Kitt and Andrew McCarthy. Mr. Lutvak was a highly awarded composer, receiving the Kleban Award for Lyric Writing for the Theater, the Fred Ebb Award for Songwriting for the Theater alongside Freedman, the American Theatre Wing’s Jonathan Larson Grant, the Johnny Mercer Foundation’s Emerging American Songwriter Award, two Bistro Awards, three MAC Awards, and multiple ASCAP Awards.

In his later years, Mr. Lutvak worked as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, the New York University Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.

Mr. Lutvak died October 9, 2023 at the age of 64. He is survived by his husband, Artistic Director of Flight Path Dance Project, Michael McGowan, and their daughter, Eliot Rose Lutvak-McGowan.

The tribute to Steven Lutvak will take place at NYU Skirball Center, located at 566 LaGuardia Place, between West 4th and West 3rd Street, on Thursday, July 18 at 3:00 PM. Running time is 90 minutes with no intermission. Admission is free, but reservations are encouraged. For tickets, please visit tickets.nyu.edu/stevenlutvak

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Cabaret

Jason Robert Brown To Perform at Carnegie Hall In October

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Now here is a concert I will definitely be attending. Three-time Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown will perform a special concert event at Carnegie Hall on October 25, 2024, at 8:00 PM. He already had a sold-out concert at the London Palladium.

Expect to hear “Still Hurting,” and “Stars and the Moon.” I have included some of my favorite video’s of Mr. Brown’s music sung to perfection.

His repertoire, spans over thirty years of unforgettable and some of the best musical theatre songs ever written.

At the concert some of his closest collaborators and newest friends and some of the most celebrated performers of the stage and the music world – soon to be announced.

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York’s own chamber orchestra, will accompany Jason and his guests with their virtuosic 22-piece ensemble. The evening will be conducted by Jason Robert Brown and Georgia Stitt.

Tickets go on sale to the general public at 11am EST on July 19, 2024, with a general pre-sale on Wednesday, July 17th, and a Live Nation presale, starting Thursday, July 18th. Tickets start at $59.50. For ticketing information and further details, please contact CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800, carnegiehall.org, or visit the Box Office on 57th Street and Seventh Avenue.

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