Alicia Keys' Best 5 Songs

By Mike Flanagan

The career of the young and talented Alicia Keys has been surprisingly long for her age. She has produced scores of pop music hits through the course of the last ten years or so, and it's time that we recognize some of her best work to date.

1. The number one song on the list here is her hit song, No One. With all of the high notes she hits in this song, you can tell that Ms. Keys has expanded both her sound and her range. The music video is just as enjoyable as the song is.

2. This one takes us back a decade, as "Falling" was Alicia Keys' first major music hit. This came off of her debut release in the later part of the last decade, and boy, has she made her impact known since then.

3. The Diary of Alicia Keys was one of her most successful albums through her career so far, and the song "If I Ain't Got You" was an instant hit. Her work on the piano in this song is superb.

4. Yet another great song by Alicia Keys is "My Boo". This is a duet, as the credit goes to Usher since it appeared on his CD, though Alicia Keys played an integral role in the song and it wouldn't have been nearly as special without her.

5. Superwoman - The final song on this list is another relatively new one. "Superwoman" documents all the struggles women go through in all of the world.

It has been used for a ton of commercials, television shows and award shows. This is on the same album as the #1 song on this list, "As I Am."

This was a tough list to make. Alicia Keys is a valuable artist, but she should be recognized for her best work. Narrowing it down to five was tough, and I apologize ahead of time for showing inadvertent favoritism. - 30538

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Don't Be Laughed At By Record Companies, Learn To Make Beats

By Eugene Truss

What is your motivation to make beats? Some people see it as a money making opportunoty while others might just want to use it as a recreational hobby. Both reasons are valid and have merit. The approach to doing this, however, is different depending on your motivation. If it's for money you must go after the sounds of the moment to seize that opportunity, otherwise you can be free to be yourself. Decide how you want to proceed.

Getting feedback on your beats is important. Often times a newbie will put their beat out their hoping to hear praises, but the reality is that more is learned from the criticism. The faster you learn to not be scared of criticism, the faster you will get better at your beat making skills.

Entering and participating in beat battles is one way to get your beats heard. At first you may feel that you are not good enough and your ego will take the hit. But remember that the big picture is to make yourself a better beat maker so suck it up and learn to deal with it.

It is a big leap to making a beat and then letting it loose on the world. You open yourself up to people you don't know passing a judgment. They don't know your level of skill or what equipment you have. They may not appreciate the fact that you had to do something tricky or unique to get a sound. They only know if they like what they hear or not. You should take all comments graciously and let any hater comments just pass on by.

One of the many issues you will face is how to much to charge for a beat. This is a place where you need to think about what you think it's worth and balance that with what your audience can afford to pay. Don't ask the up and coming rapper on your block to pay $5,000 for a beat if he can only afford $100. And if your beat is worth more to you than $100, find another buyer.

Remember that if you license a beat exclusively, you should charge more for it. Non exclusive beats can be sold to many people. If you are internet based, it may be a smarter move to sell non exclusive, because you have a wider area and people in the different parts of the country (or world) will probably not hear your beat used by the others.

You may have seen some online beat making advertisements. These sites have cheesy little programs that run in your browser and claim to make you a music producer. Stay away from these sites. They will take your money leaving you feeling like a fool and then tell you you can make money by getting other suckers to sign up. This is why you will see literally thousands of people telling you how good something like Sonic Producer is. In reality, by using these sites, you may be using the same loops and sounds as thousands of other people. No record executive in their right mind would license a beat from someone using these online sites.

To make abeat you should always start with an inspiration. Is there something that you hear that makes you feel good or sad? Build something around that. Don't copy it per se, but learn the chords and melody and see what you can learn from it.

Beatmakers like Timbaland and Dr Dre may not have much if any formal musical training but they do have an ear for whats good. If you want an edge over many other beat makers, I suggest you learn some basic theory on things like notes, scales, chords, etc. It's not as hard as you think and it does help tremendously.

Above all keep it simple and fun and the rest will follow. - 30538

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