I am nominated for another OutMusic Award this year! For the past two years in a row, the LGBT Academy of Recording Artists has awarded me with Outstanding Jazz Song of the Year. This year, i’m happy to represent the Instrumental Hannukah Jazz contingency (hooray for niche genres!) with last year’s holiday single release “Maoz Tsur (Rock of Ages)” – nominated for this year’s OMA again in the Outstanding Jazz Song category. The event is being held this year Sunday, Dec 16 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas! While I can’t attend the event, you and I can keep up with the event live and online at www.outmusicawards.com.
I love this time of year, right before the ball drops, after the mad dash to get everything done before the holidays, while we are still digesting all those cookies and pies. It is a great time to look back on the year that was, to acknowledge our achievements so that we can get ready to look ahead and figure out how we are going to surprise ourselves in the year to come.
Quite a whirlwind year, people! I made it to more places in, and out of, the United States this year than I ever have before. I shared a stage with Ani DiFranco, performed to July 4th fireworks on a rooftop in Brooklyn, got featured on Best Week Ever’s blog, and discovered the Most Fun Street Corner in the World (surprise: it’s in Baltimore). Here are some other highlights of 2011: The Year That Was…
- BRAZIL. Well, we all knew this was going to be a highlight. Not only did it not disappoint, my month-long tour right at the top of 2011 was so much more than i could have imagined. I met incredible people, ate amazing things, and heard some amazing music – not to mention playing 8 shows around the cities of Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo (meeting up in Rio with the singular sensation herself, Brazilian artist Denise Reis). Check out the brand new photos i finally posted!
◦ Part 1: Sao Paulo Photos
◦ Part 2: Rio de Janeiro Photos
- CUBA. Then, I spent 10 days in Cuba. I did some things and I’m not allowed to talk about them. True!
- CALIFORNIA. Beautiful shows and beautiful weather in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a few in between, with a trip to Gilroy, Garlic Mecca, for a main stage performance at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
- RIDING IN THE CAR WITH PEOPLE. I’ve done a healthy heaping of driving this year, most of it by myself. So it was a nice change of pace to share the car, and the stage, with some of the most talented and nicest people I know.
◦ Denise Reis: Rio de Janeiro, NYC, Philadelphia
◦ Shawn Fogel of Golden Bloom: NYC, Philadelphia
◦ Jennings: NC, MD, DC, TN, GA
◦ ArleneWow!: CT
- HEADLINING GIGS. The band and I had the great honor of debuting some featured performances at these wonderful and wonderfully-varied spaces: Smithsonian American Art Museum (DC), The Studio at Webster Hall (NYC), An Die Musik (Baltimore), El Cid Theater (LA), Godfrey Daniels (Bethlehem) and a sold-out show at Grounds For Sculpture (Hamilton).
- FESTIVALS & CONFERENCES. Just to name a few: Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts at The Kimmel Center, Musikfest, Appel Farm Arts & Music Fest, NACA, NERFA, UPENN Spring Fling, Dewey Beach Pop Fest, Williamsburgers & Wieners BBQ Block Party Part 5, CMJ, and 7 shows in 5 days at Austin’s SxSW
- FUNDRAISERS. including events for The National Brain Tumor Society, Abrams Hebrew Academy, and Planned Parenthood
- FREAKIN’ WEEKEND VIDEOS. In 2011, I noticed that I had all these videos sitting unviewed, collecting dust on my e-shelf. So every single Friday since September, i have been premiering some new videos for you. Here, now, are all of them! I’ll be posting the last one for 2011 later today…
◦ FWV #1: Shana Tova Lady Gaga
◦ FWV #3: Mumford & Sons MashUp
◦ FWV #5: How To Kazoo: A Kazootorial
◦ FWV #6: Friday I’m In Love – Avi Wisnia & Jennings live
◦ FWV #7: This Is Your Birthday Song
◦ FWV #8: Maoz Tsur
◦ FWV #10: Someone Like You – Adele Cover acoustic
◦ FWV #11: Waiting in Vain – Bob Marley cover
- AWARDS. It is a gratifying feeling indeed to be recognized by your peers, and even better to know that there has been so much support from all of you.
◦ This year I was awarded the OutMusic award for Outstanding Jazz Song of the Year for The Back of Your Hand.
◦ Your votes placed me as a finalist in the summer’s BetaHiFi band competition in Philadelphia.
◦ RightOutTV named Rabbit Hole the Best DIY Video of the Year
◦ Boston’s Glovebox Film Festival awarded Rabbit Hole 2nd Prize for Video Short of the Year
- RELEASES. While I still often feel like my full-length album Something New just came out, and I’ve been tirelessly scribbling away at some new tunes, I was so proud to be involved in these new 2011 releases.
◦ Maoz Tsur – A new single for the holidays; a traditional Hanukkah melody, with a modern jazz spin.
◦ New Arrivals Vol 4 – Proud to be featured on this charitable compilation put out by MPress Records.
A lot of credit must go to Seth Kroll of Fam Jam Productions, director of Rabbit Hole, The Kazootorial and so many other projects we collaborate on. And I am very lucky to be able to make music with Toru Takiguchi, Gil Smuskowitz, Kim Garey, and all the other talented musicians who get stuck in a room/car with me. Of course, none of these things would be possible without YOU! For all the meals I was prepared, all the couches I slept on, all the messages and photos posted, all the doors and arms that were opened for me, I thank you. I have some incredible friends, and I’m so happy to have added to those ranks this year. Your support and encouragement motivates me to be as creative and entertaining as i can be, and I can tell you without a doubt the best is yet to come!
Just you wait, ‘012 is gonna knock your socks off. Sneak a peak at some dates below, it’s only the beginning. Remember to stay up to date with the Blog, Facebook, or Twitter. And to receive the most relevant info to where you live, sign the mailing list. Want me to play in your town? Send any gig suggestions my way, and I’ll do the follow up. Come out and see me some time soon. Bring cookies!
…and a happy new year
MOVING ON TO THE FINALS!!! Thanks to everyone who came out to vote me on to the Final Round of the Beta HiFi Emerging Artists Competition! Thanks to Pedro, Greg & Lisa (pictured) for kazooing; thanks to WorldCafe for some good food; thanks to Philadelphia for not being in a state of emergency and giving us some mostly good weather. A little Thank You Sumthin’ is on the way. The Finals will be in the next few days (pending Irene), stay tuned for the deets!
Do you remember the year 2009?
It was a good one. I know, it was a long long time ago, and things were so different then. Somebody named Beyonce was at the top of the charts (i referenced the Billboard charts out of curiosity). People were still using MySpace (i think). The Something New album was just a twinkle in my eye. I was also a finalist in something called the Beta HiFi competition – a showcase for the Philadelphia region’s best emerging talent to compete to see who is the most awesome (and win some very nice prizes). You all displayed some incredible love and showed up to vote me into the final round, where I almost made it to the top as a finalist. It was a fun ride, and there was some great competition. This month, I have been given another chance to come back and compete again!!! I am armed with some new songs, new energy, and pyrotechnics (metaphorically speaking).
The first round is THURSDAY, AUG 25 – next week – and the audience votes on the best artist of the night. So I NEED YOUR PRESENCE! If you come, i can promise some absolutely brand new songs, and some awesome egg plant fries. Plus, the show is ABSOLUTELY FREE! Plus, it’s at the comfortably early time of 7pm, so you can make it post-work/post-school/pre-clubbing/pre-graveyard-shift-at-the-graveyard. and it is at the most wonderful World Cafe Live venue. So, to recap: Thursday, Avi, Free, New Songs, World Cafe, 7pm, Philly, You, Vote, Free, Eggplant Fries.
RSVP to the FB event and bring your friends!!! Info about reserving seats (recommended) below. The winner of the first round will be announced at the end of the night, and you can certainly stay for all the great artists’ performances (but you don’t have to). All you have to do is make sure to request a ballot when you walk in, and make sure to submit it before you leave. Because this is what music is all about: winning.
Beta HiFi Emerging Artist Showcase
at Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live
Thursday, August 25
doors open at 6:30pm
Avi Wisnia performs at 7pm SHARP
this is an all ages event
For more information, please visit www.worldcafelive.com.
For seating & dinner reservations, please call the box office at 215-222-1400.
Facebook event LINK
You do have to vote in person. So what can you do if you are not in the Philadelphia area? You can contact WXPN, the radio station that broadcasts out of the World Cafe building, and help build support for the show! Here are 2 ways:
1) Go to www.xpn.org, scroll down til you see “Related Items” and click “Make a Request”, put in “Something New – Avi Wisnia” (or, you know, whatever song you want, it is your request), and for “request type” choose the Leicht Lunch or Other. Submit!
2) Call the request line: (215) 573-9976 or (800) 565-9976 and request “Something New by Philly local artist Avi Wisnia, who is awesome”. The best times to call are 8-10am EST, Tuesdays 9-10pm EST and All-Request Saturdays 2-4pm EST.
It was amazing seeing all you beautiful people at our shows this summer, especially this past week. Keep checking in on the AW Facebook page for pics from the summer tour (i really will post them), and you can also check out some new tour dates for the fall below!
Thank you. Always. See you soon!