Tag Archives: Hard Rock Cafe

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BURMAN BOOKS HOSTS GUEST SPEAKER VIVIAN RISI @ “MAKING IT IN HIGH HEELS” NETWORKING EVENT

Last night, my assistant Gabriella Luchetta and I attended the “Making it in High Heels” mixer and schmooze-fest, hosted by Sanjay Burman of Burman Books, a successful Toronto-based publisher specializing in motivational and transformational books.          http://www.burmanbooksmediacorp.com/20160119_192814The venue, Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe, was soon filled to capacity with young women, many  of whom were emerging entrepreneurs, as well as established business leaders and women of influence.  Sanjay presents these networking events throughout the year and has established “Making it in High Heels” as one of the most popular mixer events in the city. His authors deal with all manner of inspirational and business-focused how-to’s and autobiographical subjects, and many were in attendance last night.20160119_194755DSC00317 DSC00313 DSC00323I ran into a number of fabulous ladies, including Raj Girn (below), founder of Anokhi Media and host of her own web-TV show  http://www.openchest.com/DSC00302I really liked Raj’s groovy “boot muffs”…DSC00308Sanjay (below) also welcomed this hard-working media maven and leading light in the South Asian community…20160119_194228Gabriella was kept busy, snapping away throughout the crowded Hard Rock Cafe …everywhere you looked, there were cool ladies and we were all excited to meet the special guest Sanjay had lined up to inspire us.20160119_19443620160119_19463820160119_194518Greetings and introductions were made, then Sanjay invited his guest speaker to the stage….IMG_2387Please meet Vivian Risi…DSC00351Vivian took the stage then captivated us with her tales of making it on her own, in her own way! The entire room was hushed as she regaled us with funny, scary, emotional and inspiring stories of climbing the success ladder one hard-fought rung at a time, starting in the 70’s when the male-dominated real estate sector made it almost impossible for young women to rise above anything other than a secretary.IMG_2391Vivian’s real estate career began in 1974. When she discovered that the company she worked for had been sold, and she was faced with a very uncertain future, Vivian risked everything in order to create my own destiny. With little business experience or money, she bought the company!  In just 15 years, she turned a sales office of 18 people into Your Community Realty, with 12 offices and over 1,000 realtors, and has become the top broker and #1 independently owned franchise for Royal LePage in Canada. For 10 consecutive years, her company owned the number one market share in their local market. Vivian told us that one of her greatest gifts has been her ability now to contribute to more than 30 charities each year. “It’s not always about money, it’s about time,” says Risi. “Donating your time is a great way to give back.”

This outstanding Ontarian has been the recipient of the Shelter Foundation’s Philanthropist of the Year Award, the YMCA Peace Medallion, Richmond Hill’s Mayor’s Award for Business Excellence, the York Region Business Excellence award, and the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce’s Philanthropic Business Person of the Year award for her charitable efforts.  www.yourcommunityrealty.com

Vivian took our collective breath away! And the minute she left the stage, she was surrounded by congratulatory crowds of women wanting to share their own stories with her, seeking snippets of advice and her encouragement.IMG_2397 20160119_205942…and I was thrilled to see Gabriella spend some time with Vivian who was so kind and patient with all her fans.20160119_211527What a great night! Sometimes you go to these things not expecting much or maybe thinking you’ll leave after an hour or so, but Sanjay always delivers and this was definitely one of his best events to date. Even his adorable mum, Mini Burman, came out to support the night (below).20160119_210357I definitely recommend attending the next “Making it in High Heels” which is scheduled for sometime in October (the book launch for Vivian’s new book) – you just never know who you’ll meet and what opportunities will present themselves.DSC00372 DSC00375IMG_2396IMG_2395

 

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SINGER/SONGWRITER LAURA ROCK ROCKS DEAD DOG RECORDS, TORONTO

It may have been a dull overcast day in Toronto yesterday but inside Dead Dog Records, 1209 Bloor West, the lights were bright and the music was blasting out “Rock’s Not Dead” by local rock singer/songwriter LAURA ROCK (known as L’Rock to her friends and fans) who dropped in for an in-store promotional visit in support of her current CD, Rock’s Not Dead.    http://www.lrockmusic.com/20151114_135711Below, the Newfie-born now Toronto-based Laura was joined by bandmates Les (rhythm guitar) at left and Bleeding Betty (bass) far right with Dead Dog’s Stephen in grey DDR t-shirt.20151114_140618Between 2-4pm, a number of Laura’s friends and fans showed up (below) to support CD sales and buy the super cool Dead Dog Records t-shirts!20151114_150348Work with me people….make the duck face! I’ve been watching way to much America’s Next Top Model…LOL20151114_145228Even celebrities showed up @ Dead Dog Records…here’s my old friend Gemini and 3x Cdn Comedy Award winner George West below with Laura. George and I go waaaaay back to the late 80’s when he was part of a brilliant comedy duo, Al & George, and has since gone on to a successful solo music, writing and acting career. http://georgewesterholm.ca/ 20151114_142556In between meetin’ and greetin’ fans, Laura and the band browsed the bins, unearthing all sorts of musical treasures…20151114_143853…and I loved the t-shirt rack and lots of other pop-culture merch.20151114_135610

20151114_135456 20151114_135522But even tho the store was rockin’, work still had to get done….20151114_135557BIG THANKS to Stephen, Maesy and Kristie of Dead Dog Records for having us in their store. If you love music, esp. vinyl, they can find anything you want or desire. Drop in, spend an hour going thru the racks and bins and I guarantee you will find something you didn’t know you wanted but just had to have! Their website is launching soon but you can follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/deaddogrecordsto

And again, here’s Laura’s website: http://www.lrockmusic.com/  or you can follow her on Twtr @lrocknroll

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TALKIN’ MUSIC WITH LAURA ROCK

Move over all you insipid little girls with guitars…here’s the real deal: hard rockin’ singer/songwriter LAURA ROCK is heading back into the studio to record her 3rd album in as many years.1011097_570786989681039_626053128_nI met this talented lady a few years ago when she was launching her first solo album of pedal-to-the-metal, hard-driving contemporary rock music and she won me over completely upon first listening…I got hooked on her ballsy songs. But this lady is not just your typical “rock chick”; Laura is all heart and can frequently be found mentoring and encouraging young emerging artists, sharing her stories of performing live in clubs of varying sizes, recording studio protocols to dealing with dodgy club owners. This lady has been there, done that, written the songs…and she’s happy to impart her knowledge and expertise with those just coming up through the ranks.

Earlier this summer, Laura performed to a packed house at Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe, proving once again that Rock’s Not Dead…. which just so happens to be the name of her current album and lead single! As she heads back into the studio, I sat down with her and asked a few questions…..

IMG_2559Where were you raised and has that influenced your music or performance style?
I originate from Newfoundland..let me count the ways that my home town of St. John’s has influenced me both musically & performance style!  Musically, growing up I was blessed with some great folk-rockers along with many other genres.  Newfoundlanders are know for being friendly and outgoing. Our storytelling abilities and sense of humor shines through – in the way we speak and in my case, write lyrics and sing.  The term “front person” comes to mind.  People say that my Newfie hospitality and genuine love for what I do translates well to stage.

Who were your musical influences?
Hmm, that’s a hard one. Don’t make me choose!! I mean it’s massive, there are MANY. Areosmith! Areosmith!! Areosmith!!! Did I say Steven Tyler? LOL!! Can’t forget AC/DC & OMG! Can you say Sammy Hager? Also Tom Cochrane,Kim Mitchell, Colin James, The Guess Who, Nikki Sixx, Eddie Veder, Dave Matthews, Matthew Good, Jane’s Addiction, MatchBox Twenty/Rob Thomas, Heart, Lita Ford, Holly Woods, Sass Jordan, Melissa Etheridge, Biff Naked , Allanah Myles, Holly McNarland, Mae Moore. And I can’t not mention my fellow Newfs Kim Stockwood, Ron Hynes, Great Big Sea, plus Hey Rosetta, Belinda Metz, Buffy Ste Marie, Joni Mitchell, Ricki Lee Jones, Joan Osborne, Pink, Chantal Kreviazuk, Van Halen, But seriously I could go on and on and on and….1907491_851190768307325_4821469725654246649_nDo you play any instruments and how do you compose?
My instrument is my voice.  Regarding composing, well I can hack a guitar but I’m not all that great.  For the most part, I am a lyricist. It all comes to me in waves…it feels like it’s channeled from somewhere else, I swear! I often hear guitar riffs or drum beats in my head but I am absolutely blessed to work with a fantastic producer, Brian Gagnon, who helps interrupt my ideas.  Sometimes I go in with the lyrics and he creates the music – sometime I add some musical ideas or sometimes he has the music and my lyrics are created afterwards. Sometimes it’s a simultaneous process.

Who has been your guiding light in the industry?
Wow, good question.  I think I have always followed my own heart, but one “guiding light” in particular was the late great Nik Beat of CIUT’s Howl! radio show.  Nik’s incredible belief in me and my music lead me to L.A. and many other places. He introduced me to so many talented people in Toronto that I otherwise would never have known.

Remind me of your previous albums and the hit singles off each…and haven’t you won some pretty awesome awards, too?
My first album was called Law of Attraction, which was released in late 2011 and my current album, Rock’s Not Dead was released towards the end of 2014.LoA_front_cover_450x385I’m happy to say that my music is played on many internet stations across Canada, the US and the UK – as I say: “all the web’s a stage”.  Regarding awards, well, I’m proud to mention that I was nominated for 6 HMMA awards in L.A.  (Hollywood In Media Awards) which has resulted in some amazing opportunities and business introductions for me. I was nominated for the following songs:
November 2014 Lightning
July 2013 Law of Attraction
Mar 2013 98.5
Jan 2013 Get Your Rock On
July 2012 Blindsided
June 2012 Light My Fuse

You’ve played some pretty great venues over the past few years….
I’ve played many venues in Toronto as both a cover band artist and as a original project.  Sadly, a lot of clubs have shut down in this city but more recently I played the legendary El Mocambo before it was sold and closed, and in June we did our official CD Launch for Rocks Not Dead at the Hard Rock Cafe.IMG_2608Can you tease us with a little news about your next album?
I’m heading back into the studio to work on my third album but I’m still promoting Rock’s Not Dead which I sadly had to put on hold due to the death of my mother, father & best fiend all in a very short span of time last year. But you know what they say….what doesn’t kill you makes you write more music!   So this next album is about love, loss, and the key phrase…Bait & Switch! 11412264_1594586234156065_8810531013978382576_oYou spend a lot of time mentoring emerging young artists, sharing knowledge about the business of making music. For you, what is the most rewarding aspect of that?
The most rewarding aspect of that is simply watching them grow as an artist.  After speaking with them about several subjects, particularly “critical opinions” – as you know, we live in a society that always has something to say about whatever we do. I always like to let young artists know that there will always be a critical opinion and I offer ways on how to deal with it, how to protect your creative ego.  Once they overcome this, they soar….that’s the fun part to watch.

In a city the size of Toronto where there are a lot of performance stages, why aren’t we seeing more accessible multi-genre music stars rising from the ranks? In other words, how easy/hard is it for young performers to play on a main stage AND make money?
The music landscape has changed drastically – it’s not just localized to the city you live in.  With access to the web, you are your own record company, your own manager, and this is the concept I try to instill in to younger artists. You can make money in the music industry if you’re motivated enough to put in time and effort into your art.  The simple fact is, if you love what you do, there are going to be hurdles in the way and you will have to compromise, especially when it comes to the financial part of the business.  Having said that, I think no one should play for free…know you’re worth and stick to it.10457525_10152983333693098_7303762277621657028_nAny ideas how we, the fans, can help improve the music scene and support the artists?
You can do this simply by buying their music online or showing up at live venues. At the end of the day, the music business is a business and everyone needs to make a living.

So what’s in the future for Laura Rock?
Music is a way of life for me, it’s not a destination…I try to live in the moment for the most part, because I feel so good making music…it’s like heaven on earth.  But having said that, I do aspire to write for other artists or help/mentor those who need a little guidance.  I love films so having one of my songs in a movie soundtrack would be the biggest dream come true!bg_lrock_splash

You can learn more about Laura Rock, buy her music and keep up with news on her new album and upcoming shows by visiting: http://lrockmusic.com/