Winning Arrangements Mash Up Kanye West, Jhene Aiko, David Guetta, and TV Theme Songs
Now in its second year, Soundtrack Entertainment’s Strange Arrange band competition shakes up traditional “battle of the bands” contests, with musicians performing live re-arrangements involving popular music mash-ups and remixes.
This year’s Strange Arrange was held in Nashville at a new entertainment venue called Anthem, where five finalist bands performed for more than 1,000 fans and a panel of celebrity judges: producer/musician/songwriters Nisan Stewart and Tommy Sims, and Maroon 5 keyboardist/producer PJ Morton.
“Strange Arrange starts with bands submitting their music videos via YouTube; we post them on our website, and America votes for their favorite band,” says Leighandriah Oden, PR Specialist for the Strange Arrange/Soundtrack Ent, LLC. “We get anywhere from 50 to 100 bands and narrow it down to 10, and then let the public decide who should perform live in Nashville.”
Those top finalists for 2014 were the Smash Brothers (Charlotte, N.C.), Nurdy Tunes (Miami, Fla.), Elite Creations (Indianapolis, Ind.), The Glove (Boston, Mass.), and this year’s grand prize winners, B.On.It.Productions (Indianapolis). All of the finalists are required to perform an eight-minute set, including three different arrangements of one hip hop song, one R&B song, and one pop song.
“This year the bands were allowed to choose any song from any era, and include unique intros, outros, and transitions to add flavor to their performance,” says Strange Arrange founder and creator Courtney “Coko” Eason. “It puts you in the mind of a DJ—the way they are mixing songs, creating mash-ups, and slowing down and speeding up beats.”
“This year’s winners had a combination of songs, everything from Kanye West’s ‘Power’ to a new popular song by Jhene Aiko called ‘The Worst,’ and they actually incorporated the theme music to Ghost Busters and wowed the crowd by playing along to the ringtone of a Skype call during their arrangement, which set them apart from any other band that performed that night,” Oden says.
The inventive musicians who won this year’s Strange Arrange—drummer Joe C. Elliott III, keyboardist Brandon Bufford, keyboard player CJ Warfield, guitarist Jessie Thompson, and bass player Shawn Davis—received a cash prize, appearance in a Sony Creative commercial, and a recording session/video shoot with PJ Morton at the Blackbird Academy, one of the sponsors of Strange Arrange. Other sponsors of the 2014 event were Soundtrack Ent, LLC, Sony Creative Software, T.E.A.M. MC, and Electronic Musician magazine.
For information about Strange Arrange 2015 and to view footage of this year’s show, check out www.strangearrange.com.