tyler-trabandPublished in the July-August 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine

Read this list to see if imaginary background music plays: Vacations. Zoos. Oil. Breasts. Motorcycles. Hospitals. Wisconsin. Neutrinos.

Musician Tyler Traband examined and created sound to fit these subjects, and more. Composing background music for movies and commercials is his art. This artist has as much music in his being as there are birds in the air and fish in Lake Michigan (near his birthplace).

Traband’s life is about sound—and animals. He understands that music supports communication. Read about him here and put some music on … he’d like that!

Q. How did you learn the language of music?
A. As a child, I was always humming, singing, making up rhythms and exploring musical ideas in my head. I whistled all the time! I was always doing music activities at school. In college, I realized how loud the voice inside my body and soul was speaking to me. There, I learned about the language of music, and found others with the same passion.

Q. What was your favorite project?
A. My favorites change often! “Chasing the Ghost Particle,” the IMAX film about neutrinos I just scored, is toward the top of my list. Its music ranges from classical to pop, orchestral themes to electronica—appropriate for giant black holes with synth sound effects right into crazy, gooey sound designs complete with bubbly space noises and explosions.

Q. Musicians need good support systems. To whom are you grateful?
A. All artists need support and encouragement, and I worry about the future. I got to sing or play nearly every day in school. How are tomorrow’s musicians going to learn? I believe in the arts. When we learn to draw, dance, play or sing, we are gaining so much more than just that skill. Leadership, critical thinking, group skills and listening are all enhanced. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Joan Wildman was a huge inspiration. She is an amazing jazz pianist and theoretician. Her passion for the language of music is what got me hooked. I think of her each time I sit down to practice. She helped me understand how to communicate with other musicians.

Q. Connect the dots between music and dogs for us—I understand that you are planning to adopt one.
A. We are in negotiations. My wife, Sara, has been researching and likes the English Golden. We both grew up with dogs. Sara had an Old English and I had a St. Bernard and a Basenji, as well as many generations of great cats.

When I was in high school, every time I pulled out the trumpet our dog Tasha (who was part Samoyed) howled along with me. She sang along with the piano, as well.

We’ve had tropical fish, hermit crabs, huge bullfrog tadpoles, a school of baby bullheads (until we released them) and two giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches. My son wants a leopard gecko.

From 2005 to 2010, Traband composed and recorded the commercial broadcast music for the Milwaukee County Zoo. “I still have the track from the year the zoo introduced flamingos on my iPod, and when it pops on I always smile,” he said. He visits the zoo often with his children. “We know some of the scientists and caregivers, and have close ties with the aviary personnel,” he added.

That makes sense—birdsong is great background music!

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bryan-jennings-concussion-care-foundationPublished in the March-April 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine

People who love football know all about the long snap, but former NFL player Brian Jennings wants everyone to know what’s new about brain injuries and concussions. Even before his 13 seasons as a gifted long snapper with the San Francisco 49ers, Jennings played in hundreds of games and practices. Then, in 2005, he suffered a concussion that still affects his life almost a decade later.

When his stellar professional football career ended in 2012, Jennings knew he had some very important work left to do—because of his concussion. These days, he’s in the process of starting a foundation that will revolutionize the way concussions are managed and treated, and he wants people to know what’s, well … ahead.

In 2012, he studied how young athletes who suffered concussions were managed medically. The protocol at the time was, and still is, lots of rest. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends total rest after a concussion, with constant evaluations prior to returning to play, Jennings noted, but this is very different from the way he managed his own post-concussion care. The period for rest can last a long time, he explained, and can compromise the body’s ability to function in many ways. While rest helps prevent the lasting effects of a concussion (frequently referred to as post concussion syndrome), a new way of rehabilitation— beyond just total rest—is being evaluated.

“Complete rest,” Jennings said, “means no physical exercise, no mental concentration, avoiding exposure to light. Players ‘recover’ from their concussion with rest. But what if they don’t really recover?”

Here’s the rest on rest: It can lead to mental inactivity, muscle atrophy and possibly even fear of returning to a normal lifestyle.

“When I played in the NFL, I would never let an injury ‘rest,’” Jennings shared. “Rest would result in compensation patterns, limit my abilities, possibly lead to other injuries and put me out of a job. So, with my team of experts, ‘rest’ was not how we treated injuries, including concussions. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were developing an integrated, multidisciplinary treatment and rehabilitation program specifically for concussions. Now, I’m working to develop that program to make it available and affordable to anyone suffering a concussion.”

The goal is to develop this program for athletes, soldiers and those who have been or are incarcerated.

Watch for news about The Concussion Care Foundation. Jennings is pouring his energy into creating the organization to educate and promote greater awareness about the prevention of traumatic brain injuries, help find research solutions and advocate this new recovery opportunity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people are the group at highest risk for traumatic brain injuries and subsequent permanent disabilities. Statistics covering a recent 10-year span in the United States show that head injuries increased 60 percent during that time frame. Hospital emergency rooms treat more than 173,000 cases of head trauma per year just for patients under the age of 19.

Jennings believes that his foundation, a study plan and research partners will come together soon because, more and more, science is showing that concussion is not an injury that occurs only during high-impact sports. And, more needs to be discovered in terms of appropriate treatment and potential cures.

He plans to keep his head in this game for a long time to come.

Brian Jennings
Concussion Care Foundation
7119 E. 1st Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(602) 579-3414


Published in the Mar-Apr 2013 issue of MyLIFE magazine

Consider the human voice. If it could be measured in more than volume, the next best available unit might be horsepower. Horsepower? Well, meet Chelsea Bain. Her voice is a rising star in the world of country music, and it has some horsepower behind it.

Bain was raised in Phoenix, where she says, “I grew up riding horses and singing.” And that’s where the power of the horse first came into play in the life of this songbird. She’s been making a name for herself singing at events in the NASCAR circuit. That’s right: more horsepower.

It will be worth your while to take a look at this YouTube video (youtube.com/watch?v=ktPrQCEYxGQ) Bain made about making a video to get to know her voice and presence before you read how she answered the interview questions below.

MyLIFE: You’re in your early twenties. What have been your creative influences?
Bain: When I was about 12 years old I was presented with the opportunity to show horses. I fell in love with it and have been competing ever since. That took over my life throughout high school. Once I was out of high school, I became determined that it was time to pursue my music career, something I’d dreamt of since before I can remember. It’s been a long road and a lot of obstacles have slowed it up, but I have pushed on through with the support of my family and friends.

MyLIFE: What is your first memory of music?
Bain: I can first just remember singing for my family, ALL THE TIME. Being in the car with me was probably pretty funny when I was a little girl—I couldn’t help but sing every song.

MyLIFE: You’re known as a country/western artist. Do you write lyrics?
Bain: I grew up singing classically actually, but I always knew I wanted to sing country because it’s my roots; that’s what I was raised with. I love lots of different music though. Rock is one that I really grew to love. I have written since I was a little girl. Some of the songs on the album I co-wrote, and some will have come from other writers.

MyLIFE: How did you get involved with the NASCAR circuit?
Bain: My manager had a connection with Coca-Cola, and when they saw me perform they invited me to tour and play their stage at the races.

MyLIFE: How do you envision your career in music? If you were to picture yourself at the age of 80, what would you like to be able to see while looking back at yourself over the years?
Bain: I would like to be proud of what I have put out into the world. I hope to be happy and have seen a lot of things, a lot of venues. Most of all, I want to create a long history of good music and a good influence on others.

MyLIFE: What’s unique about you?
Bain: I grew up with the boys … it took a while for my “girly” side to come out. I rode dirt bikes, skateboarded, snowboarded, wakeboarded and wanted to only hang out with my older brothers. I am still capable of letting that side run free, but I love fashion and makeup now. I’ve learned to embrace both sides of my personality.

Talent, especially the one for singing, takes a lot of energy. And where it comes from remains a mystery. But it also takes energy for both sides of a personality to come together. It’s a good thing Chelsea Bain has so much horsepower.

Published in the Sept-Oct 2012 issue of MyLIFE magazine

Many family trees contain personalities of note. So does Joey Newman’s. He’s a composer, a musician and a singer. The notables in his tree all happen to share a DNA rich in musical ability and talent.

Lionel Newman was Joey’s maternal grandfather. Born in 1916, Lionel was a pianist, composer and conductor who wrote the hit song “Again” in 1948. He won an Oscar in 1969 for Best Musical Adaptation for “Hello Dolly.” His career in music direction at 20th Century Fox lasted 46 years.

Joey’s dad, Joe Frank Carollo, was a member of the T-bones (a pop music group from the mid 1960s; check out “No Matter What Shape” on YouTube) and Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds in the 1970s (remember “Fallin’ in Love,” from 1975?). Joey’s mother, Jenifer, was a ballerina with the New York City Ballet and the Boston Repertory Ballet. Three of Joey’s cousins are musicians and composers: David, Thomas and Randy.

Joey arrived in 1976 wearing music in his genes. “On my mom’s side were the composers; my dad was a musician. My family says I was beating rhythms on things since I was three years old. As early as I can recall, I played drums. I got my education in tone from piano lessons with Herb Donaldson and my sense of rhythm from playing drums on my own. Veteran drummer Michael Barsimano taught me the musicality of the drum, or to ‘play for the song’ and he introduced me to jazz. I wanted to be a studio drummer, but when I got to college I took up composition.”

As a child, Joey’s hands contained talent for rhythm, but his voice was a ticket to participate in the boys’ chorus of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, where he performed in a production of “Tosca” and “Die Tote Stadt” featuring Placido Domingo.

By the age of 15, Joey knew he’d have a career in music. He loved being immersed in music during high school and thus he went to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where his education became the equivalent of surround sound. “I wanted to be in music 24/7,” he shared.

However, it was a job selling men’s clothing on commission that taught him to learn everything he could about any commodity. In Joey’s case, that would eventually be the music he wrote. “It’s really the place I started training to honestly pitch a product and make the customer or client feel confident in their decision. It’s similar to how I now work with film and TV directors, producers and executives. Even if you are a creative person, you have to have a mind for business to understand budgets, contracts, pay scale and rate.”

Honoring the Music Legacy
Joey Newman said he wants to “honor the music legacy” in his family and that he is proud to be a part of it. “The second generation of Newman musical cousins is unique, but when I came back from college, I got an opportunity to introduce myself as a third-generation composer. When I worked with Randy, he told me stories about my grandfather and what it means to be a Newman. I wasn’t made to feel any pressure. We all have a gift, and we all present it in our own way.”
“I love Joey. He’s about the best Newman there ever was. I respect him as a musician. He’s got talent, determination and, most importantly, stamina,” Randy Newman told MyLIFE. “Anything he does will be the best he can do—and the best he can do is very good indeed.”
In addition to this extracurricular knowledge, Joey credits his friend and fellow musician Mark Robertson (whose career also spans work as an orchestra contractor and music supervisor) for teaching him the duality of music and business. Robertson introduced Joey to individual players in an orchestra and got them to talk to him about their creative roles. Through the friendships that Joey forged with musicians, he learned about economies of scale in the arts. Joey learned to produce high quality music when the environment dictated that it be created quickly and on a low budget.

After college, Joey returned to Los Angeles to compose music with W.G. “Snuffy” Walden. “I co-composed music for ‘Once and Again’ and ‘Providence,’ but I worked as an orchestrator on ‘The West Wing.’” From 2001 to 2006, he wrote the music for NCSoft’s “Lineage” game—one of the biggest role-playing games in video entertainment history. In 2003, he collaborated with his cousin Randy on the Universal movie “Seabiscuit,” and in 2006 on Disney/Pixar’s “Cars.” For six seasons of the TLC docu-series “Little People, Big World,” Joey composed the score that matched the everyday life of the Roloff family, earning himself an Emmy nomination in 2008. In 2010, he provided the original score for the movie about 9/11, “The Space Between.” Currently, the music he creates for TV can be heard on ABC’s sitcom “The Middle,” starring Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn. The movie “Any Day Now,” released in 2012 on the movie festival circuit, features Joey’s compositions. Both “The Space Between” and “Any Day Now” are award-winning films.

Joey has an interesting philosophy about writing music for TV, movies and video games. He understands how his part in the creative process has to fit the story. Writers and producers often don’t quite know what they are looking for, but they know it when they hear it. “Musicians have to navigate psychological and musical components of the story,” Joey explained. “I take all the information I’m given, evaluate and analyze it, then put my own spin on it. It’s an interesting, amazing and beautiful process because I get to experiment and have fun, even though the sound is prescribed by others and the story. Music is all storytelling, and my nature is to visualize a concept, feel it, get the rhythm, melody, harmony and lyrics.”

While at Berklee, Joey met a singer named Jerelyn, who became Mrs. Newman 13 years ago. The couple has three daughters, Ella (9), Ava (6) and Leah (2) and lots of pets. Family life is important, as are Joey’s other-than-music interests: trying new foods, travel, photography, tennis and walking.

Newman can see himself in the future becoming a teacher and working with young composers and musicians. He speaks at schools about his career in music because, he said, “When I was a student I always wanted to hear what the music industry was really like.”

For now, Joey Newman is happy to carry his musical genetic code forward, composing music to support the entertainment industry and waiting to see if his daughters will bring music with them into the fourth Newman generation. “A great song will have a great groove,” he said as the levels of his voice fluctuated appropriately, and in the background, Jerelyn asked if he was ready to go for a walk with the dog.

Published in the summer 2012 issue of MyLIFE magazine

ABC Family's "Jane By Design" stars Rowly Dennis as Jeremy Jones (left), Andie MacDowell as Grey Chandler Murray, Erica Dasher as Jane Quimby and India de Beaufort as India Jourdain (right). (PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ABC FAMILY/ANDREW ECCLES)

She is 16 going on 17, but she already has a career in fashion design. She’s Jane Quimby in the ABC Family TV series “Jane By Design.” Beautiful, smart, funny, true to herself yet false in the world of fashion at the house of Donovan Decker, Jane’s age is what makes her unusual.

Perhaps it was the blouse with the red lips print she wore to the interview that got her the job.

Her other life is all about navigating high school, crushes, homework and family relationships (her brother is a teacher at the high school she attends).

Erica Dasher, an actress relatively new to television, plays Jane’s character. In a 2009 TheWB.com series titled “The Lake,” she portrayed Madison Drew in a story about families who vacation together. That same year she played a girlfriend in the short film “Chicken on a Pizza.” Also in 2009, along with a friend, she produced a documentary titled “Double Speak,” about the world of high school speech and debate.

Here are many more good things to know about this rising star:

MyLIFE: Getting to be the character Jane Quimby from the space of Erica Dasher was probably like following a yellow brick road. Was it?

Dasher: I grew up in Texas and waited to start auditioning professionally until I graduated from college [University of Southern California], so this whole world is relatively new for me. Acting has always been a large part of my life. I did musical theater and speech and debate growing up and studied theater in college, but none of that can prepare one for the job of being an actor. The publicity, the red carpets …  it’s very foreign. I am starting to get used to it! It’s really a great privilege to work on this show. The cast is so passionate and positive. Everyone takes his or her craft very seriously. I learn from them every day.

MyLIFE: Season one of “Jane By Design” premiered in January to an estimated 1.6 million viewers, and there will be a second season this summer. How has—and will—Jane Quimby evolve from first to second season? Will she have a 17th birthday party?

Dasher: I have not seen any scripts! However, I have heard rumors about a birthday party episode, so we shall see. Jane certainly evolved over the course of the first season. She started to develop confidence at work, and that carried into her school life. And I am seeing that in my own life as well. Acting is my greatest passion, and it’s incredibly validating to be employed as an actor! I stand a little taller these days.

MyLIFE: Is it fun to evolve both yourself and your character? How much “play” do you experience in your own life and on the set?

Dasher: In terms of play, I think I strike a pretty fair balance when on hiatus. I write and read and watch tons of movies and do my best to stay creatively sharp, but I also have pretty awesome friends and spend a good deal of time with them. When we are shooting, my social life disappears, but it doesn’t matter because filming is such a rush and I have actually become great friends with my cast. It’s a sweet deal.

MyLIFE: What would you like your fans to know about Erica Dasher that they don’t already know?

Dasher: That I am so very grateful for their support!!! I love talking with fans on Twitter and reading their comments. I love meeting them. It fills me with such joy!

MyLIFE: What would you like fans of your character Jane to know about her that they don’t already know?

Dasher: I think the greatest thing about Jane is how determined she is to pursue her passions and how hard she works. She really makes an honest effort to take on the many challenges in her life, and I love her for it.

MyLIFE: What is the most outrageous costume you’ve ever worn in anything you’ve ever performed?

Dasher: In sixth grade I did a lip synch performance to “Men in Black” and wore one of my dad’s business suits. It was definitely outrageous.

MyLIFE: You produced a documentary film about kids who debate. What kinds of things did this experience teach you?

Dasher: I could write a book about the things I learned from this experience! Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that I love producing. I will continue to produce and act. I don’t think I could choose one over the other.

MyLIFE: You are loved and supported by many people. How do you demonstrate gratitude?

Dasher: What a question! I have an amazingly close relationship with my family. We talk every day, they visit the set, I fly home for my sister’s plays and performances, we Skype all the time. I am indebted to them all for their unadulterated support. I would do anything to keep them healthy and happy.

Through her role as Jane, Dasher is fashioning a new definition for the word “ingénue.”  Ingénues, such as Maria in “Westside Story,” or Sandy in the musical “Grease,” were gentle, sweet, vulnerable and naïve. Dasher keeps that sweetness but combines it with a savvy that is clued-in and fresh. Both on set and in real life, this actress seeks truth and embraces honesty like a dress cut on the bias seeks a curve.

“Jane By Design” is produced by Gavin Polone, John Ziffren and April Blair, and stars Erica Dasher and Andie MacDowell. Watch full episodes free at abcfamily.go.com/shows/jane-by-design, or check your local listings.