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Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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"Ravi: Beyond the Blur (CD Review)"

Guitarist/vocalist, Ravi, a recent arrival from the New York area, brought this CD with him when he decided to make New Orleans his home. Beyond the Blur is largely a rock oriented, no frills and stylistically uncomplicated collection of 13 mostly original songs. Ravi has a fine, richly textured voice and a degree of mastery of his instrument that calls to mind early Clapton and Duane Allman. There are nice covers of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" and John Lennon's "Imagine." The CD's real standout is Ravi's signature song, Fire By Night. - Offbeat Magazine

"Ravi Thrives in the Crescent City"

New Orleans has been a magnet for young artists of all persuasions for generations.

Great writers, visual and culinary artists, and, most significantly, musicians thrive in this sub-tropical paradise at the mouth of America's Nile, the Mississippi river.

Ravi is one of the latest in a long line of talented young musicians to find his muse in the Crescent City. He was already an accomplished session musician and sideman working out of the New York metropolitan area with a high-profile national tour as part of Hanson under his belt and a Simon & Schuster-published book about those experiences, "Dancin' With Hanson," when he heard the siren call that has beckoned so many before him.

"I was in New Orleans for the LMNOP conference and was walking down the street past Tipitina's in the French Quarter and I heard Eddie Bo playing solo piano," said Ravi. "I didn't even know who Eddie Bo was, but his music was so filled with passion and beauty that I was hooked. He was completely himself in this rich musical environment. It reminded me of why I became a musician in the first place. I began to come down regularly and last year I decided to move here."

You don't find many musicians, especially young ones with a bright future ahead of them, who have made it in the Big Apple and decide to opt for the Big Easy. It's a testament to Ravi's commitment to his art that he would trade in a successful New York operation for the laid-back environs of a city that prizes its arts far more than its business acumen.

"The pace is almost like a Third World country here in music," Ravi notes, "yet you're still in the United States. New York is a great place to get business done, but I find the atmosphere down here really conducive to writing and working on my music."

Ravi, who has (his own) studio where he prepares demos that he engineers himself, has completed six new compositions since moving to New Orleans and says he can feel the creative vibrations of the city working their way into his music. He has assembled an all-star band to play his material led by keyboardist Joe Krown, a veteran sideman perhaps best known for his work with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown since 1992; Cornell Williams, the bassist with the popular New Orleans group Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen; and drummer Mike Barras, the power behind one of New Orleans' best rock bands, Mulebone.

The local players add a heavy dose of funk to Ravi's hook-oriented pop sound. They get a chance to stretch out live, but Ravi is careful to avoid the jam-sessions cult that has been passed down through the New Orleans tradition.

"My songs have intricate arrangements that require rehearsing before they are played," he insists, "so there is not so much jamming in my sets. There are places in the songs for solo improvisation, but I don't want to give my audience the wrong idea about what it is that I do."

Nevertheless, you can hear the music gain breathing space from gig to gig as Ravi's band plays it. At the beginning of his second set at the Maple Leaf earlier this year, Ravi's ethereal solo reading of Steve Winwood's plaintive "Can't Find My Way Home" drew the mesmerized audience members close to the stage even before it signaled the other members of his well-balanced quartet. By the time he played Le Bon Temp later in the year, his arrangements had opened up considerably, and he was confidently pulling out tunes he'd played back in high school during the course of three sets at a popular roadhouse dance hall.

Ravi went on to play several originals, including a solid song dedicated to New Orleans homeless children, "Sunflower in the Shade," the Van Morrison-inspired "New Year's Day," the clever "Shadow?" and the potential jam band anthem "It's Up To You." Ravi also showcased his imaginative flair for great arrangements on a terrific restructuring of the John Lennon classic "Imagine" and novel takes on "Don't Let Me Down" and "Little Wing."

Ravi, of Indian and German descent, is the grand nephew of Jawaharlal Nehru. His fame has spread to India, where he plans to play with his New Orleans band, perhaps later this year.

"I am interested to see how the people of India will react," Ravi said of what is likely to be treated as a major cultural event. - United Press International (UPI)


He got booted by the boy-band Hanson, moved to New Orleans to find his rhythm-and-blues muse and is halfway through his journey from riches to rags and back. His name is Ravi. You haven't heard of him. He hopes to change that very soon.

The singer named Ravi is working it, working through a set of solid pop songs and slinging his guitar. He's in the bare second-floor space above the CD Warehouse on Magazine Street, playing to a small crowd that hangs against the back wall of the room, closer to the free beer than the band.

He's grinding through the unglamorous kind of gig that every pop star wannabe has to suffer, hustling a 3-in-the-afternoon gig in an un-air-conditioned room, playing to anyone who will listen, trying to get the word out, trying to break through, trying to spread the message: I'M HERE. Somebody pay attention.

Strange thing. Just a short time ago, Ravi was surrounded by celebrities and rock stars backstage after his shows. Limousines picked him up for work. Throngs of screaming fans came to his shows, waited outside his hotel, stalked his tour bus.
But that's all over now, long gone, a million miles in the rear view mirror. There are no more armies of young girls seeking him out, tears in their eyes, holding up signs that say: WE LOVE YOU, RAVI! MARRY ME, RAVI!

The story begins in a time before *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, if you can remember such a thing. It was before Britney and Cristina and Shakira. And Billy Gilman.

Alanis Morissette's angst ruled the radio airwaves, tempered, perhaps, by the rise of a bright new star named Jewel. The now-fertile (over-planted?) fields of prepubescent pop were barren, a vast and vacant wasteland waiting for new musical messiahs to fill the void, somebody to show the way, somebody to absorb the welling adulation of the young American masses.
Somebody to put on the cover of Tiger Beat magazine.

It was the winter of 1997. The phone rang at the Old Greenwich, Conn., home of Ravi, a budding studio guitar wiz from a well-to-do Indian family of New York City financier-types, the not-so-starving artist in a family of suits.

The message on his answering machine was from a friend who told him that Mercury Records was looking for a young guitarist to help out on an experimental project: Three young brothers from Tulsa, Okla. -- one of them not yet even a teen-ager -- needed a back-up band for an upcoming showcase before a bunch of record industry execs.

Based on a photograph and a demo tape, Ravi got the job. Days later, he was in a decrepit theater in downtown Tulsa, part of a six-piece ensemble -- the three brothers and three guns for hire -- learning a handful of songs in short order. One of them was called "MMMBop," and it would change the world.

OK, maybe not the world, but it certainly altered the landscape for Ravi. "MMMBop" held the No. 1 position on the pop charts for three weeks, catapulting the band into the tabloid stratosphere, triggering a wild ride through the pop culture wringer, a swift and sudden excursion that would take Ravi to stages at the White House, 'The Late Show with David Letterman," "Saturday Night Live," Rosie O'Donnell, Madison Square Garden, et cetera, on and on, attending parties with the likes of Aerosmith and Jack Nicholson.

In the process, Ravi, with his dark good looks, easy smile and flowing raven hair, managed to become a Minor Teen Idol. Tribute Web sites to him popped up on the Internet. Love letters from strangers, some of them not yet old enough to need a bra, poured in, hundreds at a time. He lived in a world very few get to inhabit.

The brothers, of course, were the Hansons -- Isaac, Taylor and Zac -- the lovable blond lads who stormed the international pop scene in 1997 with their debut record, "Middle of Nowhere," and whose paste-up photos from teen mags adorned little girls' walls from Topeka to Tokyo.

Ravi was on the train when it pulled from the station, when the band became an international overnight sensation. Then, in January of 1998, it was over as fast as it began. Ravi got a call telling him he had been replaced by a family friend back in Tulsa.

No hard feelings, nothing personal. Thanks and good luck.

"The record ('Middle of Nowhere') wasn't out" when he started with the band, Ravi says. "Nobody thought it was going to be as big as it was. Everybody was kind of surprised by the response. Our tour was very interesting, a good opportunity to be part of a really big explosion that was just good, clean fun."

Indeed. In his autobiography of the experience, "Dancin' With Hanson," about as wild as things get are the pre-concert Laser Tag games; no hot tubs full of Cristal and strippers, as boy bands are wont to do these days.

"It was an 11-year-old, a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old, how R-rated could it get?" Ravi says without a hint of regret. They became close friends, Ravi and the Hansons. But eventually, "I was told that they wanted to use a guitar player from home, which isn't so unusual after a band reaches a level where they start calling their own shots," he says.

And that was that, a fantasy lifetime lived in a year. A good 15 minutes.

He moved back to Connecticut. He wrote the book, a fond memoir of life on the road with the boys on the bus. He toured Europe as a solo act. He made two self-published records titled "Ravi" and, appropriately, "Beyond the Blur."

And then he moved to New Orleans. In the middle of last year, he surfaced on the local music scene, said: HERE I AM. Somebody pay attention.

He originally came to town for a music business conference, teaching a seminar on structure and organization of a music career; he's got a head for finance and has seen how the big time works. But the feel of the city caught his soul.

"I came a day early and spent about 15 minutes in the French Quarter," Ravi says. "I walked into Tipitina's during an Eddie Bo Happy Hour and this was a time when I was doing a lot of press and promotions and (book) signings and not a lot of music and it just clicked: This is a town that reminds me of why I became a musician in the first place. This is a town that inspires me to get back to the music. There's a lot of integrity about the music here. It's part of the culture, it's not a business first, like it is in New York or L.A. or even Nashville."

He moved Uptown last year and fashioned an in-house studio. He started writing articles for guitar and Internet magazines, started volunteering guitar lessons at Covenant House and started immersing himself in the local music scene, scouting clubs and talent.

You could see him out on the town all the time last summer and fall, checking it out. The music that turned him on was that of Anders Osborne and Jon Cleary. It's no coincidence that they were outsiders who came here to find their muse and create mind-blasting New Orleans-derived rock, blues and funk.

Ravi got into it. He started hiring some of the great New Orleans session players, guys who go back with Cleary, Gatemouth Brown, Marva Wright and other rhythm kings and queens, among them Joe Krown, Cornell Williams and Mike Barras.
"These guys are deep-rooted New Orleans guys who played a lot of church music and gospel growing up, who grew up here and represent what this town has to offer," Ravi said.

With New Orleans in his blood, his sound is evolving. His early records -- made in Connecticut -- have a definite '70s studio rock feel to them, catchy pop tunes with memorable hooks and choruses and a glassy voice that calls to mind old Steve Winwood or Peter Frampton LPs.

And with New Orleans in his blood, a little funk infused into his natural pop sound, he is trying to make a run for the brass ring again. "The artistic goal is to simply write the best music I can and enjoy what I'm doing," Ravi says. "The career goal is to make it as big as I can."

It's a tough row, breaking into the notoriously tight New Orleans music market as an outsider, particularly with Ravi's curious credentials, but he's even-tempered about it, a fairly serious-minded guy who's developed a keen sense of humor, able to laugh at his own expense, which is probably a good defense against playing "MMMBop" five thousand times in your career.

"As far as the Hanson issue goes, in this town, there's almost a backlash to that kind of thing," says Hank Staples, owner of the Maple Leaf music club, one of few venues where Ravi can be found gigging around town. "It's kind of like if you've been successful in pop music before you come here, you have to double prove yourself. Personally, I think he certainly deserves much better respect than he's getting."

Though Ravi says it's not really a matter of respect -- he's on stage with some of the great players in town -- but more a matter of exposure, getting known, getting his catchy tunes into the heads of local listeners who'll want to come back for more, trying to convince them to add one more name to the list of must-see musical acts in town.

"Other musicians have been very receptive," he says. "Certain clubs, like the Maple Leaf and House of Blues, really understand what we're doing, trying to build a loyal fan base in these rooms. We're not just going to go play anywhere that will take us. We're going to build this with good clubs. As good as the band is, the room is just as important."

That in mind, Ravi plays a solo acoustic show at the House of Blues Wednesday night (opening for Freedy Johnston) and his full band gets its first Friday night headlining slot at the Leaf this weekend, two good gigs that should find some fresh, new ears.

"I believe not in writing for the market, but creating your own market," Ravi says. "I do believe that if I like what I'm doing, then there will be other people out there who do also, so you've just got to go out there and find your audience. I'm going to keep knocking on doors and keep trying to play the places I want to play.

"I have a lot of faith in this business, in terms of its artistic integrity. If you're not doing what you love to do, being honest with yourself and sincere with your audience, then I don't see the point." - The Times Picayune (New Orleans LA)

"Press Quotes"

“Guitar whiz” – Musician Magazine

“Ravi is flourishing as a solo performer in New Orleans, last weekend playing an acoustic set to thousands of music fans in town for the
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival”
– United Press International

“Swarthy good looks, a terrific voice, and…an imaginative flair for great arrangements…drew the mesmerized audience members close to the stage”
– United Press International

“Ravi has a fine, richly textured voice and a degree of mastery of his instrument that calls to mind early Clapton and Duane Allman”
– Offbeat Magazine

“Catchy pop tunes with memorable hooks and choruses and a glassy voice that calls to mind old Steve Winwood or Peter Frampton LPs”
– Times Picayune (New Orleans)

“The atmosphere in the audience, with people dancing and having a great time, was an echo of the enthusiasm on stage…great on-stage chemistry”
– Liquid Weekly (New Orleans)

“Ravi is bound to appease not only the extremely eager fan base he acquired with Hanson, but also fans of well-executed pop”
– The Advocate (Stamford, CT)

“Affable, articulate and movie star handsome”
– Times Picayune (New Orleans) 

“A guitar laden trip into the world of pop...
crisp and void of pretension”
– America Online

“His lyrics are stunningly poignant…
Ravi has all the potential he needs to make himself a star”
– Entertainment Online (Canada) - Various

"Guitar expert Ravi to give clinic in Florence"

Pee Dee guitarists will have the chance to get a lesson from an artist known as one of the foremost experts on the instrument.

Ravi, a clinician for Samick's Greg Bennett line of guitars, will give his "Instant Guitarification" clinic at 7 p.m. today at Cornerstone Music Co. in Florence.

Ravi, whose many television appearances include "The Late Show with David Letterman," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Saturday Night Live," has created an entire industry dedicated to educating guitarists, delivering about 50 clinics a year across the country.

"When I decided to set up these clinics, I wanted it to be something different," Ravi said of the clinic he'll bring to Florence. "I didn't want it to be the kind of thing where a guy comes in, talks about the guitar, then shows off what he can do."

To that end, the clinic will include plenty of hands-on experience for those who attend, Ravi said.

"The end part of the clinic, for as long as the guys want to keep the store open, I'll hang out with people and answer questions they have, and let them try out some of the things I teach," he said.

He is a bit unique by music industry standards. Ravi has made a career out of speaking out about artistic integrity, lecturing at such prestigious music programs as Berklee College of Music and Pepperdine University. In fact, Ravi's web site, www.heyravi.com, has links to three of his other sites, two of which are dedicated to artistic integrity.

"We live in a world of diminishing integrity," writes Ravi on his site, www.ArtisticIntegrity.org. "Capitalism has spun out of control and is turning us into a lowest common denominator society. The artistic community is caught in the tide with not enough of us swimming upstream."

To combat what he sees as over commercialization of the music industry, Ravi has turned to the Web and his series of guitar clinics. Samick, the world's largest maker of guitars, hired him as a clinician a couple of years ago to push their new line of Greg Bennett guitars. He said he took on the job because the Greg Bennett line fills a need in the guitar market.

"It's not an overly expensive guitar, but it delivers the quality of some of the more expensive guitars out there," Ravi said.

While Thursday's clinic will focus on Greg Bennett guitars, Ravi said the whole point of the clinic is to teach.

"It's generally about two hours long, but it can go a lot longer," he said. "I'll create a full-blown sonic performance, demonstrating the different aspects of the guitars, and the techniques used to create those sounds. Then we'll talk about what to look for in a guitar."

For Cornerstone Music, the clinic is the first in what management hopes to be a long line of clinics and live music performances at their store that opened a few weeks ago.

"We're expecting about 50 to 75 people at the clinic," said D.L. Holland, general manager at Cornerstone Music. "This is really a big deal for us, but where Ravi's been—I mean playing with BB King and Bonnie Raitt—this guy's known by every guitarist who plays seriously."

Holland agreed that the clinic won't be limited in length.

"We're going to keep the doors open as long as we need to, so that everyone who wants to ask questions and talk to Ravi can," he said. - Morning News (Florence SC)

"Ravi-Ola! (Concert Review)"

New Orleans music sounds a siren call that has lured many talented and adventurous souls to relocate here from points around the globe. Ravi is one of the newest arrivals on the scene. With swarthy good looks, a terrific voice, and a sound technical understanding of song structures and arrangements strategies, he's an interesting addition to Crescent City music culture. 

At the beginning of his second set at the Maple Leaf on Valentine's Day, Ravi's ethereal solo reading of Steve Winwood's plaintive "Can't Find My Way Home" drew the mesmerized audience members close to the stage even before it signaled the other members of his well balanced quartet featuring Joe Krown. He went on to play several originals including a solid song dedicated to New Orleans homeless children, "Sunflower in the Shade," the Van Morrison-inspired "New Year's Day," the clever "Shadow?" and the potential jam band anthem "It's Up To You." 

Ravi also showcased his imaginative flair for great arrangements on a terrific restructuring of the John Lennon classic "Imagine" and novel takes on "Don't Let Me Down" and "Little Wing." - Offbeat Magazine

"Mmmbopping Nehru"

India may not know him but the rest of the world does. Ravi is not just one of the most feted guitarists on the international scene, he's also Jawaharlal Nehru's grand nephew, says Viral Bhayani

He's worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry. Throughout 1997, he played guitar for that year's top selling band in the world -- Hanson. They performed the platinum, No. 1 hit single, Mmmbop, and other cuts from their two multi-platinum albums including Middle of Nowhere (over 15 million sold) for President Bill Clinton and the First Family, on radio and television programmes worldwide, and in the world's most prestigious venues including New York's Madison Square Garden.

He's also probably the only Indian to be featured on shows like The Late Show/David Letterman, The Tonight Show/Jay Leno, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Saturday Night Live, After Breakfast (Fox), The Today Show (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), Teen Idols (VH1), Showbiz Today (CNN) and Entertainment Tonight. Doesn't matter if India does not know him, at least the rest of the world does.

He's Ravi and he has an interesting connection with India -- he is the grand nephew of Jawarharlal Nehru. His paternal grandmother, Krishna Nehru Hutheesing was the youngest sister of Jawaharlal Nehru. Ravi's father, Ajit, came to the US in the 60s. Ravi was born in Washington, D.C., and has lived in the US practically all his life.

During 1998, he released his own CD entitled Ravi, which received excellent reviews. He collaborates on his music with many great talents including five-time Grammy winner (15 nominations) producer and engineer, Bruce Swedien (Michael Jackson), and world-renowned bass player and producer, Will Lee (David Letterman Band). Ravi has also performed for a lot of other bands and artistes apart from Hanson.

So, how does it feel to be an Indian especially when you are the grand nephew of Jawaharlal Nehru? "Well, I have mostly grown up as an American. I often joke that I have grown up as an American with an even tan and a complicated name! But seriously, the awareness of being Indian is something that flows in and out of my life. As a kid, I wanted to 'fit in' with my American mates. Now, I am at a point in my life where I find it fascinating to be 'a little different' than most of the people around me. Artistically, I am becoming more and more intrigued with the idea of incorporating my roots into my music. Being part of a prominent family in India is never something that I have outwardly absorbed in my life, but something that I am certainly proud of."

In 1999, Ravi had two major releases -- his autobiography about his year on the road with Hanson, Dancin' With Hanson was released in April 1999. Simultaneously, he released a new CD entitled, Beyond The Blur, featuring some of the finest musicians New York has to offer. Additionally, Ravi writes articles for music publications including Musician Magazine. He often conducts clinics, sits on panels, and offers quotes as an "industry expert". Smithsonian Magazine, ASCAP, and other societies have tapped his knowledge.

Other ventures include developing and actively participating in youth programmes designed to inspire kids of all ages to explore their own creativity, pursue their dreams, and achieve their goals. "There was a time when I used to teach as many as 60 students per week. The money that was made by me was later used for my studio, which is now used by some big music producers," Ravi says. He is also currently working with the United Nations to help further the influence of youth in the decision-making of world governments.

Ravi wishes to come to India with his band and if he feels the market is good, he will also release his albums. "I have visited India thrice. The first when I was very young, only three. I became rather ill from dehydration and if my memory serves me well, Indira Gandhi arranged for a government plane to fly my mother and I to the best hospital in New Delhi, and I believe most of my stay in India was there. My mother and I then visited India many years later when I was 16. It was summer and the weather was less than agreeable. It was very hot, and again, I was not in the best health. However, we visited several places such as New Delhi, Bombay, Jaipur, Udipur, Ahmedabad (my grandfather's hometown) as well as some of the neighbouring towns of the major cities. We also visited many family members on that trip including Rajiv Gandhi and family (Rajiv was prime minister at the time), and Vijayalakshmi Pandit and her family. It was a great trip to get acquainted with India and my extended family."

He again visited India in December, 1996, with his father and brothers. He met several family members including B. K. Nehru, whom he had not seen in years. Thanks to his association with the band Hanson, there are hundreds of fan sites for Ravi on the Net, while his site www.heyravi.com receives almost 1,000 personal letters daily besides the fan clubs that he has throughout Europe. - Times of India

"Ravi Returns for Oyster Fest and Clinic"

Ravi cut his musical chops right here in Greenwich while attending the town's public schools. He took guitar lessons at Greenwich Music, played with fellow students, built a recording studio in the basement of his mother's home in Old Greenwich. It was there that Ravi formed friendships, including composer and musician extraordinaire Rob Mathes, that lead him to a pretty notable career.

He played backup guitar for the popular kid band The Hansons in the late 1990s. That lead to gigs ranging from early morning and late night television and for U.S. presidents as well. Ravi's found several niches that he's nurturing in the music industry including mentoring and advising students who want to play the guitar either as a profession or an avocation. He also is clinician for several guitar manufacturers including Greg Bennett and Samick electric guitars and regularly writes for music magazines.

He hasn't forgot his roots and will be returning to Greenwich, where his family still lives. On Sept. 10 he'll be giving one of his clinics at Greenwich Music before heading for the Norwalk Oyster Festival where he and some "former band-mates" will reunite to perform as the opening act for the band Asia.

Ravi spent some time answering questions from Check It Art!'s Barbara Heins in an e-interview – and here's what he has to say.

GT: You have settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. That's a long way from suburban Greenwich and from, as you have described some of your credits, "the dives of Manhattan." What prompted your decision to settle there and what impact has it had on your music?

In between Greenwich and the Blue Ridge, I lived for three years in New Orleans. Towards the latter part of my stay in the "Big Easy," I wanted to get back on the road and spend more time touring. I found myself in the Northeast quite often, lecturing at universities and music conferences, and performing at festivals. New Orleans was just too far, and during my travels, I stumbled on Charlottesville – a very charming and arts-oriented city.

I found a great house on a beautiful property with the historic James River running through my "yard" (Generals Lee and Grant literally traversed across my property with their troops). It's quite fascinating to live in the midst of American history. Since most of my work is on the road, living in the "back of beyond" also creates a nice balance. I am a bit of a recluse off the road, so it is a great opportunity to focus on my writing and record in a very serene but inspirational setting. That's probably the most significant impact it has on my music. However, I am also starting to work with a few locals, and there is a significant music industry presence here with Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Hornsby, Mary Chapin Carpenter and others. I look forward to expanding my own musical horizons here.

GT: You will be giving an "Instant Guitarification" clinic at Greenwich Music on Sept. 10. What is that all about? What can aspiring musicians expect to learn from this clinic? Are there any prerequisites for students who would like to attend?

I've been doing this clinic all around the country for about two years now, and it is really exciting to bring it to the place where my own studies began, and where I taught so many others. This clinic is open to everyone – all ages, all levels. It really is about music and sound, and allows music enthusiasts to have a better understanding of how music is created ... they'll hear music in a way they have never heard it before! Guitarists (and potential guitarists) will get many ideas on how to be more creative in their approach to the instrument, learn about the attributes of different types of guitars and how it impacts their music, as well as discover how they can incorporate other instruments and equipment into their own vocabulary. I've also had pianists, drummers, and other instrumentalists attend clinics who really enjoyed themselves and walked away feeling inspired.

I'll bring many stories about my career into the clinic, giving folks an idea of what it is like at the top of the music industry, as well as music business tips on how to get there. Above all, I try to make the clinic accessible and entertaining for everyone, musicians and non-musicians alike. It really is a relaxed, fun, and informative interactive experience with the audience.

GT: You also will be performing at the Norwalk Oyster Festival with your "old tri-state band mates." Who will be performing with you? How often do you get together with them and perform? What do you have planned for your Oyster Festival gig?

There are quite a few musicians based in the tri-state area with whom I have worked over the years. I come back to perform once every two years or so, and I like to try to put together a slightly different combination of musicians each time. This year is especially interesting because I have Tom Hartlett from Stamford on keyboards – who played with me in high school as well as the last two times I played the Oyster Festival in 2003 and 2004, Jordan Jancz from Bridgeport on bass – who played on my CD as well as with my first band post Hanson, and Tony Cruz from Nyack, N.Y. on drums – who I have only "jammed" with in the past but have always been a big fan of his playing since seeing him occasionally perform with Rob Mathes. It will be a one-hour set of energetic original music.

GT: And how might the Oyster Festival gig be different from performances when you're on the road?

Most of my recent performances have been solo acoustic. I don't perform too many concerts these days, as I am trying to be very selective about the ones that I do play – I want them to be nothing short of great. Last month, I went to France to perform at a festival which was absolutely wonderful.

GT: What do you do when you're not on the road?

Mostly manage my career! As an independent, predominantly self-managed artist, the work never stops. Since I also write for trade magazines, I find myself catching up on the articles when I am home. The "time off" seems to disappear quite quickly. However, I love to go for walks with my wife (who helps me manage my career and also travels with me most of the time), take in a few movies, and enjoy some rest and relaxation outdoors! Additionally, I spend time in my studio writing and recording.

GT: It would be great if you could talk a bit about how your career evolved. You've taught guitar lessons here in Greenwich. You have toured with the Hansons. You've appeared on "Late Night" with David Letterman; "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno; "Saturday Night Live," the whole morning television show circuit and even for presidents. Any particular moment stand out as a defining moment of your career? What has been most memorable?

When I look back on what I've done, I feel really good about it and also really confident about how much more I can do ahead. Growing up in the suburbs of New York afforded me many opportunities since there was a high level of professional music all around. My former guitar teacher who still lives in Stamford, (John) Ratso (Gerardi), was a huge influence on me – not only as a teacher, but as an inspiration and guide to having a career in music. Another key figure was Ron Frangipane, a former Greenwich resident who produced jingles in the best studios in New York. He took me under his wing and really showed me what professionalism is by exposing me to the best of the best. These influences made me work harder, not only as a musician, but as a music business person.

While carrying a full load of students at Greenwich Music (where I really learned the value of teaching and garnered effective communication skills), I built a recording studio in my mother's basement in Old Greenwich. Local musicians including Rob Mathes frequently came over to do some work. Rob later turned out to be a key player in my career because when he was the musical director for Vanessa Williams, he connected me with Mercury records when they were planning to put Hanson on the road in 1997. That was the year when I lived and exceeded most of my childhood dreams – playing the shows you mentioned, as well as performing at Madison Square Garden. For most musicians growing up in the New York area, the "Garden" is truly a dream come true.

I subsequently got a book deal with Simon & Schuster. "Dancin' with Hanson" is my tour journal, which really gives the reader a chance to see what it is like touring with what was the top-selling band in the world that year. The book launched my writing career, and now I contribute articles every month to leading music industry trade magazines.

Additionally, the Hanson experience taught me so much about the music industry, and I have been able to put all of it together and join the college lecture circuit, helping up-and-coming musicians break into the professional music business. I started "Instant Guitarification" two years ago when Samick – the world's largest guitar manufacturer – asked me to represent them as a clinician. The clinics are great, as each one brings me back to the day it all began – the simplicity of just a guitar and an idea. I savour the opportunity to share that with budding musicians all around the country at independently owned and operated music retailers – who I believe are the soul of local music scenes and artistic/cultural advancement, but fighting a vicious battle with "soulless" mass-market consumerism. At a time when music education is disappearing from schools, local music retailers are crucial, and I work hard to support them and to inspire the public to do the same.

GT: How would you like to be remembered in the music industry? What would be your legacy?

Perhaps the most important thing that I do in the industry these days is regularly lecture at music conferences and universities, such as Berklee College of Music. My primary subject is "Maintaining Artistic Integrity While Running Your Career as a Business." I'm a big believer that this is an important message not only for artists, but also in terms of how artists impact society. Too many artists are chasing the corporate concept of what art needs to be in order to reach the mainstream.

The music industry operates on a business model that doesn't really work and also diminishes the quality of art. If artists don't recognize that the value of their work lies in the purity of the creation – art for art's sake – I fear for the advancement of art and culture. Artists must challenge their audiences, not simply entertain them. The industry must learn the value of that and how to market it, as opposed to letting the marketing research dictate the art.

Therefore, I would hope to be remembered as someone who empowered artists to pursue their craft with absolute artistic integrity and at the same time helped the industry (including independent artists themselves) understand how to cultivate a business that successfully promotes truly artistic creations. On a more individual level, I hope to inspire everyone who attends my clinics to pursue their dreams and live their lives to the fullest.

GT: Any disappointments with your career so far? Is there anything that you would change?

It's hard to say, as of course having a hit song, playing stadiums nightly, and being revered as one of the finest musicians to ever grace the planet would be nice! At the same time, I truly love how I spend my time. In some respects, the diversity in my career may also be the hindrance. However, as the saying goes, "variety is the spice of life," and my life is pretty spicy! My goal has always been to work hard at my career, be in control of my time, and earn the respect of my peers in the industry. I'm accomplishing all of that.

GT: What's in the future for Ravi - both immediate plans and those for the future? What haven't you done that you just can'' wait to accomplish?

The next project on my horizon is a new CD. I love playing with my old mates in Connecticut and New Orleans when I'm in those areas, but I'm ready for a more stable and creative "unit." In terms of something I haven't done before, I will soon begin working on writing a play/musical. That seems to be a perfect marriage of my music and text writing interests, and it's something that I have always wanted to do.

GT: Ravi, if there's something I didn' task you about but you're champing at the bit to tell me about it, go for it.

I want to thank Greenwich Music for hosting the clinic and presenting me at the Oyster Festival. I hope a variety of people come down to the store since "Instant Guitarification" really appeals to broad audience with an interest in music. The focus is guitar and music careers, but it is really about creativity and the fulfillment of dreams – which applies to everyone. More information can be found at www.HeyRavi.com. Also, in this day and age of mass-market consumerism and chain stores (I barely recognize Greenwich Avenue anymore), I think it is a great opportunity for everyone to rediscover the value of local retailers. Greenwich Music in their new Riverside location has a lot to offer the community in terms of arts education and musical inspiration. - Greenwich Time (Greenwich CT)

"Hanson Book Feeds a Hunger (Book Review)"

Guitarist Ravi went on tour with one of the top pop bands of 1997. He kept a journal of his experiences, and Simon and Schuster has published that record.

But don't expect tales offlying TVs or drug-fueled orgies. Because Ravi, who professionally goes by his first name only, was on tour with Hanson.

Instead, fans can read in "Dancin' With Hanson'' about games of laser tag, amusement park rides and a laundry list of what Tulsa's favorite sons had to eat while on the road, including burritos, pizza, popcorn shrimp and Chinese food.

The Connecticut native laughs when asked about his semi obsessive chronicle of the catering - 22 of the book's 90 pages mention food - during the group's meteoric rise.

"It's funny, one of the things I've found about the music industry is, the most important thing is`What's for lunch?' and then it's "What are we recording?'' he says on the phone from a New Orleans music conference. ``Touring, oddly enough, often revolves around food, but also why it's important is that's when a lot of our social interactions took place.

"What I'm trying to do in the book is set the scene, take the reader on the road,'' he added.

And that Ravi does in a book that starts with the phone call he received to join the teen trio before anyone had heard of the group. It continues through Hanson's first year of touring, television appearances and mall mania to his eventual replacement by a family friend. With pictures, memorabilia, honest observations about the business and anecdotes on road life, Ravi will doubtless fulfill many a Hanson fan's dreams about the blond teens.

"I wrote the book because it was a good story,'' Ravi says of his motives, ``and the reason I published the book is because I get a lot of e-mails - about a 1,000 a week - a lot from Hanson fans who have been asking me for stories from the road.
"So this seemed like a great way to get that information to them.''

The NYU music grad clearly got along well with the boys - Issac, Taylor and Zac. He says: "I have a tremendous amount of respect for the guys; they're extremely talented and just genuinely good people.'' He doesn't pull punches, however, when writing about the family organization's unprofessional behavior in terms of late arrivals and disorganized schedules. Overall, Ravi is consistently favorable, however, and says that the family's management "released a statement that they felt it was a good book.''

Since being let go by the Hansons - about which he is not bitter - the 20-something former music teacher has returned to focusing on a solo career. He recorded his second CD of bluesy pop rock, "Beyond the Blur,'' and is promoting it and the book with in-store signings and acoustic gigs. He also writes articles about touring for music magazines.

Ravi says he receives about 35,000 hits a week on his Web site, heyravi.com, from Hanson fans and others who've met him in the industry, and is getting good feedback about the book and his music. He's looking forward to the future as a solo artist or possibly a sideman again.

"If the right project comes along, sure, I'll never turn down an opportunity,'' Ravi says of backup work. "I could've easily turned down that opportunity in '97 not knowing what it was and it turned out to be a big break for my career." - Boston Herald (Boston MA)

"Former Hanson guitarist Rails Against Monopolies"

Back in 1997, Ravi was touring with Hanson, the world’s biggest-selling musical act. He played his guitar in front of 40,000 screaming fans at arena performances and even jammed for then President Bill Clinton at a Christmas party at the White House.

Ravi is still a professional musician, having recently toured with Suzanne Vega and performed at Live Arts. But the former pop insider has drifted far from the major label-big business side of music. These days he devotes much of his energy to two newsletters in which he bemoans the “mediocrity forced on art” by the “corporate dictatorship” of mega-conglomerates such as Disney and AOL Time Warner.

So how can a musician who joined three kids from Tulsa on their “MmmBop”-singing, big-label-orchestrated ride complain about The Man?

“Actually, the industry was very different then,” Ravi says of Hanson’s year of dominance. “My attitude was ‘Wow, the big wheel really does work.’”

He argues that in 1997, five major labels kept up the competition, and the tour circuit had yet to become dominated by Clear Channel, which produced or promoted 32,000 concerts and events in 2003.

Ravi admits that there were few drawbacks to playing with a band that was in the midst of selling 8 million copies of its major label debut. He flew from town to town, enjoying each stop as a tourist, his only task to play guitar on stage for a couple hours.

“I loved it. I had a lot of fun,” Ravi says of tour. “I really lived my childhood dream.”

But then, in 1998, the wheels fell off. Record labels like Polygram shuttered in a “progressively monopolizing” music industry. Hanson got shuffled around, eventually landing with Def Jam, a hip hop label and hardly an ideal fit. At the same time, the prepackaged horror of the boy-band craze arrived. Though one could say that the gimmicky pop of Hanson augured the rise of ’N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, Ravi and his underage pals were shoved out of the limelight.

“It was really sad to see that whole thing fall apart,” Ravi says.

Ravi, who refuses to disclose his last name, because “once you figure out how to say it, you’ll forget my first name,” is a guitar virtuoso whom critics have compared to Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton. But it wasn’t until 1999, when he says “the city of New Orleans slapped me in the face,” that Ravi again focused on his music. After a visit, Ravi moved to the Big Easy, living there as a musician for three years. In a city that he says totally rejects ambition, Ravi regained an appreciation of art that “New York and L.A. will just squeeze out of you.”

Out of that slower lifestyle, and a growing belief that corporate America is no longer “serving our needs,” Ravi this May began his two Web newsletters— www.cultureofintegrity.org and www.artisticintegrity.org—that he claims now have a combined circulation of about 12,000 readers. In defending his role as a pundit on the sites, which also publish reader feedback, Ravi thinks his experience in a pop juggernaut gives him insight on mega-conglomerates’ growing influence over art and culture.

“I’ve seen that change, from the inside. Therefore I feel that I can, subjectively, comment on it,” he says.

Ravi, who moved to the area one year ago, stresses that his viewpoint is not anti-capitalist, pointing to the quality of life and dearth of chains on the Downtown Mall as an example of “healthy capitalism.”

“We as individuals need to redefine what value is,” Ravi says. “I think that we have to make corporate America react to us.” - C'ville Weekly (Charlottesville VA)


· RAVI CD - "Beyond the Blur" (Suburban Turban)
· RAVI CD - "Ravi" (Suburban Turban)
· RAVI Interactive CD - "Guitarology" (Truefire)
· RAVI Interactive CD - "1000 Songs" (Truefire)
· RAVI Book - "Dancin' with Hanson" (Simon & Schuster)
· Brian Moore Guitars CD - Artist Vol 1 (Brian Moore Guitars)
· Hanson DVD - "Tulsa, Tokyo, & the Middle of Nowhere" (Mercury Records/Polygram)



Major Television Appearances:
· Late Show with David Letterman (CBS)
· The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC)
· The Rosie O'Donnell Show (NBC)
· Saturday Night Live (NBC)
· After Breakfast (FOX)
· Showbiz Today (CNN)
· The Today Show (NBC)
· Good Morning America (ABC)

College Appearances:
· University of Virginia (Charlottesville VA)
· Columbia University (New York NY)
· Loyola University (New Orleans LA)
· Delgado University (New Orleans LA)
· University of Florida (Gainesville FL)
· Berklee College of Music (Boston MA)
· Pace University (White Plains NY)
· Pepperdine University (Los Angeles CA)
· University of California L.A. (Los Angeles CA)
· Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte NC)

Festival Appearances:
· Goodwill Games (New York NY)
· Musique d'Ici et d'Ailleurs (Chalons, France)
· All Star Guitar Night (Indianapolis IN, Anaheim CA)
· Dfest (Tulsa OK)
· Entergy Fest (New Orleans LA)
· Oyster Festival (Norwalk CT)
· Downtown Alive (Baton Rouge LA)
· Lafayette Square Festival (New Orleans LA)
· Jammin' on Julia (New Orleans LA)
· First Night (Raleigh NC)
· Tosco Music Party (Charlotte NC)
· M.e.a.n.y. Fest (New York NY)
· French Quarter Festival (New Orleans LA)
· Atlantis (Atlanta GA)

Shared Bills:
· Moe
· Paramore
· Disco Biscuits
· Dweezil Zappa
· All American Rejects
· The Wallflowers
· Suzanne Vega
· Fiona Apple
· Lisa Loeb

Professional Endorsements:
· Brian Moore custom electric guitars
· CF Martin acoustic guitars
· Digitech modelers and loopers
· Gibson strings & accessories
· Graph Tech Guitar Labs
· Greg Bennett solid acoustics, hollow electrics
· Kustom tube amplifiers
· Levy's Leathers guitar straps
· Maui Jim sunglasses
· Sennheiser microphones, wireless
· Seymour Duncan guitar pickups
· Yamaha digital recording & keyboards

· Double Platinum Record (Hanson, Middle of Nowhere)

Ravi, an artist whose credits span from the dives of Manhattan to the Oval Office, tours the country performing original music (HeyRavi.com), conducting guitar clinics (InstantGuitarification.com), and lecturing on entrepreneurship, living the dream, and crucial issues facing the arts and sciences (ArtisticIntegrity.org). The singer-songwriter and guitarist originally from New York City—now residing in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia following a three-year sojourn in New Orleans—has performed on Letterman, Leno, Saturday Night Live, Today Show, Good Morning America, etc., and at the most prestigious venues including Madison Square Garden, Louisiana Superdome, and the White House. Ravi also appears annually at one of the music industry's most celebrated events: "All Star Guitar Night."

The "crème de la crème" of the entertainment industry frequently calls on Ravi. Mercury Records/PolyGram hired him in 1997 to play guitar on tour with three-time Grammy nominee Hanson (the top selling band in the world that year). Simon & Schuster published his tour journal/autobiography. Electronic Musician, Music & Sound Retailer, and several other magazines feature Ravi's articles, and he has a monthly column in Music Inc. magazine. Berklee College of Music and others including NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) and most music business conferences regularly host his lectures. The world's largest manufacturer of guitars and pianos, SMC (Samick Music Corp.), sought out Ravi to represent Greg Bennett Guitars as the brand's national electric guitar clinician. TrueFire contracted Ravi to film several long-form guitar instructional videos and join their faculty of world famous guitarists. Most recently, the Baltimore Music Conference asked Ravi to deliver the Keynote Address.

With professional endorsements & business savvy, Ravi releases CDs independently and tours extensively. He writes and performs a unique twist on "pop" music, combining funky grooves with smart songwriting. His music and musicianship have garnered rave reviews, comparing him to Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Duane Allman, Peter Frampton, and others. Ravi has earned a reputation for delivering high quality music and entertainment.

In addition, Ravi is the founder of ArtisticIntegrity.org and CultureofIntegrity.org—two Web sites aimed at inspiring greater social responsibility amongst artists and corporations. These Web sites combined with his frequent lectures and articles on "Integrity" have positioned Ravi as one of the most outspoken advocates on the subject in the music industry. He is also the spokesman for The Music For Life Alliance—uniting non-profits that bring music education to underprivileged kids—and he sits on the board of several organizations under that umbrella.

He recently broadened his horizons (literally) by entering the Aviation Industry as a consultant, and of course, pilot. He has been featured at the nation's two largest air shows, Sun 'n' Fun in Lakeland FL and AirVenture in Oshkosh WI. In addition, he writes for AOPA