Archives For John Lennon

The weekend was such a whirlwind that it spilled in to Monday.

It started Friday when I decided to celebrate the birthday of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Yes, everyone’s favorite seasonal beverage turned 13 according to Starbucks, who I envision still counting up the sales from that day as I type this. Was it basic? Of course it was! Why else would so many people double-tap it?


To be fair, it’s also an excellent photo that my super-patient colleague Mia took for me on our way back from the Starbucks a block over from the studio.

After Friday night’s show, I headed right home to sleep because I had an early and long Saturday afternoon ahead. The fine folks at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and John Lennon Educational Bus were holding a block party in Jackson Heights, Queens. Sunday would have been Lennon’s 76th birthday and so the non-profit decided to throw the party on Saturday in what has been dubbed, “the most diverse neighborhood in the world.”


That isn’t just a tagline, either. It was beautiful to see all ages, all ethnicities, all colors come out on a gloomy Saturday to tour the bus, listen to live music and enjoy each other’s company.


I showed up to Queens a little after 11 am and left just before 6. I had enough time to get back to my apartment, change and meet a colleague who was in town and staying near Times Square. I thought we were going to dinner.

Well, we were. But first, we were sitting fifth row at Blake Shelton’s show inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.


Dinner did follow at my favorite restaurant, the West Village’s Monument Lane, before drinks and obligatory late-night pizza ensued.

On Sunday I brunched and watched the 1 o’clock game with a friend, went back home to change and then met another friend for drinks at his hotel before heading to Kettle of Fish – the NYC Packers Backers bar – for the Sunday night game.


Look, the colleague is a Packers fan and while I don’t mind the Giants, my Bills won earlier so I was rather indifferent.

Green Bay cruised to victory and shortly thereafter, I cruised back uptown so I could grab some shuteye before interviewing Rachel Platten and Joe Jonas at “Good Morning America.”


Trust me, whirlwinds become much less fun on Monday mornings with short sleep.

Stars converged inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden for a special benefit concert honoring what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday. A few of the musicians participating in the event along with the evening’s host, Kevin Bacon, stopped to chat with me on the red carpet. The concert aired on AMC Saturday, December 19.
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I have had a lot of great weekends as of late, as I’ve broken out the “#RalphieOTRA” hashtag and traveled to a number of different cities; many of which I visited for the first time in my life. This past weekend included one of those trips, along with a few experiences in the tri-state area that I won’t soon forget.

To get a proper feel for the three day stretch I had, we should probably rewind to Friday. The details are covered in this Facebook post, but here are some of the highlights courtesy of my Instagram and Twitter.

First – a quick recap via Twitter.


Let’s expand on a few things… THE DEVILS, A PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY TEAM, GAVE ME A JERSEY!


I hosted the Devils Opening Night Red Carpet at the team’s Fan Fest outside of Prudential Center. Big thanks to the Devils along with Kerry and the PruCenter PR Team for the invite and hospitality.

I also was invited by my friends at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and Lennon Bus to the “Imagine Party,” celebrating John’s 75th birthday. Here’s me, VP of U.S. Tours and Promotions Matthew Reich and his band, the Command Sisters.


Saturday – off to Garfield, N.J. for Mike Allan’s wedding!


Obviously the photo does not do these two justice.


We had the whole crew there. I’m not sure why Jesse, from our sister station NASH FM, was standing here.


How I made it to LaGuardia to take this selfie and catch my 8:20 am flight after that night is beyond me.


Albeit delayed, I made it to the game. Big thanks to Cumulus Nashville for a great first experience at Nissan Stadium. Bills won!

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Things I tried in Nashville: A Bushwacker. It’s like a Wendy’s Frosty but with alcohol. So, it’s Heaven.


I also visited a ton of bars up and down Broadway. Lots of live music and libations, zero cover charges.


After about three hours of sleep, I hopped on a plane headed back to the greatest city in the world, but left with some fond memories of Nashville. Last #RalphieOTRA trip for a while is next weekend – Syracuse!

For the second straight year, The John Lennon Songwriting Contest called upon “Ralphie Tonight” to announce the winner of its year-long, international songwriting competition. This year’s “Song Of The Year” winner was “Dysphoric,” a track by Barrington, R.I.-based quartet The Rare Occasions.
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Each year, the contest is divided in to a pair of sessions. Over $300,000 in cash and prizes is awarded, culminating with the “Song Of The Year,” which includes a $20,000 prize.

Brian Rothschild, Execuitve Director of The JLSC and Matthew Reich, Vice President of U.S. Tours and Promotions, along with American Authors’ front man Zac Barnett joined “Ralphie Tonight” for the announcement. Barnett’s band won the contest in 2012. Read more from The JLSC’s press release here, and check out the interview and winning song below.

Fergie called in to “Ralphie Tonight” to chat about a number of different topics – from the music video to her latest single “L.A.LOVE (la la)” to the deadline for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

Plus we talked holidays – as Fergie gets ready for Christmas with husband Josh Duhamel and Axl, and as she readies for a return to the stage as a co-host and performer at this year’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”

A big congratulations to Helen Austin and Paul Otten, winners of the $20,000 Song of the Year in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest. I was honored to make the announcement and surprise Helen with a call alongside Brian Rothschild, Executive Director of The JLSC and The Lennon Bus, a state-of-the-art recording studio on wheels.

Check out the winning song, “Colour It,” above and the full press release below. To enter in to the year-long JLSC, which distributes over $300,000 in cash awards and prizes during its duration, visit JLSC.com.

John Lennon Songwriting Contest announces

Song of the Year on New York’s 95.5 PLJ

 

Colour It by Helen Austin and Paul Otten takes $20,000 prize

 

New York, NY (August 1, 2014) — Helen Austin & Paul Otten were announced as the winners of the coveted John Lennon Songwriting Contest 'Song of the Year' for their original song “Colour It.” The announcement was made on Cumulus Media’s 95.5 PLJ in New York with radio host Ralphie Aversa.

 

As 'Song of the Year' winners, Helen Austin & Paul Otten won $20,000 in cash in addition to prizes from SSL, Avid, Mackie and Digital Media Academy. They have also received other prizing throughout 2013 after winning both the Lennon Award and the Grand Prize packages in the Children’s category. The song was selected to win the top prize by the John Lennon Songwriting Contest’s Executive Judges Panel, consisting of superstars such as Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Natasha Bedingfield, George Clinton, Prince Royce, Bootsy Collins, Sean Paul & more.

 

Helen Austin is currently from Vancouver Island in Canada, though she started as a classical musician in the UK. Paul Otten is from Cincinnati, OH in the US. The two met while both on a songwriting conference panel, where they began a songwriting relationship. Helen and Paul are currently focusing on a new project together called Big Little Lions.

 

A total of over $300,000 in cash awards and prizes will be distributed this year by the year-round John Lennon Songwriting Contest, which is open to both amateur and professional songwriters. Visit JLSC.COM for more information about the contest and to enter for your chance to become the next 'Song of the Year' winner. All entry fees from the contest help support the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.