Tag Archives: KOTV Tulsa

Taylor Swift “Shakes Off” Airlift Productions

Taylor Swift, tagged to headline Jefferson Parish's Family Gras 2008
Taylor Swift, tagged to headline Jefferson Parish’s Family Gras 2008

** With Mardi Gras 2020 excitement in the air and New Orleans in frenzy mode – I’m re-posting this blog, originally published in June of 2015 **

Long before her recent shaking-up of the “Apple Cart’s” new music streaming service, Country/Pop-Tart Taylor Swift was headed to play New Orleans – and yours truly, Airlift Mike, was tagged to help promote and give voice to the show.

Little did any of us realize when then-19 year old Taylor was selected to appear at Family Gras 2008 – just down Veterans Boulevard from the Airlift Productions Studios – that she was destined  to explode and become one of the world’s hottest selling musical artists!

Family Gras was brand new – and so was Taylor Swift’s career.

Contracted by NOLA public relations ace Greg Buisson and the Jefferson Parish Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, I was tasked with voicing and producing the :60 audio track (video edited by Joseph Schneider) which was then to play all over New Orleans television to promote the affair.

** An uncharacteristically UP-Tempo Micheal Ziants, generating excitement for Taylor Swift’s Family Gras 2008 Appearance **

2008FamilyGrasLineupSo, with but one big hit in her hip pocket (“Our Song”), Taylor got in the bus with mom & dad, Andrea & Scott, and drove down to NOLA from Nashville for the show on that ill-fated late January.

She was slated to appear along with Blake Shelton, Kansas, Billy Ray Cyrus, The Bangles and a host of class N’awlins acts  – all in between Mardi Gras parades on the neutral ground of Veterans Boulevard here in Metairie for Family Gras 2008.

But Mother Nature had other ideas.

As Fate and the rain gods would have it, the skies over NOLA opened up that fate-filled Friday afternoon and it rained.  And it rained.  And it rained!

Poor Taylor’s only appearance that afternoon was on the 6:00 News/Blues.  Under an umbrella.  In a pouring rainstorm.  As she tendered her regrets to a dismayed New Orleans crowd about her canceled show.

swift14f-1-webReally.  Ask her about this one sometime, should you get a chance.

And little did any of us realize that day that this little PA native, Nashville transplant, Taylor Alison Swift’s career was about to explode – into the stratosphere!

Oh wait, of course. Her mama did.

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984

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L-R.HeathAllen, TheresaAnderssonMichealZiantsRichLenzAirliftProductionsNOLA
L-R, Heath Allen, Theresa Andersson, Micheal Ziants, Rich Lenz – during a break from the original HEALING HOUSE sessions, Airlift Productions 2004

“Great recording studios share something in common with great concert venues. They both have a…what is it? An aura, a vibe, a karma, an ambiance? Whatever you call it, it’s as real as any speaker on the wall or slider on a console. You can’t see it, but, you can absolutely FEEL it. 

Airlift Productions has IT – thanks to the man behind the board (and in your ear). Micheal Ziants has a knack for gently pulling your best work out of you – and then improving upon it in the final mix. The finished product always leaves you thrilled, satisfied and amazed that you really had it in you! The best part- he gives you all the credit and you only realize later what great hands your material was in. 

Do yourself a favor- give Airlift a try. You’ll love the results and every moment you spent producing them.”

~ RICH LENZ , former WDSU-TV Sports Director/Anchor 

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Bandits, Robin Hood & Kismet In Old New Orleans

AirliftProductionsMichealZiantsAndTheShadowOnTheJob
Airlift Mike & The Shadow at Airlift Productions, where Every day is ‘Take your Doggie to Work’ Day

I first met Jake Landry, innocently enough, while walking my faithful four-footed friend The Shadow through the Old Bonnabel subdivision here just outside NOLA.

After our brief introduction, he told me he played guitar, sang and wrote music, while I told him that I owned and operated a recording studio.

Kismet.

A fave boyhood hero and model of mine was Robin Hood, who heroically stood up for the oppressed, rescued damsels in distress, and went about righting wrongs.

JakeLandryRightLaneBandits
Jake Landry Records at Airlift Productions NOLA

Jake told me his band was called The Right Lane Bandits and he wanted to make his mark, steal a few hearts, and change the world with his music.

Kismet.

For the record, ‘kismet’ is an old Arabic word that’s often used to describe something significant that was meant to be, that happens seemingly by chance, but is steered by fate or destiny. (Dude, that’s deep.)

For the record, yes, Jake and his band of Merry Men will together with yours truly, Airlift Mike (Robin Hood), make many!

Records, that is.

PaulPiazzaRightLaneBandits
Harp-man Paul Piazza mystifies and amazes with his masterful microphone maneuvers at Airlift Productions

Our first project together was a jingle for the Frere Jean Cajun Seasonings folks, but that session merely served as my introduction to Jake’s rather formidable talents and passion.

As producer & recording engineer, my suggestion to Jake was pretty simple: Original tunes are one thing, but we need to give Linda & Larry Listener, Karl & Karla K-Mart, Arnold & Alice Average (who’ve never heard your work before) a yardstick by which to measure your talents – a totally excellent cover song.

So, this past week, that’s exactly what we did at Airlift Productions… record the ultimate, classic cover song.

Written by musical Christian mystic troubadour Van Morrison and with lyrics like “We were born before the wind, Also younger than the sun” …. rockin’ your gypsy soul, Linda & Larry Listener,  here come the Right Lane Bandits —

** “Into the Mystic” ~ Right Lane Bandits at Airlift Productions **

RightLaneBanditsRecordAtAirliftProductionsNOLA
(L-R) Paul Piazza, Jake Landry, Zach Fellman, Brandon Bates entertaining the house at the House of Blues in NOLA’s French Quarter

 

Catch-up with The Right Lane Bandits when you can, around the House of Blues here in NOLA, or at a night club or wedding reception near you.

While you still can.

 

***Jake and his posse in Greenwich, CT this past month, entertaining the troops via You Tube ***

The ‘kismet’ moral to the whole story here?

Keep your faith in your boyhood heroes.

And walk your dog more often.

ports Director & Anchor … and current King of Daytime Television, ********************************************************************

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from NOLA since 1984NewOrleansskylineg studios share something in common with great concert venues.  They both have a… what is it?  An aura, a vibe, a karma, an

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L-R.HeathAllenBrianLandryRichLenzMichealZiantsAirliftProductions
Original WDSU-Airlift Productions-Children’s Hospital ‘Healing House’ krewe ~ (L-R) Heath Allen, Brian Landry, Rich Lenz, Micheal Ziants

“Great recording studios share something in common with great concert venues. They both have a…what is it? An aura, a vibe, a karma, an ambiance? Whatever you call it, it’s as real as any speaker on the wall or slider on a console. You can’t see it, but, you can absolutely FEEL it. 

Airlift Productions has IT- thanks to the man behind the board ( and in your ear). Michael Ziants has a knack for gently pulling your best work out of you- and then improving upon it in the final mix. The finished product always leaves you thrilled, satisfied and amazed that you really had it in you! The best part- he gives you all the credit and you only realize later what great hands your material was in. 

Do yourself a favor- give Airlift a try. You’ll love the results and every moment you spent producing them.” 

— RICH LENZ, former WDSU-TV Sports Director and currently KING of Daytime Television at KOTV-Tulsa

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