'Challenges,' Tonocorder look to create tomorrow's hitmakers

Tonos — the online music insider’s network founded by top songwriters-producers Carole Bayer Sager, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and David Foster — officially launches today with a collection of online talent searches called “Tonos Challenges.”

These contests — titled “You Sing the Hit” and “You Write the Hit” — are facilitated by the Tonocorder, said to be the Web’s first recordable interactive music collaboration application. Designed exclusively for Tonos by E-Magic, the Tonocorder enables users to record, mix and create their own custom music and vocal tracks.

To enter the contests, users record vocal or musical tracks — either solo or as a group — to be mixed with music supplied by Tonos’ team of hitmakers, which in addition to Sager, Edmonds and Foster includes songwriters-producers Diane Warren, Max Martin, Bryon Gallimore, Rodney Jerkins and Matt Serletic.

After creating their original music or vocal tracks, users simply click a button to send the newly recorded files back to Tonos, where the team of hitmakers, staff and users can evaluate them.

The initial “You Sing the Hit” contest breaks down into three categories. Female vocalists can attempt the LeAnn Rimes hit “How Do It Live” (written by Warren). Male vocalists can take on Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” (written by Edmonds). Duos or groups can compete on the Backstreet Boys’ “As Long as You Love Me” (written by Martin).

The “You Write the Hit” allows rap songwriters to test their lyrical skills on a musical track created by Jerkins. Pop, country and rock songwriters can perform similar feats on tracks created by Foster, Gallimore and Serletic, respectively.

Prior to the site’s official launch, Tonos held similar contests that produced a pair of winners: Twelve-year-old Alysha Antonio of Scotts Valley, Calif., took the singing honors, and Damien Fontana, 34, from Brick, N.J., was the top songwriter.

After selecting the winners, Foster and Edmonds brought them into the studio to produce a demo of Antonio performing Fontana’s melody and lyrics (Foster and Edmonds created the rhythm track).

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