Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Singer or Model?

Recently, I have been discussing deals for my music with a record company. It looks like I might be writing some music for them.

The president of the record company, his main recording producer, and staff were in town here in Dallas to support an event with their biggest star.(showing her music video, set up a booth at a major event, selling a TV spot done on spec to a major corporate customer, etc.)
On Saturday night, I was out with them, and the recording producer (John) is a long-time Nashville pro who knows so many big names in the record business over the last few decades, you would be amazed. He is ‘old school’ music business. He said he came back to his recording studio and found someone there had brought in a pitch corrector (I think of it as a spell-checker for singing. LOL) and he asked “Who the he11 brought this in here?” And they said well, in Nashville nowadays they don’t consider it a real studio unless you have a pitch corrector, and besides, they had this one girl who really couldn’t hold a note that well, so they needed it for her. He said, “Well, if she can’t sing on key, then she needs to be selling shoes, not trying to be a singer for a living…” That’s the kind of guy John is. Funny. Old school. Great guitar player too. Cool guy, actually….

Well John mentioned something to me I thought I’d share and get your opinion and comments on.
He said he had put together a package for some major labels with a number of his artists, and it was in binder form with multiple pages, with pictures and CDs and bio’s etc. These were all real pros with lots of real talent and they were mostly all in the 30’s (or looked like it ;-)), and a few in the 20’s, except one. She was a teenager that her mother brought in. He said she was gorgeous, but she couldn’t sing. She would need a LOT of work over a lot of time to learn how. He had one black and white picture of her. No CD, no Bio. He stuck that picture in the back.

The major label people flipped through the whole book looking at all the artists, and asking no questions, finally, they get to her, and they stop and point to her picture. “What about her? She looks good.” John said, “Oh no. You don’t want her. She’s not ready yet. She’s going to need a LOT of work before she can really go out and sing.” They said. “We don’t care. That really doesn’t matter. Can she talk? Listen, we’ll give you a two year contract option on her.”

That was it. They were ready to sign her up as a singer/artist/performer right then and there without knowing her, meeting her, hearing her, or knowing anything about her, AND even knowing she CAN’T sing – just based on one single black and white photo. The others, with years and years of success and tons of talent, were not even considered because they simply “weren’t pretty enough”. Talent was completely a non-issue with them. They can dub a real singer in. She just has to learn how to talk to an audience, that’s all. It is virtually ALL about looks.

This is probably not too surprising to some of us. But the degree of it might be. It is SO blatant, and SO obvious. Maybe that is surprising? A little?


Post a Comment

<< Home