MUSIC INDUSTRY RANT NO 1 (originally posted, April 2008)
When I first wrote the song ‘THIS IS MY DREAM’ a little over a year ago, I was generally feeling frustrated and angry with just how unjust and harsh the music industry really is. Today, with all that I continue to come up against and battle with in trying to get my songs heard by the right person, I sing that song with more conviction and defiance than ever.
I am so fed-up with facing the same old obstacles when it comes to trying to get people to listen to my songs. It seems the A&R world is only interested in signing or working with people who THEY personally deem cool, original, & cutting edge. As far as I’m concerned, they must just ignore or overlook how well or how poorly an artist is being received by the general public.
In my years of approaching A&R representatives, I have learnt that the vast majority of them have no musical training yet are still the key decision makers when it comes to deciding which songwriters and artists are given exposure. It’s criminal to me that people with no real background or understanding of musical structure and composition are supposedly qualified and allowed to shape today’s music industry based on THEIR musical tastes alone.
Recently, I have been criticised by some music industry snobs for being too generic and predictable in my songwriting. Despite this, I still have every faith in my ability as an artist and songwriter and I am even more defiant and determined to make it on my own terms and proceed steadfastly with my integrity intact. I only have to think to myself about all the legendary songwriters that I look up to and admire in order to feel encouraged and reassured again. I think about the the massive hit songs that have captured people’s hearts throughout the years – songs like ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Dolly Parton, ‘You’re Beautiful’ by James Blunt, ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by R. Kelly, ‘Hero’ by Mariah Carey, ‘You Raise Me Up’ by Josh Groban, ‘Beautiful’ by Christina Aguilera, ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ by Carole King. Yes you could argue that some of these songs are lyrically a little predictable and corny. However, the thing about these songs is that lyrically they are simple and with a sentiment that is universal and timeless. They are classic songs. When I switch on the TV and look at all this ultra hip and modern stuff that current artists are churning out, trying to look all cool, quirky, and experimental, to me, there is a distinct lack of melody and it just comes off as though they are desperately trying too hard to be clever. If I am honest, it just sounds like one big incongruous din most of the time.
I will argue my point because I have spent years recording demos and working soul destroying jobs just to be able to afford my studio recording costs etc. I write on my living room floor on a modest Casio Keyboard with no thrills or special assistance. I write from the heart and I am sick to death of hearing meaningless drivel being played by radio and TV on rotation.
You don’t have to be a genius in order to look around and see that life is an uphill struggle for most people. I have experienced my own adversity and born of that struggle, and often for my own necessity, I began writing uplifting songs that have a simple, clear message of encouragement and hope. To me, no matter how predictable or unoriginal these songs are, these type of songs are always necessary and timeless. Maybe a lot of the recording industry executives these days are just too ignorant and out of touch with how it feels to struggle, or are just too concerned with making money and being a business shark to have any real depth or sensitivity for emotion in order to appreciate songs and artists that have solid meaning and intelligence behind their lyrics with more to say than the inane and uninspiring sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll babble.
With the exception of maybe one or two, to me, most of the artists that I see being promoted by major record labels today are crude, irresponsible, reckless messes without an ounce of refinement, class, sophistication or finesse about them or their music!
I feel sorry for kids today growing up with so few role models to look up to or be inspired by. This whole business of acting like it’s trendy to dumb down and appear irresponsible and unintelligent just stinks! You would never have saw true songwriting talent like Carole King and Burt Bacharach falling out of night clubs in the early hours, or turning up for work completely stoned and out of it like some of today’s ‘so-called’ talent. Why aren’t their more artists out there who are articulate and capable of actually stringing a proper sentence together, artists that clearly have discernible talent and the ability to uplift and inspire others.
This blog isn’t all negative because I would like to say that I do feel that my talent has been recognised by a large number of people on here who have sent me heartfelt messages of support and have actually taken the time to let me know how one or more of my songs has connected with them. I am eternally grateful to those people. I have EVERY faith that if I was ever given the exposure that my songs would be received well.
However, after years of perseverance, I am absolutely sick to death with trying to get someone to recognise my talent in the industry. I feel as though I am wasting my time on these industry types who are quite frankly too ignorant to care or know better. They always come back at me with some lousy excuse as to why they aren’t prepared to help me. The sad truth is, as that old time saying goes “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I had really hoped that someday someone was going to prove me wrong. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I am not related to anyone in the industry and boy do I know it! Time and time again I have seen nepotism rear it’s ugly head. I am rapidly beginning to believe that the whole industry is just one big incestuous dynasty.
I could rant forever on this subject!