Saturday, August 22, 2009

To sing or not to

When I was in my senior year at Belmont, one of my music business professors had invited Trisha Yearwood to come in and speak to the class and answer any questions we might have about the biz or her personal life, whatever. So I was super excited to think of a special question I could ask my favorite female singer and when I got the chance, I jumped in with it. "Trisha", I asked, "what is more important for a new singer in town to do? Sing on demo's (which when a songwriter who can't sing wants to give his music to a star, they have good singers sing the songs for them so that maybe the star will "cut" it), or is it more important to sing live?" Well, this was the perfect question for the perfect recipient. Everyone in town knew that before she was signed, Trisha was THE female demo singer to hire. Her main songwriter was Kent Blazy, who at the time was working with another unknown, Garth Brooks and together they wrote several hits, like "The Thunder Rolls". After her first record came out several years later and she began to tour, all the critics could not deny her voice but the biggest problem came with her stage performances. To put in bluntly, they called her the "Singing Stick". Not because she was super skinny but because she stood on the stage when she sang her songs...and didn't move. At all. Trisha had put all her attention and time into recording that she had denied singing around town much and unfortunatly, it had come to back to bite her with scathing reviews. So, I waited in anticipation as she pondered my question in her head and a few seconds later she replied, "Well...both are important. You want to sing on demo's to get your name and voice out to labels and publishers and also its great practice for the studio. But, on the other hand, you want to perform live because that prepares you to be a great performer and get somewhat of a following, which the business folks also pay attention to. You don't want to be known as the 'singing stick' at the beginning of your career." We all smiled and chuckled but we knew the truth of the matter before it was answered. You want to be great in the studio, yet be Madonna on stage (or whomever else you think is a great stage performer. Nowadays, everything matters and you have to be able to do it all. Sadly, its way harder now that when Mrs. Yearwood was signed. To be honest, she probably wouldn't stand a chance now and days, even though her voice is from the heavens. And oh, what a shame that would have been...

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