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JohnnyC

Who will save music? One guess...

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This is an old letter from one of the most connected, and knowledgeable people out there when it comes to the music biz. originally appeared on lefsetz.com June 2, 2007

170. Regina Spektor "Begin To Hope"

Sales this week: 4,227

Cume: 402,689

Girls are gonna save music, not boys. Boys need markers, they need achievements, it’s all about the pecking order, the size of your dick. Whereas women don’t need to set the world on fire, they don’t need a collection of toys, it’s what’s on the INSIDE that counts.

It’s absolutely stunning in a world of Pussycat Dolls and Fergies, in an era where Gwen Stefani sells out for fame, for ongoing success, that someone does it her own way and has success.

It’s all about hearing these records. Oh, I knew who Regina Spektor was, I even listened to Goldie recount in detail how he and Seymour signed her, and she’s Anthony Zuiker’s favorite act, but that wasn’t enough to motivate me. But earlier this week, I heard "Samson" on the radio, and I got it immediately.

That’s how it is with music, all great art. You don’t need anybody to TELL you something is good, you just instantly know, as soon as you experience it.

We’re all living in Missouri now, we’ve got a whole SHOW ME COUNTRY! You can’t convince me, you’re untrustworthy. I’ve got to hear it from someone without an investment.

Laura Nyro will be remembered for the hits she wrote for the 5th Dimension. Hell, the fucked up world we live in has her MANAGER more famous than she ever was and will be.

David Geffen made her career. Unfortunately, he also helped kill it. By making a bad deal and walking away. But when he believed, his passion drove her into the forefront. We all need someone to believe in us, to help us. Unfortunately, now these people are no longer midwives, but kingmakers.

Clive Davis never wrote a song or played a note. But the way he writes the book, he’s more important than Laura Nyro. That’s ridiculous.

You see Laura Nyro spoke from the soul. Her music came directly from her heart to yours, unfiltered. If you were a fan, you had to see her whenever she came to town, you bought the records without hearing them first. You were a member of a cult.

That’s what the business used to be, a collection of cults. But then the cults grew so big that the indie record labels sold out to the conglomerates and the resultant labels thought they could create cults with a snap of the fingers. But that’s not how you do it. That’s how you sell a TV program, not a musical artist.

And Laura Nyro was an artist.

And so is Regina Spektor.

Will she equal Laura Nyro’s achievements? Who knows! But what we do know is she’s following her own muse, Seymour and Goldie aren’t telling her what to do, they’re PROTECTING HER!

That’s what artists need, protection, not whoring out. The attention alone at this young age will kill you. Look at the boys, dating famous socialites, opening bars, trying to hang on desperately to their peak, playing it safer and safer while wilting under the attention.

We love Amy Winehouse because she’s a rock star, she does it HER way.

But we love Regina Spektor first and foremost because of the music, which is unfettered, straight from her soul.

Regina has quietly almost gone gold. She means more than all that boy crap.

And speaking of girls, the Wreckers have sold 751,590 albums so far. I’d rather listen to them and Little Big Town than any of the boys with guitars. We’ve got points of light, we’ve just got to NURTURE THEM!

Invest in women. Don’t care about what they look like, if they’ll obey you, the only test is are they speaking from the HEART! This is what the public is yearning for. It may not sell fast, but it seemingly sells strong and steady if not forever, then a VERY long time…

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quote:
Originally posted by MusicLover_2007:

This rant is such nonsense. The most progressive, advanced music is done by British bands(composed of guys) from the 1970s to present. It's just no one listens.

Just because a band makes very technically complex music doesn't mean that their music has any actual artistic merit. A lot of musicians find that as they mature, the more simple and direct their music can be, the better.

That said, if I was going to pick a single group to 'save' music, I have to pick The Bad Plus, which at the moment is three dudes and one lady. Ironically, they play a lot of covers, especially when they play with Wendy. They are the most clever, musically innovative band I know of.

With Wendy, cover: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sePLsyBdbVI

Sans Wendy, original:

edit to add: The best way forward is together. Not all men make crap music, not all women are brilliant artists. Bad music is everywhere, it takes a lot of digging to find a gem and when you find one you need to embrace it without any sort of prejudice.

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I was re-reading this on lefsetz.com and noticed this comment left by Seymour Stein. Thought I'd share.. Smiler

Dear Bob,

I’m in Tokyo, and my assistant has just read me your wonderful commentary on Regina.

Women are most often more determined than men, and prepared to do a lot more heavy lifting. I’ve been blessed to have worked with some of the best; Chrissie Hynde, k.d. lang, Tina Weymouth, and of course Madonna.

When Goldie first brought Regina to my attention, I flipped out. Not everyone felt that way, but if you believe, you’ve got to fight for it. Protecting artists, as you put it, is very important. Their careers are a lot more fragile and often shorter than ours. One of the most important things we can do for our artists, and that goes for both sexes, is to buy them as much time as possible.

The biggest and the best artists often find it a long and rocky road to success. EMI could not get Capitol to release The Beatles, which is why so many of the early recordings came out on Vee-Jay and Tollie. After Vee-Jay blew it by not paying royalties, and after the success of "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me", Capitol once again rejected The Beatles, which is why "She Loves You" was released on Swan.

Time, along with protection are both so important to an artist’s career.

Best regards,

Seymour Stein

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