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Artist Survival Manual III

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There's a great saying in the music business. "If you quit laying the BS on `em they'll quit buyin' you!" After 25 years in the production of artists, I can truthfully say that this is probably the most truth you'll ever hear about the buying public. If you stop promoting yourself for one moment, there will be ten other artists right there promoting their career to take your fan base, your radio time, and your performance schedule. Perhaps the most legendary talent agent in country music, Billy Deaton of the Billy Deaton Talent Agency told me years ago, "Be careful of the big-wheel attitude. If the President of the United States can be replaced, every four years, then think about it, you can be replaced." Believe me I have thought about it, and tried my best to convey to the artists that we represent that publicity, promotion, packaging,

and continual pitching equals performance dates. And, you can never let up for a moment or someone will in fact be there to replace you permanently.


Take just a moment and look through the country music trade magazines. You are going to notice that the only type of pictures that the press likes to use are "live" action photographs or pictures that show the artist in current poses. The contradiction to that is the fan who always wants you to sign a "posed" picture for them as a keepsake. So from the moment you enter into the realm of getting publicity, you must recognize the difference and provide the media with what they want as well as the fan with what he/she wants. Spend the next few weeks after your recording getting your whole publicity kit together. The most important ingredient in a publicity kit are the pictures that you are going to have reproduced in all of the country music trades throughout the nation. Remember, this is the picture that millions of people are going to see and identify you with. So, the image you start with is so important. If you start with a cowboy hat and get known for that, then you better get comfortable with that look because the public doesn't accept changes in your image easily. It has been well said that building an image is so difficult that once you've got the pyramid built, you better get ready to be buried in it, because that's the image that will follow you for the rest of

your life. In country music, the demographics are staggering with regard to who buys music product. Almost all (approximately 82%) of music product is bought by a woman and they want to buy a certain look and certain image in the store. The other 18% of product, that is bought by someone other than a woman, is bought because a woman influenced the purchase. So if you're trying to find the right look and right image, you better ask a lot of women their opinion. Women buy all the product, purchase all of the concert tickets, and constitute over 90% of fan club memberships. Remember music is entertainment. It is an "escapism" from reality. The public doesn't want to escape to something worse than what they already have at home. They want to fantasize about a man who is bigger than life, handsome, and sensual, that has the ability to literally paralyze you with his personality, his music and his looks. He's the ideal man and that's why they buy his product. When the man is no longer ideal or has some publicity that turns off the buying public, then they are quick to go to someone else who represents this fantasy world that the public craves so deeply. So, don't take yourself too seriously. Your fans want a fantasy not someone who's real. You have to keep yourself in their minds "desirable" at all times. When you're no longer "desirable" then your popularity goes down. Hence the decline in sales when a male act gets married or the end of a female entertainer's career when she gets married or becomes inactive as an act on the road. Most of the women who buy product are already living these lives. They want to buy someone's product who lives a life they can't live.

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They want to enjoy living out those things that they can't have personally, through the artist and his music. The public wants to see the glamour of the CMA awards, the rhinestones, the flash, and the limousines outside the door. They want to feel like they are participating or living their own lives through the life of the artist. When they can no longer feel in tune with the artist in an "escapism" type way, they will start buying someone who gives them those same feelings they used to have with the former artist. It's the same thing with your music. Record songs people will want to buy and listen to over and over again. If your music is so depressing, it makes the average listener want to run and hide for days in the produce bin of his refrigerator; he won't have the time to get in his car, drive half way across town in work traffic to a music store, search through the

confusing way they have music categorized; and finally after spending 30 minutes looking for a parking place; spend at least $6.00 to park in a space, a meter-maid is dying to give him a ticket for; then churn up some real blood sweat & tears and give his hard-earned money to an attendant with purple hair, and several gold studs in various parts of their anatomy & go home with your CD. To go through what the average consumer has to endure to buy music product is an education in hand to hand combat, so the music had better be out of this world! Good image consultants will tell you that to keep this fantasy alive, the best way for an artist to react to various questions from the media is to say as little as possible. Like Mae West said, "Keep `em guessin' honey and they'll keep comin' back for more!" In our business, "sex appeal" is at the core of music sales. If a man or woman in the music business has no real "earthy sensual side" to their music, they aren't going to get out of the starting gate. Where male acts are concerned, there are only three types of men that the public buys. The "good-guy" image, the "outlaw" image, and the "musician" image. You are going to have to be in one of those categories from the outset, so you better make sure of the image you're creating for yourself. You'll have to live with it for a long time. Where female acts are concerned in country music, there are only two types of artist images allowed. One is the "girl next door" who makes it big, and the other image is of a woman who is so sensual, and such a turn-on that she is admired by other women who wish they were like her and wanted by the men who can't have her. The "girl next door" image is a young girl, clinging to innocence, and her songs have got to portray that image. The same goes for the second

type. So, when you're taking your photographs, you need to think these stereotypes through and decide where you're going to be placed later on. Dolly Parton said of her own image that she realized she had certain qualities that if portrayed well would get the attention of a lot of people. Recently Dolly Parton received her "honorary doctorate." She said, "Now when people say my name, they'll only be thinking about two things, Doctor Dolly." We all know that Dr. Dolly has portrayed those attributes well and continues to get front page coverage on a regular basis. The key is, " knowing how to always display yourself" to the public without seeming to be in bad taste. There's a line over which any artist can cross and turn the buying public completely off. So often I make the comment to artists, "Do you want it cheap, fast, & superficial?" You usually get what you pay for when it comes to photography. The pictures that you take that will make the trade magazines are the "live" shots that you shoot in the studio recording, on stage performing at a concert, and with others receiving awards or some type of recognition. Get those shot by a photographer who knows how to shoot great creative action shots. Get your posed shots done in a high quality studio somewhere, have them retouched to take out the effects of gravity and get them reprinted at a business that specializes in reprinting color in large numbers. Be sure that you talk with the photographer ahead of the photo shoot, and explain to him that you will be using your final choices for multiple reprints. There are two things that you need at the conclusion of your photo shoot.

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1. Photographer's Copyright Release

You must have a "release" from the photographer's copyright stamp on the pictures. If the photographer places a copyright stamp on the back of the pictures, then you can't get them mass reproduced for use in your concerts. This is very important! Get a "written release" from him prior to the photo shoot that you can have the final pictures reprinted in mass anywhere in the "territory" or world. Do not allow the photographer to take the photos if he is going to keep the copyright or disallow you mass reproduction. A sample release is in the index of this book.

2. Ownership of all negatives!

You want to pay him a one-time fee, and come away from the photo shoot with all of the negatives and proofs as well as your 5 x 7 and 8 x 10's that you'll need for reproduction later. The place to get your photos reproduced in mass is where every other country music star in the world gets theirs done .

STAR PHOTO SERVICE, INC. 38 Music Square East Nashville, TN 37203 615-242-1883 (main) 615-242-6806 (fax) Star Photo Online

Believe me, there is no other business that turns photos out in mass and in color like these people for this price. A visit to the place to see the stars who have their photos done there is a tour in itself. Your goal is come out with a commercial photo in color with your name and the name of your management company or record label at the bottom, along with phone numbers where you can be reached for bookings. Your color photos that are mass reproduced are for your fans. Your action black and white shots will be mailed along with a color photo of yourself to the media. You should order at least 100 pictures of each type, with color pictures 8 x 10 and your black and white photos 5 x 7 . Now you're ready to proceed to the next phase. Don't even start sending out news releases, and getting on deeper into this book until you've dealt with the photograph/image consultant issues. Run all of the final choices by your IDC (Image Development Consultant) your record label, your management people, and as many women as possible to make sure that these are going to be good for your image and career. W - Whiner who's always discouraged artist! There are

some people that will never be happy with anything you do for them no matter how hard you're working in their behalf. The last thing a record label needs is a thirty year old baby that everyone at the record label who answers the phone immediately goes, "Oh, my God, it's the whiner again for the nineteenth time today." These won't last long at a record label. If their record peaks at number two, they're upset because they didn't get to number one. If their appearance on CMT was only one song and someone else got two songs, they will whine about it for days. Give the label people a break and stop your whining and please grow up. Be a mature adult, and be thankful for what you have, don't whine over what you don't have. H - Have to have it right now, this second artist! It is unbelievable the calls that I have taken from artists who thought their entire world was coming to an end because they didn't have something in their hand right this minute. And invariably, when you Federal Express them that item, they call back and just want that type of treatment on a regular basis. The more the label gives in to a selfish ego-oriented person, the worse they get. So, don't get labeled as an artist who has thirteen emergencies every day and can't go a day without talking to someone. Believe me, unless you're having a baby, it can wait! The "squeaky wheels" don't get the grease at a label, they get a drop notice.

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A - All I ever think about is me, me, me, artist! You would not believe the egos you will run into in this business. And the people who are willing to share and help you are few and far between. Most of the people who are trying to get somewhere are only using you temporarily until they can step on you to get to someone else. The only thing they ever think about is themselves. Well, those are the people the label vividly remembers when they get to the "drop" notices at the end of the year. You want people on the roster who are willing to help each other out. Garth Brooks reached back and helped Trisha Yearwood get her label deal. Along the way, you'll find it's good to be helpful and share with the other artists on the label. You might be fronting their upcoming tour next year. T - The manic-depressive, mostly depressing artist! These people are either up on the highest cloud or wallowing in the lowest pit. They don't know how to even out the rough spots. If things are going good, then they're high as a kite. If things aren't going the way they want them to go, then they are so depressed they take everyone around them into the pits with them. I worked for an artist that was one of the world's most famous superstars and sold millions of records that couldn't go through the day without having at least 40 or 50 severe "mood swings." He finally became so addicted to prescription drugs which the doctors prescribed for his mood swings that he lost his career over his inability to maintain control over his emotions. Remember what I said earlier. Don't take yourself too seriously. Enjoy your life and get away from the

career on a regular basis and be a regular guy or girl and don't even sign an autograph or even think about music on occasions. N - No one's ever gonna notice me artist! And you know what? With that attitude, you're probably right. If you're not having the success that you want to have there are some fundamental reasons that are affecting your inability to break out of the pack. First examine the type of songs that you're singing and performing. You may not be getting the right material to get noticed. Examine the "image" that you are portraying to the label and public. Is it the type of image that others want to emulate? A superstar is a mirror in which other people see themselves. Sometimes, when people look at others they just don't want to be like them and that hinders their career. Ask yourself, am I doing everything I can to get in front of the people who can give me the publicity I need? And maybe it might take drastic measures like a total image change, a new song repertoire, new photos, and a complete make-over like you see on television. Usually the thing you need is to go to someone who can give you some constructive criticism and see if you can discover what changes need to be made in your overall outlook and career that will improve your image with the media, the label, and others. Hire yourself a great image development consultant! O - Oh, why am I not getting anywhere artist. Usually this is as simple as it can be. The reason you're not getting anywhere is because you're not putting forth the effort, you're not working smart, or you're blind to the accomplishments that others are seeing. Let's examine all three. Don't think for a minute that superstardom just falls out of the sky. It's hard work being in the music business. If you don't work the business, it won't work for you. Sometimes it's a matter of

working smart. Are you expending your efforts on people that really don't count? If so, start working with people who do. Many of the things that we are doing now won't start to show up for a while. It only takes a moment to get pregnant, but nine months to get the baby here. So often I tell artists that their career is like the birthing of a baby. It's painful, it's labor, and it takes a lot of time. If you're sowing seed, believe me a harvest is in your future!

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T - The pouter artist! How many times have I run on to this personality type. They are the brooding, quite types who just won't complain, but underneath they're a seething volcano of opinions. Look, we're all adults here in this effort to break new artists. Get it out on the table and let's talk. The longer you pout about it, the longer it will take to get to the problem. Fixing blame doesn't fix the problem. If your toilet's running over, you can fix blame on the kid who stopped it up with an entire roll of toilet paper forever, but the water just keeps running out on the floor until you fix the problem, which takes cutting off the valve, getting the paper out, and going on to the next problem. Stop the blame-fixing now! Fix the problem and quit fixing blame. You can blame yourself, your label, your producer, and everyone around you for a career

that's not working, but it won't get to running until everyone gets together and fixes the problem and gets the career back on track. T - The ego-centered, I'm God's gift to the world artist. As a producer on music row, you have to be a little bit of everything to artists over the years. And, you see so many of the various types of personalities. The mark of a superstar is the "artistic temperament." And these people have a gigantic ego that must be massaged almost daily. That's the reason they make great entertainers. All right, let's say you know in your heart of hearts that you are indeed a star. Let's accept that. Just remember that those who admire you, want to get close to you and buy your records, obtain your autograph, and listen to you perform don't have the same inner confidence that you do. So don't make them feel like they are second rate citizens. Let them share the limelight with you and enjoy your success. Everyone wants to think they've climbed on the winner's wagon. No one wants anywhere near a loser. Don't let that ego get in the way of accomplishing the goals that you've set for yourself. Believe me a gigantic ego doesn't bother me, it's necessary to become the next star in the music business. Go ahead and focus that "drive" and harness that ego and make it work for you. Big money follows a big ego everytime. If you want to catch the big fish, then you don't fish in an aquarium in your office. You go deep-sea fishing and catch the big fish where the monster fish are. There are no record deals going down in "Johnny-potato-salad Texas!" So if you want to record and get started, you've got to go to Nashville where the monster labels are & the big fish are waiting. O - Oh, I have another question artist. If I hear that line once a day, I would bet I hear that line a thousand times a day. Sometimes I think I'm giving a course in Country Music

101 daily. The reason I'm writing and completing a 200 page book on the subjects I've included, is I'm tired of taking my entire day and going over these things individually with each and every person I talk to about the business. Now when you get serious about getting into a new business, you go out and get informed about it. Take a trip to the library, or to Barnes & Noble and get some books and read up on the music business. And purchase some reference materials on the music business. Find out the answers to your questions and get as much information as you possibly can before you start using that line daily with the people who are trying to guide you. A good example of how frustrating this can be was illustrated recently by an artist that asked the engineer when she finished recording, "Got time for a question?" He said, "Sure." "When are the CD's coming out?" she said. "What do you mean?" he said. She was looking squarely at the back of the console in the studio. "Well, don't they pop out of here somewhere?" She had no idea that the CD had to be post-mastered, sequenced, and then sent to a manufacturing plant. She really thought that the CD's just popped out the back of the console like a prune seed in a jack-in-the-box. These things occur so many times a day, that some days that's all you do is just give answers to ridiculous questions. Buy a book and read. Acquire knowledge and it will be your best friend in the future. If you're going to use that line, then here's the best way, "May I ask you a question, please?" Say it like that and you can ask your questions all day long on music row.

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D - Ding-a-ling you every day artist. It is perhaps the most important thing you will ever do as an artist to seek direction on who is responsible for what in the music business. Labels have responsibilities. Producers have responsibilities. Publishers, engineers, promotion people, publicists, and agents; all of these people wear a different hat in the music business. It's not your producer's job to get you "gigs." Don't ask him that question. A booking agent gets you performance dates. Find out what area of responsibility that the person you're dealing with has excelled in and ask his help in that area. Buddy Lee Talent or the William Morris Agency has got 65 agents working dates on a daily basis, but they don't produce records. If you want a list of each and every booking agent in Nashville, then please log on to the NATD website. NATD stands for the National Association of Talent Directors. Larry Butler, who produced Kenny Rogers will have a book full of clients that he's recording this year, but he won't spend anytime on the phone booking Kenny Roger's "gigs" for him. That's another person's job. So before you "ding-a-ling" find out what the guy/girl on the other end of that "ding-a-ling" does on a daily basis and this will save you and them a lot of time. O - Oh, I gave you my last copy artist. Now listen very closely. If you don't get anything out of this book, but this paragraph, it will be worth every penny you spent. The

"Cardinal Sin of all Sins" in the record business is to make the statement, "I sent you my only copy of that demo!" Other statements that will make your producer and record label fly into the atmosphere in a tantrum-throwing rage are: "I sent those lyrics to your office a year ago while you were out of town in Europe at MIDEM and I told the receptionist, when I called that they were my only copy!" Every publisher, label, and person in Nashville has a written stated policy called the "No returns" policy. If you send them an unsolicited demo, don't write back to them in two years and ask for it. If you sent them unsolicited lyrics, don't call up and get your attorney to write and ask for your package back. The next words out of your mouth are going to be, "but, I sent a self-addressed stamped envelope along with it like the writer's association said to send." That makes no difference! If they didn't solicit the demo, and you mailed it to a company with a "no returns" policy, then don't expect it back even if it was your last copy. Don't even expect it back if an employee at the label tells you they will save it and send it back to you. He will be looking for another job next week! Don't ever send them your last of anything. Don't send pictures you want back for your scrapbook. The actual statutory law that applies is... when you turn in something to that label or producer, it becomes his property under the "no returns" guidelines and you cannot expect to get it back. This policy will be in the "terms & conditions" page on every label's web site online. So make another copy of each and everything you submit to each and every person you submit it to! Never and I do mean never call an office up and ask for something back that you've sent in. We receive on a weekly basis, approximately 50 packages of "unsolicited" material, each and every day.

During the winter months which is called the "high season," we receive approximately 500 packages per week of unsolicited demos, lyrics, promo kits, and the Lord knows what else. It takes two staff members 8 hours a day just to open the unsolicited material that comes in. If we filed it all and kept up with it, we would have to have an office, with space the size of the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. We get material in every shape, form and size, mailed in every type container, box, and package you could imagine. How do you get something to the person that you want to review your material, and circumvent this mess? Here's the way that's done:

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Call and get the name of the A & R person that reviews material for new artists or songwriters. Send that demo, properly labeled in a proper shell by overnight mail preferably FEDERAL EXPRESS. Go online with the tracking number at Federal Express and confirm that it was delivered. If so, then give them 10 working days to review the material and call them again and ask them,

"Did you get a chance to listen to the demo and look at the promo kit?" Guaranteed they will have listened and reviewed it every time you use this method. Do not ever send anything you want reviewed by the U.S. Postal service. I promise you that as many packages as are delivered on music row on a daily basis, yours will be the only one that gets lost. So send it where some particular person has to sign for it, and you know they received it. Here is the way to properly label a demo containing your songs:

ARTIST NAME SONGWRITER/PUBLISHER Address here City, State, & Zip Code here Phone Number (daytime) Phone Number (evening) Fax Number Pager or cell phone number E-mail address Titles Of Songs In Order Of CD Time Of Each Song, Key Signature Of Each Song


Why should you have all of this information on the demo? I remember as a young writer, the legend, Billy Deaton called

me in my hotel room at the HYATT in Los Angeles at 2:00 a.m. in the morning Nashville time. I was on the road promoting the Kenny Rogers single for Arti Mogul at Universal. Billy said, "Robert, I looked on your demo and got your home phone number. Your wife had this number and I wanted you to know that a major artist is going to record one of your great Christmas songs in the morning at 10:00 a.m., if you can get back here to Nashville and get the paperwork signed before they go into the studio. Needless to say, I took the red-eye home to Nashville, signed the paperwork and got the cut. That would have never happened if my phone numbers had not been on the shell and on the outside of the demo. Billy later told me that he had thrown the shell with the insert away and just kept the demo, but all the right information was still on there. Where a big artist is concerned, their decisions over what they cut on the final day they record sometimes are made on the spur of the moment and at the last minute. You better have your working phone numbers on that CD where the publisher, producer or artist can get you on the phone, otherwise, you won't be getting that next cut on the Carrie Underwood album.

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Just a couple of other things while I'm here. If you send a demo with no insert, at least take a magic marker and write in permanent ink all your information on that CD. You can't believe how many blank CDs come into our office that have no label, no name or anything on them. Then make sure if you send your CD case in... that you have taken the CD out of the car CD player and enclosed it in its case so we can listen to the demo. At least once a week we get a case with no CD in it because its still in the car stereo. Please don't call us and when we tell you that the CD wasn't in the case... act like it's our fault that its still in your car stereo. Just label everything and check it before it leaves your hand and heads for our office. Using these submission procedures is 99% of the battle. Put all of your songs on one CD, email us a lyric copy & your producer will love you. If you are sending a producer or company an mp3 via email, then send them your best song. Once they listen and review the song, if its a great cut, they will ask you for more songs. Don't send a company or producer 25 mp3's of all the songs you've written. Put that on a CD and mail it to them. Keep the length of the songs between 2:30 (two minutes thirty seconds) and 3:30 (three minutes and thirty seconds). Put the time of the song and the key signature out beside the title each and every time. Please don't send your publisher/producer more than 3-4 songs to review at one time. I can promise you that he will have so many interruptions that he'll barely have time to review one song much less your entire catalog! DO NOT submit lyrics with that demo CD until the producer or publisher asks for them. If they sign you as a writer and your material gets published on a regular basis, email the lyrics with your new submissions, but don't send lyrics with your first demo. All the producer or publisher wants to hear is the first song. If it's not a killer song, then

you're not going to ever hear back from them anyway. Again, please refer to the exhibit in the appendix of this book for a sample lyric submission. The A & R people in these publishing offices do not want to have to listen through the demo a dozen times to try and figure out what your lyric is. Your demo needs to be high quality and the artist needs to sing the lyric so that it can be understood easily. E - Everytime I call, he won't take my calls artist. You wouldn't treat your doctor or lawyer like you treat your producer. Your producer is not your minister who needs to quickly get to the phone every time you have a crisis. Your producer is a professional. He will return your phone calls if you leave a detailed message with his receptionist or secretary. The best way in the world to communicate with your producer is to email him a written list of your questions or needs and let him get organized so he can give you a credible answer when he does talk with you. You don't want to hire a producer who's not busy! If he's taking your phone calls every day and you're his only client, you've hired the wrong person. You want to hire the busiest producer you can find in Nashville. I certainly didn't get to be the Producer of The Year by sitting around at the office all day. I was in the studio working. I was busy seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Last year, I turned down people who wanted to record, had their money, and were ready, but I didn't feel good about their future. I will not record an artist that I don't have a sincere hear felt feeling has a shot at superstardom. I'm not in the "custom" business. I'm in this music business to help the next superstar get going, and I don't have the time to waste at my age fooling around with people who don't have a snowball's chance in the next life (much less this one) of ever making it. If I record someone, they are going to get a shot at the big time, you can count on it.

V - Victim...I'm just a victim of Mr. so `n so, artist. One of the best things that ever happened to me as a young producer here in Nashville was learning that the record business is about as sure a bet, as the craps tables in Vegas. It doesn't matter who produced the failure, how much money was spent, or how much work the promotion people did, if this artist doesn't become as famous as ELVIS, then he feels "victimized!" Tell that story to the people who got laid off on Christmas Eve this past year by a fortune 500 company who decided to "down-size." Security showed up in their offices and said, "Get your stuff out of your desk, you're fired and don't take any of the company pencils with you." On Christmas Eve, no less! This happened right here in Nashville.

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And you `re a victim? Years ago, I recorded an album on a rising star in our business. I produced the album on a shoestring budget and through weeks of hard work had two Top-40 hot-country singles off the album that appeared in Billboard prior to the magazine no longer taking independent recordings. With all of this success, my clients wanted to get some big money together and go hire a really "famous" producer to produce the next album. I got that "cold" feeling

that you get so many times as a producer that I wasn't going to be needed anymore now that I had killed myself for two years getting this artist all this recognition. I swallowed my pride, the client got their $175,000 together for the next project and asked me if I would take them over to Jerry Kennedy's office and give them an introduction. Jerry was working for Polygram at the time, had the Statler Brothers and so many other big acts and was as hot as a West Texas sand storm in the middle of August. We walked into Jerry's office in the Polygram building and I presented the client to him and asked him if he'd heard the singles that were out. He said that he had not only heard them on Nashville radio but was very familiar with the artist and her success and had even gotten his sons an autograph at Fan Fair. Needless to say, this made me feel like a million dollars for a producer this famous to recognize the accomplishments of the artist's first album. The client's financial backers said to Jerry, "Now Mr. Kennedy we've gotten a cashier's check together for her next album in the amount of $175,000 and we have all agreed, even with our present producer, that you need to produce her next album." Jerry said, "That's great. Let me listen to the demo now. Did you bring a copy with you?" I said "Yes, sir," and Mr. Kennedy took the demo and put it in his sound system that probably cost $250,000.00 and he began to play the songs on the tape. He listened to a portion of each song, and listened to the single records completely all the way through. Jerry finished up and said to the backers, "She's absolutely fantastic." They were thrilled to hear that and said, "Do we have a deal? Will you agree to producer her?" He leaned back in his chair and said, "Well, there's only one thing about this

demo that's better than the artist." "What's that?" they gulped in surprise. "It's the production!" he said. "Robert, you have done the best job of producing this girl that I've ever heard in my years on music row. Oh, and by the way fellas, I don't think you need to change producers, you've got one of the best already." I can't tell you how my heart leaped up into my throat when I heard him say that. He went on to say, "Don't get me wrong. $175,000 is a lot of money and I could use it because I've got boys in college, and a lot of other expenses just like anyone else, but I'm not going to try and change the magic that already exists here on this recording. Keep the producer you already have." As you might imagine, I have been a Jerry Kennedy fan ever since and never stop praising him for his greatness. In fact, I'm a one man advertising campaign for his production credits. That day proved to me that there is indeed a reason to stay in this business in spite of the odds. It's people like Jerry Kennedy that make music row that special place where dreams are born and do come true for hundreds of new songwriters and artists every year. Yes, the odds are against you and the mountains to overcome on the road to greatness are high, but for those brave souls that are willing to go for it, they may not get the brass ring, but at least they've had the thrill of the ride! E - Everyday I just need to be reassured artist. You know that half the time the staff spends each and every day on the phone is "reassuring" artists that they're great and that they have a chance and that they're the best, and on and on into the night.

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If you need that much reassurance you should have never recorded in the first place. A "real" superstar will already have all the confidence they ever need to face all the problems they will ever face before they ever record the first song! I remember reading about grandma and grandpa on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. She rolled over and whacked him real hard and said, "Grandpa, that's for 50 years of lousy sex!" He laid there a few minutes and he rolled over and slapped her on her backside and she said, "What's that for?" He said "That's for knowing the difference." You can't let yourself demand constant reassurance all the time. You have to know in your heart of hearts that you are going to make it, and that you are going to be what you want to be in life, with or without the reassurance. You've got to know the difference between great songs and good songs, you've got to know the difference between a mediocre performance and a great performance, and you've got to instinctively know that what you're doing on stage is working because if you don't by now.... someone will soon inform you. R - Rejection hurts me so bad, I'm quitting artist! I think there's been entirely too much said about rejection and people's little feelings over the years. Rejection is part of the territory that goes with getting in this business. If you'll

remember, Michael Bolton's first single release was mailed to radio with the wrong name on the record. He never said one word to the record company for a year. Michael finally went into the promotion people and asked them how his record was doing. They looked up the records they were working and said, "Mr. Bolton, we aren't working any of your records." He said, " Well, you are, it's just you've got the wrong name printed on the record." If that was most of the artist's that I've dealt with through the years, they would have had an entire herd of attorneys suing the label for misrepresentation, hurt feelings, loss of income and a hundred other things. The reason I can't wait to get to the store and buy every record album Michael Bolton comes out with is because of the above story. If that doesn't show you the greatness of the man! He knew in his heart of hearts that his talent and voice alone would carry the record to the top with his name on it or not. Now, you know the rest of the story! If there's one thing a label appreciates it's an entertainer that doesn't get discouraged. hey have that "rock of Gibralter" attitude that no matter what, they are going to succeed. And invariably they always do. I recorded the last hit record that Carl Butler every had on this earth. CARL & PEARL BUTLER were legends in our business. One of the greatest thrills of my life was listening to Carl sing his biggest hit, "Don't Let Me Cross Over, Love's Cheatin' Line," on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. As I stood there beside him, waiting for the King of country music, Roy Acuff to bring him on to the stage, he told me, "Robert I've got a new song that's going to be my next charted record. Do you want to produce it?" I thought my old heart was going to stop. I said, "Yes, sir, Mr. Butler I would love to do anything that you want me to." About that time, Mr. Acuff said, "And now coming out on the stage of the Grand

Ole Opry, let's welcome Carl Butler." The music began and I heard that legendary voice start the first line of the great hit that brought him to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Later that week, Carl came down to my office. He made an appointment with the secretary and when he sat down, he said, "Robert here's a demo of my next hit record." And it surely was. The song was entitled, "I've Got A Big Old Heartache." I went into the studio with Carl and we cut that song and I put the song out nationally and our company handled the national radio promotion on the last hit record he ever had. The song had just gone into Top-40 when Carl had a heart attack and died.

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Page 47

It was Carl's final big old heartache. The last time he sang on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, as the mighty Grant Turner introduced him, Grant said, "Carl's got a new hit song out produced by Robert Metzgar here in Nashville, and it's called "A Big Old Heartache." Let's bring him on with a nice round of applause." Little did Grant Turner and I know that this would be the last time Carl Butler ever took the stage of the Grand Ole Opry to sing to his millions of fans. During the time I worked with him, he once showed me the rejection

letters he had from publishers and record labels. They were all worn and faded with time. Many of them were signed by people who are so well known in our business. He told me, "Robert I knew that the Lord wanted Pearl and I to succeed. I never gave up. Oh, I got discouraged sometime, but Pearl was the epitome of her name. She never got discouraged and she was always there backing me up telling me, Carl you're gonna make it." I'm sure glad Carl Butler didn't allow rejection to keep him from going on into country music. I would have never had one of the greatest experiences of my life had it not been for his "rock of Gibralter" attitude. You're either in this business for the long haul or not. If you get easily discouraged, then don't get in the business. It's not for the weak and only the strong survive on music row. You've got to remember that if you start at the top of the tree, you're bound to get something on the way down. Shoot for the moon and you might hit the fence. Don't start aiming for the fence post, that's not high enough to get you anywhere. Go straight for the top! Zig Ziglar says he "jumps" out of bed every morning slaps both hands together and says, "I'm going to have a Grrrrreat Day!" I'm still looking for that thrill myself on a daily basis.

REVIEW OF WHAT NOT TO DO EVER! W-Whiner who's always discouraged artist. H -Have to have it right now, this second artist. A- All I ever think about is me, me, me, artist. T- The manic-depressive, mostly depressing artist.

N-No one's ever gonna notice me artist. O-Oh, why am I not getting anywhere artist. T-The pouter artist. T-The ego-centered, I'm God's gift to the world artist. O-Oh, I have another question artist. D-Ding-a-ling you every day artist. O-Oh, I gave you my last copy artist. E-Everytime I call, he won't take my call artist. V-Victim...I'm just a victim of Mr. So `n so artist. E-Everyday I have to be reassured artist. R-Rejection hurts me so bad I'm quitting, artist.

Next Volume 4a

Thanks for reading this book!

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