For those of you looking for an idea for a song, the events today deserve many. The day that America elected a Black President. I’m not an American and although I am deeply moved, my experience is second hand. I can’t do this song justice.
I marched against Apartheid in South Africa having previously seen segregation there at first hand as a young boy passing through. I heard them sing We Shall Overcome. I heard Huddy Leadbetter (aka Leadbelly) sing “White men in Washington, they know how, throw a colored man a nickel to see him bow.”
I heard Martin Luther King say “I have a Dream” I loved the “Has anybody here seen my old friend John” when the child is asked what racial prejudice is and he answers “I think it’s when your sick”.
My late grandmother would be weeping today. She was a famous Dutch / German author and fellow of the Goethe Institute who wrote a book called “The unfinished life of Malcolm X” and was deeply moved by the struggle against prejudice of all kinds.
Although some people looked at me sideways when I was the only white man in several blues clubs in Chicago, I can’t begin to imagine how people of all persuasions are feeling today. This is a momentous day and I am hoping for some momentous songs.
I’ve seen a few people find my blog when they are trying to find out about what A & R people do, so I thought I’d blog a little about them, not that I have met many yet. A & R stands for Artists and Repertoire.
Basically they are the talent scounts of the recording industry. Their job is to go out and find future stars that the labels would like to sign up. Not too much different to talent scouts for sports clubs. They look for talent and often are involved in negotiating contracts with the new artists and help them make the transition from independant, to part of the business.
In current days, one of the most famous would be Simon Cowell of American Idol fame and many of the the comments that he makes to would be artists is about their potential as a recording artist.
To get an insite to what A&R people look for, there is a series on the BBC, which you can listen to here.
If you want more information, I found a great site called Getsigned.com. I don’t know anything about their services, but there are some great articles full of excellent information on how to get signed and other aspects of developing your professional career as an artist. Personally, I don’t want to be the artist, I want to write the songs for them.
Here is an interview with Stephan Brower of Vanguard Records