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Harmonium Hero Advice to all singer songwriters (147* d) RE: Advice to all singer songwriters 18 May 13


Right. Try again......Marge said something about self-criticism; good point. In the past, I've written songs which I never sung out, and one or two which I only sung out once or twice, not necessarily because of doubts as to their worth so much as doubts as to whether or not they would have the same resonance with the punters. I listened carefully to the applause, and if it seemed less than enthusiastic, those songs didn't get sung out again, even if I still sang them to myself. This is all very well for Johnny Nobody (that'd be me) doing a local floor spot, but the danger is that once a singer/songwriter gets a following, he's likely to be singing to rooms full of devotees, who may greet all his songs with more enthusiasm than some deserve. Which won't set any alarm bells ringing. What Anne Lister has just said is a valid point; Singer/songwriters have been around for a long tome - Troubadours, Trouveres etc. But the old broadside ballads, many of which we are still singing, were not the product of singer/songwriters. The singers were Mr.& Mrs.J.Public, who had heard the ballad sellers singing them on street corners and bought copies, often in huge numbers. I have heard figures of up to 5 Million quoted for some of them, and that at a time when the population was something like 20 million. The sort of sales Tin Pan Alley could only have erotic dreams about. And here's my brilliant idea (well,I thought it was quite good anyway): what if, instead of yer singer/sonwriter being paid on the basis of 2x45-minute spots - maybe 15 songs, he/she printed up the somgs on individual ballad sheets, and sold them at 1 a sheet. It would soon become obvious that some were earning maybe 20 or 30 every time s/he saang them while others were earning nowt. I think there'd be some programme revisions. Of course someone is going to have a go at me about the question of artistic integrity versus commercial success. I think I have some degree of artistic integrity, but in a few months time, I'm likely to be off the road. You know, some of the greatest artists drew ejaculating phalluses in the margins of books....
John Kelly.


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