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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Rick Fielding Lounge/Gal songwriters/Open stage/Divas (4) Lounge/Gal songwriters/Open stage/Divas 14 Jun 03

Has anyone noticed how certain doors in the music business have opened as certain ones ground to a close? I didn't click into this until about a year ago, and by then the transformation had long since taken place, but I wondered if others had given it any thought.

When I was playing Hotels and bars etc. there used to be a sub-species of professional venues called the piano bar. Usually women who were fairly glamourous did these gigs and some (not all!!) were pretty skilled. They gradually died out...or ceased to be important in management's eyes, because guys would occasionally get hired, and THEY weren't seen as 'crowd attractors'.

The thing that these women would NOT do was play real jazz or original was a steady diet of standards. My Mom did this for a few years after I was born and I know darn well that all the songs in her repertoire book couldn't have been favourites of hers...."Feelings" after all!

At some point someone like Diana Krall (and dozens of others) broke the mold and became THE attraction rather than part of the scenery. A lot of hard-core jazzers think that what she and her cohorts play is watered down, but there definitely was a time and place that happened, and several candidates to fill the slots.

I see the same thing happening with all the young Grrrl singer-songwriters who've jammed Toronto's open stages over the last few years. It's the "Diva Market". The term Diva often has meant 'difficult or demanding', but like a lot of terms, young folks have turned it around to be very positive...and especially THEIRS.

Just think how the term "queer" was thought of a few years ago...and now it's defintely one of empowerment in the gay community.

About four of these breathy young gals "graduate" from the open stages each year, (out of probably a hundred of similar abilities...but without that "it" quality)
and although their first couple of gigs may well be at Folk-festivals, that's their only connection to folk music. Soon the Takamines are replaced by Taylors and they're in the fight for Avril Lavigne's or Celine Dion's spot.

I suspect Annie Di Franco had something to do with this...any thoughts?

There doesn't really seem to be the same opportunity for young Dylans these days...audiences still go to see the veterans like Paxton, and I have quite a few friends who are still young, (30 ish,) but are seeing that their whole careers are likely to be as an 'opening act' at fifty bucks. They're good too...but there just isn't an identifiable market.

Any just rambling. Any feedback?



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