Clive Davis’ revealing memoir about his long life and career in the music industry has incited much discussion: first on his bisexuality, and then, much more interestingly, there’s been the back and forth between Davis and Kelly Clarkson about creative differences. But in an exclusive clip from the audio verison of The Soundtrack of My Life, Davis remembers less tumultuous relationships with artists, including with Janis Joplin, Barry Manilow, and Whitney Houston. When reflecting on these artists, he can’t choose which one had the most influence on him. “It’s like really asking a parent which child you’ve had the most special relationship with,” he says. It’s no surprise that he doesn’t mention a certain artist in this clip. READ FULL STORY »
Category: Music (1-10 of 32)
Legendary music biz executive Clive Davis opens up about Whitney Houston, Kelly Clarkson, and his own bisexuality in new memoir
It is almost easier to list the artists legendary music business executive Clive Davis hasn’t worked with than the ones he has during his half century-long career. Suffice it to say that the founder of Arista and J Records and the current chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment has overseen releases by everyone from voice-of-his-generation Bob Dylan to Milli Vanilli who, as it turned out, weren’t even the voices of themselves.
“Maceo, I want you to blow!”
When James Brown first said those words, it transformed Maceo Parker from an anonymous sax player into one of the most famous sidemen in music history. The line became a staple of Brown’s recordings and live shows, bringing the name “Maceo” to households across the country. But the story doesn’t end there. Parker’s full list of collaborators reads like a trans-generational wish list: George Clinton and P-Funk, Bootsy Collins, Keith Richards, Prince, De La Soul, Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Taylor, Dave Matthews Band. Not bad for a kid who started out playing soul covers with his brothers in Kinston, North Carolina.
The music biz memoir has become one of the hottest trends over the past couple of years — and the boys in the (record label) boardroom are not getting left behind. Today, Grand Central is publishing Tommy Mottola’s autobiography, Hitmaker: The Man and his Music, which he co-penned with Cal Fussman. Formerly the Chairman CEO of Sony Music, Mottola developed an amazing array of talent, including Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Shakira, and Mariah Carey. Mottola thought Carey was so amazing that in 1993 he married her, despite being both more than two decades older and the songbird’s technical boss.
Elimination Night is a fictionalized account of one young producer’s experiences working at Project Icon — a behemoth singing competition that bears more than a passing resemblance to American Idol. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will only say that the book’s scribe has “intimate firsthand knowledge of the behind-the-scenes workings of a top TV talent show.”)
In the book, one judge issues a 78-page rider that demands a 4,000 square foot “dressing compound,” a $1 billion body insurance policy (“breasts/buttocks to be valued at one hundred million dollars each”), and that the show’s crew never make eye contact with her. Another has to undergo a “sanity check” — which he barely passes — before signing on to join Icon‘s panel. The innocent, apple-cheeked, country-singing winner of the fictional reality show is actually a promiscuous, closeted Don Juan who enjoyed encounters with “hotel workers, judges’ assistants, his fellow contestants, [and] even a couple of passing construction workers” during filming.
And those aren’t even the juiciest moments from the story! Check out the book’s craziest plot points below.
Oops, she did it again! That’s right, Britney Spears, aka the Queen of Pop and lean, mean, green X Factor judge, is in talks to pen another novel. Another, you ask? Was I the only one who read 2001′s A Mother’s Gift, the gripping pop fiction novel from Brit Brit and her mother Lynne Spears? Don’t lie. I know someone out there had to have been as obsessed with Britney as I was (cough, and maybe still am, cough).
Should a deal be reached, this new project, which would be published by It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, will incorporate “fictionalized versions of [Spears'] own experiences.” A Mother’s Gift also drew on Spears’ real life story; however, that was in 2001. So much has happened since then, a lot of it rather dark. Still, I can’t deny that her life has the potential to make an excellent story. On that note, here are six things I’d like to see in Spears’ new novel, starting with:
Ke$ha has apparently taken the words of her latest hit “Die Young” to heart and decided to make the most of her life while she can — she’s announced plans to publish a memoir at the tender age of 25.
The illustrated memoir will feature the singer’s “thoughts and reflections” as well as a series of pictures ranging from her early years to her most recent tour. (Dang! I had hoped “illustrated” meant literally hand-drawn by Ke$ha.) READ FULL STORY »
Colin Meloy, best known as the frontman for literate indie rockers The Decemberists, has put his music career on hold to pursue an ancillary passion: literature. He released his debut novel Wildwood last year, a fantasy adventure aimed at readers between the ages of eight and twelve. It told the story of Prue, a precocious youngster from Portland, as she searches for her kidnapped brother in the magical, forested realm of Wildwood. The novel featured illustrations by Meloy’s wife, Carson Ellis, and spent two weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list.
The sequel to that novel, Under Wildwood, picks up where book one left off: Prue has returned to everyday life as a middle-schooler after rescuing her brother Mac from the clutches of the Dowager Governess. The tranquility is quickly shattered, though, when she is forced to return to Wildwood to help her friend Curtis quell political unrest, all while fending off the attacks of shape-shifting assassins. A parallel storyline introduces two young sisters, Rachel and Elsie, and their plot to escape from an orphanage run by a malevolent industrial conglomerate.
I spoke with Mr. Meloy about his new work. Read the interview below for his thoughts on the book’s weighty themes and his inescapable association with Steam Punk. (Minor SPOILERS ahead).
Legendary Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has become a jack of all trades over the past decade: bicycle tour guide, tech expert, TED talk lecturer — not to mention rock star. His recently-penned book called How Music Works does in fact try to explain everything about music. There are by-the-numbers breakdowns of different record label contracts; musings on the ways in which technology and society influence the kinds of music composed and performed; discussions of public arts funding; even an analysis of the mathematical and cosmological contexts of music throughout history.
But never fear, Talking Heads addicts: he spends ample time recounting his experiences touring and songwriting with the Heads, working with superproducer Brian Eno and shifting to becoming a solo artist. It’s a loosely-ordered, quasi-academic work of non-fiction with plenty of anecdotal and generally well-researched credibility. And given the breadth of the content, there is something here for virtually everyone (for instance, an aspiring musician could start with the section on self-producing an album, while a casual Byrne fan could soak up his memories of the late CBGB).
As Byrne prepares to embark on a nation-wide press tour–not to mention an actual tour with recent collaborator St. Vincent–EW spoke with the quirky Scottish-born Manhattanite about the book’s expansive contents. How Music Works, published by McSweeney’s, will be available Sept. 12.
Steve Earle likes the literary life.
The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, and published author, has a two-book deal with Twelve, the publisher announced Friday. Earle will write a memoir, scheduled for 2014, and a novel set in the 19th century about an escaped slave. A previous Earle novel, I’ll Never Get Out Here Alive, came out last year.
According to Twelve, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Earle’s memoir will tell of his friendship with Townes Van Zandt, his drug problems and the making of the 1995 album Train a Comin’.
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