Friday, 18 March 2011

Day 18 - 30 Day Music Challenge

A song you wish you heard on the radio...

In many ways being an author is like being a singer or being in a band. Unless you get exposure in the form of promotion - either in a 3 for 2 deal, nationwide advertising or being stocked in a well known supermarket - the chances of your novel becoming a bestseller or touching the national consciousness is very slim indeed.

I've been to quite a few gigs of singer-songwriter Tom McRae and, at one of them, he said that the holy grail for him was to...

Hang on, what do you mean you've never heard of Tom McRae?

No, that's not what he said. But it proves my point. Despite being a Mercury Prize nominated artist (for his self-titled debut album) Tom McRae isn't well known in the UK. And you know why? Because of radio play. He hasn't had any. Or he's had very, very little. At the gig I went to he said how there was a huge discussion between him and his record company about his new album and whether any of the songs was a 'Radio 2 single'. He told the audience that while he didn't actively write songs thinking 'Ooh, this one is radio friendly' there was a pressure to deliver the song that would crack the market for him.

Writing is very similar. If you're a published author you have to walk a fine line between being true to yourself and being commercial. Book outlets have a lot of power these days and it isn't unusual for a book cover to be redesigned, or a title to be changed, because a supermarket doesn't approve.

So... back to the challenge. Who would I like to hear on the radio? I'm choosing Scott Matthews, and not just because I feel guilty about something I once said to him at one of his gigs.

He was signing a CD for me bemoaning the that fact his record label had dropped him. "I wouldn't worry," I joked. "You just need to die like Nick Drake or Elliot Smith and you'll be HUGE'!"



Here's Passing Strangers by Scott Matthews.

How about you? Who would you like to hear on the radio?


Queenie said...

Any of the excellent contemporary folkies e.g. Heidi Talbot, McCusker/Drever/Woomble (also any of their solo work), Lau, Boo Hewerdine, Jim Moray. I have to play CDs or go to festivals to hear their tunes.

Bernadette said...

Ah, same problem as yesterday, as you rightly predicted. As I don't really know what's on the radio I'll have to pick someone who I know isn't, and that'll be my lovely singer sister.
It would be great to turn on and listen to her but it's not likely to happen - though she was on Radio Cornwall once!