I saw Linda Perry speak at Canadian Music Week. They have these conferences all over the world, usually supported by the government, and there are two halves, a festival for the wannabes performing in search of a deal, and meetings and speakers on music topics. Now the truth is some people make it, but most don’t. But at every conference around the world, the speakers give the attendees false hope.
This happened to me at USC when I was on tour with Jason Flom. He told the students that it was easy to make it in music, that business was booming, jobs were plentiful, and we were eagerly awaiting graduates’ arrival.
I, of course, led with what I always say. I told the students to give up. Unless they were willing to starve and get fired, the music business wasn’t for them. It wasn’t a hobby, there was no need of temps to fill office jobs, the truth is that many people are willing to work around the clock for free, and their job is always on the line, a manager’s acts don’t hit, you lose your gig.
Actually, the business is made up of self-starters, entrepreneurs, who literally couldn’t do anything else.
Linda Perry said this in Toronto. Along with the fact that no one in the audience was a rock star.
Whew! She was not giving false hope, not trying to make the audience feel good, she was challenging them, and almost none are open to the task.
But this hard news went out of favor with the baby boomers and Gen-X. Now youngsters are coddled, given a trophy for participation, told they can win each time they play.
Oh, don’t tell me about millennials and their work ethic, the truth is there are very few standard jobs in the music industry, where you’re working for the man, the corporation. Most gigs are for entrepreneurs, who can fire you at will. And do! The truth is unless you control the talent, your job is always on the line. As for talent… Perry is pissed that it’s all about social networking as opposed to hard practice. The 10,000 hour rule is about hard practice. Social networking does not qualify for musicianship. It may make you an influencer, but it won’t make you a recording star.
Then again, no one wants to hear that. They want to believe the world has changed, but it still comes down to hits.
So Linda Perry has her own recording studio, in a house. This is not the typical home studio, with a Pro Tools rig and little more. Sure, they’ve got the requisite Mac, but an API board, multiple rooms, a zillion guitars…hell, there were three axes in the bathroom!
Linda isn’t here to play around, she’s here to write hits. Which she has done for Pink and Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani. Hell, she’s even worked with Weezer and Adele. She’s in demand. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years. She’s writing, she’s delivering.
And she’s intense.
Now I’m not challenging in an interview, there’s no point. People will get their hackles up. The key is to let someone feel comfortable so they can tell their story, always revealing what most rapid-fire questions won’t.
And I’m trying to connect with Linda, make her feel comfortable, but then after about ten or fifteen minutes, she asks, WHO ARE YOU?
Whew! I took it as a challenge, to put forth my bona fides, so I did. Early in the podcast, you’ll hear me tell my life story, albeit quickly by my standards. And then I felt accepted by Linda and…
I wasn’t sure we were totally connecting, but when the recording was over and I went to leave, she asked for a hug.
Linda’s in the belly of the beast. And on a rainy day in L.A., I was there too. Linda climbed her way to the top, she had a vision, and she executed it. if you’re interested in making it, you should listen.