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Clive Davis


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I thought this might be of interest to some members of the forum-

The music industry has been buzzing since late April, when legendary star-maker and RCA/Arista/J Records label chief Clive Davis appeared at a company conference and complained that Clarkson, the 25-year-old Texas singer who rose to fame by winning the first season of "American Idol," was protesting that after two multi-platinum albums and hits-for-hire such as "Since U Been Gone," she no longer needed the svengali's help and insisted on recording the tunes she wrote with her band.

The 72-year-old Davis has been lauded for fostering the careers of artists such as Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana, Bruce Springsteen and Whitney Houston, among many others. But he's also the man who inflicted Barry Manilow on the world, and he's notorious for playing hardball with any artist who doesn't take his suggestions. Some have even claimed he sabotaged their new releases when they balked at his meddling.

If interested, here is the whole article-


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  • 3 weeks later...

I'd be scared to death to cross Clive. As he did with Eric, if he's not happy with you, he can take the best album and, allow it (and your career) to tank.

I don't think Kelly's going to get the kind of promotion she likely would have gotten if she had 'behaved' and made Clive happy.

[rant]The more I've been reading about Eric, the more frustrated I am with the music business. You write the songs, arrange them, sing them, play the instruments, etc.... It's YOUR NAME that's on the cover of the album. If you tank, everyone says it's YOU.

But, it looks like the 'star' of the album gets very little say in the final product. Eric says he never got any say in the album covers (except Boats), and there are many times he's not gotten what he wanted in terms of what songs were released, etc... Why to hell can't the studios let the artists have a bit of control over something that's got their blasted name on the cover??!! When I sign my name at work, it's my ass that's on the line....it should be the same for artists like Eric. [/rant]

I can't believe Eric put up with it as well as he did.

I guess I would have been like Kelly - standing up for what I believe in, despite what it will do to my career. You have to admit - to turn down millions of $$$ and say 'no' to Clive - that's pretty brazen!

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I was a bit surprised when Eric signed with Arisat once again for "Hungry Eyes". The situation seemed OK, even after "Make Me Lose Control" was a hit. But did Davis start asserting his authority once again by "forcing" Eric to record "Reason to Live" and "My Heart Stops"? (which I like). I kinda doubt Eric would let himself be tricked into another episode like that again. I kinda imagine it went down like this: "Eric, you've had two big hits, now this is what I think you SHOULD do now..."


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Having been signed and 'unsigned' by at last count FIVE major labels, I have a bit of insight on this topic. The Candy album cover was dreadful. We hated it, fought it, and lost.

We voted on the single being "Weekend Boy", my pop ears told me that was the best breakout hit. They had focus groups, (no lie--paid focus groups with headphones on!) report back that agreed. Yet they went with 'Fun'. Made no diff because the label signed us mainly because KISS was up for renegotiation and we shared management..(that's a whole book in itself); as soon as the album was done and KISS was resigned, our A&R guy was canned, as was the album.

On Hollywood we all agreed that 'Wake Me Up' was the best single choice to break the album. It did pretty well. When it came time for a followup, my soon to be x-manager and I pushed hard for "Arianne"; the label wanted "Wasn't Supposed To Happen", (which was 'Wake' sideways), because Fall was coming and all the big stars were coming with ballads, so radio would be in need of an uptempo song. In retrospect, I wish we had gone along with them on that one. We won the battle and lost the war. Since the label was ho-hum on that single, they barely worked it and it pooped.

Don't even get me started on the photo and video shoots--all nightmares where I disagreed with just about everything. I remember thinking to mysel while sitting in the editing bay, "I'm sorry, Mr. Video editing guy, did YOU write this song? Are we trying to convey MY song or YOUR vision of my song?" Problem is, if you shut up and tow the company line, you'll never get what you want, yet if you don't play along, you'll be toast--also not getting what you want.

Bottom line: Invest the advances wisely


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Tell her to take up Entertainment Lawyer as a career. That way if anyone tries to screw her over with her contracts, royalties, etc... she has the education to bring them to their knees.

That's a huge problem - you have young kids who just want to make music - they'll do anything they're told to get their album made and distributed. The execs know they have the musicians do anything they want. It's only when you actually have 'made it' as a performer that you can try to assert yourself.

Still, even then it isn't always possible to have some control. Kelly Clarkson has sold over 15 million albums, and Clive is still making her life miserable because she didn't do exactly what he told her to. The music business sounds like a pretty scary world. At least now there's the Internet. You can always release your stuff to the world without having to be signed to a label.

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