It's all about the song
Being paid to be "YOU"
There is something interesting I see and hear a lot on Social networking, especially places like Facebook. and YOU TUBE. It is the endless amount of people that put camera phone videos of themselves doing COVER songs.
Go to any new singer or song video, on You tube, and look to the right of that video. There are dozens and dozens or hundreds of people up there, with their own camera phone videos doing THE EXACT SAME SONG, THE EXACT SAME WAY.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind covers. I've done them my entire life and even on my new CD, A LIFE WELL LIVED, I do a cover of Otis Redding/Three Dog Night's "TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS." It is a song I love to do, and a classic monster of a song, so I happily pay tribute. But if I'm tying to get people to know who I AM, I am not going to lead with a song I did not write.
And that brings me to this post. Most of these people, usually younger ones, are doing these covers of CURRENT songs on the radio, and doing them the exact same way they are already being done. What I would say to those people is:
"BE YOURSELF, EVERYBODY ELSE IS TAKEN!'
Yeah, I wrote that one too.
If you are trying to be a GENUINE ARTIST in today's market place, you are going to have to let people know who YOU ARE. They already have the latest current artist. They are already doing that on the radio. "WE ALREADY GOT ONE!!!"
I learned this early in my career, when I was in bands that were trying to be the latest, KISS, Journey, Foghat, etc. We were just covering what they did. We would have to learn to BE OURSELVES.
There are proper times for Covers. Getting many jobs for singers, bands, etc. you have to play covers. You have to do what the job requires. But I would strongly suggest, finding a way to put YOUR PARTICULAR STAMP on whatever you do.
And I'd probably cover only classic songs.
There are times you need them to get booked and you have to do that But try to be as ORIGINAL as you can.
And then, if you are wanting to be a singer/songwriter study why those songs are classic and emulate that. Don't just cover them, but write your own songs in that style, or break them down and learn as much as you can about them and the creators.
That's the way to grow.
by Marc Alan Barnette