Copyright 2001 PR Newswire Association, Inc.  
PR Newswire

June 25, 2001, Monday



LENGTH: 905 words

HEADLINE: 'VH1 All Access' Examines the Precarious State Of 'The Struggling Singer/Songwriter' in Latest Episode of Hit Series, Premiering Thursday, June 28 at 10:00 P.M. (ET/PT)


These are tough times for the singer/songwriter.  In a market full of highly-calculated, carefully-produced entertainment, pop music's unique voices are finding it much harder to compete.  Fact is, of the 82 albums to reach number-one from 1997-2000, only two were by solo singer/songwriters. 
    "VH1 All Access: The Struggling Singer/Songwriter" takes an in-depth look at the music of personal expression -- and the poets of pop who find themselves straining to buck the bubble-gum trend of made-for-TV bands and polished pop songs. This latest episode of VH1's hit weekly series premieres Thursday, June 28 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT). 
    VH1 News' Rebecca Rankin conducts in-depth interviews with superstar Billy Joel, starmaker Lou Pearlman, top songwriter Dianne Warren, best-selling artist David Gray and Oscar-nominated maverick Aimee Mann. "VH1 All Access: The Struggling Singer/Songwriter" examines the precarious state of the singer/songwriter and questions whether this long-time musical icon is a victim of an industry that's pushing aside independent voices in favor of prefab boy bands like *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, song-and-dance teen queens like Britney and Christina, and aggressive rock bands like Limp Bizkit. 
    By interviewing industry players and showing how the music business operates, "VH1 All Access: The Struggling Singer/Songwriter" sheds light on the obstacles that singer/songwriters must face -- and on the prospects for their future success.  Interview footage also features artists Dave Matthews, Joan Osborne, Melissa Etheridge, Stevie Nicks, Black Crowes' Chris Robinson and Rich Robinson, Alanis Morissette, James Taylor, Elton John, Brian McKnight, O-Town, Celine Dion, Duncan Sheik, Faith Hill, Rob Thomas and Pete Yorn, plus music journalist Bruce Haring, Universal Records president Monte Lipman, USA Today pop music critic Elysa Gardner, manager Michael Hausman, Atlantic Records vice president Ron Shapiro, ATO Records' co-founders Michael McDonald and Chris Tetzeli, and "Magnolia" director Paul Thomas Anderson, among others. 
    Highlighting "VH1 All Access:  The Struggling Singer/Songwriter":

  -- Billy Joel, superstar singer-songwriter since the heydays of the 
        1970s:  "During the '60s and '70s, if you were unusual looking, it was 
        okay, but now you have to be more photogenic ...  Would you say I was 
        one of the most photogenic people you've seen?  I've said this many 
        times, I signed on to be a piano player, not a damn movie star."

  -- Lou Pearlman, the man behind such pop phenoms as N'SYNC and Backstreet 
        Boys, and producer of TV's "Making the Band":  "The goal is to become 
        famous.  That's the goal.  Because if you're not famous, then nobody 
        is going to buy your records."

  -- Dianne Warren, the music world's hottest songwriter, owner of 81 Top 
        Ten hits and 28 Number One smashes for megastars like Cher, Celine 
        Dion, Toni Braxton, and even Aerosmith:  "I write a song, and I think 
        of an artist that the song's good for -- It's kind of unconscious, 
        it's kind of magical.  The right songs with the right singer and the 
        right everything, you can't hold it back ...  I mean, I want the songs 
        to be great, I want them all to be hits."

  -- David Gray, this year's surprise star, whose million-selling album 
        "White Ladder" followed three previous releases with total sales of 
        only 61,000:  "The f***ing music speaks for itself at the end of the 
        day -- it's there on a disk, you can go and buy it or you can come and 
        see a concert.  And the bottom line is that's what I actually do. 
        This [publicity] is all surplus, it comes with the territory."

  -- Aimee Mann, former Til Tuesday singer and solo artist, now 
        Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter who decided to leave her record 
        label and start one of her own:  "I don't even think the Beatles could 
        get a record deal now."

VH1 sets aside every Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. for "VH1 All Access," debuting some of the network's most diverse and popular shows.  Upcoming shows include "Breakups and Shakeups" (July 5), "Dynamic Duets" (July 19) and "Rock Solid" (July 26). 
    "VH1 All Access: The Struggling Singer/Songwriter" is a production of VH1; the supervising producer is Brad Abramson; the executive producers are Shelly Tatro and Bill Brand. 
    VH1 produces and programs a wide variety of music-based series, specials, live events and acquisition-based programming that keep viewers in touch with the music they love.  VH1 is a registered trademark of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc.  MTV Networks owns and operates the cable television programming services MTV: Music Television, MTV 2: Music Television, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, TV Land and VH1 as well as The Suite from MTV Networks, a package of ten digital services, all of which are trademarks of MTV Networks.  MTV Networks also has joint ventures, licensing agreements and syndication deals whereby its programming can be seen worldwide.

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CONTACT: Lori Hornik of VH1, 212-846-7131; or Linsey Silberkleit of MTVN, 310-752-8082