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Blog // Sounds
May 24, 2012

MusicMatters 2012 – Day One

I typed out the original version of this post in a taxi, travelling between the Ritz-Carlton and my home here in Singapore. I’ve since gone back and made a few edits and revised this piece on what was a hell of a great day! Rather than comment on everything I saw and heard, here are […]

I typed out the original version of this post in a taxi, travelling between the Ritz-Carlton and my home here in Singapore. I’ve since gone back and made a few edits and revised this piece on what was a hell of a great day!

Rather than comment on everything I saw and heard, here are a few highlights I’ve picked out from the day.

Troy Carter

Troy Carter Lady Gaga Manager

Early in the day, there was an interview session with Lady Gaga’s visionary manager, Troy Carter. I originally described Carter as smart, savvy and humble, which really wasn’t quite right. Carter is, without doubt, smart and savvy, but he also compared Gaga’s persecution by some religious groups to the crucifixion of Christ, which was well short of humble.

What I meant was his approach to artist development is very methodical and grounded. When asked if Lady Gaga has “made it” he said no. Gaga still has room to develop as an artist and they are still trying to build her base and consolidate her growth. Carter emphasised that a growing artist should not miss any steps and rush their progress if they get early success.

I was interested to hear that Carter still sees the album cycle (and building tours around albums) as relevant. Then again, Carter sounded very open-ended about where Gaga would go once her current contracts expire and he is investing heavily in tech.

“If there’s nothing there [on social media] usually there’s nothing there.” Troy Carter

Marty Friedman & J-Pop

Marty Friedman on J-Pop

One pleasant surprise was an amazing and passionate presentation on J-Pop by legendary heavy metal guitarist Marty Friedman. A lot of people see J-Pop as manufactured ear candy, but it was fascinating to hear Friedman’s take, now he now lives and works in Japan. Friedman talked about harmony, melody, song structure and writing styles. He played us lots of interesting music (including some very cool non-4/4 electronic dance music) and his passion for the music was palpable. I’m a closet fan of J-Pop for many of the same reasons Friedman highlighted – melody-driven writing, genre-defying inventiveness and positive energy. But, this presentation inspired me to explore J-Pop further and in more detail.

“Can someone explain to me why you have to scream or have a 5 octave vocal range to sing a simple love song.” Marty Friedman

The Singapore Music Society

Launch of Singapore Music Society sgmuso

Another big highlight was the launch of The Singapore Music Society. There was a special networking reception last night and today the Society had its first moment in the light of the world music industry. This is an amazing opportunity for Singapore’s independent musicians.

In a short while I’ll be off to Clarke Quay for the start of the live showcase. I’ll be taking pictures, meeting bands and doing my best to catch as much music as I can.

In Closing

I also attended two great artist/manager mentoring sessions. The first was with Bob Ezrin, famously a producer with Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Kiss and many others. Ezrin was wonderfully frank and open with local artists and it was great to see him continue the session out in the corridor after we were asked to vacate the room.

And, you can also read my review of Day Two of MusicMatters, including some comments on K-Pop and the moment when Bob Lefsetz put Spotify on the spot.

Responses
Archie 8 years ago

Troy Carter. Humility? A thin veneer perhaps. This was the man who compared Gaga being banned from Jakarta to the crucifixion of Christ…..

See you later today

    Fernando Gros 8 years ago

    Hey Archie – thanks for the comment – good point. Humility might well be the wrong word. I will think about that more before I write the final review for the conference.

Toni 8 years ago

The Troy Carter comments were interesting. It sounds like the word ‘artist’ should be replaced with the word ‘product’, because he *sounds* like he’s talking about the commercial development of Lady Gaga, rather than the development of Gwen Stefani as an artist.

Is That wrong? It *feels* badly wrong to me, but my goal has never been commercial success and I’ve never gone hungry because I couldn’t get enough gigs.

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