Could we finally take a break while things were underway at DiscMakers? Nope – it wasn’t going to happen. We found JD prevailing upon us to produce promotional 8x10’s for him.
He wanted them to be made from the same picture used for the CD cover and have the enhanced signature logo incorporated. Hello JD, do you remember us telling you what we went through to make that picture square and that we were "out of pixels" with which to work for anything larger because it had been lifted from a small section of a much bigger image? After strongly contending to JD we just couldn’t create anything from that photo of acceptable quality for the size he wanted, Ed, of course, kept thinking about how it might be done. He was soon back at work on the original picture, reformatting the desired portion of the image, building up the resolution beyond what existed and otherwise generally giving Photoshop a good workout experimenting with different techniques.
It wasn’t long before our refrigerator was covered with variations that we could study from several feet away. The whole thing became doable after we had thought more about how JD said the 8x10’s would be primarily used – mounted like posters that wouldn’t be viewed up close. Sure enough, from a distance it wasn’t too bad. The next step after choosing the ones we thought would work best for printing was to send them along to JD to select which specific one he wanted. With that accomplished we began the process of getting test prints done with a local printer until the colors were right and then had the final run printed and shipped to JD. He loved it. Said it was the best he ever had. Not sure what that says about some of his former promo material, but nevertheless we were pleased that he was pleased.
If you happen to see one of them, stand back and admire it (don’t look too closely).
Amazing Things Happen
Probably one of the most extraordinary events that occurred during the project happened a little while before the DJ’s Only Pre-release CD was finished. That’s when the Florida based psychic, Jill Dahne, contacted JD via his Facebook site wanting to know what he was doing with his music. We had never heard of her and subsequently learned she did not know of JD beforehand, but through an unbelievable coincidence (hand of fate?) had just become aware of him and his music.
One thing rapidly led to another and in no time at all she was telling him he was about to become "very, very famous" and she wanted to do an interview with him on her weekly radio show. He agreed and on August 2 was on the phone at the beginning of the program expecting to do a five minute spot. It didn’t turn out to be five minutes – she dedicated the entire one hour program exclusively to him and his music, and kept him on the line having live discussion through the whole broadcast. Most, most unexpected. Click here to listen to a snippet from her subsequent program on August 9 which you might find interesting.
Jill has continued to mention JD on her program, have him call in, and play his music. Consistently through their ongoing periodic personal communications, Jill has been a source of encouragement to JD and makes it clear she wants to help him all that she can. In the near future she’s taking his music with her to New York to share with people she thinks will be very interested and could be quite instrumental in having a positive impact on his career. Yes, it’s all pretty amazing.
After the Retail Release
Well, before we go there, let’s make a point about the actual release – we hit the planned date dead on – September 1, 2009. Judy’s House of Oldies in Ocean Drive, North Myrtle Beach received the first delivery on that date. We have a good many friends involved in various aspects of the music business in the Carolinas and let’s just say they were seriously impressed with that accomplishment – hitting a planned release date to the day that was selected during the early phases of the project.
In addition to the Jill Dahne program, JD has been featured on the Portrait of the Stars broadcast hosted by Frantz Clermont in another Florida market, and quite significantly on the XM satellite program The Rollye James Show.
The title song on the CD, I Wish You Were Here, began appearing almost immediately on various charts and has since risen to the top of well known local club DJ lists while continuing to move up, impressively so, on the Cashbox Top 40 Beach Music Chart. Cashbox also published an independent review of the CD and recommended it.
It’s particularly noteworthy that the esteemed John Hook of The Endless Summer Network immediately recognized the potential of JD’s new songs as soon as he heard them on the Pre-release CD and especially focused on I Wish You Were Here saying it had every possibility of becoming just as popular as Theme From A Summer Place had been. There was a lot of speculation among the DJ’s, and radio station managers and owners about which of the four new songs would "take off" the quickest and indeed the opinions were pretty evenly divided. However, John Hook nailed it and I Wish You Were Here has emerged as the most popular and is receiving the most play time. But the others haven’t been ignored by any means and some are starting to break into the charts. Interestingly, in the clubs If receives a lot of requests and people especially like to pick up the half beat in the rhythm to slow dance. It is pretty romantic.
We will say, without revealing any details, that there have been a number of overtures, inquiries and recommendations which suggest even more exciting possibilities may lay ahead for JD and his new CD.
As previously noted, our personal objectives for this undertaking were to prevail upon JD to share with the world more of his outstanding talent and to provide him the means to showcase that talent with a first class, top-of-the-line production. As you’ve read in this overview of the project we fully funded every aspect of the undertaking and it was with the understanding that the investment only had to be repaid to the extent there was sufficient income from sales of the CD’s and paid downloads of the new songs. Any income beyond that was to be evenly divided between us and JD. As we were wrapping up our formal involvement in the project and it was apparent that good success was being achieved, we made a final gesture of our intent for the entire undertaking to be about boosting JD and his career, and not about us. From the onset we never intended to "profit" from our financial backing and massive infusion of personal time and energy, but did feel it important that JD perceive the contractural arrangements as compelling obligations which he needed to satisfy. And there was never any doubt in our minds that he would do so, no matter what it took. He viewed his responsibilities and commitments very seriously, and acted accordingly. But, as noted, we had a final surprise for him once it was obvious the project had been successful and good results were being achieved. Knowing that he had the personal resources to do so, we made the offer that if he simply repaid the loan we had made, we would relinquish all of our rights to any of the income and that everything would be solely his. Needless to say, he jumped at the opportunity.
While on the subject of financial matters, we must say through the experience with this project our eyes have been opened wide to the problems and downright hardships artists experience when people steal their music. That theft can range from the despicably heinous variety where unscrupulous individuals illegally copy music and sell it, to what many people think is the harmless activity of simply sharing copies of music with friends. Just because it’s easy to do these days with home PC’s that can burn CD’s or load music to an iPod or email MP3’s doesn’t make it right and it’s certainly not harmless if the artist hasn’t been paid for the work. When compared to the impact from those who intentionally steal to profit from the theft, the casual day-to-day sharing of digital files probably on a cumulative basis actually has an even greater effect on the artists’ ability to make a living and continue to have the means to produce music. We truly believe most people are not mean spirited and that they have no concept of the harm to which they’re contributing, and certainly don’t mean to do so. The bottom line is if there’s music you like and want to have, don’t accept bootleg recordings and don’t share digital files – it’s stealing. Spend the money to purchase legitimately legal downloads or better yet the actual CD’s, and know you’ve done the morally right thing to compensate not only the performing artists, but the original composers, those who own the legal rights to the music, those engaged in providing distribution of it and the retail merchants. Yes, it’s been an eye opening experience and we subsequently most definitely have strong views about the matter.
Now that we’ve dealt with that important issue we’ll move on to others less significant, but nonetheless worth addressing in our concluding remarks. We’ve already been approached by people wanting to know if they could recruit us to help with their projects and our answer has been a polite, steadfast "No", or at least evasion of the question. We definitely have no interest in ever doing anything of this nature again primarily because it has consumed such an immense amount of our time and energy that we never intended or anticipated at the onset. But once we were into it, by virtue of our personal natures, we could do no less than our best and felt compelled to do whatever it took on our part to make the undertaking as successful as it possibly could be. Now we’re faced with a huge backlog of things that have been neglected and need considerable attention in terms of the homeplace and other aspects of our lives.
A frequent question we’re getting from those who have known about our involvement and those who are just learning of it is "Was it fun?" We think the answer to that is already obvious: "No!" It was a lot of hard, often stressful work. Nope, not fun at all. Probably the most important question we get is "Was it worth it?" Absolutely it was. We truly were impressed with JD’s magnificent talent and wanted to see him capitalizing on it to achieve an even higher level of success. We believe we’ve contributed in a meaningful way to the potential for that goal to be accomplished.
We do hope you’ve found the revelations about our unusual adventure to be interesting, maybe a little enlightening, and, of course, entertaining. We know we’ve written a lot of words and shared what probably seems an inordinate amount of detail. In that respect we’ll leave you with the thought that we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of relating what was involved and the things that took place.
We also hope, that if you haven’t already done so, you’ll visit JD’s website where you can hear the title track in its entirety on his Tidbits page and samples of all the others on his CD Store page. We think you’ll like what you hear.Update
We wanted to provide this update to the preceding original article to acknowledge the considerable success the CD has achieved. On November 30, 2009 the title song I Wish You Were Here became #1 on The Cashbox Top 40 Beach Music Singles chart.
And on February 22, 2010 the song Learnin' The Blues from the CD captured the #1 position after I Wish You Were Here had been in the top spot a total of 8 weeks. That's an extraordinary accomplishment.
With very best regards,
Ed and Sandra EandS@carolina.rr.com