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Thread: Interview with former Sony chief, John Grady

  1. #1
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    Interview with former Sony chief, John Grady

    (I should say, I admire John Grady, whose more maverick musical interests are often close to my own - he's currently managing one of his former signings, Ashley Monroe - who has a really top notch new album out - and also one of the most promising breakout duos, Striking Matches.

    These are miscellaneous points from a long broadcast interview that I found interesting - and sometimes very funny!)

    ----In his time running Mercury, he signed Shania Twain, Toby Keith and John Brannen. He regarded John Brannen as the main talent of the three (so do I - but I can see why Mercury didn't agree!)

    ----He regards the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" sound track as his greatest recording achievement. He says he was frequently pressured and harried over it at Mercury, who regarded it as a waste of time and money, and a distraction from their chart music - but it won several Grammys and became a surprise top commercial success - but probably, in the end, was most responsible for him being fired.
    ----They had wanted Vince Gill for the main singing voice on Oh Brother (the actors were dubbed), but Vince turned it down, and Dan Tyminski of Union Station sang the part.
    ----The friends he worked with on Oh Brother have never been able to repeat the success with other recording projects (in my view, this may tie in with the comment by Nashville execs overheard by reporters at the Grammys saying 'we must never let this happen again')
    ----Nevertheless, the same people are behind "Nashville" (the TV series) - and this both includes music more in tune with their ideals than most current chart material, and also what he regards as a pretty accurate portrayal of the way the Nashville recording and business interests work.

    ----He says that Sony Global called him in to head Sony Nashville to restructure a recovery from a period of upheaval, linked to the Dixie Chicks suing them for alleged financial malpractice over the deduction of production costs - something that led to a complex deal involving an out-of-court settlement.
    ----He was running his own company at the time and turned down the offer - but says execs at Sony Global threatened to have his company closed down if he didn't take up the position at Sony Nashville.

    ----When he signed Gretchen Wilson, she had already been turned down nine times by recording companies. Sh e won an unexpected FVOTY
    ----When he signed Miranda Lambert, he says the experience was unique. He went down to Dallas and was blown away by an 18 year old singing barefoot in a bar, nine original songs. He says her parents sat at his table, said they were ex-police officers running a private detective agency, and if he was signing her, they would have him checked out first. (I had to laugh when the interviewer said 'and they let her marry Blake? They can't do a very good job!')

    ----He attributes the central role of Nashville in commercial Country Music as growing originally from the pivotal role of the Opry in pioneering Country broadcasting, establishing an image, and developing media interest and coverage.
    ----He says that though he would like Nashville to work more with other music centres, it's dominance in popular media, and the different traditions built into the musical cultures make it difficult. He has worked occasionally with people from Austin - but says too many in Texas think Nashville 'doesn't do real Country'. He has never worked with Muscle Shoals (the latter doesn't surprise me - AMA leading star Jason Isbell, and the recently broken up Civil Wars are the main recent acts originating from this centre - but it makes the runaway success of Carrie's BHC, which also had songwriting and stylistic links with that area, all the more remarkable)
    txacar, lizcarlo, bluetb4 and 3 others like this.

  • #2
    Ultimate Carrie Fan txacar's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    ^Thanks, faraway. Love the tidbit about Vince. I wonder if he ever regretted turning it down. That movie brought many, many new fans to country music. The soundtrack would probably have sold a ton with Vince on it.


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