Hyperbole… (part one)
by Mary-Ann Brandon
I first fell in love with the art of exaggeration at the age of 13 when I met a woman at a party who had driven to Nashville from Texas. She described driving through a storm that involved “hail the size of watermelon.” I never forgot that encounter and it informed my use of similarly absurd embellishments. For instance, I am fond of referring to myself as a “500 pounder” every time I pack on ten pounds. My friends who live in 5,000 square foot homes cringe every time I describe their houses as 40,000 square foot mansions. You get the idea…
When it comes to the music business equally absurd exaggeration is common but not as transparent to the casual listener who encounters the hype. I am writing this particular article to try to explain the game, since many people have approached me and expressed frustration in not knowing what to believe when they read press regarding music. People have complained that they were told something was going to be “amazing” only to have it wind up being little more than amateurish musical nonsense. This is a great way to lose a potential audience member, permanently.
Thankfully, the internet has made it increasingly easy to bust people in their attempts to pass acts off as more than they actually are. Still, publicists and amateur publicists, persist in this game with the knowledge that most people are either too busy or don’t know how to fact check.
I cringed this week when I read a press release that came across my desk in which a band with a regional following but no major recording history was described as a “supergroup.” The term supergroup was coined in 1968 to describe a music group whose performers are already famous from having performed individually or in other groups. Notable examples of supergroups are: Cream, Blind Faith, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Highwaymen and The Traveling Willburys. The sad fact is that one of the musicians in the regional band is familiar to me and I can honestly say that he is a superb player who could easily have had a successful career in a major music market had he chosen that path. To describe him as a member of a supergroup is ridiculous, and insulting to him and to the public’s intelligence. Much like the girl who cried wolf, publicists who play these games eventually wind up losing all credibility. Sometimes this is simply the mark of an amateur, but for you, the public, trying to sort out what to see, these tactics are misleading at best.
Next week, read part two of Hyperbole… My personal cautionary tale.
Mary-Ann Brandon is a singer/songwriter/recording artist who splits her time between La Veta, CO and Nashville, TN. To read more about her visit her website at www.blueslandproductions.com