INSIDER’S TAKE: WHAT THEY GOT RIGHT VS. WELL…KINDA.
If you can’t get enough Nashville and love recaps (that are witty and far more exhaustive than what I’m doing here,) let me point you to MJSBIGBLOG—just found out about them this week and they’re great.)
What They Got Right:
1) Side stage at the Opry.Layla Grant is making her Opry debut in this episode and I’ve gotta say, this is a pretty accurate depiction of what it’s like to be side stage at the Opry about to go on.
A side note: the Opry allows you to have up to two side players with you for an appearance. In addition to the players you bring with you, there is a house band, which is always made up of great, experienced players. Feel-wise, regardless of how great a house band is, it is rather hard to play with one and feel like you’ve got a really tight, energetic foundation underneath you. That’s not a slam, that’s just what it’s like in these “plug and play” scenarios like the Opry. But, they do it better than anyone!
So back to what they got right…Layla nervously running the chords to her song, right before she goes on…I feel like this is totally realistic. I’ve stood in exactly that same spot stage right at the Opry and run through the chords to my songs in an attempt to calm the pre-Opry jitters.
Also, the portrayal of people coming and going, and folks milling about is very accurate. It’s wonderful, but the Opry has LOTS of moving parts, and there are always people in the wings.
Additionally, the depiction of the back hallway after Layla gets offstage is spot on. This is a super busy spot too—most of the dressing rooms are off this main hallway and there is always a lot of hubbub. Sometimes there are backstage tours, so there could be fans, and tourists, as well as all the performers, staff, and guests hanging out in this back hallway.
Also, there was a super quick shot of the sign on Layla’s dressing room which showed she was in the “Into The Circle” dressing room, which is the dressing room an artist traditionally uses when they are making their debut. Here’s a photo I took of that very sign when I made my Opry debut several years ago.
Now, I’m really not that surprised that the show does such a great job representing the Opry accurately because one of it’s executive producers, Steve Buchanan, is actually the president of the Opry Group. (Side note, he’s a really kind, creative man. I don’t know him all that well personally, but I really respect him.) Here’s an interesting article about Steve and his work with the Ryman, the Opry, and the TV show.
(Aside ) Here’s a photo of me at my Opry debut in 2012 with my (then) producer Paul Worley; Capitol Records Nashville COO Tom Becci; VP/GM of Grand Ole Opry Pete Fisher; Capitol Records Nashville SVP Marketing Cindy Mabe; Universal Music Group Chairman & CEO Mike Dungan.
1)Jeff leaves Juliette on her own. I find it super unlikely that a manager would leave a client (in the middle a booze soaked downward spiral) by herself without any other management or label support to do a bunch of media events. AND it’s even less likely that a manager would invite an E! journalist along for the ride while the artist is alone! (And are we just gonna pretend that there’s a world in which you could convince E! to give up a piece on Katy Perry in favor of ANY country artist (except possibly T-Swift?) I’m not dogging country here, it’s just not as powerful to the media world as pop.)
2)Juliette’s record store signing. This whole scenario seems a little unlikely. If an artist decided to bail early on a signing or a meet and greet, I can promise you that they would not be the mouthpiece. A manager—or tour manager, or publicist, or day-to day manager —would make the announcement. And, in my opinion you would never disappoint fans that were still waiting in line, and risk the negative backlash that could accompany bailing in the middle (or even near the end) of an event. Now, sometimes it just isn’t feasible to meet everybody in line, but if you set a specific about of time, or a specific number of people, then you’d stay. Period. It’s your job.
If an artist did decide to flake out on a commitment at a signing like this one you can be darn sure they wouldn’t be making the announcement themselves.
Also, Juliette says to fans in line “don’t forget to buy the album!” EW! Who does that? But also, at these kinds of events fans would have either bought/won some sort of VIP meet & greet (that might include an album, poster, as part of a signing package) or they would buy the album in line before they got to the artist. Also the mom and pop record store thing seems a bit off too (since there are so few). If this really was an important sales week for Juliette, she would be at the major partners like Walmart and Target. Sorry mom and pop record store—I love you, but you’re hard to find anymore!
This brings me to another thing….this all seems like “street week” (what we call the week an album comes out) stuff, not several weeks later stuff. While there is a ton of attention paid to the street week sales numbers (i.e. a lot of focus on who is gonna be number one on the sales charts,) after that first week sales drop off SIGNIFICANTLY. So it seems odd that they’re still trying to “battle it out” for the top sales spot several weeks later.
3)Juliette’s Radio Interview. Again, I’ve already written about how preposterous it is to believe that Juliette would be left without any of her management or label team (this Lindsay girl who is half personal assistant, half friend does NOT count) to navigate these super busy days with the E! reporter. But it’s equally unlikely that there would be tabloid news about her that she wouldn’t know about ahead of time.
If there was tabloid gossip or breaking news about you, you would hear about it almost immediately. Hello! There’s this thing called google alerts, and managers and publicists all have them set for their artists, so they know immediately if a news item pertaining to their client shows up. And, the radio guy would NEVER spring a question like that on you. I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be fair game if somehow there was breaking news that the artist didn’t know about, but this is not a candidate for the white house. There really isn’t a lot of “gotcha “ type questions being asked in radio interviews. Juliette is portrayed as a huge artist in the format, and a radio station wouldn’t risk alienating an artist like that—whom they may need to do business with in the future.
But, let’s assume that somehow this chain of events did go down…it would be safe to assume that the manager/label/publicist would NEVER permit that radio personality to do an interview with the artist again.
4)Avery and Marcus backstage producer meet. This conversation seems so wrong to me.Avery is talking about projects that he has worked on, and then there is an exchange about the song he produced on Juliette being nominated for a CMA award, and then Marcus asks if the song won, and Avery says no it didn’t. All this CMA nomination, win, not win business is kind of silly. You’re not gonna pick a producer based on whether a song they produced on another artist won an award. You’re gonna pick a producer based on whether you like the sound and style of the music they’ve produced. It would be a much larger conversation about sounds, other musical references, even musicians. The conversation might include writing, production style, but it wouldn’t be about nominations or wins…even at the grammy level.
OK…that’s all till next week. Xo