Sunday, 13 September 2015

SOUL SURVIVORS

'I cry ... but tears don't seem to help me carry on ...'

This is what soul sounds like. This is almost as good as being there on the night. Almost - because nothing compares to the live-music experience. I used to say that singer-songwriter Jim Diamond underestimated his capabilities. I was wrong. I clearly remember him standing his ground and refusing to compromise, at a time when the music industry was consumed by a delirium that caused it to lose its grip on what was any good. A lot of Emperor's New Clothes were being worn. Too many panicky A&R guys headless-chickened about, trying to sign the Next Big Thing and wasting budget on also-rans and never-would-bes. Look what happened. Those same execs, I remember the conversations well, poured scorn on investment in the BRIT School. 'Fat lot of good that will do.' It gave us Amy Winehouse, Katie Melua, Leona Lewis, Adele, and poor Amy, whose music will stand the test. What of the rest?

Jim writes songs from the gut, from the membranes of his eyeballs. He has been to the brink. He shares the pain and heartache. He runs rings around 'X Factor' wannabes who spout a bit of karaoke down the Nag's and present as pop stars. They think that all it takes is the ability to gargle a passable  impersonation of Sam Smith or Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift or Lady GaGa, and to 'want it soooo much'.

Listen, wannabes. It takes a unique voice, one that is instantly recognisable. It takes guts, determination and an instinct for survival. It takes hope. It takes a long time.

I remain in awe of Jim's talent. Time has not withered him.  Anyway, age, today, is the least relevant factor. The longer you live, the better you get at it. if you had it in the first place. Our ailing record business needs to summon courage, rediscover its integrity and wise up to the true meaning of talent. Then it needs to persuade this precious one-off and others like him out of the wilderness. 

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