11
Feb
13

Pre-Order Book! “Who the F$%& Is Linda Chorney” Here. (Scroll down to Pulling Red Carpet)

Welcome to the dysfunctional adventure of my Grammy Nomination Experience!

Read all about it!   (Pre-sales start this week!)

Snuggle up on your couch, or hammock, or bed, or beach towel, and feel what it is like to be nominated for a Grammy after playing in bars for 31 years, completely believing in yourself, (in whatever you do!) trying to get your break, and then finally getting it against all odds….as you jump up and down to the theme from Rocky…And then you abruptly hear someone screech the needle across the record. UUURRRRRCH! They desperately try to wipe that victorious smile off of your face with a punch! There’s a dead silence.  But as much as they want to knock you down, YOU DON’T FALL!

Continue relaxing and laugh as I get rotten tomatoes thrown at me from the bad guys!  See my fancy Dodge Ball Maneuvers, and cheer the underdog on as I laugh, trip, cry, get accused of gaming the system, laugh really hard, learn, lose, move on, screw it up for future Indies, and keep on singing!

Who the F&*$ Is Linda Chorney?

What are you lookin' at?

What are you lookin’ at?

Chorney made history as the first person without a publicist, manager, label, or major record sales to get

Nominated for a Grammy for “Best Americana Album” !

That’s who!

And it spun some industry heads like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”!

So much so that somehow the Grammys change the rules this year, so a committee could pick the final five nominees.

It’s no longer a Democracy!? Now who’s gaming the system?

See ya at the Oscars! (I’m hoping the book get’s turned into a movie!)

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(Scroll down to part II of “Pulling The Red Carpet Out From Under the Indies Feet” below, to see more details of the changing of the rules.)

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PULLING THE RED CARPET OUT FROM UNDER THE INDIES’ FEET  – February 11, 2013

(Sorry this one is a bit long.)

How about those Grammys? Did you like the show?  I felt old! Elton appeared, and I thought, “Hey! I know that guy!”.  Then later, a familiar, fabulous face…and gray hair.  Sting. But you know you are getting old, when Springsteen doesn’t win when he is nominated, and you don’t recognize anyone, unless they have gray hair!  The tide is washing in a new generation of …..some music…some crap. (imho) I really do think I got lucky growing up with the greatest era of Classic Rock!

I must admit, I adore Justin Timberlake. He is talented. And I thought Katy Perry’s boobs were amazing! And I adore that song, “Somebody that I used to know”. I voted for it, because I think the production is extremely tasty, and I turn it up when I hear it on the radio. It was refreshing to say, wow, I really dig this. I’ll even download it! And Kimba’s dress was my favorite. (and Katy comes in second.)

Kimbra gets best dress...and song!

Kimbra gets best dress…and song!

But you certainly didn’t see any independent artists, (without a label) accepting any awards, or in the evening extravaganza. It belongs to the man, and his products.  And I am not implying at all that any of these acts are non-deserving…well, maybe that Forrest Gump bit. That was a box of WTF? And I sure would have loved to see Bonnie Raitt bring the house down, without gimmicks.  She won for “Best Americana” during the day’s awards. How friggin’ amazing, mind blowing, and flattering it is for me to know I was nominated in that same category! Bonnie Fucking Raitt! LOVE HER. (I totally suck compared to her!)

Also, during the day program there were a few lucky enough Indies, like Al Walser, to do the catwalk, nominated through Grammy 365. (Like I had last year.) But it could be the last time for us. I didn’t submit this year, because I was way too busy writing my book!

So this is some of the article I was hoping would go into a major publication before the Grammys. I suspect the magazine that said they were printing it, just said so, so it wouldn’t come out. It’s tough going against the man…never the less, here it is.

A bit of it may seem like old news to you guys who know the dealeo, but this was intended for the world….(and I assume that 99% do not know who the F^&* I am!) Actually, I am sick of talking about it.  A whole year of writing the book. Ahhhh!  And this will be the last blog about it.

But the Grammys stirred up the memories of the bullying from last year, it’s kind of like how some people dread the pressure of the holidays. I was a bit stressed this week seeing my name in the press again, even though just a footnote. Okay, let me get right to the meat of the article.  (And then I add some new crrrrap.):

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This September, I received a random letter from a gentleman named Louis Meyers. I had never heard of him, just like most people had never heard of me in the biz. But his credits include being the founder of South By Southwest, a member of NARAS for 25 years, a screening committee member of Roots, and the director of The Folk Alliance.

He asked me to write an article on how to utilize the Grammy 365 site.  Basically the do’s and don’ts for the benefit of his members of  “The Folk Alliance Organization” that might be submitting their music in the Grammys this year. He let me know that he supported my nominated album last year…so I wrote the article.

Fast-forward to 3 days after Sandy destroyed my town of Sea Bright, N.J, I get this letter from him:

November 3, 2012 7:36 p.m.

 

Hi Linda,

 

Don’t know if you heard that they changed the rules on the Roots Category this year, but have not told anyone yet. This year, the first round voters will not determine the final five in each category. They will determine the top 15 and a committee will determine which records make it to the final five.

 

I had lunch with a NARAS Director and he told me the story like everyone knew. He appeared quite surprised once he realized that they have never informed the Grammy members of this major change. So, the voting process now has zero integrity and all the praise that Neil gave your efforts was complete BS. He made sure that you and every other regular hard-working artist will never have a chance to get in the final five again.

 

Thought you should know.

 

Best, Louis

 

Wow! I had to call this guy! I wanted to make sure this was really true.  Because if it was, I think it’s kind of lame, yet equally fascinating.

I asked him if he was absolutely sure. He said he had checked with three reliable sources to confirm that the Roots Category did indeed change the rules at some point this year. As a voting member I did not receive the memo, nor did my colleagues. Was it for all categories, or just in Roots? He did not know.

He seemed nice enough, so I decided to share with him some of the rollercoaster ride I went on after my nomination. This included the phone calls I received from a former Board member of The Americana Association, Fred Boenig, who told me about the way the Americana Radio charts have been fudged.  And he showed me proof! And I also confessed that I thought I might have been borderline paranoid because of all the flack I got. I was wondering if the powers that be were working overtime to attempt to discredit me.

He said that my hunch was spot on. He told me he was on the screening committee last year, and was approached by someone high up in the Americana Community credited on a nominated album, encouraging Louis to join the bash Chorney Train. All aboard! Louis was removed from the screening committee this year. He told me he never would have gone along with approving a “secret committee”.

The final chapters of my book were about having a blast at the Grammys, being on the red carpet with one of my musical idols, Gregg Allman, and having the honor of losing to the late great Levon Helm. Then I ended it happily, by living out my dream of Singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park on the 100 Year Anniversary! (Of course the Sox lost, which was not such an honor, after blowing a 9-0 lead in the second inning, against the Yankees.)

However, in light of this changing of the rules stuff, this has to be my new ending…and possibly the end of any indie getting the chance to walk the red carpet again. And when I say Indie, I mean sans Indie label.

January 5th, 2013, Billboard came out with a special issue for Academy members.  Included on one of the pages was the list of which categories had committees. This was the first time I had seen that Americana was now officially there along with a few other genres.

What made me laugh out loud was that within the same issue there was another article highlighting the benefits of membership to Grammy 365. My name was actually printed as an example of how membership opens doors! But to me, it seems like they are being closed with these newly appointed committees.

And you know how they show clips of politicians flip-flopping?

Last year when I was nominated, the President of the Academy was interviewed in The Associated Press about me:

Here is what he said:

Exhibit A – ASSOCIATED PRESS – Jan 12, 2012

— http://news.yahoo.com/curious-case-grammy-nominee-linda-chorney-115258905.html

(This is the one with the God awful picture of me.)

Chorney has defended herself, saying she simply took advantage of the Grammy365.com social-networking program the academy encouraged her to use.

And Neil Portnow, the academy’s president, agrees. He says her story shows there truly is a level playing field for all artists.

“It shows everybody has a shot,” Portnow said. “That really is the truth.”

Exhibit B – HOLLYWOOD REPORTER  February 10, 2013

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/recording-academy-chief-grammys-pandora-417608

THR: Last year, unknown singer-songwriter Linda Chorney got a nomination for best Americana album alongside thanks to Grammy365.com, where musicians can campaign for votes. This year, German artist Al Walser got one. Is this a legitimate way to get nominated?

Portnow: That’s a fair question. Grammy365 was intended to be a lot of things, including a way for people to communicate with other academy members. What we found over time is that there are elements that have become concerns, like the ability to lobby online. But none of what was done was outside of our rules and regulations — it was some very aggressive and savvy folks who got enough attention from our voting members. We had over 17,500 entries this year, so for that to be a nomination means a fair amount of people listened and voted for it. Now the question is, “How do you feel in hindsight about member-to-member accessibility in that fashion?” We’ve done a lot of research and are planning a redesign of the site, which will be renamed sometime in the spring, and we will then address the issue: that members feel like their privacy is respected and the ability to lobby is on an equal level.

 

He says at the end, about “We’ve done a lot of research and are planning…”

The truth?  The issues have nothing to do with the privacy of voting members…they have the opportunity to opt out and not receive letters – and they must accept your contact request on Grammy 365 to even communicate.

He totally neglects to just come out and say, they already “redesigned” things by changing the rules.  We have secret committees now to prevent the Linda Chorneys from getting in again….and we didn’t tell the paying members until after the fact.

What’s my point? Make it a democracy or don’t. Is it a democracy when a chosen committee from each genre decides, (i.e. controls) rather than the majority? If so, that’s cool. I even understand it. It’s your club. You can make the rules.

But with all due respect, does The Academy really want to give unknown artists the opportunity to get nominated and discovered, or not? Are they pleased when one slips by the gatekeepers? Do they find it embarrassing, or do they embrace it? Are they under pressure from the heavy hitters in the industry to make these committees? Who makes the decision to approve having a committee to decide the final five in a category? And who decides who gets the powerful position of being a committee member? How non-biased can they be? Could this be conceived as gaming the system?

Maybe no one really cares. “That’s just the way it is.” When I spoke with a couple of select NARAS members about these committees and the effect it would have on Indies, that’s what they said. When I spoke with friends in the business about airplay charts being manipulated, they said the same thing. Perhaps my lack of sucking up skills won’t get me any brownie points, or future nominations, but I don’t care for “the way it is”.

If members with dreams of seeing their names on the list of nominees were informed of this change in the “game”, that’s fair. Transparency works. Was it made clear prior to the Billboard issue, that even if they get the most votes in a category, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be nominated? Were they told of the change in the rules before they spent their hard earned money on their memberships, and an enormous amount of time asking for consideration from its’ voting members? Was anyone even informed that they had at least made the top fifteen?  (Even the most votes!)

I really enjoy being a part of The Academy, and I have a great deal of respect for the good things they do, including Music Cares, who even wrote me a check for some losses in Sandy. I am certainly not pointing the finger at the majority of it’s members. I am in fact, defending them! And some members of Grammy 365 might accept the new rules, and still want to be a part of it anyway, as Grammy 365 is a tremendous resource for networking with musicians, and meeting wonderful people. (Membership increased from 6,276 to 10,116 since my nomination. That’s roughly a million dollars of dues.) However, some of these ten thousand may also be signing up and dropping a hundred bucks a year for their lottery ticket, (more than most indie artists make for a gig), so they have a chance to go to the party.

Are we really welcome there, or are we invited to valet the cars of the stars before they walk the red carpet? Does having these committees keep it rolled out, or pulled out from under us?

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I want to personally thank Louis Meyers and Fred Boenig for having the guts and integrity to go on the record with all of this information, and  sharing it with me quite eagerly!

And this is not just about music. It’s about the “man” versus the people. It’s about the Monsanto’s and the Farmers. The banks versus the individual losing their home. It’s about privilege of those with power that get away with all kinds of unethical shit that shits on the people.

Here is an encore presentation of my new video to song, “When I Sing”.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/u13sSNtIR7A&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

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8 Responses to “Pre-Order Book! “Who the F$%& Is Linda Chorney” Here. (Scroll down to Pulling Red Carpet)”


  1. February 12, 2013 at 4:54 AM

    Despite having followed your Pilgrim’s Progress (<=read that in a John Wayne voice) from BEFORE last year's awards, I find myself getting sad and then angry over the account of your treatment because I believe anything and everything done to you was not only done to others many times over the years but is also beig done now and will be in the future.

    Music is the sound your heart and soul make together. Rap, crap, pop, rock whatever you feel and believe, that's what music is. And we are so lucky to have so many different flavors of it to enjoy (Baskin-Robbins and Howard Johnson would need bigger ice cream freezers to just match the music) and now your chronograph has made it clear that the plain-vanilla big box ice cream factories want to own the whole game.

    I listen to a lot of music from people 'on labels' so small they need a microscope-from artists, perhaps you as well at a different point in your career, who have to take and make their own calls about gigs and studio recording time while loading the van and humping the gear or working 'that other job' (the one that makes the money to pay the bills to chase the dream. )

    The 'happy ending' to all of this, for you and yours, has been/should be, that you 'came out with my soul untouched' (some guy with grey hair wrote that a long time ago) and that your music is, and will always be, your music for anyone to enjoy and for everyone to treasure.

    I hope the rock and roll caravan brings you East again (more of a Yankees fan than a BoSox, but if that's where I have to go to hear you and see you, 'Hello, Pesky Pole!') and that you remain as you are, unbowed and undaunted. With apologies to your most excellent recent song, When YOU Sing, my spirit soars.
    Take, care, Be good and Stay well.
    -bill kenny

    • February 12, 2013 at 8:28 AM

      Bill, You write so well. And people and music should not be squashed by a chosen few.

  2. February 12, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    I wrote this somewhere else, but it still fits…It is an epidemic in the culture, not just of music. Society desperately wants things ranked and want to be a part of whatever ranks highest. This is why, over the past fifteen years, box office became something an audience cared anything about. It isn’t about the movie, it is about the horse race and betting on (or seeing, hearing, experiencing) the winning horse. The Grammy Awards are the prize for winning the horse race for the music category, and a secret pact to try to squeeze more sales (races) out of those high performing horses. Nothing seems to sell a record these days like a lot of people saying you are supposed to own it.

    • February 12, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      Good points Dw, but it is also about truth and transparency, and most of society being complacent and just allowing themselves to be shat upon. Or some fighting back and getting nowhere because the powers that be are too big to fail…too big to have to do the right thing.

  3. February 12, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    I like your music. Life is good. Love and Aloha. Glenn

  4. February 12, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    It’s very telling (and disturbing) that the NARAS members who are active on the G365 site and got nominated were primarily in categories that did not have nominating commitees. I hope the Trustees will take up this issue. Allowing a handful of committee members to circumvent the member vote and then essentally hiding this fact from the membership until pressed is unethical.

    • February 12, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      Hey Roberta, Transparency would have been acceptable…365’ers might not be happy with their decision, but at least it would have been out in the open before an incredible amount of hope and dreams, and effort were put into considerations…and they may have opted out of even joining. THe right thing to do is offer a refund for those who do not see the benefits of membership enough to stay in. More than half the voting members are 365’ers, to the best of my knowledge. Please spread the word to other members. I doubt they will reconsider the committees, as the labels are clearly up their arses, but at least there could be full disclosure.


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