Last week two records were going for the top spot on the chart. Big deal? This happens every week. Yeah, you’re right, but this time it was a big deal because both groups were/would be first time No. 1 acts: Love and Theft, and Gloriana.
Coincidentally both of these acts played an event for us at Disneyland about three years ago when I was at KKGO Radio in Los Angeles. They would both have been considered baby acts at that point but they both blew up the club that night and it was obvious that they were in for the long haul.
There have been a number of changes with both groups. Cheyenne left Gloriana and Lyric Street left Love and Theft. In both cases that could have spelled the end of the groups. In both cases it did not.
I must admit to a long time bias for Gloriana. Rachel is an Orange County, California girl so we got behind them at Go Country as about 70% of the station’s audience is in Orange County.
Additionally I was impressed with how tight their vocals were when they played the Go Country conference room. So much so I called Clarence Spalding and recommended them as an opening act for Brooks and Dunn in LA. I think that this was their biggest show at that point. That was about three years ago.
I cannot imagine the hard work, the long trips and the sleepless nights that young acts have to endure to keep on track until they become overnight successes.
Three years is a long time. I am sure that it is closer to 5 years for both groups. That is a lot of grinning and gripping with program directors and fans. Always aware that the final turn could be just ahead. (Speaking earlier of Disneyland…ever been in line there where the turn just leads to another 300 yards of more line?)
The Country Music format has seen some acts “just appear” this past year. Brantley Gilbert, Jana Kramer, Hunter Hayes, Kip Moore and others. I doubt that any of these kids would consider themselves to have taken an easy way to the top of the charts and radio airplay.
I have talked to a number of new acts in my role at McVay/Cook and Associates. We have worked with some newcomer acts trying to help them navigate the waters. My first comment is that this is going to be tougher than a trip to the dentist and not as much fun.
There are many “promising acts” on the lower perches of the chart today. I have seen performances by Edens Edge, Maggie Rose, Jaida Dreyer and Glen Templeton. I know that these guys have not had clear paths to the top and I know that they are out there kicking butt at every radio station and small venue.
None of the above acts are going to give up. All of them are just too darn talented.
Just as I tell the acts that we have worked with that this is tough ride and I cannot truly imagine how difficult it is I also cannot imagine turning on a Country Radio station and hearing my song come across my car speakers. Or see my name and song next to a number on the chart.
Congrats to Love and Theft and Gloriana. I suspect that you have not met all of your goals but you are a lot closer than you were at Disneyland three plus years ago.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)
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About the AuthorCook is currently on the board of both the ACM and the CMA and serves as Director of Programming and Brand Management for West Virginia Radio Corp, based in Morgantown, WV. He is also President of McVay/Cook and Associates, a Cleveland-based media consulting company. He has served on the CRB Board for over 20 years.
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