Tuesday Open Thread

Kristy Lee Cook, the sixth-place finalist from this year’s American Idol, has signed with Arista Nashville:

July 1, 2008 — The fastest way to get a recording contract in Nashville these days is to compete on “American Idol” and declare yourself a country artist.

Kristy Lee Cook, who ranked among the final 12 on this year’s edition of the TV singing competition, was officially announced yesterday as the newest member of the Arista Records artist roster, having signed to the label through 19 Recordings, a company founded by “Idol” creator Simon Fuller. The British management empresario keeps a condo in Nashville and has previously signed Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler to Arista.

I actually don’t have an opinion on this, now that I’ve made peace with the fact that Arista is just a BMG imprint and not the “Artistry First” label that it was when Tim DuBois was running the show back in the nineties.    No disrespect meant to any of the ladies who record for it, as Carrie Underwood is a prime vocal talent, but it was a much cooler label when its flagship female artist was Pam Tillis.   Just sayin’.


  1. It’s worth noting that this is the same label that signed and eventually dropped her back in 1999.

    Her first single is reportedly called “15 Minutes of Shame.” I guess we’ll see whether the title delivers on its promise or not. But I’m getting to the point where I really want to see some new women in country music who aren’t Barbie-esque blondes.

  2. I am wondering why country music seems so much more open to Idols and Idol rejects. Off the top of my head, Carrie, Pickler, Bucky, Josh Gracin, Phil Stacey have all recorded music and found some degree of success. On the other hand , idol winners like Reuben, Taylor and Fantasia have stuggled to find an audience, and wannabees seem to vanish into the wind.

    Do you think its because they sing other peoples songs on Idol, and country music is very songwriter driven (ie, artists are often established singing the works of others)?

  3. Charlie,

    American Idol’s demographics typically overlap with country music’s so that is most likely why there are now 6 artists on Major Nashville labels (3 females at SonyBMG and 3 males at Lyric Street). There are are even a couple other AI people on smaller labels (like Carmen Rasmussen @ Lofton Creek Records). The power of AI has spread to a guy who didn’t even make the show. A guy who was homeless when he applied to be on the show, Josiah Lemming, got a record deal with Atlantic in NY/LA. Don’t know what that means execpt it is a great vehicle for exposure.

  4. I think Fantasia has done really well in R&B but we hear about it less because it’s genre success. I still believe Ruben’s win was an anti-Clay vote and Taylor Hicks, well, I don’t have a rationale for that, other than the fact that Daughtry was unexpectedly eliminated a couple of weeks earlier. Maybe America was just screwing with us on that one.

  5. I think the thing was that Taylor was fun to root for on the show (certainly more interesting than Katharine McPhee or Elliott Yamin) but nobody really saw him as a viable recording artist.

  6. Dan,

    Of the three finalists from Taylor’s season, Elliot Yamin made the best record. It was R&B/pop that was smartly written. The best part of it for Yamin, he self-released it with Sony/ATV Publishing so they both reaped the benefits of the gold success.

  7. Elliott Yamin was my favorite that season followed by Daughtry. Pop radio barely gives these folks the time of day but country radio seems to embrace them as special while treating artists like Pam Tillis, who released a great album last year, and Dolly Parton, who realeased a great album this year, like they are worthless.

  8. Matt and Roger – I actually own Yamin’s album as something of an impulse buy. I was actually a fan of his when he was on the show and I liked his first single a lot, so during an iTunes splurge I grabbed it. It is certainly a solid set, but it does lack some personality, a problem which I felt sort of marred Yamin’s time on the show (especially because he was juxtaposed with the wild-‘n’-crazy Hicks, though both had great throwback voices). I’d love to see him score another hit, though.

  9. I couldn’t stand Kristy Lee Cook on AI this season. However I think if she wants any kind of success she should aim for a Kellie Pickler type album (friendly and safe) and not aim for the poppy/shrieky Taylor Swift style or the full-blown diva style of Carrie Underwood. It would probably work best for her.

    As for Taylor Hicks…there’s no logical explanation.

  10. Problem is with Kristy Lee Cook is that despite Pickler’s lack of vocal skills, like her or not, she has a charismatic personality and a self-developed “persona” for entertainment. I’m not a fan, but I can certainly understand why she appeals to some. Carrie U. could be bland, but she has the pipes. KLC had poor vocal skills and lacked a pleasant personality. She came across as smug and had a bland interpretation of her music.

  11. I’m agnostic when it comes to whether A1 is an asset or a bane to the music industry. But I will say this — at least it requires its contestants to have a fairly sizable amount of vocal and performance ability. They have to perform live every week, so there’s no lip-synching or studio dubbing. Taylor Swift would never have made the AI cut, given her recent pitchy performances on awards shows.

  12. Looking forward to Kristy Lee’s album… Despite her live vocal shortcomings, her studio recordings actually showed a really pretty voice with a lovely tone!

  13. Kristy Lee lost me, not when she mangled that Beatles tune, but rather when she did the “play-to-the-audience” version of God Bless The USA. Of course, being a Canadian, I didn’t immediately take off my hat and stand at attention.

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