Monday, July 31, 2006


Fans of American Idol 4 may remember Mikalah Gordon, the saucy 16 year old who was loved by some and hated by others. Her caustic yet bubbly personality won over Simon Cowell but distanced her from others. In the end, Meek, as she is known to her friends and fans, didn't survive all the way to the finale.

Recently, Meek's been reaching out to her friends and Idol contacts to try to help dispel a nasty rumor about her that has been circling the web. So, being the clearing-house of American Idol info that I am, I'm passing this on to you guys.

Apparently the rumors going around put Mikalah in a bad light sexually, indicating that she's slept with a lot of guys and is "a slut." It might seem like no big deal to us, as these rumors fly about celebrities and people in the public eye all the time, but according to Mikalah, things have gotten way out of hand, particularly in the Las Vegas circles. It has spread so much so that her own boyfriend had to call her in the middle of an important recording session to speak with her about it.

In her most recent statement on her Myspace site, she clears up the misconception about her sexuality by reaffirming that she is indeed a virgin. (Yes, that's right. They still exist out there. And it ain't a bad thing.) "Mikalah has values that she has vowed to keep until she is ready," a representative for Mikalah said. "She lets each person she enters a relationship know about this up-front."

For those who are involved in spreading these rumors, shame on you. Get a life and find something better to do. Also, be warned, as the Gordons appear to have contacted a lawyer and are looking into the possibility of pressing charges against the originators of the rumors.

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE #1: This just in from Mikalah's mom:
J.D., I don't know you, but I was contacted and saw your website. I am crying as you have Mikalah's back. You see, she is my daughter. My name is Victoria Cavaricci. She really is a good girl, and though we know people are jealous and all that jazz, she is just saddened by the negative response that she has gotten. I do believe she is a virgin. That was a goal that she attained for herself. Not by me. Not by religion. She has always said that was her goal. I just wanted to thank you personally for defending my daughter, and as her mother I too am very upset. She is just a kid trying to attain her dream, and so of course I am proud of her. While i cannot put out all the fires, I do really thank you for your time, faith and energy.

UPDATE #2: From Mikalah:
JD, there are not enough thank you's to give to you! I am so appreciative for your help and concern! You have completely brightened my day! It is most definitely people like you that make me want to continue on! You have a beautiful spirit, and you as well deserve the best things life has to offer! Thank you again so much, and I look forward to speak to you again! All of my love and best wishes. MEEK

UPDATE #3: Visit her website at

UPDATE #4: Fixed broken link to Meek's Myspace

Saturday, July 29, 2006


There were several of you who wanted to know what happened with the hair color choice that we helped pick out for David Radford's friend for her wedding.

It seems that the overwhelming favorite was for her to go with the dark color. So she did. She sends thanks for helping her decide.

If you want to see the shade she picked, you can go to this link, click on shades, and look at the last shade in the brown section (the darkest one.)

No pics of how it turned out are being made available.

Friday, July 28, 2006


It's been awhile since I've put a personal opinion piece up on this blog. I had kinda backed off from it, since there was such a glut of news, information and interviews to give you, but I had some things I just wanted to get off my chest, and now seems like the best time to do it.

I'm not really disappointed at the responses left on the recent Heather Cox interview, because I know that the people who leave these sorts of comments are just people who can't find any other way to get a piece of the pie, and so they try to get noticed by picking fights with people. Granted, I find it hard to believe that they'd pick on someone as sweet and gentle as Heather, but they showed enough of their true colors through their hiding in anonymity and posting useless and pointless insults to discredit them altogether.

That's negativity, and that's not what I'm here to focus about. So you comment kiddies who expected a big rant about what you posted can go ahead and sign off now.

What I'm focusing on today is those of you who are good friends to this blog, and while we differ on so many things, we've come together to make a wonderful community. It's a community that I didn't know was out there waiting for me, a community that I'd never have imagined existed at my fingertips. It has been a place where people who would ordinarily have never interacted get the chance to meet and enjoy each other. Even the occasional celebrity flits through, and we get to enjoy that.

No two of us believe the exact same things on any level, be it political, social, religious, or even in choice of favorite sports teams. Yet over the past year, I have found in this community a group of friends whose conversations mean so much to me, and whose writing has challenged me. Their posts have both educated me, uplifted me, and caused me to think. The beauty of the blog is that it takes away the barriers like race, gender, etc. and allows us to exchange ideas with unprecedented freedom. And there's a place in the blogosphere for all of it, be it religious fundamentalism, socialism, anarchism, pescatism, you name the -ism and there's a place for it.

The people who have contributed to this blog's community are male, female, white, black, Filipino, Indonesian, Asian, South American, Native American, straight, gay, bisexual, single, married, widowed, mothers, fathers, bachelors, prudes, sluts, givers, takers, outlaws, in-laws, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, neighbors, strangers, fat, skinny, average, pretty, ugly, tall, short and all walks of life. And yet, I read them all. I don't agree with everything they say, or maybe even most of it, but I still look for that one thing that I can glean from it to make me a better person, and I hope that they can do the same from me.

You won't find two people on this earth with more different philosophies and world views than me and Kristin. We talk differently, we write differently, we think differently, and...we're just plain different. But we're both huge fans of each other. How does that work? A willingness to overlook certain things and concentrate on getting to know the person themselves. An understanding that though Kristin might say things with a bit more spice than I might that she occasionally has a good point (and also makes me laugh from time to time at her escapades.)

Kieran and I are polar opposites. He's gay. I'm straight. But you would be hard pressed to find two people who challenged each other's writing more than the two of us during American Idol. He writes his a lot different (a bit more blue) than mine, but there are some things he does with words that I only wish I could do. He's done more for my writing than he knows.

Stacy, you and I could go round and round about birth control and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all day long, but I am so glad to have met you and to be able to enjoy watching your blog (as well as your family) grow!

These are just a few examples.

So, if we accept all those things about each other, and strive to learn from each other and make this a better world, it should be of relative inconsequence what someone like Heather feels about her religion. It certainly shouldn't threaten us, annoy us, or sicken us, because we're a community open to the free exchange of ideas, without bias and without fear of reprisal from each other. To this day, I think we've achieved that, despite the drive-by commenters.

In closing this post, I'd like to thank each and every one of you who visit and read here for helping me understand just a little more about the world. I especially appreciate those of you who post comments and allow me to read your writing, both here and on your own blogs. But I also want to thank those of you who read and never once post a comment, because you still add to the community. I hope I get a chance to hear from you guys too, and if you haven't yet, I'd love for you to drop me an email and let me meet you. I thank you for your friendship, and I hope we'll all go forward with the intent to learn more about each other and not to judge and tear each other down.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


XM Radio hits one out of the park next month. I know, I know, I've been singing their praises since the beginning of this blog, but today I learned that they're bringing back my all-time favorite Sunday afternoon radio show: American Top 40 with Casey Kasem.

Yes, I know the show is still on the air and hosted by Ryan Seacrest. But I grew up on Casey's voice, the cheesy long distance request and dedications, and the whole nine yards. I ran out of church every Sunday so I could hear the countdown and find out who was at number one. Casey's part of the reason I went into broadcasting. The re-broadcasting of these classic radio shows is cause to celebrate for me.

AT40 with Casey Kasem will air every Sunday at noon eastern on XM channel 8, the 80's, and also on channel 7, the 70's. On Friday, August 4, XM will be running a Casey's Top 40 marathon all day long.

So to commemorate the occasion, I'm asking you readers to post your Top 10 favorite songs in the comments!

Monday, July 24, 2006

American Idol's Heather Cox speaks to J.D.

If you're in any way like me, chances are you stood up and took notice of this year's American Idol blonde bombshell. That is, you stood after you rolled your tongue up off the floor.

Heather Cox took to the stage determined to win the whole shooting match. She had fire in her eyes and a determination like few others. She came out of North Carolina and wowed the judges, earning her spot in Hollywood. Then, she fought off laryngitis and being paired with Halicia Thompson to make her way through the group rounds with her buddy Kellie Pickler. Then she made the Top 24. Then the Top 22.

Unfortunately, her luck didn't last till the Top 12. But the ravishing beauty, who once claimed to watch American Idol "like a stalker," is not yet set to give up.

Heather sat down with me to discuss her experience, as well as dish about her hopes for the future. It doesn't take long to learn that there's lots of brains behind that beauty (she graduated college with a 4.0!!) and behind all that is a whole lot more drive to succeed. Here's what she had to say:

J.D.: You came into the competition as a huge fan of American Idol. How did it feel to finally be a part of the show and to make it so far?

Heather: The feeling I got when I made it to the Top 24 was indescribable! I always knew that I could make it, so to finally make it was great validation!

J.D.: What were some of the projects you worked on prior to American Idol?

Heather: I was not working on any projects prior to American Idol. Actually, due to a negative experience with a chorus teacher in the 4th grade, I quit singing till I was 21. I saw the second season of American Idol with Clay and Ruben, and I said to myself, "I will be on that show!" AI was the reason I started to sing again.

J.D.: Can you tell us some of your favorite memories about being on the show?

Heather: I had a great time while on the show. Some of my fondest memories include making it through each round. Wow, what a high! And just meeting each contestant and gaining life-long friendships.

J.D.: What kind of things happen behind the scenes of American Idol that maybe we the viewers don't know about?

Heather: AI was non-stop!! We would have to get up at 4 AM each morning just to get "camera ready," and we'd have to be at the CBS studios ALL day doing interviews and practicing! LOTS OF SINGING going on (laughs)

J.D.: What was the worst or weirdest thing that happened to you during your time on the show?

Heather: The worst thing that happened to me while on the show was definitely getting sick during Hollywood week. I would think to myself, "I can't believe I've made it this far just to get sick with laryngitis!!" Fortunately, the judges remembered my performances prior to that, and put me through.

J.D.: Who on the show were you closest to? Did you develop really strong friendships? And is Kellie really like that in real life?

Heather: I was really close to Brenna, Kinnik, and Melissa. I got along great with all the guys as well. I just love Sway, Elliott, Taylor, Bucky and David!! As far as the Pickler goes, no, she isn't that dumb in real life. It's amazing how people change for the cameras. (winks)

J.D.: What was your reaction to your elimination? Do you feel you got a fair chance?

Heather: The elimination. Where do I begin? Well, it was tough. I don't think it was fair for Paula and Simon to act the way they did while I got the boot. I had a peace about it though. I had prayed earlier in the day that the Lord would give me the peace and grace to get through what ever the outcome was to be.

J.D.: Is it challenging to be so beautiful and yet so talented? (mischievous grin)

Heather: Some people would ask me, "Do you think your looks worked against you?" I have no idea. I just wanted people to love my voice and enjoy my performances. This wasn't America's Next Top Model, so if people let my looks determine whether they would vote for or against me, then they missed the point of the show!!

J.D.: Now that A.I. is over, where will we see Heather Cox next? What sorts of opportunities have opened up to you since your appearance on American Idol?

Heather: The Lord has and is continuing to open doors from the experience. I am currently talking to five record labels as well as four different modeling agencies from around the country, so you'll either see me in a Pantene commercial, or Crest Whitestrips. (bright smile) I'll definitely have a CD out as well!

J.D.: Someone was telling me the other day that you bear a striking resemblance to actress Helen Slater. If they were to do a movie called Supergirl Returns, would you be in it? Please?

Heather: Who is Helen Slater? I'll have to yahoo her! I would love to be in a movie. Acting is also one of my passions, so you'll hopefully see me on the big screen as well!

J.D.: If you had to choose between pursuing a music career or an acting career, which would you pick and why?

Heather: Acting or singing? Why not do both? I think it's possible! However, I would have to choose singing. My passion lies within my gift of song and it truly is a gift from God. He is the one that has made all things possible for me, and I feel that I can reach people for Him through my music.

J.D.: Is there anyone special in your life right now? And if not, you should really consider goofy-looking blonde journalist wannabes. They're the best.

Heather: I am currently single. I find that it's easier to pursue all the opportunities coming my way without strings attached. I can't wait to find the right one for me though, get married, and have a family! I am a romantic. (smiles)

J.D.: Imagine yourself five years from now. If you meet all your goals, what will you be doing then?

Heather: In five years time, I will have a successful singing career, using my talents for the Lord and be modeling and acting as well. I hope to meet Mr. Right during that time and perhaps have walked down the aisle. (winks)

J.D.: Are there any CDs or DVDs of you performing for which we can throw piles of money at you?

Heather: (laughs) I do have DVDs of me singing. I'd be willing to sell them for a hefty fee!! (winks)

J.D.: Where can your fans go online to catch updates about you?

Heather: My fans can visit my Myspace page to stay updated about all my endeavors. It's I will be getting an official Heather Cox fansite up shortly too.

J.D.: Will you be making any public appearances in the near future?

Heather: I have been making lots of public appearances since the show. I've been asked to sing for the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team as well as the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team. I sing around NC quite a bit for youth conferences as well as revivals!

J.D.: What have you learned from this whole experience?

Heather: I've learned quite a bit through the whole experience. I would have to say the most important thing though is to trust wholeheartedly in the Lord. When you're feeling down, just ask Him to give you the strength to get through what ever it is, and He will. He was with me every step of the way. (grins)

J.D.: How do you handle the inevitable criticism you receive as an artist?

Heather: I know everyone has different opinions about me. Some good, some not so good. I had a taste of it while on the show. I can't worry about it. I sing for an audience of one, and that is the Lord. As long as He's pleased with me, nothing else matters!

J.D.: If you could impart one last nugget of wisdom upon us, what would that be?

Heather: My last nugget of wisdom would be to put your trust in the Lord, delight yourself in Him, and He will give you the desires of your heart. You'll be amazed at where He'll take you!!

J.D.: Thank you so much for taking time out to talk with me.

Heather: Thank you! (smiles) I hope you liked my answers!! Thanks for allowing me this opportunity.

Once again, if you'd like to check out Heather online or drop her a message, visit her at Show her some love!

Oh, and just so you all know, Heather called me "sweetheart." I want that engraved on my tombstone someday.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


The networks have rolled out the new fall line-ups and they're going to be full of a lot of good shows. Hopefully, unlike last year, they will be good shows that will NOT GET CANCELLED. (Ahem, Fox, Reunion??)

The previews have looked really good this year. TV is definitely going to be light on comedy, though, since most of the promising promos I've seen so far are from heavy-hitting cerebral dramas. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Here lately TV shows have been better than going to the movies, and if you want high drama, good acting, and complex story-lines, you're more likely to find them on the boob tube than at your local 16-screen cinema.

One show that has been catching my eye lately is Vanished. Fox has been plugging the show mercilessly, and so far it looks like it's going to be one of those dramas like I described above. It seems to have all the makings of a great mystery serial, and it is definitely on my must-check-out list.

Here's how describes it:
This FOX drama centers on the search for Sara Collins. She's the wife of Senator Jeffrey Collins. Sara vanishes, and the FBI, led by Agent Graham Kelton, is on the job, but before they can find her, they need to find out who she really is.

The mystery surrounding the disappearance is seen through the eyes of the FBI, members of the family and a reporter trying to get the story of her career.

The search for Sara will expose many secrets. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone is a suspect because of their secrets.

Sounds interesting, huh?

Well, prepare to whet your appetites just a little more. The good folks at Fox and their PR guys at M80 marketing scoped out my blog and decided out of the blue that they would email me several promotional pics with a couple of video clips from Vanished that they'd like for you to see.

The first clip establishes three of the main characters: Senator Collins (24's John Allen Nelson), his wife and object of mystery Sara (Joanne Kelly), and hard-hitting reporter Judy Nash (former model Rebecca Gayheart.)

The second clip further establishes the character of the missing Senator's wife and showcases her likability and earthiness, as well as developing the snippy and caustic manner of the reporter, who you can just tell is going to be a thorn in everyone's side.

Thanks to the folks at Fox and M80 for the sneak preview, and for considering Musical Ramblings influential enough to reach out and contact.

Vanished premieres Monday, August 21 at 9:00 PM Eastern on the Fox Network. I'll be watching. Will you?

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Every so often, I am blessed with the opportunity to meet and talk with promising young musicians. Last year, I had the good fortune to run across a bright and sweet young artist by the name of Roxie Mae as we were both surfing the forums at Candace Cameron's website. I hadn't really expected to speak to anybody of note (except maybe Candace) but as it turned out, I got to make a really good friend and be introduced to some really good music. And she's not just a talented singer, but also someone who is genuinely making a go of it as an artist and who has achieved some level of success in other countries!

(Side note: It was at Candace's forum that Roxie and I began educating Hannah about the music of the 1980's.)

Roxie Mae is truly one of the sweetest people you'll ever come across. She's very humble about what she does, even though she doesn't have to be. She has a great voice, and that much is obvious, but she still cares about each and every one of her fans.

After many conversations and hours upon hours of just enjoying being around her (as well as several marathon IM sessions) I decided it was time for the rest of you to get to know her. So, once we finally got our schedules to mesh for more than just a few minutes, I sat down with Roxie to give her the royal Musical Ramblings interview treatment. Here goes!

J.D.: When did you first realize that music was what you wanted your life to be about?

Roxie: I was 5 years old and in my kindergarten class. We had this concert to do, and I got my first solo. After I did that and felt the rush of being in front of people singing, that was when I knew this is what I wanted to do. I've always been singing, even as a toddler.

J.D.: Did you have any sort of training when you were growing up?

Roxie: Actually, no. My family has always been involved with music, and we would just sing. I think I just developed my vocals from practicing all the time. I am constantly singing. In high school, however, I had a music teacher who really taught me how to breathe correctly when singing, but that was it as far as training.

J.D.: What has been your biggest obstacle while trying to establish yourself as a musician?

Roxie: Stereotypes! The music industry has this idea that unless you're 16 and built like a brick house, you don't stand a chance in this business. I'm not saying that people who are 16 shouldn't get deals, but people in their 40's shouldn't be discriminated against either. I think music is universal and ageless. I listen to everybody from Willie Nelson to today's teen idols. It does not matter the age or the look. It's the music that counts, at least in my opinion.

J.D.: Sometimes musical trends in this country go from the "beautiful singers" to the musically talented, as we saw in the early 90's with the movement from glam to grunge. In the end, do you feel like talent wins out? Not, that you’re not beautiful, of course…

Roxie: I really do. I've always been taught that if you do your best, then it reaps its rewards in the end. By the way, thank you! (smiles)

J.D.: No problem! Do you have any really cute groupies other than me?

Roxie: (laughs) Well, not as cute as you, but there's this guy that writes me fan mail often and sends me little cards. Does that count?

J.D.: Sure!

Roxie: I love receiving letters from people telling me that they are touched by a song I wrote or telling me that I inspire them. Who wouldn't? I keep all things in check though. I'm not going crazy out there.

J.D.: So you've had some success overseas. Can you tell me about that?

Roxie: About 11 years ago, I began working with an artist that had a hit years ago, and he's pretty successful overseas. A few years ago, I was introduced to a DJ that was a fan of his, and now that same DJ supports me. He's put out the word about me and in some places it has taken off. To me, that's more rewarding, mainly because I don't have a major label placing me in front of people and making them learn about me. Instead these people come to me on their own, and that has been a true blessing.

J.D.: What countries have you had the most success with?

Roxie: The Netherlands, Japan, England, India, and Germany to name a few.

J.D.: Have you gotten onto any of the charts there?

Roxie: You know I'm not really sure...I'm so busy promoting and doing so many things that I really don't concentrate on that. My fans tell me things and that's really what counts to me. Does that sound crazy? I just don't put much emphasis on that at this time.

J.D.: I was just listening to Shades of Blue, your first album (available for order at I was totally mellowing out to the title track! What are your feelings about your first album? Anything you're particularly proud of? Anything you'd change?

Roxie: Wow! What great questions you have! Thank you! "Shades of Blue," the song, was a thrill to record, and the reason is that it has a funny story around it. As a first effort, I'm proud of the album as a whole. There are songs on there that are closer to me than others and will always stand out to me. Having said that, there are some things I would change, and hopefully I will do that with my second album, but I'm just more critical on myself than anybody else, I think.

J.D.: I wanna hear the funny story!

Roxie: My cousin and I were driving around one night, and it was pretty late, like after midnight. I was listening to her talk about this guy she was dating and all the things that were going wrong, and she finished her sentence with "tonight I could write the saddest line," and I was like "stop the car! That's a song!" I wrote part of the song there in the middle of a street in downtown Indy! (laughs) We always joke about that night when we hear that song. She felt better having helped me come up with the title track!!

J.D.: So, as an artist trying to break into the American music scene, how do you try to reach out to people who maybe haven't heard of you or your music (other than talking to obnoxious writers like me!)

Roxie: (laughs) Are you obnoxious??? I didn't notice that! (obvious sarcasm) Just kidding!! Well, right now I've hooked up with some companies on the digital download angle. This way people who have no idea who I am are being directed to my website just by listening to a song of mine that was randomly selected for them to hear. I've gotten involved with Verizon Wireless phones, which people can read about on my website as well as CD Baby, which is heaven sent for artists like me. CD Baby isn't just for indie artists, so it really gets your music out through connections with big names and servicing fans that are interested in common names and not so common.

J.D.: So people can maybe look up a famous artist, click on them, and find other lesser known artists who might sound similar to their favorites?

Roxie: Yes, and that has really helped a ton of indie artists.

J.D.: So, if we were to search CD Baby, what artists do you think you most sound like?

Roxie: I'm not one to actually say, but they kind of place you where you're most fitting with voice and style of music. I was placed under the Rock/Pop/Country area, and the artists were Marie Osmond, Shania Twain, and Madonna. Could I argue with that kind of promotion?? Ha ha, I think not!

J.D.: Sounds like good company to me! It's been said that in this day and age of Myspace and digital media sharing that it's easier than ever to get your name in front of music fans. Do you think that's true at all, at least in your experience?

Roxie: I think it can be, but you still have to do the work. If you're not out promoting yourself and doing things to get yourself out there, you can get lost in cyberspace. It's real easy to get caught up in the fact that everything is at our fingertips, but you have to learn how to get yourself to the right people or they'll never hear you.

J.D.: Yes. And I think that's true even for bloggers. I wouldn't have been able to publish in front of this many people even fifteen years ago, but it still does take a lot of work, and you have to reach out and put your work in front of the right people and communities. But hey, would you rather do it this way or play a lot of random seedy bars?

Roxie: Oh no competition there! I do enjoy performing for people, but it's just not like it used to be, and it's just not my style. (winks)

J.D.: I know that you've tried to form sort of a community with your website. What have you done to sort of foster that and make your fans feel at home with Roxie Mae?

Roxie: Oh, a lot of things. There's a members only section, which anyone can join for free, and it gives people a chance to talk with me personally, as well as other members. We've also created a Bible study. As a Christian that writes and sings popular tunes, I think it's important to share my experiences and personal thoughts on Christianity, especially in these times. And I feel it gives people a chance to read and learn without pressure and in private if that's what they choose. I also try to make the site very personable, because that's what I like. I'm not one of those people who feel they are above anyone. The people who visit my site are there for a reason, and they're my guest, so to speak. I have to give that Hoosier hospitality! (giggles)

J.D.: You mention your faith, but your music is by and large non-religious. Do you incorporate religion or faith at all into your musical themes?

Roxie: I feel that God has given me the gift of writing and singing, so using that to help others through everyday situations is my way of incorporating faith into my music. I'm glad you brought this up. I've had so many people tell me that because I don't sing the typical "Christian" songs that I can't promote my religious beliefs, and I think that is wrong. We all have different talents God has given us, and if we all were to use the same gift, what a boring world it would be, and how fake is that??

J.D.: So, what can we expect from your upcoming album?

Roxie: I'm still in the studio, but It will have more rock-type songs, more upbeat songs. I still have my ballads, and I've recently met with two pianists who are lending me their talents. So there will be different people and a little more time to create, which allows us to explore our creative sides. This next album will be mostly all my songs and not as many collaborations.

J.D.: When will it be available?

Roxie: I'm hoping by the end of the year, but most likely the beginning of the year. It's really hard to say. Soon, though. Keep checking the website!!

J.D.: Take us through a day of your life recording an album...what's it like?

Roxie: Work, but fun! On a typical day, I meet with whoever I'm recording with that day, and we work throughout the day until evening. We go over ideas, record "dummy" tracks, play around with the ideas against the basic tracks and eventually come up with a song. Then I usually take a CD copy of it home and listen to it over and over until I'm satisfied with the sound. It's a long process, but it's worth it in the end.

J.D.: Have you reconsidered trying out for American Idol this year? Cuz if you do, you should come to Memphis, since I owe you a date and all. (Roxie sent me some great autographed pictures and CDs.)

Roxie: (giggles) Awww... how sweet! I'm not sure. I think it would be interesting, and hey, I'd like to meet Simon. There's a man who knows a ton of information about the biz! You'll be the first to know, if I do!

J.D.: Plus you could let me follow you through the audition and get the big scoop on all that stuff. I’d be in geek heaven.

Roxie: That would be beneficial. (laughs) You're so sweet!

J.D.: Have I left anything out that you'd like to tell anybody out there?

Roxie: I think that's all, for now, but I do want to take a minute and thank all of those people who support me and my music!! God Bless!

J.D.: And of course a smooch on the cheek for your lovely interviewer!

Roxie: Of course! Smooooch!

Thanks a lot, Roxie! (And I'm holding you to sending me a preview copy of that new CD!)

Again, if you want to find out more about Roxie Mae, you can visit her website at While you're there, read around and sample her music. Joining the site is free and worth it to get involved with a singer who is one of the most interactive with her fans that I've ever seen! You can also add her on Myspace, where her profile is under construction. Her first release, Shades of Blue, is available at her website or through CD Baby.

Friday, July 21, 2006


A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how entertainment companies couldn't buy a clue. There was the debacle with Paramount over a blogger using promotional pics from Transformers (thereby *gasp* promoting the film and helping Paramount, much to Paramount's dismay), and then there was Atlantic Records' refusal to permit "Weird Al" Yankovic to do a parody, which on a scale of 1 to 10 in stupidity ranks at about eleventy billion. Both of these ended up garnering huge publicity, but not the kind those companies would have wanted. I'm sure the executives themselves believed these to be genius moves, but to the rest of humanity it just sort of resembled chimps playing chess.

But as with all learning curves, there are some students of the game that are a little ahead of the pack.

Chris over at Movie Marketing Madness told us recently that one of the sleeping giants had finally woken up to the sound of bloggers. Universal Pictures, in one of their brighter moves to date, actually got in contact with him to discuss the marketing strategy surrounding the release of Miami Vice.

First, congratulations to Chris are in order. Dude writes a killer blog about movie marketing, probably the best I've ever seen hands down. I have no idea how he writes so much, while still managing to sleep, eat, and hold down a 9 to 5. I struggle with one blog post per day, but with him, I literally have to pick and choose what I want to read from him, because he writes so much I can't always keep up with it all!

Second, it's about time one of these companies opened up and embraced a blogger! For a while there I was thinking that the indies were going to be the only ones, but this is a huge step for Universal. Finally a bigger entity is starting to see more opportunities for promotion outside of the mainstream media. This is a big thing for bloggers and independent journalists.

What does Universal stand to gain from Chris? Only everything. Free press. Free publicity. Free mentions from Chris's friends like myself, Mack, and Tricia, as well as a growing list of others. Interaction with consumers. Good will built up with the online community. FREE, FREE, FREE! You just can't buy this type of advertising. What do they stand to lose? Absolutely nothing.

Hats off to Chris, and I can't wait to see what you post about Miami Vice. Hopefully this will get the ball rolling for the rest of us. (And you record companies and management agencies out there WAKE UP and hit me up with stuff about your artists.)

Thursday, July 20, 2006


After some thought, I've decided to drop the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as this blog's official charity. It came down to a personal decision. Lately the JDRF has become a little more political than I'd like, and they've been lobbying for the passage of H.R. 810, the House resolution involving embryonic stem cell research that was recently vetoed by President Bush. I wanted to do my best to support the JDRF, but I couldn't in good conscience go along with them on this issue. I have a moral opposition to ESCR, and I don't wish for a human embryo to have to be destroyed to find a cure for my illness.

I don't want to get involved in any discussions about it here, so if you want to argue with me about stem cell research, please don't, because that's not what this blog is about. I know that others will feel differently about this, and I respect that, and I hope you will all respect my feelings about it, as well as our respective rights to support whichever organizations we choose.

In lieu of support of JDRF, I have decided to adopt the National Exchange Club Foundation as this blog's official charity of choice. In all honesty, I should have picked them before, as I'm intimately familiar with their operations. I was a domestic violence and anger management instructor in one of their centers. The work that the Exchange Club does with abused children and abuse prevention is quite good. When I worked with the court mandated anger management courses, I know that we made a difference.

Child abuse is a problem that happens every day. The victims have very little voice. The crimes so often go unprosecuted. And the victims often don't get the help they need. Please consider donating to them, and check out their site to see if there are any centers near you that could use volunteers.

Thanks for your understanding, and I hope you'll continue to support the Exchange Club as well as other charities of your choice.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Hey, just thought I'd post a few news and notes. I know I've been light on the blogging lately, and I've been struggling to get to each and every one of your blogs to leave comments. I've missed a lot lately, but I promise, I'm getting around to reading you all, and I appreciate you guys still reading me.

First off, big shouts to Ryan Starr, who just did a concert at a NASCAR event here in Memphis. I wasn't able to get to her concert, but she sent me a personal note about it nonetheless. I hope to catch her next time, though. I haven't yet been able to interview her, but regular Ramblings reader RealityMaven81 did, so check that out! In his book, Simon Cowell described Ryan Starr as sort of a prima donna, but those of us who have actually interacted with her know differently.

Well, it looks like sixth place Idol finisher and object of my desire Kellie Pickler has signed with 19 Entertainment (Idol's management company), joining fellow Idols Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, and Katharine McPhee, and according to my good friends over at Reality TV Magazine, she'll have a single out by September, with an album on the shelves by November 14. She also appeared recently on The View and dashed all of our hopes by announcing that she's rekindled a relationship with an unnamed old boyfriend ("the best garage door installer ever" according to her.) Congrats to Kellie. It's extremely rare for a sixth place contestant to get signed, but obviously Kellie's rather rabid fan base helped her get there by showing that they'll eat up ANYTHING Pickler. (Plus they visit this site a lot. Thanks guys and gals!)

Speaking of rabid fans, I just got an email from The Canthony Forums, which, if you haven't guessed it already, is a forum dedicated to Carrie Underwood and Anthony Federov, and more specifically those two as a couple. Hey, there's a group out there for everyone. It says, and I quote: "Canthony's getting married!! Well not in real life, but on the board, Bailey (iLoVeCaNtHoNy) decided to throw a little online wedding for our two favorites! Make sure you come by and join us! It is taking place on Sunday, July 30, at 4:00 PM CENTRAL time. There are still positions open for groomsmen and a ring bearer, if anyone's interested." As obsessed fans go, these are probably top tier in taking things a bit to the extreme. I don't know if an online pretend wedding of two reality stars that don't even know they're supposed to be getting married (and aren't technically even going to be there) is the exact picture of mental health, but these fans at least didn't go as crazy as certain OTHER fans over the Jessica/Carrie controversy, and they're generally nice to talk to when they aren't writing their fanfics. Check them out.

David Radford sends his thanks to you all for helping his friend with her hair decision. (And yes, that post was deleted, since the girl in question didn't want her pictures remaining for all eternity on the blog, and I'm nothing if not compliant with people's wishes.)

Todd Agnew did respond to me in an email, and we're going to hook up and discuss the recent controversy surrounding his blog and mine over dinner when he gets back to Memphis. He's in the process of recording a new album and touring.

Brooke Barrettsmith told me that the rumors about her getting married were false. I guess there's still hope!

Condolences go out to the family of Danny Dollar, a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and friend to Ramblings friend Roxie Mae. Danny passed from this life on July 14 after slipping into a coma resultant from his bout with throat cancer. (P.S. Roxie, I'll be in touch soon, I promise!)

It is also with great regret that Captain of a Crew of One leaves the Musical Ramblings blogging community. SailorCurt, if you're still reading, I'll miss reading your posts, but I understand that you have to go take care of this thing we call life. Fair seas and following winds!

Congrats to Mike J. on his new job and decision to move. God speed, bro.

Kristen McNamara has released her new self-titled CD, and you can have it for your very own for only $12 (which includes shipping and handling!) I profiled the former Nashville Star here, so go check that out. I hope to have my copy of her CD in my hands soon.

And that's it for today's news & notes!

Monday, July 17, 2006

--guest blogger, April Walsh (American Idol 5, Disfigured)

The movie shoot went well. I met some amazing character actresses who I recognized from many shows. Foremost in my mind were Lindsay Hollister (imdb profile) and Sonya Eddy (her imdb profile). I particularly admired them because they've been hitting your TV for years. They are two funny, talented gals and reminded me of what kind of actress I want to be. (The kind that works a lot)

I was finished Friday, but they want me to come back for one more scene. Awesome. A last hurrah.

My other piece of business:

Feel free to pass this around. Without giving away too much, I'd like to help all those aspiring Idols.

Introducing myself... Hi. April Walsh. I was a contestant this past season. Blink and you'll miss me as I only made it to top 44. A lot of people have emailed or messaged me for advice on the upcoming Season 6 auditions. As I like helping people out, I'm glad to do it, but writing the same thing over gets tiresome, so I thought it would be best to write some general advice. On that note, I give you...

For The Aspiring Contestant

Understand, I can't answer all things no matter how nice you might ask. It's just not fair to the show. And much of this you may already know. But as I auditioned twice, I know what gets you noticed and what doesn't. I'm also a long-time fan of this awesome show and even what little exposure I got from it has benefited me greatly. I love that I did this. I hope everyone takes away as many positive and useful things as I did, even from the early auditions.

Stand out:

It's not enough to have a good voice, even a great voice. I've been Little Miss School Concert Solo since I can remember. I was first alto in All-Catholic Chorus. I get paid to sing weddings, funerals, showtunes at senior himes. I can sing. But when I got rejected at my first audition in San Francisco, I walked out doubting whether I had any talent at all. I mourned. I thought it was a sign from God that I was doing the wrong thing with my life.

But I didn't hold on to that negativity for long. I was scrappy. I picked myself up and decided to hop a Greyhound to Denver and, this time, be risky.

At my first audition, I dressed casual and sang out pretty. Basically, I blended in. Wrong choice. See, I'm chubby and have never won a beauty contest here (that's not complete insecurity talking, that's the nature of this business. Though I could feel I'm beautiful in my way, considering what look sells, I'm low on the scale). Anyway, I had to trump my looks. I took that fun, inappropriate-for-daily-wear dress out of the back of my closet, did myself up like it was 1938 and instead of singing out pretty, I belted out and was funny. That was what made me unique. I finally stood out.

Personality and Background:

You can complain all you want about people getting in on personality or a story. But people want to vote for someone they like or find interesting. So you think about your life and what makes you unique and be ready to talk about it. It's good for you. It's good for the show. America loves it.

More on the first audition and unique-itude (Yes. I did just make up a word):

The first audition is the hardest to pass. Be ready with two songs, maybe three. It's acapella. So don't go scrambling around for backing tracks or sheet music.

Seriously, don't just dress cute and sing pretty. It's not enough. Wear that cocktail dress or sequined tube or gorgeous necklace. If you're a boy... yeah. Not much I can tell you there. I don't know men's fashion. I hardly know women's fashion. I'm not a fashion girl.

And don't just stand there and sing. Emote or dance. Get into it. There's no time to be shy or embarrassed. It's a short audition and you want to give them something to see and hear that won't put them to sleep. These people are working like dogs and having a long, miserable, often hot or rainy, day. Make them perk up and take notice.

Other bits and pieces:

Don't sit up all night having a sing-a-long with your fellow auditioners. You won't have a voice. You'll kick yourself. I mean, this isn't something you do every day, so have fun. But just take it easy.

I recommend staying over night at the location. You can get a room the next day (if you, hopefully, have the need to).

Ricola Honey Lemon drops...and not the sugar-free. They don't coat your throat.

A squeeze-bottle of honey. Seriously, squeezing some honey down your throat right before coats you when your throat is dry. And nerves can make you dry. At least they do that to me. Of course, do try not to suck down the honey in front of a camera. Been there, did it, was made fun of all over the net.

Sleep! If you are disoriented and tired, you will not enjoy yourself. You will babble strangely. You will take the wrong escalator (and I speak from experience). Try to sleep. K?

If you don't make it:

Don't doubt yourself. There are many factors at work in this process and not all of them are about talent. You try out for your school or community's musicals. You record a demo. You get out there and keep trying. Persistence is key.

Final note:

It does make me sad that there are people who just can't sing and don't know it. I'd rather they find out in a way less humiliating than on National TV, but if that's what it takes to help them let go and find their true talent, that's what it takes. I cannot dance (except when I'm doing it to be funny). I wish I could, but I just can't and never will be any good at it. I nurture those things I can do instead. If you get humiliated for not being any good, just take it and move on. Everyone has some great ability even if it's not the one they dreamed of having. It's better to find it than to waste time trying to do something God just didn't give you the knack for.

Okay. That's it. Take from that what you will. And break a leg!

Sunday, July 16, 2006


...because I've had all I can do getting my sister Tabitha married off. I just wanted to let you guys know that your music suggestions were very helpful. "At the Beginning" by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis and "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts were both used in the ceremony, and I used quite a few of your suggestions at the reception as well.

Anyway, here's a pic of Tab from just before the wedding, along with our other two sisters. I think you'll agree that the beauty in the family skipped the men entirely and laid squarely on the women-folk.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I didn’t really know what kind of can of worms I would be opening with yesterday’s Todd Agnew story. Most of you regular Ramblers got what I was saying, but a lot of Agnew’s Apologists totally missed the point. (And there’s nothing like getting cussed out by Christians in emails.)

The point I was TRYING to make, though apparently I was speaking in Greek, was not that Todd had to respond to all of his emails (or even any of them.) I was more or less trying to point out the WAY in which he put that notion across to his fans. My contention was that if he were going to say it like that, he’d likely as not alienate certain fans, and he’d have been better off saying something else (specifically, nothing at all.) This blog tries to do many things, and one of those is to help artists get their messages out to the fans. The intention is never to put down your favorite artist (unless that’s Britney Spears or Kevin Federline.) And it’s certainly not to bash Christian Contemporary music. I do manage to stir a ruckus every once in a while (like, oh, I don’t know, getting Carrie Underwood mad at Jessica Sierra, which, thank God, they talked over on the phone and got it all settled and over) but it’s never my intent to start a fight.

So, in that spirit, I thought I would do some research to balance out my point. I spent a couple of hours poring over Myspace pages to see how other artists handled this exact same situation. After much sluggishness and not a small finger cramp, I found more than a few of them that had similar issues. Some of the artists that I’ll mention are a bit less famous than Mr. Agnew, and some are quite a bit more famous. There are several American Idols quoted in here, because trust me, they get slammed with fan mail all the time. Plus I’m acquainted with more of them than a lot of other celebrity groups. I also included a couple non-musical celebrities, actors and actresses, just to get a fair view.

What I found was that there were quite a few celebs that still try to answer at least some of their mail. And those who couldn’t were a lot more tactful in explaining why (rather than just flat-out refusing to respond at all.) Many of these artists have comparable time constraints as Mr. Agnew would have, and most have comparable friend levels or volume of mail. I tried to make the playing field as level as possible. I included some lesser-known bands, because I’ve found that they’re much better at marketing themselves, and they tend not to take their fans for granted.

Here are their responses to the same issue. I believe that each of them handled it much better than Todd Agnew, and I hope that he (and other artists and management reading this) will learn from these good examples.

Madison (band): WE WANT TO MEET EVERYBODY! ADD US, COMMENT US, MESSAGE US. We hope to meet all of you one day.

Line of Fire (band): Our Friends List keeps growing, so please forgive us if it takes us a while to get to you and thank you personally either with a comment or message. Rest assured we know you're there and we love you for taking the time to check us out! Don't be shy about calling us on it if it takes us a while to get there. We don't want anyone left out!

Bishop Stylze (American Idol, singer): Thank you for all the support and feel free to give your open and honest feedback on anything in My Space.

The band Everdae (band with more friends than Todd, by the way) freely posts their non-Myspace email address, encouraging their fans to send as many emails as they wish.

Day of Fire (a Christian rock band that’s every bit as popular as Todd, if not more): Yo, D.O.F.ers we will be answering messages again shortly. We are taking a break to spend some time with family. Hit ya back soon.

Lisa Tucker (American Idol): I'm back!!! I must tell you that words cannot describe how happy I am to have such dedicated friends and fans. I love you guys very much, and I am sooooo thankful for all the love and support. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks for helping me make the TOP 10 on AI! I’m so looking forward to going on tour this summer, and hopefully meeting you!!! My goal is to get in the studio and record an album as soon as the tour is over. Singing is my passion, and I can’t wait to share my music with the world. Thanks for the love, and all the nice comments and the beautiful pictures that you made for me. For those of you who are members of the MIGHTY TUCKS, thank you sooo much. I will try my best to respond to your comments. Please forgive me, however, if I can’t respond to all. Know that I still love you.

Leah Barrettsmith (American Idol) HEY EVERYONE!!!! First off, I want to thank all of you for your sweet messages!! I love them. You all are AWESOME and I love you a ridiculous amount! Anyhow, I’m writing to apologize to you all cuz I am not going to be able to get back to 93 percent of you!!! So yeah, thank you sooo much for your support. I LOVE YOU ALL!!! So since I cant write everyone back, here are some faqs (aka: frequently asked questions, in case you didn't know.. lol) answered to make things a little less overwhelming....
1. yes, it was me.
2. yes, I guess I am single.. lol
3. though I am not looking for a boyfriend
4. yes, I am a singer and also a songwriter/musician. I always prefer to perform my own music.. but whatev! I also play guitar and a little bit of piano here and there.
5. and YES, I would love to hear your stuff if you are also a singer and/or musician. So please send me anything cuz I will TOTALLY listen and love it soo much!
If you have any other questions, Ill update this blog as often as you ask them!!! AGAIN, THANK YOU!!! And please dont take it personally if I dont respond to your comments and/or messages!! LOVE U.

Joy Williams (another CCM artist with just as many friends as Todd): I am seriously shocked about what happened Friday with my MySpace profile! I had no idea how I got on the Front Music Page, but it's been rad! I've been receiving thousands of friend requests a day, and I can hardly keep up with everyone! Whoever put me on the front page, THANK YOU! And to my new MySpace friends, dude...welcome. *smile* I've had many messages asking where you can pick up my albums... so I thought I'd let you know you can get it at these places: on iTunes, Wal Mart, Lifeway, Barnes & Noble, Berean, Borders, FCS, Target, Best Buy, Tower Records, etc... I wouldn't hate you if ya bought a copy...or two...or three...*grin*. Nate and I have a mortgage to pay off! Cheers!
(Joy also posts blogs inviting people’s comments, including a recent one that wanted commenters to tell her their stories of struggle. 113 people have commented, to date.)

Benjy Davis Project (band): Due to much extra traffic on the internet here in Baton Rouge, we have had problems responding as fast as before. Please allow us more time to answer. Hopefully the ISPs in the area will get their act together soon.

Jennifer Hudson (American Idol alum and star of the movie Dreamgirls): I don’t even know what to tell u guys. I guess I should start off by saying yes it is really me!! Oh and yes, I do check all my messages. It might take a little longer for me to reply, because for some reason I’m getting quite popular on this Myspace thing. That means more messages to respond to and comments to read. Now I’m not sure on how to jazz up my page, but I’ll figure it out, and I don’t reply back to comments because I really don’t know how. I love all my messages, and I love talking to all my fans or supporters. I noticed I’ve been getting a lot of the same questions in the messages, so in order to be able to answer questions that are asked a lot, I’ll reply generally here in my blog

Nickelback (c’mon you know who they are, and they have more friends than Todd will ever have): The profile has gone CRAZY (which is awesome!!!!) but it means we have a bit of a backlog of requests!!! Rest assured we will get to your request as soon as possible and we really REALLY do appreciate all of your support!!

Carson Daly (host of TRL, Last Call With Carson Daly): Just wanted to thank everybody for all of the emails and comments... Sorry I haven't had the chance to respond to everyone's emails.. trying to get to as many as I can. Please keep posting the comments, etc...

Kevin Covais (American Idol): Just wanted to thank everybody for all of the emails and comments... Sorry I haven't had the chance to respond to everyone's emails.. trying to get to as many as I can. Please keep posting the comments, etc...

Will Makar (American Idol) :I have a new post office box for you guys to write to me. I have some autographed pictures to send out to you for free. I am building a data base of your addresses. You can add your email address too if you would like.

Brooke Barrettsmith (American Idol) interacts with her fans better than anyone I know.

Jessica Sierra (American Idol): I just wanted to thank all of you so much for being such supportive fans. It means so much to me! Thank you for all of your amazing messages, I get back to as many of you as I can.

Ryan Starr (singer, actress, American Idol): I just checked myspace, and I got to read all your message of support and votes of confidence. I just have to say to all of you that it does not go unnoticed. I chose to run this site myself instead of having a fan or web designer do it for me. I wanted to be close to you all and write back as much as possible personally. So when you write to me and get a message in return, I am writing it. I care about you all, and I have the biggest smile ever when I read your messages and see that you care too. I feel like a very lucky girl to be so blessed with such a devoted and loving fan base. You guys are always there for me to make me feel like I can do anything. You always support my mistakes, and I haven’t forgotten that. Thank you all for the years of continued faith through the American Idol junk and The Surreal Life laughs and the reality blah blah. I hope that as my career grows you guys will be there by my side to enjoy every moment of it with me. You are my support team, and I love all of you. I mean that. I do. I believe that anyone who believes in someone’s dreams and talents is good in my book. I never had that growing up, and now I have that in you, my wonderful fans, who I love deeply!! Thanks once again, from the bottom of my little rock n roll lovin’ heart.

David Radford (American Idol): My AIM screen name is david o Radford I'm not on it very much though. So if you want to talk to me myspace is your best bet. If you send me a message, I try my best to respond ASAP. I'm more likely to respond to a message than a comment.

”Weird Al” Yankovic (c’mon, you know who that is): Anyway, thanks so much for dropping by. Just because you're still reading this, I already consider you one of my dearest and closest personal friends. So please keep in touch, okay? Don't be a stranger.

Not strictly on topic, but a community example nonetheless, Since October recently held a contest where fans could design their new logo, and then proceeded to pay the winner and give them a credit on the album liner.

So, as you see, there is a way to handle the situation and still come out servicing your community well. Artists, take note.


Todd has removed the post in question from his blog. I think this took him by surprise just as much as it did me. I think he is handling the situation correctly, and hopefully we will have a chat and clear things up.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I subscribe to a lot of musicians’ blogs on Myspace as a way of keeping abreast of music news and happenings. It’s also a bang-up way to keep from being productive. At any rate, I usually end up ignoring about three quarters of the posts, because they’re either something like “hey, buy my new album” or “here’s a survey of about 50 hillion jillion questions that everybody hates to get in the email” or “so-and-so in our band made it to age 25 without getting a groupie pregnant” or something equally worthless and non-blog-worthy. Today, though, I ran across one that, like a mis-cast fish hook, caught my eye.

Contemporary Christian artist Todd Agnew posted a blog today. For those of you who may not be up on the CCM scene, Todd is charting fairly well these days. In any case, his blog title trumpeted loudly and in all caps “PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU EMAIL!!!”

Now I don’t know Todd personally. He is from Memphis, though. My sister and a friend used to go to some worship groups he led here in Memphis, and their appraisal of him wasn’t on the Jeffrey Dahmer level, but they weren’t exactly nominating him for sainthood either. I’m usually willing to give an artist a second, third, or fourth chance. But this blog blew it for him.

He writes:

Hey everyone. I'm sorry for the crazily capitalized title. I'm not much for overstatement, but unfortunately in this case, it is necessary. I just wanted everyone to receive some important information before you email me here. First is that I really do want to hear from you. Second, I really do read every email I get here. It may take some time because I receive about 100 emails a day, and believe it or not, most days I don't get to sit around and check my myspace. We actually go out and play concerts. But I do read every email you guys send. Third, and very important, I'm not going to respond to your emails. it's nothing personal, but it's a big time commitment just to read them all. And if I responded to every email, I wouldn't have time to do the things you expect from me, like make music, play concerts, etc. So thanks for understanding. And lastly, just because you see the "I'm online" icon doesn't mean I'm online. We have a team that works on this site, receiving friend requests, etc. Most of the time you see that, it's not me. When I have time to get on, it's usually in the middle of the night and I just sit down and read emails. So please don't have your feelings hurt when I don't immediately respond to your questions. If you want a response, please go to the message boards located at That is our own community and I respond much more often to those requests. I hope you guys understand. I just don't want people getting frustrated or hurt by something that they don't understand. Thank you for all your prayers and support. We look forward to seeing you out on the road and I'll try to be better about blogging once this crazy summer is over. Be the moon.

Mack and Tricia, you two can just skip on ahead to the comments and tell me what’s wrong with his approach to his community. The rest of you, buckle up.

First off, the title alone starts off discouraging communication from fans. That’s right, fans, before you email, you have to read Todd’s little fun thingy. And then you get told basically that you’re emailing for nothing. That you’ll pretty much have a better chance getting an email back from Marilyn Monroe than from him. Now, before everybody starts jumping up and down on me, yes, I do realize that it’s simply not possible to respond to 100 emails a day. The thing is, even though it is impossible to respond, it’s not necessary to SAY so. One of the first rules of TV and radio that I learned was never to be apologetic to your audience. If you goofed, don’t say anything about it. And if you can’t do something, don’t start off with saying something about it. He could’ve very well left the situation alone, not said anything about it, and gone on about his business as usual, and the fans would’ve gotten pretty much what they expected.

But to just flat out say “Third and very important, I’M NOT going to respond to your emails?????”

Todd, Todd, Todd… Please check with your PR people before you post stuff like this. And if they told you to write this, fire every last one of them. Preferably from a cannon. I know a few good marketers who are looking for a job who would flat out tapdance on your forehead for posting something this bone-headed.

It’s all well and good to build up your fans by saying that you lovingly and tenderly read every one of their emails while soaking in a hot bath, drinking a nice Merlot, and having romantic fantasies about them (although if you get as many as you claim, and you have time to read them all, do you not have time to respond to one or two?) But then you totally kill any reason for your fans to email you by making the blanket statement that you will not, under any circumstances, short of being held at gunpoint, respond to any of them. Okay, Todd, what other reason is left to email you? To tell you how wonderful you are? To thank you for blessing us with your presence? To tell you what time it is in Malaysia? My goodness, what a snotty thing to say!

Second of all, why discourage fans from trying to message you when they see you’re online? Especially when, as fans were quick to point out, it’s retardedly easy to adjust your Myspace account to where it doesn’t show your “online now” button. Not to mention that it’s simple to choose not to accept instant messages. And there’s always the option of just ignoring them, which you already apparently do.

Thirdly, Todd, your fans are not grade-schoolers, and they deserve more than to be talked down to as if their parents were cousins, which is what you did in your blog. The whole post just reeks of condescension. We all know you’re an artist, and in this society that apparently makes you rate just below the Trinity, but the truth is, Todd, we’re all your intellectual equivalents. Time to get that nose back in joint.

Fourth, if you are an artist on Myspace, having a team work on your site makes you look lame and corporate. Have a team work on it, but don’t tell anybody, because it robs your Myspace profile of its genuine feeling. Your Myspace friends want to feel that it’s YOU they’re communicating with, not your lackeys. It’s called FRIEND for a reason. You don't communicate with a friend through his agents. (For that matter, you don't have a friend that won't talk to you, either.)

Fifth, what are you doing redirecting people to your forum?? Is it because you want them to go back to a place where it’s easier to corral them like the sheep you seem to believe them to be? Is it because you can speak down from on high and address the huddled, unwashed masses easier that way? This has been discussed on marketing blog after marketing blog. When your fans are expressing their appreciation for you and your product in a certain venue, even if it is not the venue or method that you want, you MUST LET IT HAPPEN. It is a HUGE mistake to try to divert your fans to another place when they are doing nothing but singing your praises. You can’t put your fan-dom in a box. You say “go to my forum, not here.” Yeah, well, Toddy-boy, the fact is they are already there on Myspace, and they deserve your attention just as much there. This is such a classic blunder: a marketer trying to control his marketing by forcing his consumers to obey his marketing strategy.

What you might as well have said is this: “Hi, I’m Todd Agnew. I’m a big shot Christian artist. Yeeeeeah, I get all your emails. Hundreds of them. For real. I’m the big man. But if you think I’m going to stoop to answering your sniveling little questions, you’re out of your mind. I have concerts to do and music to make, which is, after all, much more important than your meaningless little jobs and schooling, and since the Earth revolves around me, I can’t be bothered with responding to your petty queries. Oh, and don’t bother trying to IM me when you see I’m online, because I can’t be bothered. But if you must bother me, do it at my message board, and not at the venue of your choosing. Cuz I’m Todd Agnew. Yeah.”

Here’s the bottom line, Todd. You’re falling victim to your own hype. You didn’t add a lot of us to your friend list. WE added YOU, after you requested it. I know I didn’t actively seek you out. And you don’t buy my music. I buy yours (though not anymore.) Here’s the rough truth. Without your fans, you wouldn’t exist as an artist, aside from playing for quarters out in some subway. It was your fans that made you what you are today, not the other way around. Your fans deserve your respect, not a “don’t email me, because I won’t answer.” Show some respect for the people who are paying for your car and the house you live in and the food that you eat.

Guess what, Todd… here’s one back at you. When it comes to buying and promoting your album… don’t call me. I’ll call you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The search for a superstar will begin hosting auditions for it's sixth season starting this August. Once again, it will be an opportunity for the truly talented to shine and the truly tacky to show off.

Here's the audition schedule. Get out your datebooks.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 Los Angeles, CA Location to be announced

Friday, August 11, 2006 San Antonio, TX Alamodome

Monday, August 14, 2006 New York, NY Continental Air Arena

Monday, August 21, 2006 Birmingham, AL BJCC

Sunday, September 3, 2006 Memphis, TN FedExForum

Friday, September 8, 2006 Minneapolis, MN Target Center

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 Seattle, WA Key Arena

The good folks at have not yet posted the F.A.Q., the rules, audition info, or the release form yet. It does appear that the same age restrictions as the past two years (16 to 28) will apply. Therefore, that will preclude your favorite blogger (me) from participating this year. But I'm sure I'll still have some more smart remarks to make this year. Stay tuned.

Any of you who wish to go to the Memphis auditions and need directions or helpful hints about getting around town, please feel free to contact me through this blog. I'll point ya to all the hot spots and get you to the FedExForum in one piece.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Mack Collier recently reported on an issue that arose on The Movie Blog wherein Paramount and its gestapo stepped in and shut down a blog for posting teaser pics for the upcoming Transformers movie. Even though the blogger was only trying to help promote it. Even though the pictures were removed upon request. Even though his blog has a million readers and was giving the movie all kinds of free publicity.

Fortunately for all of us, these heavy-handed tactics didn't stand, and Paramount ended up looking stupid, shuffling off with its tail between its legs and muttering something about it being a "mistake."

Guess after years and years of mis-management and boneheaded decisions, the entertaintainment companies are starting to figure this whole internet thing out and really get on the ball, right?

Maybe not so much.

This month's Bonehead Move Award goes to Atlantic Records.

We all know and love "Weird Al" Yankovic. He's a time-honored musical comedian, so much so that when people hear any song parody, they automatically attribute it to him (even if he didn't do it.) Through the years, he's been pop culture's biggest friend, advocate, and pundit. He's pointed out the silly and honored the not-so-silly.

His parodies have included songs like Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," The Knack's "My Sharona," and even Nelly's "Hot in Herre." And ever since his classic, "Eat It," he has done each and every one of them with the artist's blessing, with the exception of Coolio, who didn't appreciate "Amish Paradise." That lone stand-out turned out to be a miscommunication, and the problem was later resolved.

As Al completed recording on his latest parody, "You're Pitiful," a parody of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful," he was comfortably preparing to include it on his newest album. James Blunt had given him permission, and he was set to go. You're probably way ahead of me at this point.

The heavy hands at Atlantic slammed down and said "no."

And here we sit, scratching our heads.

Let's weigh this out. Possible benefits to Atlantic for allowing Al, the most famous and respected parody master out there, to release his parody: (1.) More exposure for the original song. (2.) Fans of Al who had never heard the song before might become interested in the original song. It happens. I've seen it. (3.) More of your songs might be parodied in the future, followed by benefits 1 and 2 again.

Possible detriments to Atlantic with the release of this song: (1.) The Earth could stilll theoretically crash into the sun. (2.) Nothing.

Seriously, life on this planet will continue, and people will respirate just as normally today as they would with the release of the song. There would be absolutely NO financial ramifications to the detriment of the label. It isn't likely that fans of the song would be swayed to buy Al's version if they were forced to choose between the two. (Actually, Al fans generally buy both.)

If anything, it could keep James Blunt from being a one-hit wonder!

Let's make one thing clear here. Parodies are legally protected. Al doesn't ever HAVE to ask the artists or record labels to use their songs as parodies. Even now, he could publish "You're Pitiful" on his new CD without their blessing and he would be completely within his rights in the eyes of the law. Al, however, is first class all the way, and he does obtain permission (and therefore keeps good relationships with the artists. Quite a business guy, that Al.)

Al, genius that he is, has decided that rather than fighting a huge political battle, he is going to give Atlantic a tutorial on Internet Value 101. Since he had the blessing from James Blunt himself, he went ahead and posted the song on his website as a free download, as well as posting it on his myspace profile. Fans immediately pounced on it and ate it up. It has taken off virally, and fans are swapping it like wildfire. It has generated buzz around him, such that he's being interviewed in pieces for NPR (which also hosts a link to the free song.) All this comes at a perfect time for Al, as the release of his DVD, The Weird Al Show, looms near. His website has been abuzz with fans downloading the song and commenting about it. James Blunt has reaped the free publicity as well, with blogs all over the place praising him for allowing Al to do his parody and slamming Atlantic for their boneheaded decision.

Al understands the value of community. He understands giving fans what they want. He has been doing this since long before the internet was a twinkle in Al Gore's eye. And he's made sure his fans win this time by giving them something he had originally intended on selling, proving that (gasp) sometimes putting the music in people's hands can help you out on your album's street date! (I'm hearing echoes of 100 CDs for 100 Bloggers here.) Al wins, the fans win, the original artist wins.

Meanwhile, Atlantic just sits there, looking like the idiot once again.

Pardon me, as I go listen to the song again, Atlantic execs. I just want to hear it IN YO FACE one more time. If you haven't downloaded it, yet, please do so by right clicking this link and saving the file and show those Atlantic jerks what for.
image courtesy of People Weekly

Sunday, July 09, 2006


My sister, Tabitha Hope, is getting married this weekend, and I'm trying to put together a playlist of songs for the wedding and reception. And I need your ideas for songs!!

Here's my list of possibles, so far:

  • Alias - More Than Words Can Say

  • Bad Company - Walk Through Fire

  • Beach Boys - Forever

  • Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You

  • Celine Dion - To Love You More

  • Cheap Trick - The Flame

  • Chicago - You're the Inspiration

  • Daryl Hall & Dusty Springfield - Wherever Would I Be (Love Theme from While You Were Sleeping)

  • Debbie Gibson - Lost In Your Eyes

  • Default - Count On Me

  • Enrique Iglesias & Whitney Houston - Could I Have This Kiss Forever

  • Firehouse - Love of a Lifetime

  • Firehouse - When I Look Into Your Eyes

  • George Michael & Aretha Franklin - I Knew You Were Waiting

  • Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams Come True

  • Hoobastank - The Reason

  • Huey Lewis & the News - The Power of Love

  • Jeff Healey Band - Angel Eyes

  • Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes - Up Where We Belong

  • Journey - Faithfully

  • Kelly Clarkson - Anytime

  • Kenny Loggins - Meet Me Halfway

  • KISS - Forever

  • Lifehouse - You & Me

  • Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville - All My Life

  • Mitch Malloy - Our Love Will Never Die

  • Nancy Wilson - All For Love

  • Natasha Bedingfield - These Words (I Love You, I Love You)

  • Nelson - (Can't Live Without Your) Love & Affection

  • Pat Benatar - Invincible

  • Peter Cetera - Glory of Love

  • Savage Garden - Truly Madly Deeply

  • Sheriff - When I'm With You

  • Slaughter - Gave Me Your Heart

  • Starship - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now

  • Steelheart - I'll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)

  • Survivor - The Search Is Over

  • Switchfoot - Dare You to Move

  • White Lion - Till Death Do Us Part

  • As you can see, it's very non-traditional music, but it's music that she likes a lot.

    Also, I'm thinking of talking them into letting me lead up to the vows with Richard Marx & Donna Lewis - At the Beginning. But I can't think of a song to start up immediately after the "I Do's" and "kiss the bride." Sort of a peppy recessional, I guess. Help me people! I need ideas!