Monday, December 31, 2007


As 2007 comes to a close, we’d like to take some time to highlight some of the artists we’ve written about in this first year of the TALENTfilter blog. A handful of acts have made great strides and we’d like to congratulate them for their hard work. The main goal of this blog has been to help label and publishing execs find new talent to work with. To 'filter' through all the clutter and present the cream of the crop. Yes, in certain months we’ve strayed from the path and wrote about industry goings-on, but you have to admit, it’s been a wild year and some things just HAD to get reported.

We feel we do a pr
etty darned good job getting you the early scoop on things – if you’ve got any suggestions as to how we can make the blog better, though, we’d love to hear from you! E-mail us with ideas or thoughts – we’ll hit ya back for sure. Anyway, have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Team TALENTfilter

In February 2007 we featured the L.A.-based hard rock act Five Finger Death Punch. At the time, they were unsigned and unpublished, with no major management. The group was eventually approached by The Firm, and a profit-sharing label/management deal was struck. On the first week of its release, the group’s debut The Way Of The Fist LP landed on the Billboard 200 chart, while the first single, “The Bleeding” became the Most Added record to rock/metal radio in the U.S. A couple of weeks later, the album claimed the Number One spot on Billboard's New Artists chart. The Way Of The Fist has ‘Scanned over 50,000 copies since its rele ase, and “The Bleeding” is currently #15 with a bullet on the Active Rock chart.

In March we did a piece about an unsigned singer/songwriter from Brighton, England named Kate Walsh who we’d accidentally (but happily!) seen perform a daytime two-song set at a SXSW party in Austin. In March, she put her self-recorded Tim’s House album on sale through iTunes UK, and the folks at iTunes featured her song “Talk Of the Town” as a “Free Single Of the Week.” This exposure helped Tim’s House rocket to the top of the iTunes UK Top 100 Albums chart (knocking Amy Winehouse from the top spot!), and THEN the major labels came a’sniffin. Kate did a deal with UMG’s Mercury Records, and sales to date have exceeded 35,000 copies. Verve Music Group will release Tim’s House in the U.S. on January 29 (catch her perform on Conan O'Brien on 1/28). Click here for a 12/28 story about Kate (looks like someone at Billboard has been readi ng the ol’ TALENTfilter blog – their January 5, 2008 feature mentions a BUNCH of artists we’ve tipped you to).

Also in March, we featured the then-unsigned, un-managed L.A. chanteuse Jessie Baylin. We were admittedly a bit late-to-feature Ms. Baylin, whom we’d become fans of WAY before March, but these things happen. EVERY label wanted to do a recording deal – and Jessie resisted. Finally, after a few successful tours, Jessie put together a deal with Verve Forecast and secured management. In November she headed to Nashville and began recording what will be her debut full-length. According to management, she’s working with producer Roger Moutenot (Rogue Wave, Yo La Tengo) and has more than a few A-list players on board lending their skills. Jessie is taking some time over the holidays to travel in Australia, but we look forward to hearing the outcome of her Nashville sessions!

In May, we tipped you to the then unsigned, unpublished Staten Island singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. If you’re in the film/TV music supervision world, you were more than likely already very familiar with Michaelson, as her songs had been featured in shows including "Grey’s Anatomy", "One Tree Hill", "The Real World: Denver", "The Bad Girls' Club" and a Canadian Chevy TV ad. If you program specialty radio in the U.S., you may have known about her, too. Her album, Girls & Boys, was digitally self-released in 2006, but over the summer, Ingrid put together a very creative deal with Original Signal Records – they (and RED Distribution) did a physical release of Girls & Boys in September, with Michaelson retaining ownership of her masters (and publishing). Since then, more key TV placements have come (including the HUGE Old Navy campaign), a great radio story building (#6 at AAA, #20 at Hot A/C), VH1 “You Oughta Know” status, a "Last Call with Carson Daly" performance, press up the wazoo, and sold-out shows across the country. To date, Girls & Boys has reached #2 on the iTunes Pop chart and has ‘Scanned approx. 70,000 copies.

June brought a bit of an industry buzz regarding Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Brendan James. James, who had been signed to Capitol but dropped when the label merged with Virgin, recorded some FANTASTIC new material with the advance money he’d walked away with. He placed an EP on sale at iTunes and has sold over 26,000 singles, also reaching #11 on the iTunes Alternative chart. After numerous label discussions, Brendan recently decided to sign a profit-sharing deal with Universal/Decca. A May 2008 release date is set for his full-length, which will be titled The Day Is Brave. “Green” (our favorite track) will be the first single. Brendan is still available for worldwide publishing, but not for long.