Maybe there is a Santa Claus, after all, Virginia. Yes, there are more new Ark Music Factory songs from Rebecca Black threatening to pop out like zits on a humid Tennessee afternoon, but think about some of the really GOOD stuff that has happened:  Chris Brown throws a hissy fit on “Good Morning, America” and his publicist quits.

Rhianna’s American Tour- and she really is a fashion statement and not a singe or a performer- is said to be “struggling”. Even if it’s not and it is reported that it is, is all GOOD. It shows people who don’t deserve to be at the top of the heap toppling over. 

Usher performed recently in Macau and then Shanghai to an amost mute audience. Maybe they actually listened to his singing.

And no matter what one thinks about “American Idol”, Steven Tyler has kicked ageism in the balls and, at 65, has proven that age is a frame of mind- and how well he wears it.

Who needs Aerosmith? Without that old albatross around his neck, young Steven Tyler can go scream out a storm of original songs in the studios and he will have a Number One album with REAL sales figures and a kiss-ass, crazy-good, sold-out-in-three-minutes tour.

Sometimes watching him on “Idol” and when there is that faraway ‘look’ on his well-lined, Mount Rushmore-like face, my bet is that he is writing songs in his head and which is REALLY what he is referring to when he says someone is “crazy good”.

And then the best news of all: Ben Semmens is about to record his new album in New Carolina. Yes, Ben WHOOOOOO?

Well, when I first heard his music on his debut album, “Western Lights”, this brilliant singer-songwriter from Wales was known as BenSem. It was like Ho-Hum and I didn’t really get it, but, THE SONGS- “Constant Dream”, “Why I Cry” “Apathy” etc etc, I got. I got, I got, I got. I became a FAN. It was his VOICE.

Even when I sent some of his demos to my old mate Simon Fuller, he replied that the focus must ALWAYS be on the VOICE. Sometimes, I listen to “Western Lights” and wish it could be remixed so that it’s a simple acoustic album. Ben Semmens doesn’t need the bells and whistles. His voice is the only instrument he needs.

‘Western Lights” and the Ben Semmens Family rolled into my life around 18 months ago. Since then, Ben’s become “just” Ben Semmens, he tried recording with a new band in Wales which didn’t work out, but he has never stopped writing and gigging. And the new songs are even better- MUCH better- than what has come before.

The question always was who could he work with and who would not drown him in over-production?

Enter Ben Thomas- and, Thanks, Wolfie, for the introduction- also youngish, very gifted, a musician and producer currently working with Ben Taylor- son of James Taylor and Carly Simon.And isn’t THIS Ben, too, good, or what? And those chords: It must be some Taylor-made thing.


And so, from North Carolina and Wales and via Skype a dialogue has developed along with over fourteen tracks. Recording music- and travel- costs money and so what was the answer?

Let’s forget about “angel investors” as no matter how “angelic” the devil is in the details and they need to see a return on their investment- and which is fair enough.

Music companies? They promise much and deliver little and Ben could land in the lap of some salaried in-house producer and all the hard work with Ben Thomas up to now could go up in smoke faster than a Cheech and Chong movie. 

Having said this, we DID receive a reply directly from Roger Faxon, the head of EMI, about Ben and which shows and proves that once a real music man, always a music man- and a man with class.

Who knows? Roger might come through and offer something ball-busting or he might have bigger fish to fry and a company to keep afloat. And so, to the rescue came Pledge Music.

  • Involve Your Fans
  • Keep Your Rights
  • Fund Your Music
  • Raise Money For Charity

PledgeMusic provides fans and artists the opportunity to work together to make new records and raise money for charity. By combining new social networking technology, old school music biz know how and an irresistible menu of exclusive incentives, fans can visit the site to hear great new music, enjoy and share unique experiences with the artists they love and actively participate in the release process.

Of course, and as I keep asking myself often everything to do with music, business, creating and personal relationships, And then what?

How many bands and artists have scraped together whatever they had to “go make a record” and are still listening to it all by themselves? What was the objective? Was there a strategy? Where did the end game start and finish? So, same with Ben Semmens: He gets all the money to make his record- and THEN what?

Well, first of all, the record is no longer “the end game”. It’s the start. But it’s not the start as many think. Unknown artist or band records record and immediately tours the world?

No, it doesn’t work like that. It never worked like that.

Sometimes one has to wonder what would have happened if Brian Epstein did NOT walk into the Cavern, see and hear the Beatles and put them into suits.

So, sure, fate, luck, love and the whole damn thing matters. But, we cannot afford for luck to come knocking on our door.

So, after the record, then what for Ben Semmens?

Well, to answer that would be telling. And some things must be kept in the hip pocket.

In the meantime, I have made my pledge.


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