Grace signs her publishing deal. Guy Moot, head of Sony-ATV Europe
and one of the most influential people in the music industry, looks on.
by Driver 67
I’ve been making references – humorous and serious – to ‘the pop star who lives in my house’ for the past three years or so.
Yesterday, April 14, 2016, she signed her first major deal. She is now officially a professional songwriter, signed to Stellar Songs, who operate out of the offices of Sony/ATV.
We’re not allowed to discuss the details of the deal, but believe me, in the age of Spotify and YouTube – where everyone complains there’s no money in music – Stellar has made a serious commitment to Grace Carter.
When I met Grace, her first teenage birthday was imminent. Now she’s 18 coming on 19 and her life is on course in a way she can only have dreamed of in 2010. Back then it was all X Factor drivel – “It’s all I’ve ever wanted” blah blah blah.
I introduced her to reality – not reality television, but actual reality. “You have to learn to play an instrument.” I gave her a guitar. OK. She learnt to play it. “You have to write songs.” (That’s where the money is). OK. She started writing songs.
Since then, and for five solid years, she has applied herself to her craft. She went to music college rather than sixth form. She taught herself rudimentary piano. She learned how to use Logic so she could record at home. She took singing lessons. She started singing in front of people. She developed networking skills a corporate chief executive would kill for.
The first sign that something extraordinary was happening came when people in the audience cried. You cannot buy or teach that.
And that’s the difference between X Factor drivel and proper talent when combined with real determination. Every challenge that’s been laid in front of Grace in the past six years, she’s stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park. I’m not saying it’s been a constant joy and all plain sailing. There’s no such thing as plain sailing where Grace Carter is concerned.
But it has been, on occasion, very rewarding and sometimes actually thrilling. In the past year she’s collaborated with seasoned songwriters – people who’ve written with Take That, Adele, Paloma Faith – and she’s never been just ‘in the room’.
‘In the room’ is a music industry euphemism: if you’re ‘in the room’ when a song is written, you only have to suggest a word, and you’re entitled to a share of royalties. Even if you keep quiet, if you’re the singer, your name is going on the credits.
Grace Carter doesn’t operate like that. She turns up for these writing sessions with a chorus, or a verse, sometimes a verse and a chorus. She talks to her collaborators. She tells them who she is, about her life, the things that really matter to her. She does this so that the resulting song will be authentic, sincere, something she’ll be proud to own and perform.
Still, for me, her best material is written in her bedroom, on her own. I wish I could give you a link to one of her songs, but – suddenly – it’s all got terribly serious, and I’m not allowed to.
So you’ll have to take my word for it. In the next year or so, you will be hearing about Grace Carter. You just have to remember her name. The pop star who lives in my house will do the rest.