"Oh, ha ha ha, that's funny! You're not OLD!" my friend said as I told him the comment I had gotten from a major label company representative.
I smile about it as well. But not for the same reasons.
Let me tell you about that meeting with a major label representative.
So I had just finished making my first Real Album. I had started singing when I was 6 years old and made my first single when singles were still 7" vinyls, but I finished my first true album when I was 25 years old.
Boy, was I proud of it. Not only because it was produced and entirely funded by an obscure Parisian music and arts patron who had worked with artists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Salvador Dalí, Paco Ibanez and Ornette Coleman. But mostly, because it was ALL ME. The songs were mine, the vocals were mine. It had been arranged and played by fabulous musicians and recorded in a grand studio. I loved it to death. And there I was, sitting in the office of a real-life record label producer. This was IT! I was on my way!
The producer listened to my album. Hey looked at me and nodded.
"Very impressive", he said. "Very ambitious."
And then he looked out the window.
"Look", he said, "you're a pretty girl. You write good songs. You sing well. But that means you need to make a choice. Either," he continued, "you'll sing, and in that case, I'll pick out the songs for you to sing." He looked up to my disbelieving face before continuing.
"Or then you write songs. But I can tell you... well, that's a tough business. Very tough. You'll be competing against established songwriters. The best. There are no guarantees."
I sat there, silenced. The man, however, knew what to say.
"I know you're disappointed. But you have to understand. It's just not believable, having it all."
I knew one thing. I wasn't going to sing his hand-picked songs. Fuck it, why had I made a full album of my own songs then? He himself had said that the songs were good. I just didn't GET what he was after. So I told him that I'd take the album elsewhere, thank you very much, and I'd continue making my songs and singing them, believable or not. Major label or no label at all.
The man smiled and shrugged. "Well, OK. Have it your way. Maybe it's just as well. You are already getting a bit old for this business."
As I was already a bit old for music business at the age of 25, I can now, 20 years later, declare that I am truly very old.
And old is good.