By Deb Rao
In a special Tele-Conference that took place on December 10th, 2009, RockMusicStar.com had the honor of speaking with legendary singer - songwriter Julian Lennon regarding the release of his upcoming four track EP "Lucy" slated for a December 15th release and the launching of the Revolution.
"LUCY" features a duet by Julian Lennon and singer - songwriter James Scott Cook. The song is inspired by Cook's Grandmother Lucy who is afflicted with Lupus, and Julian Lennon's late childhood friend Lucy Vodden. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Lupus Charities.
Julian Lennon also discusses the launching of theRevolution LLC, a full service, artist focused, music services company.
Julian Lennon Interview with RockMusicStar.com
Our next question comes from the line of Debra Rao with RockMusicStar.com. Please go ahead..
D. Rao-I wanted to ask you what inspired you return to the music business after a 10-year absence. And how is theRevolution going to help the artist in respect to giving them a voice and more creative control in their work?
J. Lennon-"What inspired me to get back into—I could’ve run a mile. In fact, I did run a mile from the industry after my last experience with Photograph Smile. I don’t know.
I just felt after having written this album that I just had more to get out of my system whether it was on a personal level for me or actually just getting more work out to the public or feeling that I had more to say. I did say with the last album that if I never did anything again I’d be happy to leave it at that. But as I said previously, I can’t keep quiet long enough.
Ideas just keep coming into my head so I’ve got to let it out somehow. I certainly don’t feel any older than I did ten years ago in any way, shape or form. And I’m still ready to get out there and say hello and do a bit of playing.
I’ve had my fingers in a few other pies, which I’ve enjoyed, other businesses and other work that I’ve been involved with and other projects. But music has still always been there. I don’t think it’ll ever go away in that respect. I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing no matter what happens in or out of the industry.
On the second point you raised about theRevolution, the idea literally is to help the artist setup their own company for themselves. TheRevolution is an umbrella for artists. What we try to do is help you set your own company up. As the artist, you put in your work, your writes and your brand into the company and what we try to do is support you in that.
We make an evaluation, I guess, of your brand and your work and then, basically, give you as an artist an offer to sort of be involved and purchase an interest in your new company and become your partner really. There’s another subsidiary company, which we have which is more fulfilled for sort of almost a managerial role, which is called The Artist Alliance, which we then try to help you market and sell your music and your brand.
The benefits of that are having the creative control of your career, your money and how you want to do things.. You also have access to how things are being done, what they’re costing, the money that you’re making directly and clearly and transparently. So there’s no hidden agenda here. We’re all onboard together in this. I think that’s something that’s not quite been done before in the way that we’re trying to achieve things."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LENNON TEAMS WITH BIRCH AND MEAGHER TO LAUNCH
ARTIST-FOCUSED MUSIC SERVICES COMPANY, theREVOLUTION
“Lucy,” Co-Written by Julian Lennon and Singer / Songwriter James Scott Cook
Debuts December 15, Portion of Proceeds to Benefit Lupus Charities
AUSTIN, TX (December 11, 2009) – You say you want theRevolution? Well, you know, we all want to change the music world... Tapping the reach of the Internet and a power-shifting business model, musician Julian Lennon and digital pioneers Michael Birch and Todd Meagher today officially announced the launch of theRevolution LLC, a full-service, artist-focused, music services company.
In the vanguard of theRevolution is the single “Lucy,” co-written by Lennon and James Scott Cook, to be released on a four-track EP on December 15. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to two charities focused on lupus, an autoimmune disease afflicting Cook’s Grandmother Lucy, as well as Lennon’s late childhood friend Lucy Vodden, a watercolor painting of whom led John Lennon to write “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
With the mission of “Turning the music business into the musician’s business,” theRevolution (www.theRevolution.com) serves as the funding vehicle which endeavors to partner with both emerging and established artists to give them control as well as ownership of their creative output and to help build their fan bases and, ultimately, their brands. Under its singularly structured, transparent 50/50 “artist partnership” model, the artist forms a company and theRevolution funds it, with musical artists owning equity in their own companies.
Through its subsidiary the Artists Alliance and its affiliates, theRevolution provides artists an a la carte menu of integrated services, among them: business/legal affairs; product design, manufacturing and retail/direct distribution; online transactional management; tour/event logistics, sponsor outreach; marketing, promotions and branding; and music publishing/licensing.
“Julian and I have been friends for over 20 years and have partnered on several businesses together, as I have with Michael. Our combined understanding of technology and the music industry, our love of innovation, and our ability to capitalize our own company make this new partnership ideal,” explains Texas-based Todd Meagher, a former songwriter for Warner Chappell Music who, as an internet entrepreneur, successfully founded and sold such entities as Credit.com. In 2002 Meagher created the industry’s first 50/50, artist-owned model, going on to launch MyStore.com with Michael Birch and Lennon in 2006, in the early days when MySpace did not allow direct sales. As an outgrowth of both businesses, Meagher approached Lennon with the idea of a full-service, artist-focused music services company, and Lennon agreed not only to be a partner, but to be its first artist after a nearly ten-year hiatus from the music industry.
“I think the digital age of music has allowed independent artists to be heard, where maybe they would have not been before due to record labels’ pigeonholing of music, musicians and style,” explains Lennon. “theRevolution puts artists into business for themselves. It came about because I personally couldn’t see a way forward, given the state of the music industry, and wanted to start something new – a new model – which will hopefully continue to grow and be accepted, appreciated and become successful.”
That hopefulness is shared by Birch, the media community/Internet marketing guru who co-founded BirthdayAlarm.com, Ringo.com and the social networking site Bebo, which AOL bought for $850 million. An advisor to myriad companies, this past summer Birch helped launch PROfounders Capital, a UK investment fund for entrepreneurs. “Many artists are quite good at promoting themselves, but you need other elements to build a proper business and brand,” says Birch. The model of theRevolution is to fully align its interests with those of artists (i.e., one party doesn’t make money unless the other does) and, for artists used to turning over the lion share of the revenues from their music to traditional labels, says Birch, the key is education. “We need to build our reputation as a true partner and prove our dedication to building long-term careers.”
On December 15, the company will mark its first release with the four-song EP Lucy, featuring the same-named title track written by James Scott Cook and Julian Lennon. Produced by Todd Meagher, the lead single “Lucy” is Lennon’s first single in close to a decade.
Lennon initially planned only to sing background vocals on the song, but before its completion he learned that his childhood friend Lucy Vodden had passed away after a long battle with lupus. With some lyric changes the decision was made for the song to be a duet between Lennon and Cook. By remarkable coincidence, Cook told Lennon that Lucy was also the name of his 92-year-old grandmother who has been living with lupus for years. Seeking to honor the memory of both women, a portion of the proceeds from the single will be donated to two charities, St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust (www.lupus.org.uk) and the Lupus Foundation of America (www.lupus.org).
The EP – inside of which buyers will discover a fold-out copy of Julian Lennon’s original watercolor drawing of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” – features two versions of “Lucy,” the studio track and an acoustic version. There’s also Lennon’s slow and sentimental song “Beautiful,” which will appear on his full-length album Everything Changes, to be released in 2010, and Cook’s song “Sober,” which will be on his own eponymous album next year. RED Distribution (a division of Sony Music Entertainment) is providing manufacturing, retail distribution and radio promotion for the EP, and the title track will initially be available for download online exclusively at iTunes until the first of the year, which will also make a donation to the lupus charities. VH1, YouTube, MySpace Music and Yahoo Music have all agreed to support the video release.
Julian Lennon first came to the public’s attention as a musical artist with his 1984 debut album Valotte, which produced two Top Ten singles, “Valotte” and “Too Late for Goodbyes.” The album led to a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. Along with his sophomore effort, The Secret Value of Daydreaming ( Atlantic ),” his subsequent albums include Mr. Jordan, Help Yourself and the independently produced Photograph Smile— his most critically acclaimed album to date. In recent years, Lennon has focused on photography and other endeavors, also producing the eight-time internationally award-winning documentary WhaleDreamers.