All musicians live within a large community. Whether you know it or not, if you are a musician you share something special with other musicians. Throughout my days recording and arranging music, I continuously worked and associated with other musicians. We shared similar experiences and mutually enjoyed the interaction. The community is much smaller in places like here in Miami where everyone knows about fellow musicians and their work. As I started to work in the newspaper industry, I still seemed to gravitate toward those fellow musicians, and definitely music insiders. Those years seemed to coincide with an overall music industry trend of searching for talent throughout the South Florida area. I developed varying depths of professional relationships with several music scouts, some I helped directly and some I pointed in the right direction to make their search less frustrating. Our relationship worked because I was not trying to slip them a demo or other unsolicited materials. In fact, if I ever contacted them about a talented performer, they knew there was reason to investigate further.
During these years, I also attended several auditions. There were some open auditions where talent level ranged from bad to barely competent. In addition, I attended a few private auditions where agents represented the performers, with the talent level ranging from good to excellent. In each case, the talent evaluators were looking for a particular type of artist. They knew what they wanted and more importantly, the artists knew too. This is one of the reasons I am not a fan of the reality show phenomenon of talent searches. None of them is searching for musicians with regard for styles or genre. The shows are a gumbo of talent thrown together, and then the public makes the choice of whose best. Nevertheless, the shows remain popular, and via election process, judges present the top participant as the next big music superstar. May 2013 it happened again as a young singer from Beaufort, South Carolina walked away with the crown as American Idol champion. Our featured artist this week is Candice Glover.
As a little kid Candice Rickelle Glover was so shy that she could only sing for her parents—and even then asked them to listen in from the other side of her closed bedroom door. Over the years, the golden-voiced Glover worked through her stage fright to become the star of her school chorus and a frequent soloist in the church choir in her hometown. After auditioning for American Idol three times and twice dismissed before making it to the live rounds, Glover scored a spot on the show’s twelfth season—then used her pure and powerful vocals to emerge as the season winner.
Well, why are we featuring a singer who won last year? On February 18, 2014, Glover’s debut album Music Speaks finally hit the market after missing release dates in October and July 2013. The album has received mostly positive reviews but sales have not gone as well as expected. News of the sluggish sales report has unleashed various opinions from American Idol fans and others. Many people feel that the delayed album release hurt sales. They feel that Candice Glover could not capitalize upon the natural hype surrounding the crowning of a new American Idol champion. Maybe many have forgotten or AI fans might be too involved in the current season. Some offer another, more improbable opinion. Some feel that the season 12 finale was somehow rigged, offering that Candice Glover should not have won over other more popular and/or deserving contestants.
Throughout the years, I have had doubts about the voting process, but I stop short at the idea of show officials rigging the overall results. There are more important things in the world than worrying about American Idol calculation of votes. One thing I have noticed is that no one is denying the vocal ability of Candice Glover. Reviewers consistently praise Glover’s performance throughout the album. Regarding one of her American Idol performances judge Randy Jackson stated, “Glover’s was the best performance he has heard in the history of American Idol.”
Did Candice Glover’s delayed release of Music Speaks hurt album sales? Perhaps it did initially. However, I look at many past winners and successful former contestants and see performers who have forged ahead regardless of their American Idol association. Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson to name a few have grown past their Idol relationships. Upon their introductions very rarely does it come with an American Idol reference. I listened to Glover’s album without any knowledge of her American Idol win and enjoyed it greatly. I wish music fans will also download the album and listen without prejudice or American Idol type expectations. Will Candice Glover have a successful musical career? Only time will tell. It would be nice to have another voice for recorded music.