Ah, here we go again with local artists trumpeting "Grammy nominations." The latest is Atascocita-grown country singer Susan Hickman, who seems to fancy herself as a Miranda Lambert/Martina McBride type. We stumbled across Hickman accidentally through MySpace's "Status Updates," and our eye was immediately drawn to: "Susan Hickman Up for 6 1st Round Grammy Nominations."
Now Lonesome, Onry and Mean doesn't claim to know everything about what's going on around here, but we do try to keep our ears to the ground about 23 hours a day for what's happening in the local live music scene, especially the country music scene. And, to lay it on the line, we've never heard of Hickman.
What gets LOM is the overblown bullshit of touting "6 1st Round Grammy Nominations" by a virtual unknown. Such public-relations malarkey may fool the average fan, especially if their music diet is the by-the-numbers Nashcrap Hickman specializes in, but it doesn't fool anyone in the working press or most club owners. Remember local folkies Sugar Bayou getting their public relations teat caught in the Grammy hype ringer with John Nova Lomax about five years ago?
Obviously Hickman hasn't read Lomax's piece, but he wrote at the time about the Grammy process:
"I got on the phone to Wendy Morgan, the executive director of the Texas Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS for short), the "Grammy people" to lay folks... Morgan brought up a key distinction. There's a huge difference between being "Grammy-nominated" and "an artist in the entry process."
"Every member of the recording academy has the opportunity to enter commercially distributed product into the Grammy Awards process," Morgan explained.
"From that process, then the voting members of the academy will vote for the nominees. Then the voting members will vote - out of the five nominees that are selected in each category - the members will vote on one of the five nominees, which will then select the winner."
To sum up, it is highly likely that Hickman's producer or some friend is a member of NARAS and threw her name in the hat for every possible category they could think of. It's like the flu, it happens year after year after year.
After visiting Hickman's MySpace site, LOM isn't at all surprised that Hickman is blurring the distinction between being "Grammy-nominated" and "an artist in the entry process." Rather like our problem with former Houstonian Kanude, Hickman's career seems to be more about hype and illusion than about music. I may never have seen a busier (or more vapid) MySpace setup.
There's one other interesting twist on this that comes from Hickman's MySpace site, a direct quote from Sugar Hill Studios honcho and local NARAS mover-n-shaker Dan Workman. Workman's is the first testimonial on Hickman's page.
"Dan Workman President and co-owner of SugarHill Recording Studios - Houston, Texas:
"Your songs are really good. I got to listen to Wrapped..., RED,.. and Hell,.. on the way to work. Super-pro arranging, playing and production. Congratulations! Wish I had done it. I look forward to seeing you again. If there is anything that I can do to help with your voting status, or whatever, please don't hesitate to contact me."
That's right, "if there's anything I can do to help you with your voting status"! Don't know about you, dear reader, but LOM can clearly see Ms. Hickman voting for herself. Ain't the music business great?
News flash to Susan Hickman and her handlers: artists whose "touring" consists of Baker Street Pub (Willowbrook), Baker Street Pub (Sugarland), R&R Sports Bar, Pennington's (Copperfield), Rowdy Bucks, and the always cutting-edge Oz Bar on 1960 don't win Grammys. They don't even make it through the nomination process. Ever. Period. Finito.
Anyway, for anyone interested in checking out Houston's own 6-Grammy nominee in person, she'll be taping Michael Berry's Texas music radio program at noon at Goode's Armadillo Palace.
LOM is sure Best in Texas' magazine's exclamation-point queen Katie Key will have Berry primed with some truly penetrating questions about Hickman, her impending stardom and those Grammy nominations.