To Be Truly Great, Houston Needs Another Motown
Recently Rocks Off asked our writers if Houston could ever have a "great" music scene,whatever that means. The answers were so wide-ranging we had to divide them among several posts.
My suggestion to take Houston's music scene to greater heights is this: create a record company here. Not a label, but a conglomerate of labels staffed by professionals with the know-how to build the thing from the ground up.
Could Don Robey's Duke/Peacock empire of the '40s and '50s have become another Motown? We may never know.
Focus on all the different styles of music Houston offers -- rap, country, indie, Tejano, zydeco, folk, punk, blues, gospel, jazz. Any given night our musicians are out there doing all of this. There's a lot to work with here.
Hire some A&R people who know what they're doing, the ones who can see what looks profitable and sounds great. How about some marketing wunderkinds to polish the hell out of something that looks a little turdish at the moment?
Promoters who will get these acts out of the city and in big venues elsewhere. Music insiders with connections to get locals with promise on festival stages or in TV/film music credits or as the background music to the next iTunes commercial.
Employ someone with the patience and vision to know Houston is filled with brilliant people who can be put to work in all the related aspects of running a music juggernaut. You need album art? We got you covered. Video production? No problem. High-caliber studio work? Yes, we do that, too. Bitchin' liner notes and press releases? Where do I send my resume?
As the effort succeeds, think of the resurgence our live music clubs will experience. People will come from all over to the Bayou Music City. They'll eat here and sleep in our hotels and stuff our pockets with their money. How many jobs did I just hypothetically create? C'mon Mrs. Mayor -- get Jay-Z and Beyonce on the phone and let's make this happen.
Could a city associated with space and technology take on another personality and become music-famous? Maybe not. But that's probably what they told Berry Gordy Jr. too, when he gave his auto-making city a makeover by creating a legendary record company.
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