A Rock Star, Finally - Chapter Five
Chapter Five - A Rock Star, Finally
“Grandma! Grandma!” Damian yelled excitedly. “We made it. Mr. DeLavian wants the record!”
Nell Miller was sitting in her solarium, which was where she always went to read and enjoy the quiet, when Damian burst in on her with the news. He had become quite a man at twenty-six years of age, and though he was tall and good looking, he was not in any way arrogant or conceited. Having “paid his dues,” as the old saying goes in show business, Damian had been struggling for several years to produce a hit record. He had lots of confidence in his music, having studied voice at Peabody, and he had written a lot of songs, but it was getting the right musicians and vocalists to back him up that had held him up all these years. Making music by yourself is one thing, trying to keep a group together is another. One no sooner gets the group together to rehearse than another singer drops out, or the drummer has to be replaced, and sometimes, even the whole group becomes unglued because of small problems that snowball.
So, it had not been easy, but Damian had that persistence, and for the past five years, he had kept a group patched together that played some of the smaller clubs in New York. Sometimes, he even made good money. Nell Miller had wanted to see Damian singing opera, because the voice quality he had shown at Peabody impressed everyone who heard it. However, anytime Damian heard a good beat coming out of one of the practice rooms, he would find out who was in there and join them for a jam session. And during the four years he was there, he had attended a Black, Fundamentalist church near the school, because, as he was fond of saying, “That church had the best music in town.” And, from time to time, Damian was invited to sing as a soloist in that church, which gave him his taste of the feeling of professionalism. He especially tried to sing his best for these people, because he realized what an honor it was for a White man to be asked to sing in an all-Black church. Damian sang his heart out, and he always knew when he was singing good, because that church would start to come alive, swaying with the rhythm and clapping their hands to the beat. He especially got an extra surge of feeling when different ones would shout in support, “Sing it, Damian!” And while this may have been something out of the usual for most churches, it was everyday stuff for this one. It was a musical church, and Damian grew there.
Nell Miller, though she had wanted to see him sing opera, had still been supportive of Damian’s musical career. She would come to each of his opening nights and listen to his group play, picking out the songs he sang best, as she would later tell him at breakfast. While Damian loved her genuine involvement, he would not let her bankroll the group. He was firm that he was going to make it on talent alone, because he wanted that challenge. And now that the demo that he had recorded at his friend’s studio had gotten him an offer from Trust Records, he was on an emotional mountain peak.
Damian told Nell all the details about his recording offer, sparing none. Nell was just as excited as Damian. She had never doubted that this boy would someday make it. He was so persistent.
“Mr. DeLavian wants the twelve songs that I’ve already recorded at Ted’s place,” said Damian, “and he wants me to re-record them at their studios over at Trust Records.” “From there,” he continued, “they want me to go on a promotional tour as soon as they release my first song, and, boy, have they got a promotional team!”
Trust Records indeed had a promotional department that had always put their artists on top. Believing in two things, work and money, Trust Records, with the leadership of Peter DeLavian, had become the number one record company in the business in less than ten years. DeLavian bought out the Sable Recording Company, changed the name to Trust, and went full steam ahead on an act he found playing in Philadelphia. Every act DeLavian touched turned to gold, or so it seemed to everyone else in the business, but what they all failed to see was that DeLavian used a key for success that no one else used. He always took the group and re-recorded whatever they had done, using his larger studio. Then, he would take the group away from their home area and put them on tour, never allowing them to play within fifty miles of their hometowns. Finally, he would then have a promo team jam the radio airways with songs by the groups he had on tour. With the connections Peter DeLavian had, the records were getting national airplay before the groups had even done their second engagement.
The formula always worked. DeLavian always picked the groups that were to get this special treatment, though, so knowing this, Damian was justifiably excited. DeLavian had picked him! And once Nell knew all the details, she was excited, too. Damian was going to become a singing star!
Go to Chapter Six
Go to Chapter Six - On Tour