Anyone in this business for a long time can tell you that
the one thing an artist really needs to sustain a career is a stomach
for rejection. Though it's true that you only need to find one powerful
person who believes in your music, the search for that person can sometimes
Page Jackson began that search when he was 14 years old and dabbled
in lyric writing. "I remember always trying to write lyrics in high
school," Page recalls, "then, when I got into the Marines I was really
depressed and got into lyric writing a lot more for some reason."
fact that the Marines were looking for a few good men, they didn't seem
to be looking for lyricists, so, upon leaving the Corps in 1984, Jackson
put together a band in Texas called the Tone Poets, and began the long
grueling search for someone who believed.
"By 1985, we
were shopping our demo tapes really hard. At that point, our only link
to anything was Music Connection Magazine. We'd read an article, see
someone's name and find out if we could send him a tape." Though the
band was able to take one or two baby steps forward, nothing substantial
materialized. "After we moved the band out to Los Angeles, a lot of
industry people started flirting with us," Page remembers. "They called
for demo tapes and promised to come down to see us play live. We signed
with a small label but soon, the guys in the band started demanding
better record producers and bigger advance money. Eventually, my own
band became too difficult to deal with. This went on from 1985-1992
until our record deal was destroyed."
Determined to continue his quest for success, Page Jackson formed another
band called Mary Carves The Chicken, signed with yet another small record
label and released a CD. "One of the things I learned," Page revealed,
"was that it's virtually impossible to penetrate the recording industry
if you're not already connected or well-off. People will basically turn
you down sight unseen. They don't want to hear your tapes and don't even
want you sending tapes to them. I had a friend who was a secretary at
Atlantic Records and she told me they had bins and bins of tapes over
there that they never even listened to. So I got a little frustrated with
||Special Education Teacher
||All Nations Music
Co-Publishing & Artist
Like most new
artists facing rejection and unable to get a foot in the industry doors,
Page's luck changed when a music attorney told him about an independent
A&R company called TAXI. "I think I heard about TAXI through an attorney
named Michael Leventhal. He met Michael Laskow (TAXI founder and President),
and felt that the company was a cool thing. Based on that recommendation,
I got the phone number and joined."
number of tape submissions he made to comply with record company and publisher
listings, only three or four of his tapes were actually forwarded. But
here too, it was a case of quality and not quantity. Jackson retells the
story: "Billy Meshel, the head of All Nations Music, a Los Angeles-based
publishing company, was looking for some material that was really cool
but not mainstream. Someone apparently forwarded one of my tapes to him
and he felt the songwriting craft was good enough to take a gamble on
so he asked to sign me. I signed a co-publishing and artist recording
agreement with All Nations Music at the beginning of this year. Billy
offered to shop everything I do toward getting a record deal and if we're
not successful, ANM will put up the money to record my record."
13 years after beginning his quest, Page Jackson has found someone who
believes. And once again, it was thanks to TAXI's industry connections.
to sit on his laurels, Jackson is still out there submitting tapes to
TAXI trying to make even more deals for himself. "I've always been pretty
aggressive about getting my tapes out there and Billy approves. Billy's
real flexible; he's a businessman."
knows the value of a well-crafted song, so he continues to take the advice
of the TAXI screeners very seriously. "I have to tell you that the TAXI
screeners have been very tough. Some of the critiques I received regarding
my song structure---like maybe you should add a bridge or try to strengthen
your chorus---were all things that helped my songs. They were critiques
and suggestions that I actually put to use."
Jakson's career is now on an upward swing, the artist realizes that he
is still far from achieving any degree of fame. "I haven't reached any
degree of fame where I should be giving any advice to anyone," he concludes,
"but I would say that the music and the songs have to come from your heart.
You have to really love it. And of course, you have to think about what
you love and not about the popular trend."