by Kenny Kerner

For the past 16 years, Ira Marlowe had been through it all--the bands, the solo act, pitching tunes to labels and publishers. He could probably write a book if he had the time. But Marlowe is concentrating on making the best of his development deal with Dreamworks that he acquired as a result of his membership with TAXI.

Marlowe started playing guitar when he was 13 and joined his first band five years later. "It was a horrible cover band with a horrible name," he recalls, "the guys in the band were a lot older and they insisted that nobody wanted to hear original material. So, I put together a band with my two best friends from high school and we played all of my original material and became a big hit in Richmond, Virginia, where I lived. We later met this charming Englishman who told us that if we wanted to make it we'd have to move to Los Angeles. We were young and dumb and knew nothing so we moved to Los Angeles where we couldn't get booked, got our equipment ripped off and came back to Richmond and broke up. It's a pretty common story." Sound familiar?

Soon after, Marlowe picked up his Never Say Die attitude and headed for the Big Apple where he came face to face with the Music Industry for the first time. "I went there to try and get my songs published but quickly realized that I had to write songs that I totally despised for artists that I wouldn't dream of listening to, just to get in the door. I did that for a year and then came to the conclusion that I should be writing songs for myself because I didn't have the heart to write songs I didn't believe in. And anyway, most of the artists I do believe in write their own material."

Once again, Ira Marlowe found himself back in Richmond putting together yet another band. Only this time, he was ready to try something completely different, willing to change both the scene and the sound; willing to throw caution to the wind in an attempt to break through. Willing to chuck it all. He dropped the band idea and, determined to go solo, moved to San Francisco.

Name: Ira Marlowe
Age: 29
Residence: San Francisco
Occupation: Professional Dog
Occupation: Walker & Songwriter
Joined TAXI: 1996
Songs Forwarded:   6
Deals Made: Dreamworks
Development Deal
"After playing in a band I finally got up the nerve to go out on my own and play solo/acoustic sets. It was out of financial desperation, actually. I lost my job and just put a hat out at some cafe. I made some money and realized that I had a skill after all. I realized very quickly that, unlike playing in a band in clubs, when I play now, there's a real focus on the songs; people can understand the lyrics. Instead of drunks coming up to me after the show telling me what an awesome, kick-ass sound I had, people now come up asking about the vampire song. It's quite a difference." You can check out that difference on Marlowe's new CD, "Songs From The House Of Wax," and also comment on his material by e-mailing

With his newfound confidence, Marlowe kept writing at a brisk pace and once again tried pitching his tunes to the publishing community: "I had a whole one-man show I did with monologues and songs and video clips. I describe it where you sit in somebody's office and the guy fast-forwards through your tapes and casually wipes his ass with your future and sends you on your way. I tend to think that the people with the personalities and sensitivities to be great artists almost never have the personalities to be their own agents. They just don't have the stomach for it. I think art should ultimately be about truth."

Marlowe's spin on pitching material to executives is somewhat harsh, but brutally honest and based on his personal experiences. Let's let him tell the story in his own words: "When you're sitting there in someone's office with a smile on your face trying to keep your nose up someone's butt even though you think he's a despicable character, but you want him to listen to your tape--it wears you down. And eventually you start turning into that person and you lose touch with the songwriter. I know too many people who have gone through that process and eventually you become a great businessman and a very bad songwriter."

Knowing full well that his material spanned many musical genres, from comedy to musicals, Marlowe turned to TAXI and signed up because it "looked like it would provide a broad-based outlet for a lot of different kinds of songs."

"What happened fairly quickly," as Ira continues, "is that I got this interest from Dreamworks. I submitted some songs to a listing, Brian Huttenhower, a screener, heard it and gave it to Lenny Waronker at Dreamworks, and Lenny offered me a development deal. They gave me about $6500 to record some demos and Dreamworks has first rights of refusal."

So, after running into one industry brick wall after another, songwriter Ira Marlowe finally found some respect and credibility in the TAXI family. "I totally encourage people to join TAXI," he concluded, "it certainly helped me. Clearly, you can get your songs heard by the right people through TAXI. And what I did is evidence of that!"


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