Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Nov 5th 2009 12:45PM by Emily Tan
Interviewed by Billboard's Editorial Director Bill Werde, Davis shared his experiences working in the music industry, how he helped stars like Whitney Houston, Santana and Janis Joplin rise to fame and what up-and-coming producers, music execs and artists can do to thrive in the ever-changing music industry. Co-hosted by the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music and music and digital media convergence promoter SoundCtrl, this was the first time Davis spoke to the students enrolled in the program that bears his namesake.
When Werde asked why Davis -- known to wear tailored suits -- never tried to look like the artists he worked with, Davis said he just wanted to be himself. "Over the years I've learned, you have to be yourself," Davis said. "Artists want a manager who's an expert ... Artists want to be protected. They don't want [managers] to be one of them."
And as the debate over Auto-Tune's credibility battles on, Clive doesn't necessarily look down upon the new technologies hitting the studio. However, he does make sure his artists can perform onstage. "For me, I don't disparage any fine tuning in the studio," he said. "But I don't sign any artist until I feel they can deliver it live."
He continued by saying that he always looks for an artist who could be a "headliner" and reminisces about his proudest moment as a music executive -- Arista's 25th anniversary, which brought together every artist no matter what type of music they played together under one roof. "People from all genres were in one room, but they were under one word, 'headliner,'" he said.
Aside from sharing memories and experiences, Davis gave the crowd a taste of what it was like to hear a song from the demo stage to the final product and every step in between. Using 'Game of Love' by Santana featuring Michelle Branch, Davis surprised everyone when he revealed that Macy Gray and Tina Turner recorded versions of the song before the label decided on Branch. He even revealed that Turner could have been the voice of the song if she agreed to perform it outside of the studio. "She didn't' want to make a music video," he said. "With that restriction, we could not put it out."