Yesterday afternoon, I had the chance to watch a live discussion between Michelle Branch and her fans. I happen to consider myself a fan of Michelle Branch , and like most of the people in the chat I was looking forward to the new music she is releasing, as it has been seven years since she released her last EP and over a decade since she released a solo album. In the world of pop music, where Michelle Branch was successful enough that I am tempted to add her already to the list of artists worthy of consideration for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame when she has a career of 25 years, that is an eternity. Michelle Branch knows that herself–she openly acknowledged it–and her fans know that as well, and it is to her credit and credit to the loyalty of her fans that she still has people who actively care about what she has been doing given that she has been away from the spotlight for so long.
One of the questions I had about her career was answered by Branch in a very candid but also polite fashion. Michelle Branch stated that she kept on submitting albums to her former label, Warner Brothers, and they kept shelving the albums, neither releasing the albums to the general public nor releasing her from her contract, and so after she was released last summer, she has been recording new songs because her old songs are essentially stuck unless Warner Brothers releases them. It is quite possible that Warner Brothers will wait and see how Branch’s new material fares on her new label, Verve, before making any kind of decision to release them. In the past, after all, the band Badfinger was notoriously gobsmacked by the release of their shelved songs by Apple Records after they had jumped labels themselves late in their peak career thanks, at least in part, to the disastrous state of royalties in Apple Records after the breakup of the Beatles . Let us hope that nothing of that sort happens to Ms. Branch and that the release of songs is done in a way that is beneficial to her career as well as the desire of fans to see the songs she has made since they stopped being released. A complete box set of all of her Warner Brothers recordings might not be a bad idea at some time. I’d buy that.
Besides Branch’s desire to release and tour a lot more often, which she likely wanted to do all along, the most interesting part of her discussion to me personally was her discussion that she was at the time she was making the video trying to line up summer and fall tour dates, first for a tour of the United States (here’s hoping she stops in Portland) and then a tour of the UK, Europe, as well as Australasia. She mentioned offhand that she had never had a UK tour consultant before (why not?) and she was looking forward to touring abroad and meeting her far-flung fans. From what I could see, she had quite a few fans in the UK as well as the Philippines that were very vociferous about wanting to see her, and hopefully that shows in some strong ticket receipts and sales of her singles and albums in those areas as well. I know I for one would like to add Michelle Branch to the list of concert reviews, and I think I might need to devote some space here for reviews of her existing discography. I would hope my readers wouldn’t mind hearing more about Michelle Branch for the next few months in addition to all of the other random material I blog about.
It was nice to be able to get a sense of Michelle Branch’s discussion, as she seems to be a very likeable person when having a conversation. It is fairly easy to see her as a personable and friendly woman who is pretty upfront and honest about who she is and what she is about and also pretty enthusiastic about being able to share her art with those who enjoy it. I know I would be driven utterly to distraction if my writing could only find the world if it had to pass muster with some sort of editor who was far more chary about putting out the material than I was about creating it. Given the amount of material I generate as a writer, I would imagine any editor responsible for releasing in dribbles and drabbles what I created in massive floods would find himself driven to distraction by the massive productivity of my work and by his or her lack of confidence that the material would be salable. An artist, though, cares first about releasing the flood of thoughts and feelings that are imprisoned inside of us and only later and secondarily about whether such material can actually make any money. First, one creates, and then one figures what one is going to do about merchandising it as best as one can to those who care. And Michelle Branch is fortunate that many people still care, even if she started making music a long time ago.
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 See, for example: