If Linda Chorney isn’t Your Hero, She Should Be14th October 2013 • No comments
The name Linda Chorney probably seems familiar to those who closely follow the music industry and/or awards shows. Chorney’s nomination for Best Americana Album in the 54th GRAMMY Awards caused something of a frenzy. Her album, Emotional Jukebox, hadn’t sold millions of copies. She didn’t have a string of unavoidable singles getting constant radio play. She wasn’t even part of a mega-tour. So how, you may ask, did an unknown singer with no manager, no publicist, no booking agent, and no record label end up nominated for music’s most prestigious award? How did someone without a powerful team behind her wind up in a category with Emmylou Harris, Ry Cooder, Levon Helm, and Lucinda Williams? She worked.
An indie artist in the most literal sense, Chorney took full advantage of GRAMMY member social media and networking web site GRAMMY365. GRAMMY365 is only available to vetted music industry professionals who are members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). It’s a web site, much like Facebook and LinkedIn, which allows members to establish relationships based on sending and accepting requests to connect. Ms. Chorney took full advantage of the access afforded her by this membership and worked seemingly nonstop at establishing connections within the artist and music industry communities to share her music.
In this 2011 interview with Variety, Chorney estimated that she contacted approximately 6,000 GRAMMY voters to rally support for her Emotional Jukebox.
Upon hearing of her nomination, many within the Americana community lashed out at Chorney and accused her of everything from manipulating the GRAMMY system to being a fraud. These detractors were unaware of the five albums Linda Chorney had released prior to her GRAMMY nominated album (on her own label), and didn’t bother to learn that she had been working and supporting herself as a professional musician for 25 years.
Those grandstanding against Linda Chorney and accusing her unfairly using the GRAMMY365 site to gain attention and votes were apparently unaware that Chorney had done nothing wrong in her campaigning. They were probably also slightly peeved that they hadn’t a) thought of it first and b) succeeded as she had.
The rules of GRAMMY submission protocol and GRAMMY365 clearly allow all potential nominees to share their music with voters. GRAMMY365 is constantly buzzing with music ‘For Your Consideration,’ which is how all submissions must be labeled. The backlash against Linda Chorney escalated to the point that NARAS commented on the alleged inpropriety. Bill Freimuth, Vice President of awards at NARAS, said the following to Variety :
“The guidelines say that we’re fairly open to vote solicitation. Chorney was very diligent in her pursuit of attention by the Grammy voters, and it evidently paid off. Enough of the voters received her communications, listened to her music, thought it was worthwhile and voted for it.”
As it turned out, Emotional Jukebox lost the award to Levon Helm’s Ramble at the Ryman, but that’s almost an aside. Linda Chorney proved that artists truly can succeed entirely independently. She proved that even with all odds against her, as an unknown artist competing against the major label’s marketing machines and the often homogenized banality of mainstream radio, that true talent can stand out.
While Chorney may not have taken home a GRAMMY in 2012, her attitude and perseverance have made her an inspiration to artists and entrepreneurs alike. Since the awards Chorney has penned a book on her experiences, Who the F&*$ is Linda Chorney?, continued to write and perform music, and she was even asked to give a TED Talk and share her story with other creative professionals.
Now Linda Chorney is back with a new song up for consideration in the 56th GRAMMY Awards. Having proven herself this time around, will Chorney finally get the respect from the Americana community that shunned her just two years ago?
The 56th GRAMMY Awards will be held on January 26, 2014.
Check out her new song & video!
Definitely watch her TED Talk!
Visit Linda Chorney’s Offical Web Site to purchase music, watch video, and keep up with her blog.
Follow her on Twitter @LindaChorney
Like her on Facebook