Let me preface this post, by saying that if this story ever comes out, it would blow the music world up and shake it to its core..This would put the Milli Vanilli scandal and Ashlee Simpson SNL situation so far down the ladder it would be crazy..
Towards the end of last year I had a woman come into my office and she began to explain what she had done and had been doing for several years and it was one of the very few times that I just could not believe what I was hearing..I know the music industry inside and out, and I had never heard of something so extensive and pervasive as this..
This woman (S) came into my office because the payments she had been receiving had stopped and she wanted to either get the money that was owed to her, or expose what she had been doing to the light of day..
S is a sessions/studio/backup singer and is very good..Prior to her involvement in what I am going to describe, she made a very good living singing on commercials and being a backup singer for groups and other solo acts, etc..Like I said she is very good, but she does not really have that “look” which would make her a star, so record companies did not put her out front, but just used her talents..
In late 2000, a man came to her one day and said he needed someone to record some demos because he had written a lot of songs, but wanted a demo to shop the songs to singers and record labels..This is not unusual at all and she had done this type of work before and it paid pretty well so she agreed. What was unusual about her recording of the demos was how much work was put into the actual recordings..It was extensive..Generally there is not much time put into the recordings because you never really know if the song will even sell, and the money spent on recording could be put to better uses..These demos she was recording were actually being treated as if they were going to be released on a CD or to radio..They even did some mixing which was REALLY unusual..
After a few weeks she had recorded about over a dozen songs and she went on her way and was really oblivious to anything else pertaining to it, UNTIL several months later she was in her car and heard her voice coming from the radio, only it was another singer being given credit..(We will call this other singer MV for Milli Vanilli) She could not believe what she was hearing and did not know whether to be excited to hear herself on the radio, confused about the credit given to another singer or just pissed off for the same reasons..
What she did do, was to call the man who had originally come to her and had her record the songs..The man agreed to meet her and gave her a substantial sum of money and promised to keep giving her money every month as long as she kept her mouth shut. MV was taking off..(MV has/had several Top 40 songs and CD’s. They could have gone to #1 or languished in the 30’s..I really cannot go into much more detail or else it would be too easy to discover) MV was everywhere..on television, radio, awards shows, commercials..EVERYWHERE..meanwhile, S continued to get money every month and kept her little secret to herself..The guy who picked S was VERY lucky..Most singers would have caused a fuss, but S has always been in the background and was resigned to the fact she always would be, and was very happy just taking the $$, and did not want that to stop..
About 9 months go by and S is called by the guy because MV is going on tour and they want S to record some extra mixes and such for the tour..She agrees and does not really do much, but money is money..
Fast forward another year or so and S stops receiving money and after a few months of missed payments, calls the guy who explains that they need S to do another CD and then the payments can continue, but there is no more money unless she does more recordings..
S agrees and records another CD worth of songs which is released several months later and does even better than the first CD. This same process is repeated (I am not going to tell you the number of CD’s because again you may be able to deduce and so I will just say the process repeated itself several times)
Well everything goes well for the most part for all these years and then no more payments, and no more calls and she cannot even locate our mystery man..S has not received a payment in six months when she came into my office and related this story..She did not even know the guy’s name, but when she described him, I knew who he was and was even more floored than I had been previously..This was just something I had really not heard before..
I had heard of really altering voices in the recording studios and bringing in hired hands for one song or a large portion of a song, but never CD after CD and even doing extra work so a live performance would not sound staged..I told her I needed some time to check into her story and then we could proceed..It took two calls before I got the guy on the phone and he was pissed, scared, angry, threatening, remorseful..everything..It turns out the reason he had stopped making payments was he had been playing some shell games with the money between the record company, MV’s earnings and MV’s investments and just did not have any additional money..In addition, MV was not sure she wanted to continue on with what had been happening and so our mystery guy might be completely out of the picture..
I actually think the record company to this day has no idea what went on as the Guy was very good at what he does/did and knew how to make sure the record company was always happy..He stayed under budget, toured, made MV available, and made the record company money..
So a meeting was arranged in my office and S and MV finally met face to face..they had never done so, even though it was S who made MV a star..MV was rude to say the least when she saw what S looked like and it really upset me although S being her normal classy self could have cared less..
What we agreed to do that day was to provide S with one lump sum rather than a monthly income which was easier for Guy to pull off and S also agreed to never disclose her role in this drama and MV was on her own for future recordings and tours..
This involved literally millions of CD’s and hundreds of concerts all over the world..The one thing I did get out of this beside my fee of course is a Gold Record autographed by S and by MV..I know it is the only one in the world..