Leslie Pearl Interview
Singer/songwriter Leslie Pearl has just released her very first album on R.C.A. Records titled, "Words and Music." Leslie also produced the album.
Leslie's background includes writing and producing jingles for commercials and having her songs recorded by such diverse artists as Johnny Mathis, Dr. Hook, and Crystal Gayle.
In the past two years she's won in two categories at the prestigious American Song Festival - Professional Disco and Professional Country one year; and Professional Open and Professional Top 40 the next year.
Leslie is joined on this debut album of hers by top studio musicians including Davis Hungate (formerly of "Toto"), Will Lee and Andrew Gold.
We are pleased to present an interview with the "Words and Music" lady herself — Leslie Pearl.
Q. What's so interesting about your songs are the titles, "Anything But Yes Is Still A No," "You're the First Thing I Want But the Last Thing I Need," "Let's Go To Bed Early And Stay Up All Night." They almost sound like country songs. Why did you write such long titles for these songs?
A. Actually, I never did consider the length of them, I'm more of a concept type of writer and a lot of times in my life I hear things, phrases, and I turn them around and think this will make a great song title. Probably half of them are too long, because I never stopped to think if they were too long. The most important thing to me was the concept of the song, and if the title seemed interesting to me, I would just go ahead and write it.
Q. To get these top studio musicians on your album, did you have to give them a percentage or pay them three times the union scale?
A. No, not at all. I was very fortunate. I do a lot of jingles in New York and work with the best players there. I know them. When I was in New York I worked with them and they're all triple scale players now. Not only did I get the best players out in L.A. to play for me, but they were also considerate of me financially. They only charged me single scale.
Q. Whatever happened to the album you recorded for London Records, "Pearl"!
A. You know, that was like being at the wrong place at the wrong time. That album was completed just at the time London was falling apart. I don't think that album was given a very fair chance. I think everybody knew that, but that was o.k. and it was a tremendous learning experience for me, that album. That was the first thing I did on record. I did a lot of jingle producing, but no records. It was a good run down for me.
Q. You were also a studio musician. Who did you work with?
A. I used to do that eight years ago, and I would be hard pressed remembering who it was I played with. I worked with people at that time who were not names, like Debbie Harry (Blondie). I did a lot of blues piano. I do remember that.
Q. You sent a batch of songs to Warner Bros. Music for the first time, and you were signed to a Publishing deal. Isn't there a lot of competition for something like that?
A. There is, but I'll tell you something, I was incredibly lucky. Those were the first seven songs I'd ever written. I had no idea then, how many tapes were being sent out, but I see the pile now from the inside of the fence, and boy there are massive amounts of tapes being sent. I really feel fortunate. The man who signed me to the Warner Bros. deal is still my friend, and takes care of the business in my jingle company, so we stayed together all this time.
Q. Pete Townshend of the Who says, “One of the greatest services a person can perform for another man is to entertain him, to make him happy. Even if it’s only temporary”. Do you feel the same way?
A. Absolutely. It’s like giving something to someone. Although, I’m not pretentious enough to believe I’m at that point where what I have to give, somebody wants, but as far as his theory, it’s totally true. I believe, if you can make someone happy, that’s all it boils down to.
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