10 Questions with ... Cheryl Valentine
July 31, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
CMJ Metal Marathon to Metal Blade to Relativity to Mercury to Epic to Tommy Boy to Epic to Reprise to ILG ... I'm sure it hasn't been much over 10 years and it's always been Promotion and/or Marketing/Artist Development
1. What made you want to get into the music business? Early mentors? First job?
I loved Ozzy Osbourne! I was in college prepping for the next day's big show in Orlando where Ozzy was headlining. When I went out to buy some records of the opening acts, I learned that Randy Rhoads had died in a plane crash. That was pretty much the turning point where I decided I had to be in the music industry. Strange but true.
2. Too many records, too few slots. What data seems to be most important to you when jockeying for an open slot on a radio station and why? Ticket sales? Tour info? Prior success? Retail? Other stations?
Whether or not they share my passion for the music is always step one in the set-up. Nowadays you have stations come in at certain times. There are the leaders that play what they feel their listeners will love and are still able to program with their gut (typically large markets) and then you have others that sit on their laurels until you're Top 20 -- the "wait and sees." Far be it from them to step out on something "unproven." And as much as folks talk about wanting local information, they typically ignore it when you give them some so ... it's all about who is passionate.
3. Who do you consider the current tastemakers in the Rock world?
Dave, Ryan, Jolene, Kaplan and Andy -- all Entercom/Seattle, Kevin, Lisa & Gene at KROQ, Mike Karolyi WCCC, Pennington at WRIF, Bob Edwards at KQRC, Nerf & Bailey at KTCL, Randy Hawke WJJO, Larry McFeelie KUPD, James Howard at DC101, Troy & Zigz at WBUZ, Dave & Steve at WIYY, Gregg, Jeff R, Lou & Will at SiriusXM and there are more who will now hate me cuz I did this too fast and kept it to local programming. So happy to have Jim Richards back in the fold.
4. It has become apparent that in this research-driven time, records are taking much longer to "test." How do you go about making sure that your record will be given a fair shot?
I stay on top of spins and bitch like there's no tomorrow. Ask anyone.
5. What artists are you currently working with and how are you approaching the plan for their success this year?
I'm starting off by letting everyone know that I'm completely obsessed with our new band, Beware of Darkness. They're all that and a Vivienne Westwood dress with Louboutin heels. They were just crowned "AWESOME" at Sunset Sessions Rock.
6. Every promotion person has a record close to their heart that for one reason or another never broke through, "The One That Got Away" ... What is your "One That Got Away" -- and what did you learn from that record?
There are too many at this point that I've been heartbroken over. Usually the band's music is ahead of the curve or "challenging" because it doesn't fit the proverbial mold.
7. What are the most important tools/resources you use to stay on top of the Rock formats' growth and constant daily changes?
YouTube, because that's how the kids find music now..... KIDDING! I look at ratings on All Access, Mscores, online research, YouTube hits, station website postings. Is there a growth? I'm feeling like some places are painting themselves into a corner they're so boring.
8. The lost art of artist development. What do you do to ensure your artist is building a career as opposed to just breaking a song? And does it even matter anymore?
Career artists are the best thing in the world! But it all starts with band and management. If they don't have a clear picture of who and what they are themselves, they're in trouble from the get-go. I'm around to communicate that vision to the folks who speak with the public and can help facilitate it.
9. Are you finding that today's "baby" bands are getting a fair shot at radio and, more importantly, are they being given the airplay they need to break through to the masses and be recognized?
Some definitely are and others are not. There are a lot of throw-away bands out there so you have to be unique in some fashion. Stations that only play successful artists with a track record may succeed in the short term but they're not embracing the "discovery" element to music ... and they're not growing a new audience for longevity. That's a sinking ship.
10. What is the strangest record you ever worked and what ended up happening to the band?
Maybe Greta in the day because their A&R guy wound up pulling his hair out and going bald, plus he went from being a non-smoker to chain smoking. It was very stressful. Actually, that's happened several times with A&R folks I've known. The office may be stranger than the bands.
In an age of Skype, Facebook and Twitter, how often do you travel and is it still an important way to maintain relationships?
I have a need for human interaction and connection. I do not like doing everything online and via e-mail. It simply takes the heart out of pushing artists. It's COLD, man.
When you're not rockin' out what other music do you enjoy outside your "format"?
Bruno Mars, Eminem, Outkast, Adele.... Sprinkle in some Buena Vista Social Club or anything with Mark Lanegan's voice on it. I could go on.
What was your first concert?
Van Halen on the Van Halen II tour
What was the first album or single you purchased on your own?
Ted Nugent "Weekend Warriors"