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PUB CRAWLING: GET IN THE RING

Rachel Platten, Tobias Jesso and Other Writers Who Put Their Dukes Up

Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” now making serious inroads at radio as a Columbia single, is an anthem of determination in the face of great adversity—the sort of hit that lifts the spirits of bedraggled office workers, jilted romantics, alienated teens and anyone else tussling with life’s gloom.

Though the tune seems to have come out of nowhere with its soaring chorus hook and redemptive message, its backstory is one of remarkable patience and—wait for it—determination in the face of great adversity.

Platten was a bubbling-under indie artist in 2011, when Amanda Berman, now at Sony/ATV but then at EMI Music Publishing, met her and was bowled over by her talent and “magnetic” personality. She signed Platten, convinced the young artist/tunesmith would hit paydirt eventually. “I knew we just needed the song,” Berman recalls.

Several trying years of hard work ensued, with Platten attempting to craft a market-ready hit. Berman recalls Platten was on her way to a writing session when she called her publisher at a very low ebb. She was wondering if she should just give up.

“I knew we just needed the song,” Berman recalls.

Berman says she told Platten to forget trying to write a diva-ready heartbreak song and instead delve into the feelings of frustration and hopelessness gripping her at that moment. “Fight Song” was the almost immediate result.

A sync on ABC’s Pretty Little Liars around Christmastime got the track some major visibility, and spins in Baltimore reacted powerfully leading into Grammy week. The major labels, whose prior indifference had amplified Platten’s dejection, now came calling; Columbia inked her over the Grammy weekend and went to radio the following Monday. Berman notes that Columbia’s Joel Klaiman got the song and Platten immediately and has been “on fire” with the track. The moral of the story: If your writer’s feeling dejected, tell her/him to fight. 


Jody Gerson and team UMPG are celebrating after prevailing in the hotly contested derby for tastemaker fave Tobias Jesso, Jr., whose Goon (True Panther) has earned plaudits from the likes of BBC-to-Beats curator Zane Lowe, the Times of both coasts, Rolling Stone and the like. “He’s simply brilliant,” says Gerson. (If you harbor any doubts, take a listen to his shimmering “How Could You Babe” and believe.)

OK, we admit to being suckers for a golden-voiced piano man with influences like Nilsson, Randy Newman, Emitt Rhodes, Leon Russell and Todd Rundgren. But we're obviously not the only ones.

The extremely tall Jesso is but one of several buzzed-about young troubadours who seem to have plugged into the organic, soulful singer/songwriter vibe of the early ’70s; look for another of these to ink a handsome deal soon.


SONGSRon Perry put down the holiday Manischewitz long enough to cheer the progress of The Weeknd’s “Earned It” (now Top 10 at Pop radio) and producers Diplo (Sia’s “Elastic Heart,” the buzzing Jack U f/Justin Bieber track “Where are U now,” added at Z100 and KIIS, and Major Lazer & DJ Snake’s “Lean On,” now Top 10 at Shazam) and DJ Mustard (Urban/Rhythm radio breakouts by Omarion and Kid Ink). All of the above were invited to sit at his parents’ seder.


THE GREAT WHITE NORTH GOES SOUTH

To celebrate the renewal of songwriter Sam Ellis' deal with UMPG in Nashville, pubco staff assembled for this down-home photo. "So, you're from Canada, huh?" noted EVP/GM Kent Earls to the tunesmith (who has co-writes on Hunter Hayes' recent #1 Country set and the new one from The Band Perry among his recent achievements). "Do you know the Rush guys?" Seen craving some maple syrup on their grits are (back, l-r) UMPG's Cyndi Forman, Travis Gordon, Missy Wilson and Ron Stuve, and (front, l-r) Earls and Ellis.


 

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