A very good friend of mine, who is an artist, recently told me that there are two phrases that are the kiss of death for an artist trying to be commercially successful. I found truth in them based on my own experience in working with many different acts.
One: “I won’t write with anyone else.” These are artists that refuse to work with co-writers or accept great songs from outside sources. Very rarely will they have success, or if they do, will they remain successful. Singer/ songwriters like Alan Jackson are the rare exception.
Two: “I’ve recorded the album I’ve always wanted to make.” Which usually means they did indeed make it for themselves and nobody else. That can be great for arts sake, but not typically for commercial appeal. Unless the style and taste of the artist is exactly what the public is searching for. Again, very rare. This phrase can also be heard from artists who are on the way down or just don’t care as much about making music for the lowest common denominator any longer.
I think my friend was on to something. Can you think of phrases from artists, record labels, songwriters and other industry folks that usually are the “Kiss of Death”?