Mike Ragogna: What advice do you have for new artists?
Mac Gayden: Persistence is the whole thing, don’t give up. Even if nothing ever happens, don’t give up. If somebody in the music business gives up, it opens a slot for you. It doesn’t mean you have to make it in the music business. It’s a lifelong dedication to music and it’s the way you’re put together. I don’t think most young artists even look at that. The whole psychology of artists in America is skewed by things like American Idol. It’s unfortunately in a bad way because people don’t think they can make it unless they get a break on American Idol. I just had an artist that I worked with and she just got cut after the first two levels, and she is devastated. She has a tremendous amount of talent. She wasn’t accepted by the panel, but it doesn’t make her less of an artist.
MR: The thing about American Idol is that it’s purely “entertainment,” and I don’t think there’s anything as blatantly on that mission out there. The artistry is going to come from what you feel when you’re performing and creating it.
MG: In the very beginning, people said, “Do you think Bob Dylan could make it if he was on American Idol.” Look, what we are missing out on, all of those great artists that don’t fit a certain mode. It’s basically bogus. There are all kinds of deals going on behind the scenes and everybody in the music business knows that. Americans are watching it saying, “Oh, I love this person,” or “I love this other person.” A lot of times, these people are not nearly as good as these people that would try out for American Idol. Just get out of that kind of thinking. American Idol shouldn’t be a part of your thing, it should be something legitimate.