We sit chatting, casually and comfortably, and I like Muff immediately. He is different from many of the music executives I had met … he’s laid back, warm and there are no airs and graces – we are, after all, a brummy and a cockney having a good ole gab over music, whilst supping coke and smoking ciggies (well me, not him). He doesn’t act or look like your typical suited and booted music exec, as many come across as businessmen first and foremost: and while most are friendly enough, some were just a little arrogant, and seemed to revel in the power their office holds over impressionable young artists.
While Muff is a businessman, and I doubt he would have become the VP of Sony if sales weren’t also high on his agenda, he also seems to be motivated by good music first and foremost. Of course I can’t speak for Muff and I don’t know this to be true, but I suspect he’s never signed anything or anyone he didn’t rate highly on a musical level.
Despite Muff’s easy manner, the gold and platinum discs adorning the walls keep bringing me back down to earth with a thump and I’m acutely aware of the weight this meeting carries. Everything and nothing could change as a result of it, which I found both thrilling and stomach-churningley sickening. Like taking an exam or starting a race … that said I haven’t broken into a run since the early eighties.
We continue to sit and chat about music, about how I see the future panning out and the journey I’ve had with Jud. I make Muff laugh occasionally, whether it’s at, or with me I’m unsure. Then all of a sudden Muff claps his hands together and says “Alright then, let’s have a listen shall we?”
It was crunch time. As Muff puts the CD in the system I light up another Marlborough light in order to calm my nerves and occupy my hands. Muff then picks up a magazine and starts to read as the intro to ‘Walking in your footsteps’ rings out through Sony’s 6th floor. This is that song, and it was recorded 15 years ago …
Walking in your footstep
Written by Jud J Friedman / Jodie May Seymour
Produced by Jud J Friedman
Now to be honest, I find listening to my own songs in front of a friend just about manageable. Listening to my songs in front of a stranger I find to be downright cringey. Where do you look? do you get your groove on? are they enjoying it? do I even care?? Aside from just being awkward, having to sit and wait for someone to listen, and then pass judgement on something you’ve poured your very soul is so hard to bear. I realise it’s necessary, but still, it’s hard on us creative ‘soft in the middle’ types. So therefore Muff reading a magazine wasn’t so bad on the one hand because it took the edge off the awkward scenario and I could just look out the window and do my best to not vomit into my mouth, but on the other hand he’s reading a magazine!! why is he reading a magazine??
Halfway through the song however Muff drops the magazine on the desk and is tapping along. I take this to be a a good sign. I later discover the whole procedure to just be a ‘Muff thing.’ I’m not sure why he does it. I’ll hazard a guess that he just finds it easier to listen while doing something else, or perhaps he reads in the hope that the song will be good enough to draw his attention back into the room. Who knows, but as the song comes to a close he simply declares “Now that’s a great song!” I let go of the breath I’ve been holding. We listen through to the remaining four songs then Muff switches off the stereo, swivels his chair to face me and says;
“Well look, I’ll come right out and say it, we’d like to off you a record deal …’
Time seems to stand still, and I feel the blood drain from my face. I had been dreaming of this moment for so long, and I thought it would be one of the happiest in my life … but it just wasn’t. Muff is looking at me expectantly, and I let out a groan as my head falls into my hands?
So here I was being offered a major record deal with Sony and I was sat in silence, looking at Muff with a heavy heart. Part of me was screaming “what are you waiting for?? accept it woman and move forward!” but the other part of me knew that if I wanted a serious career in music, I needed to ‘fess up to how I was feeling, even if it meant running the risk of losing it altogether.