Friday, 30 September 2011

New Era Featuring Lisa Lee Dark

Due to the success of Lisa-Lee's last release, 'A journey of faith', Chris Jenkins, Lisa-Lee's first manager, decided to cash in on her success. He started releasing classical material in the early 1990's, this material was vocal work and instrumental work with a choir and orchestra in the studio, he would usually have Lisa-Lee singing some solo vocal work, so she could be classed as the main vocalist of this group / project.

This studio group / project was hugely successful, but that was mostly down to the fact that the name changed a good few times. To begin with (in 1992) the group were called, 'The KLF', Chris was later asked to change the name as there was already a group with that same name that was successful, so he changed the name of his group to, 'Cappella', in 1995, but was once again asked to change the name for the same reasons, so in 1997 he changed the name of his group to, 'Enigma', but had to change it for the same reasons, so in 2000 he called his group, 'ERA', but had to change it again, so in 2001 he changed it to, 'New Era', but this was only a small EP release, he had no trouble with this name, but as Lisa-Lee was beginning to make a name for herself, he decided to cash in on it and re-name the group yet again, this time to, 'New Era featuring Lisa Lee Dark'.

In 2003 Chris Jenkins put an album together of Lisa-Lee's classical vocal singing, that he owned the copyright to, and planned to release it, unfortunately, the distributor went bust before the release, and a short while later, the record company also went bankrupt, so this release never saw the light of day. This was also the end of this musical group, as Chris began to have health problems off and on before he died in late 2009.

The group are classed as new age, Christian classical. This project was hugely successful as the group managed to sell over 2 million records worldwide, although everyone believes that it was mostly down to the name, most of the people who bought these records most likely thought they were buying another bands album, Chris claims that he didn't realise that his studio group had the same name as another band, already successful and selling, but Lisa-Lee says that he did it on purpose, most of the sales happened online, and when they went into record shops, the albums usually ended up with the original bands, so people were duped into buying it. This project made Chris a wealthy man, but Lisa-Lee was just paid as a session singer with an extremely small percentage going into a trust fund, that later on went bankrupt, leaving Lisa-Lee with nothing.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The last dance album

VIP international records decided to go back on their word / agreement with Lisa-Lee, she was supposed to release 3 albums with other projects, and then begin releasing her own solo material, but the MD's at VIP decided to re-start Lisa-Lee's deal, with her spending at least three more years / albums being released as free give aways with another project / album; but Lisa-Lee couldn't afford to do that, as she made no money from the first three albums, she just had studio time and she couldn't afford to not be earning for at least three more years, so Lisa-Lee asked them to terminate her recording deal; this was upsetting for Lisa-Lee as she had worked so hard to get her first deal, but Lisa-Lee had no guarantees that the MD's wouldn't just keep doing the same thing, they broke their promises to her and she no longer trusted them.

Before the contract was officially over Lisa-Lee had to do one more release, the record company wanted to prove to Lisa-Lee that she wasn't good enough to be a solo artist, so they allowed her to create her own album, even though it would be another free give away, they believed that it wouldn't sell many copies, but they were wrong!

In 2002 Lisa-Lee released her fourth and final dance album, 'Asia', Lisa-Lee was very clever with what she did, as she used dance songs that had an Asian musical influence, this proved to be a winning thing because the football world cup was going on in Asia, so her little free album got radio airplay on its own; when critics were reviewing the main dance music compilation album, they went on to review Lisa-Lee's free album, they recommended that people should buy the dance compilation album, just to get a copy of Lisa-Lee's album.

The record company were taken by surprise, there was demand for Lisa-Lee's album, so they did start to sell it as a solo album, but only through the record companies own website, they missed a great opportunity by not relaunching it and selling it as a solo release, the album (Asia) had the ability to be a big hit on its own. Asia went on to sell just over 30,000 copies, this turned out to be the record companies most successful release, it would of sold a lot more if they had marketed and promoted it as a solo release, but they refused to, which shows why they went bust a few years later. Lisa-Lee believes that it was because of her weight issue, she hadn't lost any weight even though she was trying, but there was a lot more to it than just losing weight, it wasn't that simple for Lisa-Lee.

After the success of the album 'Asia', the record company wanted to do something for the victims and survivors of 9/11, they asked Lisa-Lee if she would be prepared to do a small charity release; they wanted to release some recordings of hers that she made as a teenager, singing Christian songs. This EP was titled, 'A journey of faith'; this was only released on cassette through mail order, all the money went to the 9/11 appeal; even though this was only a mail order release it shifted over 45,000 copies. Lisa-Lee believes that the record company only released that EP to get some free and good publicity for themselves.

From 1999 - 2002 Lisa-Lee sold around 100,000 records for VIP international records, the success of the last release showed Lisa-Lee that it was time for her to return to her musical roots and go back to classical music.

Monday, 19 September 2011

The first three releases

After signing her deal in 1998, Lisa-Lee had to wait until late 1999 to release her debut solo dance album, this gave Lisa-Lee time to prepare this first album and start the next two releases. The first three dance albums were classes as give aways, they came free with a dance DJ / producer mixed album, this was a way of slowly building up Lisa-Lee's profile in the dance music scene and with the national press. Lisa-Lee felt that this was a good idea, as it meant that she could slowly expose herself to the media, she felt that if she rushed with promotion and did a lot of it, her story could be sensationalised and become tacky, Lisa-Lee wanted her story to be told carefully, as she was helping to educate people, to get them to understand that gender is not such a taboo subject and it's not as black and white as alot of people believe. This also gave Lisa-Lee the chance to come to terms with her own condition, plus it gave her a chance to see how the media works, it turned out to be a good and educational experience.

The debut release was titled, 'The unknown story of Lisa-Lee Dark', a clever title, as not only did it refer to Lisa-Lee's medical condition (CAH), but it also refered to her musical career, as no one had heard of Lisa-Lee Dark in the industry, as she had been a session singer working on original material, and doing 'cover' versions of other dance hits, but by perfectly mimicking the original singers version. This first release was released twice, firstly in 1999 with some of the money going to different charities and again in 2000, but none of that went to charity. When the album was first released it didn't do very well, it didn't get above the 1,000 sales mark, but everyone felt and believed that it was partly due to it being released late in 1999, when absolutely everybody was releasing material. When the album got re-released in 2000 it went on to sell just over 9,000 copies, meaning that this album sold a little over 10,000 copies, not too bad for a very small independent record label.

The second album was titled, 'MM:- The story continues'. The story that Lisa-Lee was getting across was all of the songs she had copied and how different she could sound. This album was released in 2000 and sold an additional 10,000 copies. The third dance album was titled, 'Pray (forever), this was due for release in September 2001, but the timing clashed with the terrorist attacks on America (9/11), it turned out to be hugely difficult to promote this release as the press were focusing on the 9/11 attacks. This affected the sales of this album as it only managed to sell half of what the first two releases had achieved, it sold just 5,000 copies.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Solo recording deal

In 1998 Lisa-Lee signed her first solo recording deal, it was for an amazing $5 million, although the deal wasn't as good as it sounds. Lisa-Lee signed a few deals, one with VIP international records, a publishing and promotional deal and on top of that, a small deal to record classical / opera arias for TV and film soundtracks, and work on new original material and do voice over acting work; the future looked good for Lisa-Lee.

Lisa-Lee wasn't able to start releasing material until the next year (1999), due to her first recording deal, but that would soon be over. Lisa-Lee was determind not to lose her weight before getting her deal, she wanted to create a posative image and show people that you didn't have to be super skinny or look like a 'bimbo' porn star to get a recording career, or to release records. The record company were fine with this, provided that Lisa-Lee did try to lose weight later on.