Once upon a time, I was an artist. I made music because I had to–because it was just in me to do so. There have been a lot of obstacles, stumbling blocks, divine interventions, manic conundrums, and curveballs that have sent my art, sometimes spinning, in a variety of directions over the last few years. Those of you that follow my career closely, have had an eye out for a new record for two years now. Where is it? What happened? I’ve been fielding a lot of questions recently about why I “won’t” record a new album or why I’m not releasing songs like “Love in L.A.” or recording songs like “Deathbed.”
Well, I’m going to tell you. Several years ago, I signed a recording contract and a separate publishing deal with a company called EchoXS. They were a young company, and I was their first artist. I became friends with the two guys that started the company and trusted them implicitly. They believed in me fiercely and knew that I could write and record an album that they would be proud to put out. I did. It was called “The Fire and the Flood.” To date, it is my proudest work and I poured literal blood, sweat and tears, along with black eyes, cancers and foreclosures, deaths and addictions into that record. It didn’t end up sounding like the record I thought I would record when I signed with them, but it sounded beautiful and we were all very proud of it.
Very long story short, the record didn’t get the love and attention it should have. Blame that on me for not blogging/vlogging/promoting it enough, or blame it on the label for not getting it the proper promo, airplay and press, or blame it on the record for just not being good enough or mainstream enough, but for one reason or another, it didn’t produce the response that EchoXS was looking for.
At this point, the guys at EchoXS had me demo my entire back catalog of over 150 songs and they copyrighted and entered all of that material into their working catalog. Although we moved forward into EP 2 and Album 2 for the last two years, in February, EchoXS decided to end our relationship and set me free to pursue whatever type of musical career I wanted to. However, they retained control of my entire catalog. They did offer to sell me this catalog for what they have in me as an artist, but that amount is well over what I could currently afford to pay them. Having decided not to attempt to purchase my catalog from them, they have expressed to me, that they currently do not wish for me to record or release any complete song from my catalog. They also decided not to release the finished EP or songs from the second album at this time.
So…as you see, that is a tough one. I felt kind of confused about what to do. I was happy that they were setting me free, because there was so much I wanted to do outside of “the songwriter Leticia Wolf” umbrella, but I was overwhelmed by the idea that everything I had ever written in my entire life now was not truly mine anymore. I felt kind of sad that EchoXS had decided not to release my second album or EP, but I understood their reasons for making that decision. I also felt disappointed, as many of you now feel, that songs like “Love in L.A” and “The New Black” will not be released, and I don’t have the opportunity at this point to re-record them for you. I assume that at some time in the future, I would be able to license these songs from EchoXS to put on a new album, but currently, they have asked me to only release brand new material and not attempt to re-release anything they control. Perhaps they have something cool up their sleeves like a holiday release of this stuff, or maybe it will get used for another artist, or any number of other things like TV placements or movies. Not sure!
As it stands now, I am in heavy, full throttle creation mode. I am trying to write a beautiful “Leticia Wolf” solo record as fast as I can. I will have to record it myself, and I’m sure it won’t have near the polish of “The Fire and the Flood.” Mark Hornsby’s work on that record is incomparable. However, it will have as much love and fire as I hold in my heart and guts and I will have it out to you all as soon as I possibly can.
I can’t even begin to express how much it means to me that my music touches you and you want to hear more. I never started writing songs to “make it.” I won’t ever stop writing songs because I didn’t “make it.” I write songs because its what I do to express myself, show my love, stay sane, make my friends laugh and cry, and because its what I do best. Thank you for your continued support and just know that I don’t take one show you come to, or t-shirt you buy, or kind word you say for granted.
The best way to show your support at this point is to subscribe to this blog, come to my live shows and spread the word about tishimonrecords.com
Much love to all of you!
I have you heard of Casey Stratton? He had a similar situation with his first major label record and blogs about it and now sells all his music through his website. Amanda Palmer is another good example of someone who left labels behind and has used her website and social media to produce records.
Regardless, I’ll give you all the play and shout outs I can. Because you rule. ❤
Thanks, lady. Yeah! Amanda Palmer is exemplary! I appreciate you always supporting me and promoting my music on your blog. Which, by the way, rules very hard.
I really feel like bandcamp is the way of the future. I’ve learned about so many new artists because I was able to set the price for music and know it would 100% go to the artist. Or be able to download free music, buy merch (which they get 100% of) or see them on tour.
Let me know how I can help and I will! 🙂
Can we start any sort of fundraiser for you? To, at least, try to help you buy back what is rightfully yours. I have heard you perform and you put everything you have into your music. I understand the legality of it but it does seem like they have stolen a part of you. Sorry for your loss. I don’t have much but I could definitely make a donation. Good luck with it.
That is so awesome of you to say. Well, I thought about doing a kickstarter to buy the catalog, but I doubt I could raise it all. I’m sure at some point after the guys do what they wanna do with it, they’ll let me record these songs. It’s not off limits forever I would think. 🙂 Anyway, in the mean time, I’m having a lot of fun writing this new record. Can’t wait to share it.
I want to feel mad about the record deal and your music not getting the attention it deserves, except I feel nothing but happy that your music exists in this world. Sad Songs Kill Themselves and self-titled Leticia Wolf are great albums, and I have no doubt the next one after Fire and Flood will sound great. Katie Melua has huge hits and sells out stadiums in Europe but is a relative unknown here. I’m glad I got to see her perform before she gave up trying to crack the American audience. As big as Jonathan Coulton is in the geek/nerd community a lot of them still haven’t heard his music. I prefer metal to country but I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t own at least one Stephen Simmons’ album. And there is Marc Gunn, who I plan on seeing sing at DragonCon. I guess what I’m trying to say is your music is in good company and forget about those who can’t see the beauty in your work.
Fred, you have always been an amazing fan. I read every post you make, whether its on youtube, facebook, here, there, wherever. I love going to Atlanta and knowing that I’ll see you there, rocking out! Yeah, I don’t want major fame anyway. I really just want to make music, so there…I’m doing what I want! Yay! PS…I love Jonathan Coulton. I’ve seen him twice. He makes me wanna write songs about robots and zombies all day.
Love ya Tish. Let’s just write some new ones.
Mark and I saw your blog post and some of your responses and wanted to set the matter straight.
Actually Mark started working with you long before EchoXS was formed. The records (and everything else we did – SXSW, Vegas, LA, Miami, a national compilation release, shows, festivals, major label pitches, TV show hostess pitches, song writing pitches, the Internet, the images and a total makeover of your branding and image) left us in a giant hole. The publishing agreement, like all of them, was for your catalog and a deal you made a long time ago.
When it became evident to all that climbing out of that hole would be difficult or impossible we talked to you about different options. We asked you for your suggestions and you had none. Instead of releasing a new EP, with minimum sales projections, which would have kept you under contract for another 2 years we told you we would not do that. It would have been easy to do and we could have kept the songs you wrote for the next 2 years. Instead we did the “right” thing which included allowing you to go into other areas of music you wished to pursue. You insinuate that was wrong? You are not even close.
The buy out offer once made was only the cash spent on you. What you fail to mention in your blog was that you also received thousands of hours of work on your project that was worth over $500,000 in otherwise billable hours. You had a law firm that did your legal work for your career and personal life, a nationally recognized music producer, an industry leading photographer and, for a time, a national PR and marketing company all on your team. Those thousands of hours could have been spent on other projects, with our families or having a good time. Instead we willingly gambled on you and your career. I guess you forgot about that too.
EchoXS helped you get moved to Nashville, totally built your image and brand, took care of your legal problems, helped you pay bills, and helped you out with a lot of personal issues during those years. Labels don’t do that. That’s not the labels job… but we did.
The offer to just pay back the expenses and in exchange for all recordings, images, domains and publishing was a small fraction of our total investment. Labels don’t do that either … but we did. You declined that offer which was fine.
When we talked about the decision to let you go we told you to bring us any kind of proposal you wanted to discuss. You did not do that. Your first communication on the subject was your blog.
You insinuate our efforts as stealing and affirm responses to your blog that suggests that it was. That is entirely false, and frankly, sad. I always thought you were a brave young woman. Perhaps you will do the brave thing and leave this up in response to your blog and Facebook. Otherwise, you could do the right thing and remove nonsense and set those straight who have been misled by it. It’s wrong and a shame.
EchoXS Entertainment, LLC
John F. Bradley, President
Mark Hornsby, Vice President
I approved this post because I respect our history, JB. I did NOT forget everything that was done for me which is why I wrote a respectful blog that left out unnecessary personal details, even in the wake of a situation that I am not thrilled with.
You have not pointed out any untruth in my blog, but merely projected insinuations on me that I did not make.
I have a deep respect and love for Mark and credit him with developing me as the artist I am today.
I will not air a list of grievances in a public forum to contradict those you have made. The purpose of my post was to inform my friends and fans of why I’m not recording and releasing songs from my catalog. That is all.