Friday, November 27, 2009

048 Cowell Factor: Louis tells me about Jeward's future!

Is Paula Abdul the New Oprah? I hope not. Back in London…I get the scoop from X Factor judge Louis Walsh - about what the future holds for Jedward. What future?! And coming up…who are the most influential artists of the century.

But first, it’s time to check in down at the Fame Games talent bank. I’m a sucker for a good lyrical story - and I found one this week in Nashville, TN, folk singer Laurie McClain. Your song He smiled Like an Angel has it all. Vocally it’s compelling - and you definitely know how to deliver a song Laurie.

Mmmm…I seem to have gone all mellow this week because I also really like Aussie band The Sparkling Arrest. Your song Skyman is really good. It reminds me of the Waterboys - May I suggest something? - Strip it back and do a 3 minute version - you may then have a hit on your hands.

So what’s been going on in Cowell World? Ohhhh - quite a lot - I can tell you!

As Jedwood finally get booted off the X Factor - their mentor Louis Walsh told me they could now make millions - and does Simon wears too much make up?

Listen to my podcast now to hear me talk with Louis!

Now back to the US - and you’re still going on about everything Idol AND X Factor.

Donna emailed me and said,

Tony, I can't figure out whether or not you actually like Cheryl Cole. Because I think your brother is madly in love with her. Body language says a lot and I don't think he'll sit that close to Ellen on Idol next season.

Donna - actually, I do like Cheryl…and I can assure you Simon does too. But look we’re not fighting over her - Simon’s not in love with anyone - except himself.

But yes, he’s very comfortable with Cheryl - and they definitely work well together. As for Ellen and Simon? Mmm…watch out for musical chairs.

And Paula says that she wants to do a talk show. She said, “It would be fun to jam with the band and have amazing guests and introduce different formats on the show.” Mmmmmm - don’t believe it ----is this just another red herring Paula???

So here’s the thing…this week - The British music magazine ‘Q’ launched their Who’s Who of Pop and Rock Royalty of the Century. Bit early in the century but anyway …there’s 34 of them to be exact. And just to be clear, the magazine claims that all 34 artists are there because they are influential, (mmmmm) - and have significantly shaped our musical tastes since the year 2000. OK let’s take a look. The magazine sites Amy Winehouse, Coldplay (yuk!) Paul McCartney, U2, Lily Allen, Kings of Leon, Noel Gallagher - Muse, Snow Patrol, and Mark Ronson,

Mmmm, no X Factor winners then.

I don’t mean to be rude but…it seems to me that with the inclusion of McCartney and U2, the magazine has gone for influential rather than musical achievement. What has McCartney done recently? Also, the best U2 material was like…20 years ago? And if the truth be told - none of these artists are real independents. And why no Blur, or Kasabien? Or even Lady Gaga?

You know what Q? – You’re boring me!

I wanna know from YOU - which artists do you think have really made an impact over the past ten years- and make sure there’s some indie’s in there. Email me at
I’m Tony cowell - and you’ve just heard the Cowell Factor

The Cowell Factor

If you've only got ONE shot at FAME you might as well get it right!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

047 Cowell Factor: Who’s writing today’s anthemic rock songs?

America has spoken, you will boycott Idol. Back in London, Mariah Carey’s on the X factor - with SuBo.And coming up: Who’s writing today’s anthemic rock songs? I find out!

But first, it’s time to check in down at the Fame Games talent Bank. I’ve found Courtney Dickinson. Just love your song Falter. You are a little Taylor Swift - but how bad’s that? More songs please Courtney. And someone else whom I’m desperate to hear more from is Nashville’s Michael Estok. I’m soooo impressed with your song Burning Bridges. Brilliant vocal - love this song. Very, very impressive.

So what’s been going on in CowellWorld?

The battle hots up as Idol winner Kris Allen goes head-to-head with runner-up Adam Lambert. Kris's album hit the stores on Tuesday, six days before Lambert's. Who will win the chart battle? Well…different audiences I think - but hey you know what? - I’ll forgive the Script cover - because at least Kris has written most of the tracks himself. And I’ve got tell you…I really like what I’ve heard. I genuinely hope he does well.

So…it’s official - you will boycott Idol. Your emails prove it.

Ann says:
Yes, I will boycott American Idol. The show is nothing without Paula. Randy is a great guy, but let’s face it, without Paula & Simon, he’s nothing. And Kara who?? She has no personality, no charm and isn't even remotely interesting. Ellen has absolutely no business being on this show she is simply not qualified. BTW, that picture of Simon and Paula is so adorable! :) Tony ... I think they were always in love and always will be.

Ann - you’re breaking my heart!

So here’s the thing…John Lennon said, Song writing is about getting the demon out. It's like being possessed. You try to go to sleep, but the song won't let you.

While Lennon was indeed responsible for writing some of the greatest songs ever, I couldn’t help but wonder…who is writing the big anthemic rock songs of today?

There are no rules for writing great songs. But what you do need is inspiration. And…so I’m told…the only two inspirations for great song writing are Love and Death. Mmmm.

The term "anthemic" means music with an emotive connotation to it. Huge, euphoric stand alone tracks that make you hold your lighter in the air and go all dewy-eyed.

These are the songs that if you only wrote one - it becomes so huge you could live off the royalties forever.

In the past it would mean songs like Hey Jude, The Who’s My Generation, Bowie’s Starman, U2’s One, Lynard Skinard’s Freebird maybe. But this is all rock history. Rich history I admit. But who’s writing today’s rock anthems? And will they stand the test of time?

Well…I guess Oasis need a mention for Wonderwall.

But for me…Snow Patrol leads the way when it comes to contemporary rock anthems. Chasing Cars is an s good as it gets - though the song may well prove to be a ball and chain around the feet of the band. And what about Coldplay? Is Yellow a rock anthem? Probably yes. But I don’t know what it is about this band - but I don’t like them.

Still, a band that I’m convinced will stand the test of time are The Killers. My god…don’t you wish you’d written a song like… All These Things that I’ve Done. ‘Cause you do. And you can. Just remember the other John Lennon quote about song writing. Where he says…“One night I spent 5 hours trying to write a song that was meaningful and good, and I finally gave up and lay down. Then, 'Nowhere Man ' came to me, words and music, the whole damn thing, all in one go.”

Now there’s inspiration for you.

I’m Tony Cowell - and you’ve just heard the Cowell Factor

Email me and tell me who do YOU think is writing today's anthemic rock songs:

The Cowell Factor

If you've only got ONE shot at FAME you might as well get it right!!