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2004 The end of an love affair - the split with EMI

written by Pat Egan

 

One day last November David Munro the Albums producer and I arrived at EMI Classics office in Wrights Lane to give the company a first listen to the songs from the new album. The Chaiman Richard Lyttleton and all the department heads including Theo Lapp who originally signed the group were in attendance and our great friend Tanja from EMI Germany.

 

I had informed Theo in advance that we had changed musical direction completely on these new tracks. We had decided to go more pop/classical and had introduced some guest on various tracks. David Munro explained in detail the thinking behind each track. The reaction of all present was muted- uncertainty and outright aghast at TV Wars which was only included as a fun track- Celtic Tenors meets The Darkness. Polite remarks were made no up tempo tracks nothing Irish that the Germans would like- over all a very mixed and less than enthusiastic reaction.

 

I made an emotional appeal that this album was the one that would establish the Celtic Tenors across the World etc etc. Including best performances ever by the boys and the inclusion of star guest from Ireland. Release date of Mar 05 was agreed on.

 

Before the meeting ended Barry McCann EMI classics products manager asked when is St Patrick day, which he thought would be good for release- this is the third time he has asked this question not at this particular meeting but also at two previous pre-release meetings for the boys debut album and also So Strong. This lead to believe that the man had not listened to one track on the album which we had just played him. There was nothing Irish about this record, so why request to pigeon hole it by releasing it on St Patrick's day. Did he think the Irish had nothing else to celebrate. David and I went away from the meeting a little deflated- could they not hear or see the potential of Non Siamo- a classic and beautiful romantic song or the commercial appeal of You Raise Me Up the duet with Samantha Mumba not to mention Matthews great performance on Madame Butterfly influenced 10,000 Tears, where were their ears?

 

Barry McCann is a nice man but without a single idea as how to market the group and remember all this happened before the arrival of Il Divo and G4. EMI classics spent almost 200,000Euros recording the album and then proceeded under Barry McCann to totally cock up the promotion in everyway possible by hiring inept and inexperienced promotion people completely against my wishes and without consultation.

 

I returned home completely dissatisfied that we were going down the same road again and I was not about to squander a second chance at making a break through.

 

The next day I wrote a letter to Richard Lyttleton outlining my utter frustration and said one or two things which I later regretted. I offered to refund the financial advance given to make the album and walk away from the deal. This was the end of the Love Affair with EMI.

 

I am confident and happy to say it is a loss they will live to regret.