L.A. Reid: I lost a lot of money
Music maker, record executive, L.A. Reid in some ways has worked with or helped to shape the careers of Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, Usher, Toni Braxton, Pink, Whitney Houston, Justin Bieber and many others.
Though Reid has discovered and made successful careers of many, he finds mentoring the contestants on The X Factor a bit more challenging. “Mentoring is harder. When you are judging, you‘re taking what these contestants come up with and telling them that you like it or you don‘t and why,” says the three times Grammy Award-winner. “When mentoring you are putting your own creativity on the line. Now you are going to be judged by the entire viewing world and that’s tougher.”
Reid also finds that there is one disadvantage to mentoring. If the audience does not like a certain performance or style, it is not only a strike against the contestant but the judge as well. “If you are emotional and sensitive, that’s very difficult,” he said. “Mentoring is the toughest.”
The former CEO and president of Arista Records and Epic Records has earned his crown in the music industry and is now on a search to find that one individual who has that special something that stands out from the crowd to be a mega superstar and the winner of season 2, X Factor.
When the groups were initially assigned, Reid who received the Over 25 Group comprised of Jason Brock, Daryl Back, David Correy, Tara Simon, Tate Stevens and Vino Alan was very disappointed. He openly shared his frustration but later evolved to embracing his acts and their potential. “I am going to do my absolute best to win,” he shared.
The competitiveness that was evident in season 1 is back and money is on the line. Simon and Reid are betting big and they both have something to prove. Simon wants to continue being the best while Reid wants to dethrone him. In season 1 L.A. lost a personal bet with Simon and is now determined to recover the money he lost by winning season 2 of the X Factor. “I lost a lot of money because I bet him personally,” L.A. shared. “I lost, and I‘m going to bet again and win.”
Each judge brings different personality and style to the show. Simon Cowell is the mean and competitive one, Demi, kind and loving; Britney is becoming more like Simon’s twin while L.A. has adopted the nice and friendly personality of Paula Abdul. He is way too nice this season, and assures us that if he is around for season 3, he will be tougher and meaner. “I’m going to turn into a real mean guy, because I don’t like this nice version of myself.” it is ironic that he is one of those people who despises nice people, yet he’s the guy in that mode. Reid added, “I want to be mean. I don’t like seeing myself in a nice mode.”
Reid thinks it would be great if everyone on the panel was mean and constantly in fighting mode like the judges on American Idol. In recent reports, Mariah Carey and fellow Idol judge Nicki Manaj were feuding, so Reid took the opportunity to make a subtle swipe. “It would be great fun,” he says. “I have a feeling there‘s another show that’s coming out where the judges hate each other. It‘s going to be amazing.”
The story-telling and mini documentary format of The X Factor has pushed a lot of contestants in the spotlight. It has a huge appeal to the reality TV audience and the younger generation. However these are important back stories of select contestants on their journey to the competition. “Those stories are facts of life. They‘re real stories,” L.A. stated. “They are not made up. These people are not cast to tell sad stories, but I think they are real facts of life that we find interesting and that we like.”
In our interview with Reid, he assured us that the background stories have no bearing on the decisions of particular contestants. Citing Freddy, the overweight wheelchair contestant as an example. “It doesn’t matter to me if Freddy couldn’t get out of the chair because he was overweight,” said the LaFace co-founder. “I get that, but I‘m not going to give you a yes because you can’t get out of a chair. I‘m going to give you a yes because you have a heavenly voice or because you have an amazing presence or whatever it is that may compel us to say, yes.” In a nutshell, L.A. does not subscribe to the sob story. “Absolutely not, but I like listening to it,” he said.
L.A. has been highly credited and praised for Justin Bieber’s success. And like Britney, Justin began his career at a very young age and has become teen heartthrobs. However, the transition from teen to adult can be very difficult as in the case with Britney Spears who experienced first hand, openly and was the subject of public ridicule for her meltdowns. Now she has transitioned into a mature adult artist and breathes fresh air in her career. Both artists have similar paths and this may also be a difficult period for Justin if not managed carefully. Reid believes that Justin can learn from Britney by making great music and keeping busy.
Although Rihanna and Justin are two of Reid’s most rewarding artists, passing on Lady Gaga has been one of his major regrets. When he signed Gaga, he did not like the music that she recorded at the time. “There are moments when I regret it,” he said. The multi-Grammy winning superstar was later signed to Reid’s close friend, Jimmy Iovine. According to Reid, Gaga was the only person who became a star whom the music expert dropped. And he is confident it will not happen again. “That’s the only time I‘ve ever dropped anyone that became a star. They tell me if I stay in the game long enough that it will happen again.” Reid added, “She ended up in the right hands.”
There are no shortcuts to success, and the X Factor’s platform clearly demonstrates that. The $5 million contract to be awarded to the winner over a five year period, puts in place all the pieces for a successful career. “On The X Factor or any other TV competition for music, our job isn’t to microwave people into success,” Reid said. Their job is to identify people who they believe can have success, “But it doesn’t mean we‘re going to shorten the road,” he said.
Melanie Amaro, season 1 X Factor winner, Marcus Canty and Astro are signed to Reid’s record label. Rachel Crow has been signed to Columbia Records while Reid’s label is currently in talks with Josh Krajcik. “They‘re all very talented people, but make no mistake, we‘re not offering any allusion that we are going to make overnight stars.”
Live shows are generally more nerve wrecking than taped shows. “People who work in television have often told me that if you walk out, and you don’t have a little nerves, then maybe you are overdoing it, or you‘ve done it too long,” Reid shares. “When I walk out, I‘m very nervous, which means I‘m very healthy. It‘s good nerves.”
Reid understands the sacrifice and hard work it takes for these contestants to reach any level on the show. Participation is key in advancing his contestants and revealed that he would not have been such a good contestant. An X Factor performance by Reid would be a Prince mini concert with repeat performances of “When Doves Cry.” Reid jokes, “I would win. I‘d be a one trick pony and would do one song, When Doves Cry.”
By: Daedrian McNaughton | Premier Guide Media