Jonas Brothers Manager Johnny Wright Puts Up-and-Coming Talent 'On the Spot' in New Web Series
By Steve Baltin Posted Feb 23rd 2011 03:15PM
When it comes to spotting pop music, Johnny Wright's track record is one of the best. Now, the man that helped launch the careers of Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and the Jonas Brothers is ready to prove that to the world with his new Internet talent search, 'On the Spot.' PopEater spoke with Wright about the show, why the Jonas Brothers would be good mentors for young talent and how boy bands have been vindicated.
What do you hope to achieve with 'On the Spot'?
It's like Britney coming from Kentwood, La., and Justin coming from Shelby County, Tenn. Had their parents not had the means to be able to bring them to the auditions in Florida for Disney's 'Mickey Mouse Club,' we might not have ever seen them. There are plenty of talented kids all over whose parents don't have the means to go off to these auditions for 'Idol' or go into the main cities to be able to become part of something where they might be seen by people like me. So, financial means has nothing to do with it, as long as you can get in front of a camera and upload a video and send it to me.
Now you have access to me where you might not have been able to because of the situation you're in. The other aspect of it, because it's the internet and it's interactive, there will be times where I will call to fans to upload videos about things that they see in the process. I'll actually get to see and hear the people that are following their process with me and get their feedback.
What kind of project do you hope comes from this?
One thing I do know is I will not be putting a boy band together through this. Whatever band ultimately comes out will be a mix of singers and musicians. There are a lot of talented singers that are uploading videos that have the ability to play instruments, whether it's guitar or keyboards, and it's definitely something I'm interested in trying to pursue.
It'll probably be about five members, but I've also had this interest in the back of my mind to find what would be today's version of Hall and Oates. There have been a couple of uploads that have come to me of people that if I were packaging that particular act together right now I could make it. The other side is, because there's a lot of intrigue coming from foreign countries, I can really pick people that can be international and be multilingual and sing English and different languages. It could be a whole other language. I'm having a lot of fun looking at these and just being able to go and see different scenarios in my head.
Have any of your acts been involved?
I'll probably ask them to become more involved in what I'm doing in the process of me finalizing my idea of what the band might be. I might end up asking one artist or a bunch of artists to have some of these performers open up a show or something so that I would have an opportunity to see them perform in front of an audience and see how they handle themselves. Then I might also ask them to come in and mentor, where they will just come in and give life experiences. Ultimately, the one thing I don't want is them to be overshadowed by the artists that are already successful because, for me, this is a quest to find the new big thing. I really want the focus to be on the process of who those people are that I'm trying to present to the world.
Which artists of yours would be great mentors?
Obviously, the Jonas Brothers would be great in that position. Ciara would be great, and Aaron Carter would be great. He has expressed an interest in being a part of the show because his story is very unique. At 10 years old, he went to spend the summer with his brother while he was on tour with the Backstreet Boys in Germany. He performed two nights in Berlin in front of 16,000 people and had four record offers the next day. We ended up signing him to a German record label called Yell, and he sold a million records in his first six weeks -- this is a 10-year-old kid. Unfortunately he had a downslide, but now he's back, got himself together, and he's in the studio. Sometime before the end of this year we will drop a new Aaron Carter album and continue the process.
Boy bands have always been dismissed by critics, but is the success of the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block tour vindication for you?
I've always done my process and heard the critics say it's manufactured bubblegum music, doesn't really have any relevancy, shelf life of three to five years and it's over. You take a look at a band like the Backstreet Boys who have been together 18-plus years and are now getting ready into the seventh album, and how can you say that? The fact is, they're a curse of their own success. When you're a band selling 15 million records an album and now you drop down and you sell 3.5, oh it's over. OK, how does that 3.5 measure up against the rest of the music community right now? The Backstreet Boys, with no hit record at all, can still go to Japan and sell out three Osaka Domes at 30,000 people apiece because they've left a lasting impression.
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