Friday, June 23, 2006

Talkin' TV and Music with Singer David Isaacs! Plus Friday Fun, Bad News for 2 Shows and a 'Desperate' Game

If you're a huge TV fan, then chances are that you have heard recording artist David Isaacs' music. The singer/songwriter has written and produced more than 250 songs for television and film in his impressive career. Isaacs' music has been in everything from CBS' latest smash hit The Unit to reality hits America's Next Top Model and Cheerleader Nation to NBC's popular Las Vegas and Pass the Remote favorite Cold Case. Since Isaacs' music lands across the television spectrum, he's very familiar with the close relationship between TV shows and music. He says that he really felt the impact after some of his songs were featured on reality shows Meet My Folks and Who Wants to Marry My Dad. "I can't tell you how many people were chatting online about the songs and the singers. We even had someone request a copy of one of the songs for her own wedding! Crazy! Clearly, the music was reaching people and in a way, it broke the '3rd wall' and became a part of the viewer's reality. Obviously, the music was more important to the show than I ever would have imagined," Isaacs says. "In fairness, sometimes the writers feel like their music is just wallpaper for the scenes, but in truth, it really sets the tone for many of the shows. It's that certain indescribable something that makes everything more real."


Isaacs calls his success in television and film "a total fluke." The singer says he has played every club in Los Angeles and has been in several bands, but recently, he has been playing the scene as a solo artist. Along with writing and singing songs, he also plays guitar and piano. In 2000, he released his album Timebomb with his good friend and fellow musician Chris Horvath. His big television/film break came courtesy of some friends in a band called Venice, who introduced him to session singing: a term used to describe the practice where singers are hired to sing on commercials, records, films, etc. One company, Mad City Productions, hired him to sing many of their songs. They were impressed with what they heard, so they soon asked him to begin co-writing with them, and according to Isaacs, "the rest is history." He writes the songs, and then music publishers pitch the songs to production houses, but there's no guarantee that his music will be used. Isaacs says that there's a better chance if a show's music supervisor calls and asks for a specific style. "The combination of writing a lot of songs in many styles, and having good people pitching those songs makes for a lot of placements in the shows or films," he explains. As for which shows use his music, Isaacs says that he doesn't have any say, "but the more the merrier." He doesn't always know when one of his songs will be used, but if he does get a heads up, he'll tune in to hear it. "Because I record with so many of my dear friends, sometime we watch at the same time while on the phone. If I'm not singing one of the songs I wrote, I call the singer and scream congratulations to them. It's not as cool as being on the radio, but it is fun!"


One of the more recent shows to use his music was Cold Case. In a pivotal scene during the April 9th episode, Lilly Rush (Kathryn Morris) had a little too much to drink after a difficult dinner with her wayward mother. An argument led her to step outside the bar to finish her last drink. As she stood there, drinking alone and dodging strange looks from other bar patrons, she decided to pick up her cell phone and "drunk dial" her ex-boyfriend, A.D.A. Kite. During the several-minute scene, Lilly told Kite's answering machine that she didn't want to be alone anymore and she was ready to change. The scene was one of the more emotional of the series, and it showed a vulnerability to her character, something that viewers weren't used to seeing. What gave the scene its extra punch was the song played in the background during her phone call. It swelled just as Kite answered his phone while Lilly was leaving her message, which allowed the "Oh crap!" moment to generate even further with viewers. Isaacs' "The Wait" was that song, and with lyrics like, "I'm waiting for somebody that knows," it was a perfect fit. Thanks to YouTube, you can check out the scene for yourself.


Isaacs didn't write "The Wait," but his close partners did, and he supplied the vocals. Since he didn't write it, he doesn't get a lot of prep time. "On a session like that, I hear the song once or twice, then I go inside the booth and sing it and it's over," he explains. And when shows like Cold Case, that are music intensive, get syndicated or head to DVD, Isaacs explains that he makes the most money off of his work when he has written it himself. The exact pay scale depends on a lot of different factors, including network versus cable and the amount of time that the song plays in an episode, but he says that in his experience, a flat-fee is paid in order to reuse his music in another way, such as syndication and DVD sales.

Throughout Isaacs' extensive career, he has had the opportunity to perform with artists like Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie and Poison's Rikki Rocket, along with doing a session for Eagles frontman and successful solo artist Don Henley. "I am so lucky to have had some great opportunities like those, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't still get butterflies when I do those kinds of things. I am a fan at heart, and I can't tell you how many times in my life I've pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming," he says. McVie, whom he met through one of his producers, Robbie Patton (who co-wrote Fleetwood Mac's "Hold Me" with McVie), asked him to sing back-up on her solo album In The Meantime. "Not only is she an incredible talent, she is an inspiration, and now an honorary member of my family. When she decided to make a new album, she was kind enough to ask me to sing background vocals on a song of my choice. After I did one, she just kept sending more tracks, and soon I sang on about half of the album. What an honor," he enthuses. Isaacs had a similar experience with Henley. He was doing a session for him when he got a call saying that Henley really liked the vocals, but wanted to change a couple of things. The music legend asked Isaacs to come to his home studio to work on them. Isaacs calls the experience "surreal," especially since Henley's home studio included the original mixing board that the Eagles used to record Hotel California. According to Isaacs, Henley answered the door himself and had him work on Eagles-like harmonies, something that had Isaacs feeling the pressure. "But this evening for me defined rising to the occasion. It went great. When we were done, we had dinner together and he shared some incredible stories. It was really cool," he recalls. So, after working sessions with Don Henley and singing back up vocals for Christine McVie, what's next for Isaacs? He's working on a follow-up album to Timebomb, entitled 28, which he hopes to wrap soon. "It's much more rock than Timebomb, but it is very melodic and cool. I have been so busy trying to open doors in the TV world that the artist in me has suffered a bit, but it's time to jump on it again," he explains. He's also considering putting together a CD collection of his music that has been used in television. For now, Isaacs says that he's just happy to be doing something that he loves. "I'm just so excited to share the amount of happiness it brings me to know that I wake up in the morning and write or sing songs for a living. It's not what I had originally intended for a career, but I'm not complaining." To keep up with David Isaacs' career, click on over to his official web site (www.davidisaacs.net), which he will be updating regularly very soon. It has a link to buy a copy of Timebomb, which will be available on iTunes this fall, and it will also have a link to get a copy of his new album 28 once it's released. You can also join his mailing list by sending an email to him at davidisaacs@aol.com.

FRIDAY FUN: SUMMER STYLE
It's trivia question time! Here's this week's question:

Q: The upcoming DVD release of the hit NBC comedy My Name is Earl will feature an alternate pilot episode where Earl gets the karma message from someone other than Carson Daly. Who is this "someone?" HINT: Think 2-dimentional.

If you would like to take a stab at it, leave me a comment. I'll reveal the answer in Monday's edition.


QUICK CUTS

*CBS is putting its new summer reality series Tuesday Night Book Club on hiatus through July 18th. The show opened to only 5.07 million viewers on June 13th and dropped to 4.13 million with its latest airing this week. The network isn't saying whether it will bring Book Club back at a later time. Episodes of 48 Hours Mystery will fill the slot for the next two weeks. In other bad news, Showtime is reportedly cancelling Huff after 2 seasons. No reason was given for the critically acclaimed drama's cancellation and Showtime does not release ratings data, but speculation is that the Hank Azaria starrer didn't fare as well its second season as it did in its first. The finale airs this Sunday, June 25th on Showtime.

*CBS is releasing information on the 15 performers who will compete to become the lead singer of the newly formed rock group Supernova on next month's Rock Star: Supernova. The band features Motley Crue's Tommy Lee, Metallica's Jason Newsted and Guns N' Roses' Gilby Clarke. The winner of the competition will record an album with the group and go on tour next year. The 15 performers come from all over the world, including Iceland, Australia and Canada as well as all over the country. They are: Zayra Alvarez (Dallas), Dana Andrews (Augusta, GA), Magni Asgeirsson (Reykjavik, Iceland), Jenny Galt (Vancouver, BC), Jill Gioia (New York), Matt Hoffer (Chicago), Storm Large (Portland, OR), Josh Logan (Manchester, NH), Chris Pierson (Atlanta), Patrice Pike (Austin, TX), Toby Rand (Melbourne, Australia), Phil Ritchie (Ocean City, MD), Dilana Robichaux (Houston), Lukas Rossi (Toronto, ON) and Ryan Star (New York). Rock Star: Supernova will premiere July 5th, with twice-weekly airings on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. In other CBS news, more than 2.4 million of you in the first 18 hours logged on and voted for who you want to see in the upcoming Big Brother: All-Stars. Half of the 12 contestants in the house will come from viewers' votes. To see which of the former Big Brother contestants are vying for a spot and to cast your vote, click on over to cbs.com. The network will rebroadcast the casting special Saturday night and the All-Stars edition will premiere July 6th on CBS.

*And finally, you love the show and now you have an opportunity to join the Desperate Housewives, virtually that is. Buena Vista Games, Disney's interactive unit, is bringing the hit show to a PC near you and giving you the experience of being the latest housewife to move into Wisteria Lane. Users will be able to customize their look with different faces, body styles and clothing as well as the look of their home. The new computer game allows users to explore the neighborhood in order to unlock all of its residents' secrets. The game isn't expected to hit store shelves until the fall, but TheShowBuzz.com has photos from the game complete with a virtual Edie, Bree, Carlos and Gaby!

To get more of today's biggest TV news and headlines, visit the TV News section at PassTheRemote.Net.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in Monday for thoughts on Sunday's new episode of The 4400 and the answer to this week's trivia question. Plus, all the latest television news!


To get more television coverage, including the network's new fall schedules and a complete archive of the best of Pass the Remote with a photo gallery featuring pictures from the set of Veronica Mars, click on over to PassTheRemote.net.

2 comments:

Scooter said...

For the My Name Is Earl question, I'm going with Daffy Duck.

suekola44 said...

I enjoyed your interview with David Isaacs. Any chance he is related to Chris Isaacs??
I can't even venture a guess on that trivia question! I'm completely stumped!