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VOL. 38 | NO. 5 | Friday, January 31, 2014

Do-it-yourself career working for Lloyd

By Brad Schmitt

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Bill Lloyd was half of the country duo Foster & Lloyd, which had some major label success in the late ’80s and ’90s with hits like ‘’Crazy Over You” and “Fair Shake.”

Lloyd has stayed in the music business with talent, creativity and persistence. He talked with Nashville Ledger about the new world of do-it-yourself country music and marketing.

“It takes a certain kind of personality to do the self-starter stuff. I think that brings a certain personality to the table,” he says.

Q: Back in the day, the record label did it all for you.

A: “Radney Foster and I… we were writing together, and we started getting songs cut. It waylaid Radney’s solo career, and I put mine away. We got signed by RCA, and it was a big deal.

“We were very grateful for that. We were all of a sudden part of a big machine that had relationships with radio and record stores. Our first tour was opening for Roy Orbison.

“He and I were not together in a van for years before it happened. It literally went from staff songwriters to a big act being promoted. We had four singles from that first album that got air play on country radio.’’

Q: And after that?

A: “I was writing songs and other things started to slow up in the late 90s and early 2000s. I was getting fewer cuts. And the solo records, I started putting them out myself.’’

Q: And that was tough because you came in at the start of digital.

A: “Bricks and mortar stores were largely gone. Tower Records was no longer there. Smaller chains are gone now too. The internet has changed everything.

“Chasing down the money on the Internet is especially hard for independent artists.

“The good side is that there’s creative freedom there. But I’ve been lucky, I’ve had creative freedom in most things I’ve done.

“We pick everything – artwork to sequencing to who you work with in the studio. I didn’t have near as much of a problem with major labels carping down on me.

“It’s still cool and it’s still fun, but it’s a big of a struggle for everybody.’’

Q: It seems like there’s much more work to make the same dollar.

A: “Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. It’s a lot of work, and you hope to see the money at the end. It’s difficult all the way around to chase it all down. You spend more time being a businessman than you are as an artist.

“The fun part, in your head, you dream of creating something and have people respond to it. Wow, people like what I do. That’s great. And people build relationships with their fans. That’s a beautiful thing and that’s what sustains you.

“But you’ve gotta have the monetary aspect that sustains you as well.’’

Q: You have to be more creative to make ends meet.

A: “I end up doing a lot of different things to stay afloat.

“I do side work for other bands. I went out with Cheap Trick for several years. Every so often one of those comes through. I do programs for the Country Music Hall of Fame. I do stuff with the First Amendment Center, a program called Freedom Sings.

“All these things bounce around and somehow I ended up surviving.

“I enjoy the fact that I can be creative.’’