June 07, 2011

Jimmy Lloyd is Ready For Prime Time

By Lavinia Jones Wright

Jimmy Lloyd

Jimmy Lloyd

The Jimmy Lloyd Songwriter Showcase, a live musical performance show shot in high resolution and formatted similarly to a variety show or even the BBC’s Jools Holland, is the brainchild of local New York songwriter and scenester Jimmy Lloyd. He built the show from the ground up as a vehicle for spreading the word about the incredible talent he saw on the New York singer-songwriter circuit, and it turns out viewers of the show agree with Lloyd; the music is great and with just a handful of episodes in the bag, the show has grown to air on NBC’s digital channels in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. in addition to New York. So far, the likes of Jeffrey Lewis, Michael Imperioli, Adam Levy and Johnatha Brooke, as well as Lloyd himself, have been captured in the show’s live venue setting, and Lloyd has plenty more artists coming up on his docket. And as if all of this wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Lloyd has a reality show based around New York songwriters in the works as well. It’s a far cry from where his career was when it took off with the polarizing video for his song “Cop Bar,” which made Lloyd into a viral success, but Lloyd is quick to point out that all the affirmation he’s finding is due to hard work and determination. And a little bit of clever media management.

You can view episodes of the show and find out more at www.JimmyLloyd.com.

How is the show going?

The show is going really well. We just shot two episodes with Ari Hest, Danny Ross and Kathleen Smith. In a couple of weeks they will air on NBC in the four cities; New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

I recently saw a trailer for your reality TV show, how is that coming along?

Yes! We’re also working on a reality TV show. The overall concept is to develop televised platforms to bring credible attention to singer-songwriters.

It seems like you’re devoting a lot of your time to the shows, is that at the expense of your music?

No. To be totally honest with you, the entire premise for this show is to effectively gain exposure of the music on behalf of the singer-songwriters and myself. The process has broadened my horizons by allowing me to meet other songwriters and consequently, that has strengthened my songwriting. I believe that strengthening is projected in my latest music. The process is symbiotic; you get what you give.

When did you first start writing music; what was your trajectory?

Well that’s a really wonderful question. I believe I came into the music industry late; however, I’ve been writing songs since I was about fifteen years old. I’ve been in a few bands, but I’ve been lyrically driven more than anything. I love all the great songwriters, like Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. It wasn’t until year 2008 that I decided to hire a producer and record an album and while I thought the project was pretty good, I soon discovered that making the album is the easy part. I was ignorant to all of the business associated with an album or television for that matter.

Did you believe it would be possible to build your television program in this current entertainment industry climate?

Yes absolutely! While there are many challenges at work, society has adapted a “do it yourself” ethos that allows you to eliminate some of those challenges. We were completely ignorant to media and business when we embarked on this endeavor. The entire process was completely organic. Gone are the days where people seek to discover you, you have to seek them.

So what characterizes a successful songwriter of today?

Well I don’t really feel qualified to define how someone succeeds overall; I can only give insight about certain songwriters that appeal to me and ultimately have something to say. Songwriters who deliver an honest message in a way that expresses their individuality appeal to me because ultimately, no one out there is doing something that someone hasn’t already done. I don’t think it’s possible to succeed without being honest in your songwriting and in your life. The audience is tired of the falsified images marketed to them that project stereotypical images of what is good. The new audience is much more sophisticated.

Did you ever see your singer/songwriter profession becoming an avenue by which you encourage other songwriters?

No. However, I had an inquiry about power associated with access to media. I had a notion of what it could be, but was amazed by what it meant to other people. You have hundreds of people who want to be on this program and you’re picking me. Having that sense of appreciation reflected back at you really hits home. Something of quality with that amount of accessibility can’t fail.