In her sharp, witty and terribly entertaining memoir Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be, Jen Trynin – a dazzling singer-songwriter from the Boston area with an ear for hooks – records her rise as an artist and fall from corporate grace.
Trynin once recorded a CD called Cockamamie on her own label, Squint. Soon, she triggered a record label bidding war. In 1995 she signed with Warner who promptly reissued her CD and released the crisp, catchy single “Better Than Nothing”.
Trynin tells us about her courting by executives, her signing, the shooting of music videos, the touring, the recognition and then the downward spiral. There are glimpses of a time when labels were trying to get on the gravy train brought about by the success of indie acts.
Trynin – who has a degree in creative writing – recently told me that the “nitty gritty about the record contract” took her over a month to write. Time well spent: it’s the most fascinating part of the book because it describes how the music business makes money and the enormous potential for record labels to manipulate an artist’s revenues.