2012 Grammy Award nominee Linda Chorney of Sea Bright along with her husband, Scott Fadynich, at the 2012 Cover Girl Grammy Party. Her shirt asks “who the F$%# is Linda Chorney?”
By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
Back in November many people in the music industry were asking “who the F$%# is Linda Chorney?” They wanted to know because she had just received a Grammy nomination for her latest album, “Emotional Jukebox.”
One of the first things Chorney, who lives in Sea Bright, did was have t-shirts made with that question printed on the front.
Chorney, 51, received the nomination in the Americana category, which up until two years ago was part of the Folk Contemporary section of the Grammy Awards.
Chorney was up against Emmylou Harris (12 Grammy wins), Ry Cooder (six Grammy wins), Lucinda Williams (three Grammy wins), and Levon Helm (two Grammy wins). As the fifth nominee in this category, Chorney raised some controversy. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the official company who monitors album sales, has not tracked a single sale of “Emotional Jukebox.” Only two of her five previous albums have had sales at all: one had 15, and one sold 18. It should be noted that Nielsen SoundScan does not track or count CDs that are sold at shows, bars, or restaurants.
So how did she do it? Chorney is a master of social media, and has been able to use the power of connecting with thousands to her advantage. Grammy365 is a social networking site that for $100 allows independent artists to actively campaign for their albums to be considered.
Not having a big label or promoters pushing her music, she was able to work the system and circumvent the divas and dons of the music industry. She focused her attention on Grammy365 on the Recording Academy members who vote in the Americana category, and sold herself.
If you have never met Linda, she is outspoken, not shy, and has a unique but funny way about herself.
This past Sunday night, CBS hosted the 2012 Grammy Awards and as the night approached some in the music industry were calling for Chorney to withdraw from the awards show, while others accused her of cheating and using the system. Some even accused her of riding on the coattails of Bruce Springsteen, who Chorney has appeared with in local concerts on the Jersey Shore.
One big mouth blogger, Bob Lefsetz, claimed that Chorney had gamed the Grammy system and asked if anybody’s listening to her music, has she gained any real fans?
Truth be told, yes she has. Music professionals and radio programmers are adding her songs to the rotation, producers are looking to get her into studios and even big time labels are checking her out.
“I’m the middle-class that got a friggin’ shot, and I got in there,” Chorney wrote on her blog. “And the irony of hearing that people are upset that the little nobody who hasn’t sold a thousand copies of her little album managed to get in there — somebody’s upset about that? Really? You want to just take it all, and not share the wealth? It’s so unbelievable. I’ve been playing guitar for 41 years, working in bars for 30 years. I haven’t made it to that big scale, not because I’m not good enough, but because nobody gave me the break. And Grammy365 gave me the break.”
The truth about her album sales: she has sold more than 10,000 — primarily at the gigs she plays. And she travels all over this country playing bars, music festivals and creating new Chorney fans as she goes.
The 2012 Grammy winner in her nominated category was Levon Helm, for “Ramble at the Ryman.” If Chorney had won, her acceptance speech would have been classic Chorney. “If Depends or Valium are looking for a spokesperson, I just had a nervous breakdown and an accident,” said Chorney.
In response to that so-called music expert blogger Lefsetz, Chorney had a sarcastic response. If you want to read her colorful reply, check out her blog, lindachorney.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/bob-lefsetz-will-you-be-my-valentine/
So what was it like for Chorney following the Grammy Awards?
“I couldn’t be happier! The day after thrill, is more like it! Thank God it’s over! The anxiety of not knowing was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through,” said Chorney. “I hate waiting and I can’t stand not having control over a situation, or being left in the dark. Too much time to speculate.
“Did I think I stood a shot? Yeah, a little. But it sure is nice to come in behind the likes of legend Levon Helm.
“Ummmm, I was the only one that showed up at the pre-telecast. But at least I had the chance to speak with CBS at the Grammys!
Chorney knew and felt that she belonged at the Grammy Awards. “Yes, I still feel I am in that category,” said Chorney. “But for now, I have to return the gorgeous black diamond earrings that The Gold Tinker in Deal so graciously lent me!”
Pop2it gave Chorney an award she did expect. They wrote about all the black dresses that dominated the red carpet at the Grammys. The top five according to Pop2it was Kimberly Perry, Dodds sisters Shauna and Sarah, Adele and Chorney.