Friday, March 20, 2009

To give her the benefit of doubt, she had a lapse of decency...

My two girls, Leilah and Jeordie, went to audition and were one of the last groups to go up for the show Can you Duet?

When Leilah and Jeordie were little, they always sang together. They went on the road with me and Peter. It was a hard life in some instances –being yanked form one school to another, sometimes no school, and having to catch up when they got back.
They were always the odd ones out in all normal growing up activities.
Sometimes I was a famous mom, sometimes not.
What I desperately was trying to do was to keep my family together. Thick or thin, hard times or not.
Always traveling and looking for “a place to raise my children.”
Throughout, the girls would always sing—make up songs, practice ones on the radio, or do mine. I never pushed them into it at all.
Deep down, I didn’t want them to endure a life in the limelight.
The brightest moments career wise, I was the target of people around who were there because of the elusive glow that lures them with promises of warmth and better things. But at its very epicenter—where the star stands—there is nothing.
I didn’t want that for my girls.
“Go to school. Study.” I’ve got to find a home town soon!
But all they knew was “the life”— music and singing together.
Their harmonies from age 5 were close, in tune and beautiful.

Up to present time...
The kids got raised without the benefit of a hometown to be raised in.
Life steps in. Leilah lives in Nashville–writing–with two children.
Jeordie hasn’t found that person yet. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona and plays out most every night.

I’m not a fan of this kind of talent contest.
I’ve got big doubts about motives, politics, and the manufacturing of the new “upcoming” and development of the Roman-arena-spectator-mentality. Judges, spectators and lions.
But I thought, wow, a duet angle, hmmm...
Leilah and Jeordie! Perhaps this is destiny kicking in!

There were some unbelievable obstacles at the last minute—it all happens last minute.
Jeordie flew in last minute, and waded through all the 6 a.m auditions. Then Jeordie flew back to Phoenix to do some shows that night, not believing she had a shot. They found out less than an hour after the departure that she needed to come back for the next round.
Leilah, the more seasoned, having been battered around Nashville for years, remained, standing, waiting in line, holding their places, waiting on this last 17-hour day.
No food, no water. Occasional 20 minute breaks. I won’t go into the inhumanity of these auditions, but my commendations to all the participants that made it to this point still standing, much less performing, it is to all your credit.

Leilah and Jeordie sang a song from a required list and did it beautifully. (I have my ways of knowing this.)
And then one of the 3 judges, a woman, mother, and a singer, who “knows better than” said to my children who just did great, “Are you sure you are from the same gene pool?”

First of all, that expression has been used in humorous set-ups since the 80s. It has been done.
What would this woman have said, if they had not been my children? (And a big deal had been made of them being my children.)
What poison runs in her veins to attempt this?
The other judge, Big Kenny, said, “Momma! did you just hear what I heard?” in defense of Leilah and Jeordie.
But the malice had been done.
Leilah was shaken, but still standing. Jeordie, the younger, didn’t fare as well.
When the defending judge asked them to sing something else, Jeordie in reflex panic mode, I suppose, broke into a song that she had recently written about a chicken, that neither she nor Leilah had ever rehearsed. Leilah stood in horror for a few seconds and tried to jump in.
That’s all she wrote, it was over for them.

The evil deed had been done. It worked.
What motive? Jealousy? Mean spiritedness, to say the least.
It is the kind of deliberate vengefulness that stops another’s survival.
Destructive criticism is intended to derogate.
It’s not criticism for getting someone to do better.
Valid criticisms in art and music are ones that can clue an artist on how to do better. Otherwise, it’s authority taking unfair shots at a victim.
Naomi Judd, shame on you.
To give her the benefit of doubt, she had a lapse of decency.


  1. I'd like to say it was bad judgement, but it's Nashville as I've seen it. It's like DC; if someone is up, someone else is down.

    We were playing at the Roy Acuff Theatre in a sponsored contest with judges from the industry after weeks of local contests and it came down to our band and a saxophone player without a band blowing high notes. One judge from a famous but won't be mentioned record label deliberately zeroed our scores on his sheet while the others gave us the win. It was enough to change the outcome and on TV with millions watching. I got calls from a lot of people including the guys in the soundtruck that 'we wuz robbed'. The judge wanted a new star that fit his ideal demographic and we were in the way.

    And so it goes.

    If one has bad dharma, one gets a Karma Deficit Card: Don't Leave Home.


  2. Leilah and Jeordie both have beautiful voices. I guess it's hard to open yourself up to that kind of bullcrap. We all know they are extraordinary. Who cares what those dumb judges think.

    Love and kisses,

  3. Bravo Melanie for writing this. And Bravo for your daughters for doing what they did.

    I had the pleasure of hearing Leilah & Jeordie sing on the Precious Cargo Tour here in Netherlands in 1994 and just this week I listened to a recording of that and I was again blown away and totally moved by the uniqueness that all of your voices share. How they blend together is totally genes!

    I do think it is jealousy that made her say it:
    she can not stand it how well they sound!

  4. Ah Decency - doubt that she has much of that, I wonder how often she stood in line and signed her fans photos, cd´s, pictures, you name it. Unlike you, I imagine she has forgotten her beginings. It is a testament to you and your decency that you continue to do these things and no doubt that your children are a chip of the same block, and to the end you remain able to give the benefit of the doubt, you are the true star..


  5. I'd guess she thought she had to Be Simon Cowell and put some dramatic tension into it for the camera. Unlike my tale, there was nothing in it for her but function. Arlo said at Wolftrap before he performed "When A Soldier Makes It Home" there are two kinds of people: those who give a damm and those who don't, and that over the years and many movements, he found he had more in common with those who do regardless of the issues.

    Some people are "a part of it all" and some are apart from it all. Naomi is probably one of the second kind and in that careless moment, as you say, she had a lapse of decency. It has to be an awful responsibility to be lit by the limelight such that every remark has the potential to destroy, to be Kali or Durgha and have to be fully aware at all times that a single lapse can destroy a life or a career.

    You're wise and you know. You're a Mom and you feel. When my son was born, my Mom said, "Now you'll know what you're made for." My neighbor said, "Now you know how it feels to know there is something you will kill for."

    How awesome it is to be mortals tasked with immortal jobs and how hard even for us who don't stand in the limelight. So for those that do, tough dharma.

    I hope the Brits are treating you well, Melanie! Cheers from Alabama!