mamaloose music

For Immediate Release:

Jackie Henrion
mamaloose music inc.
Direct from Artist to Audience
(917) 359-2034

Mamaloose Music Reverses Scalping for Good Cause:
An Interview with Singer/Songwriter/Entrepreneur Jackie Henrion 

By Kirpal Gordon

17 March 09, New York City

While the music industry struggles with depleting CD sales while raising concert prices, Jackie Henrion, founder of Mamaloose Music, decided to buck the trend.   Unhappy with the "gaming" of concert ticket prices by both promoters and the artists themselves, Henrion teamed up with a local Human Rights Task Force and purchased a block of tickets for a March 22 Joan Baez concert in Sandpoint, Idaho, and gave them away for free.  When wind of her experiment in “reverse scalping” reached New York, I called her.   

KG:  Your attempt to give away free tickets to the Baez concert has caused some heat in the town of Sandpoint.  What happened?

JH: Well, the seats were not exactly free!   The applicants for the tickets were asked to submit an essay, poem or song about Baez and her efforts in support of human rights and how that related to the applicant’s own life.  

KG:  How were the winners selected?

JH:  The winning submissions were selected by the Task Force president Christine Holbert and me.   Holbert, who is also the founder of Lost Horse Press, was so touched by the project that she published a chapbook entitled Rare, Local & Classic.  The title is an allusion to the Baez CD boxed set released by Vanguard under the name Rare, Live & Classic.  The ticket winners then were given an opportunity to read their submissions for a live audience in a restaurant venue, DiLuna's, which also hosts many live, regional musicians.  

KG:  So far, so good.  What brought the problems?

JH: The competition was only open to women.  Certainly Joan Baez has never styled herself as a feminist, but we chose to limit the field to celebrate her courageous voice as a force against injustice and inequality.  We wanted to encourage that inspiration for women in this community.  But we were frankly surprised at the strength of a few isolated but very strong reactions.  One guy told us, “Anyone who thinks that women don't have a voice hasn't heard my wife!”  In the end, however, it turned out be an excellent opportunity for our town to discuss how exclusion feels, especially from the number of women who have felt excluded from all kinds of events.

KG:  How is the ticket give-away related to Mamaloose Music?

JH: Part of my mission when I set up Mamaloose Music was to learn about the music industry.  Given the tectonic changes occurring, it's like watching a loaded freight train derail in slow motion over the course of the last several years.  One of the things that seems totally counter-intuitive to me is the fact that concert prices are now anywhere from seventy dollars on up to thousands for a ticket at a huge stadium venue while the artists attempt these gimmicks that give away their CDs.  I don't get that.  It seems to me that concerts should be an intimate, personal connection and shared vibe with the performer, and then the fans should be asked to support the creation of the CD that takes a huge team to develop and produce.  What's going on now is like sitting at the Mad Hatter's tea party!  So when I heard that Baez was going to perform at a small theatre out in Sandpoint, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to help people actually see her in person and have a meaningful interaction with the event, so we asked them to give something of themselves in order to participate.  

KG: Was there value in teaming up with Christine Holbert and Lost Horse Press?

JH:  Teaming up with Christine was an essential element.  She had the connections with both the local writers and the human rights committees that got the word out.  We couldn't have done this for just any artist, but Baez's commitment to human rights activities made the job easy.  We were pleasantly surprised that some of the most touching works were from women who had never written before but were relatives of writers.  The winners ranged from a a midwife, to a fifteen-year-old student,  to women who had personal experience with abuse and to women who had been inspired by Baez in their youth.   

KG:  Why did you decide to do live readings?

JH:  Christine thought this would add another personal touch, and it turned out to be much more important than I could have imagined.  Most of the readers had never read in front of an audience, and one could feel their nervousness as they shared their memories, wishes, hopes and dreams.  There were a few tears.  One woman, a survivor of abusive relationships, wished that she could win a ticket for her young daughter who suffers from diabetes.  Her piece was so eloquent that she won a ticket for herself and her daughter. 

KG:  Besides holding an MBA and a degree in psychology, I know from your shows in New York that your singing and songwriting are inspired by the example of Baez.  

JH:  She has always inspired me, but as I learn more about the music industry what really strikes me is how strong Baez must be to have bucked the conventions of commercial music to follow her heart to a higher humanity.   I find that most inspiring of all!

Kirpal Gordon is a poet, author and reviewer based in New York City.
(Article used with permission)

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Click to see samples of the chapbook Chapbook1.html