When Nick Shymansky, Amy Winehouse’s former manager, signed British acoustic soul singer Liam Bailey to Polydor in 2007, he had to share the excitement with his friend, producer Salaam Remi. A video of Liam singing his song, “It’s Not the Same,” was enough to entice Remi into producing Bailey’s album. So impressed was he by the guitarist’s songwriting that he also signed him to a joint publishing venture with EMI.
While several cuts were released, Polydor declined to release the finished album. Says Remi, “We had a great artist with a great body of work, but no one was going to hear it.” Having been burned by the gauntlet of label politics, Remi decided the solution was to create an imprint, Flying Buddha. Taking Bailey with him was an obvious choice.
The deal was simple. A big part of the contract focused on generously budgeting for studio time, something Remi’s faith in the singer’s talent allowed him to do without reservation. Remi’s confidence was further boosted by Bailey’s “colorful personality.” The artist is never short of songs, he says, “because he’s never short of words. He has that thing—the it factor.”
“Find the right people who’ll
believe in you and be down for
the long haul.”
Bailey’s decision to continue working with Remi was easy, as he had always been a diehard backer of his talent. “It was me, more than anything else,” claims Remi. “He wanted to work with someone who was a clear supporter of his artistry.”
Finding someone who believes in your vision is something Remi advises for all burgeoning musicians. “I signed onto believing in his talent many years ago. That’s why I did the publishing deal with him first. So find the right people who’ll believe in you and be down for the long haul.”
Bailey’s album, Definitely Now, was released on Aug. 19.
– Andy Kaufmann