…and editors, arrangers, engineers, layout designers, cover artists, and everyone else who is involved behind the scenes to make the artist look their absolute best.
Recently on Pandora I was presented an “unplugged” version of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles”, with just her and her piano. It was interesting. It was likable. But it just wasn’t the same. It was like listening to a friend performing their cover of a pop tune on the choir-room piano during lunch.
Somebody heard the raw potential in the song and decided that strings in the background and percussion would give the song just the right touch, but keep the piano, because that’s her signature. Bam! A hit was born. The strings make the song, to me. It adds a sweeping urban feel to the whole thing that changes the song from naively sincere to passionate and sweeping.
A good producer can do that. A good editor can look at a novel and realize certain elements of a novel are out of balance, and while they may not be able to tell the writer how to fix it, can work with them to tweak the manuscript until the right balance is achieved. Some editors were writers themselves, others just realized that while they can’t write, they can spot the potential in other people’s writing.
There are people out there who may not have what it takes to be the front-man, the star, the best-selling writer, but know how to get other people there. They seldom get any credit, but they get plenty of satisfaction, and hopefully a good cut of the profits. We need these people.