For a while there, it might have seemed as if after all the positive publicity that followed his appearances on “The Voice Australia”, Irish born, Australia based Jockey-Singer Robbie Dolan had been lost to the three months of fame that befalls many of those who participate in those television singing competitions.
However, for those who have followed his career know, Robbie Dolan was looking after priorities and making the time to be beside his partner Christine and their prematurely born baby Maisie.
Quite rightly, he had put everything else on hold. Family always comes first.
After overcoming those challenges, there was news of Robbie Dolan back riding a few winners, and now comes his first single, “Stay With Me”- no, not a cover of the Sam Smith, but a new song.
Having a daughter who was fortunate enough to gain experience by working for Simon Fuller’s 19 Management during the early days of the television singing competition called “American Idol” with its carefully cast three judges- Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and the “Mr Nasty” amongst them- Simon Cowell-there’s quite a bit I know about how, especially those contractual pieces, fit into these television singing competitions.
When at EMI Music, we were also trying to get another Simon Fuller project called “China’s Pop Princess” off the ground. Before we could, the idea had been ripped off.
Personally speaking, none of these television singing competitions have never been what they appear to be, nor anywhere near being “cool”.
Are they aboveboard and fair?
Most who decide to enter them, or are hand-picked to be on them would know what lies ahead before, as someone who joined one of these shows in the States described as “dancing with the devil”.
In all the years these type of shows have been around only Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Susan Boyle morning and Adam Lambert come to mind as having made longtime careers of their three months in the sun.
There’s been a helluva lot of good young talent, but for one reason or another they didn’t cause even a ripple with an audience mainly wanting to hear and vote for those singing “the hits”.
It’s a business built around the ratings game and no different to a karaoke session where someone who can do a damn good impersonation of Whitney Huston, Beyoncé, Tom Jones, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran or Judy Garland, Harry Styles- or all of them- wins over everyone.
Trying to sing original songs at a karaoke session that no one else knows is something that doesn’t exactly work.
What’s going to be interesting is to see what Robbie Dolan has coming up.
He is likeable, has a decent enough voice, and it was good to hear bits and pieces of his singing filtering out of the chatter of who was going to win what during Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley with one asking if that was him singing- yes- “The Horses”.
It was- and an appearance on one of the biggest days of the racing calendar was good exposure- in Australia.
The next day, it wasn’t that surprising to hear old friend and horse racing’s grand dame Jo McKinnon mention to Warren Huntley on the sports and racing radio station RSN whether he had heard Robbie Dolan’s version of “The Horses”, and how no one should sing this song except for Daryl Braithwaite.
The now 73 year old Daryl Braithwaite has made this Rickie Lee Jones-Walter Becker song an anthem for racegoers in the land Down Under, and dear Jo has some kind of pride of ownership for the idea of this song being part of Australian racing.
How Robbie Dolan balances out his career as a jockey with a fledgling career as a singer is going to not only be interesting to watch, but also him understanding that appearing on The Voice Australia was great while it lasted.
That was then, now is now, and at a time when most music is not selling, and unless a major artist, music streaming being meaningless, it’s not about being a twentysomething talent performing cover versions of housewives choices like “The Horses”.
If possible, it’s maybe trying to move to Nashville and work with a really good producer and A&R person- and have someone finance this.
Like everything else around today, music is trying to find itself and be relevant again.
To be brutally honest, one wonders if we really know what we want or whether what we already have is more than good enough and to just chill, keep it simple and enjoy the ride with those by your side.