Off the Charts: What I Learned from My Almost Fabulous Life in Music

Sutherland House. Apr. 2021. 170p. ISBN 9781989555323. pap. $22.95. MUSIC
Canadian singer, songwriter, and blogger Goldman (“The Disgruntled Songwriter”) provides a tongue-in-cheek guide to the songwriting business, interspersed with moving stories from her life. Her music career includes four albums and the hit song “Annabel,” which was about her grandmother. Goldman writes honestly about her bouts with depression after an accident in which a car smashed into her inside a bagel shop, her struggles to get her albums made, and her songwriting process, and she delves into her life outside of music, including the perils of dating; her move to the United States, where she continued her education; and her attempts at volunteering, at the behest of her mother. Reflections about the music business include her conflicts with collaborators, and her biggest influences—the songwriters of the ’60s and ’70s. Chapters on making it in the music industry are easy reads and cover such topics as vocal warm-ups, self-promotion, stage fright, and how to deal with managers and producers. Goldman also briefly touches on the poor treatment of women in music by some men, without ever naming names. Playful, fluid line drawings from Berkson are interspersed between chapters.
VERDICT Much like her music, Goldman’s book is witty, intelligent, and folksy. A must-read for aspiring performers.
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