Sum of All Totals – in more ways than one

Many of you may know that I have been following the career of a friend in London for the past seventeen years (crikey, is it that long?), whose music I plug every so often and for whom I write reviews when they’re needed.

Well, here comes another plug. Now known as Ziggi Baker, she and her management company have launched a docu-music-video book online, called Walking to a Different Beat. Not only do I have some words in there, but Greg did the whole boot and beat design thing (which, I have to say, illustrates his genius in that department rather well).

If you go here, you will be able to read about what it is the guys are doing; here, you’ll see Ziggi’s page; and here is her story as a DPK (digital press kit). It’s fascinating stuff. Ziggi has been in this business (generally known as ‘show’ or ‘music’) for twenty-two years. Let me repeat that: twenty-two years. Now, the whole thing about this is that she hasn’t gone the way so many do, via the so-called ‘reality TV’ route, not only because most of what they churn out is (let’s face it, guys) crap, but to avoid the negative publicity that goes with it, particularly if a record then sinks without trace. I have had only the most cursory glance at these shows, and that was only because we were round someone else’s flat and they were watching it. Sure, I can see the attraction, and some of the people on there really do have the talent needed. But I’ve never watched any of them since, a) because I have better things to do with my time, and b) because it has to be said that these shows are, by their very nature of building up and then knocking down, morally questionable.

Some people, such as Ziggi, take the traditional route, and that means hard work, a lot of sweat, even more tears, writing her own songs (is that really such a dying art as it seems?) and making as many useful contacts as possible. The guys at the management company work themselves into the ground promoting her, I do whatever I can (um, ta-dah…) and together, we have boxes, files, folders, CDs, DVDs, photos and just tons and tons of stuff to do with her career so far.

I can hardly believe that I was 19 when I first met them, when Ziggi was one half of a duo named January Land back in 1994 (Ziggi, then known simply as Ria, on vocals, and John Conlon on guitar). Since then, the band has gone through many incarnations (lovatux, SD3, babyvader and more), but the one thing that’s been a constant through it all over the years has been Ziggi. Her powerful but sweet (or is that sweet but powerful?) vocals have grabbed the attention of more than one big name (Howard Jones, anyone?), and many producers and record execs have picked her up then dropped her just as fast, with little or (more often) no explanation as to why. It has to be said, I really don’t get it. This gorgeous woman, with looks that give her the power to turn the head of every man in every room she walks into, and a voice that would stop a train thundering along its tracks, has yet to get that big break. Who knows? Maybe an ad slot would help. Amy MacDonald’s This Is The Life on that Fiat 500 Twin Air advert was a stroke of genius, not because she needed the exposure, but because it brought her to the attention of many more people – you only have to look on YouTube and read the comments to realise how many people have come to her music through that song via that ad.

But sometimes, words just fail me. This amazing woman has talent beyond measure. So, to prove it, I’m going to send you to that DPK again and just say this: listen to her; watch her; fall in love with her.

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