New documentary turns the spotlight on backup singers - KMSP-TV

New documentary turns the spotlight on backup singers

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(WJBK) -

The new documentary 20 Feet from Stardom shines a spotlight on the background singers who've spent years sharing studios and stages with some of the biggest names in music.

While their voices have appeared on countless hit songs, most of these talented singers are unknown outside of the music industry. Filmmaker Morgan Neville says the film shows how difficult it is to make it in the music business.

"It's a story of these artist trying to find their way in the world and they have incredible talent and what you realize is, just cause you have talent doesn't mean you have success and the people in our film have an entire range of experiences and it's the measure of who they are of how they deal of not achieving what they wanted to achieve," said Neville.  

All of these singers tried to move out of the background role.

"I've heard every excuse in the world as to why certain people didn't make it," said Neville. "It was my A&R guy who got busted for coke the week my record came out, the record pressing plant burned down, the record got band in England, there's a lot of bad luck, however that's not it, there's a number of factors."

Making it big today, may be as simple as auditioning for a TV show or posting a video online.

"It's a guy in his basement with a laptop with Protools, which is different but completely changed the economics of it and the record sales are a fraction of what they used to be."

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