After hosting roll-out presentations for two artists near and dear to his heart, Whitney Houston and Carlos Santana, over the past year or so, Clive Davis, Sony Music Entertainment’s chief creative officer and legendary mogul in residence, likely felt the need to reach out to a younger demo on Monday night when he hosted a private showcase for 23-year-old BC Jean at Sony Music’s headquarters in Beverly Hills.
Addressing an invite-only audience of radio programmers, journalists and sundry tastemakers, Davis referred to Jean as hailing from the tradition of Pink, Alanis Morissette and Gwen Stefani — a proven hitmaker (Jean co-wrote “If I Were a Boy” for Beyonce) who could also “deliver” as a performer. Those gathered were then subjected to five songs from Jean’s debut record played at ear-splitting volume, including the single, “Just a Guy” — released Tuesday via iTunes and other digital providers — which was played not once, but twice, before Jean came out and performed a third live, acoustic version of the song with much more forgiving results.
True to Davis’ description, Jean’s voice does morph from Stefani’s baby doll coo to Morrissette’s wronged girl snarl, and if one were to judge by the standards of Katy Perry and Ke$ha’s recent chart successes, Jean might be just the jolt of radio-driven, soundtrack-friendly hitmaker that Davis and the label he founded, J Records, need to stay ahead of the curve in this era of youthful diva domination.
Her new album — being recorded with a host of heavyweight collaborators including “Boy” co-writer Toby Gad, Ryan Tedder, The Matrix, Max Martin, Brian Howes, Zac Maloy, and Howard Benson — is due for release in the first quarter of 2011.