Branded "Old and Ugly" by the Press, Veteran Singer Collette McLafferty Reclaims Her Voice, One Headline At A Time
Working Performer Standing Up to Lawsuit Preventing Her from Singing Pink's Music In Concert
WIth over 1000 shows under her belt, a nod from MTV, and a worldwide, if cultish, fan base, Collette McLafferty is truly a music "lifer." In an industry that brings new challenges with every year, the goal of the lifer is always the same: keep working and keep your audience happy.
McLafferty, 40, was thrust into the national news when she was unexpectedly served with a $10,000,000 lawsuit for her services as a "hired gun" in a Pink tribute band called Funhouse. She was paid $75 for the show, accrued $3200 in legal bills with 13 allegations (including one that stated she was "unattractive") against her in a 112-page complaint. She never met the Plaintiff (who's name she has no reason to mention), but does confirm that he is a former drummer who became a Personal Injury attorney.
When she learned she may be locked into the court system for years, she finally took her own attorney's advice to speak out.
The New York Post requested an interview and actually printed the headline: SINGER SUED FOR BEING TOO OLD AND TOO UGLY FOR PINK COVER BAND. McLafferty was quite surprised to read the headline, "The lawsuit never said I was old and angry...only unattractive."
McLafferty recalls, "Celebrities deal with this everyday, working class musicians not so much." On the positive, it was "good to see Pink's picture next to mine."
Instead of the headline just going away, the "Old and Ugly" narrative made the national newswire and was picked up by Perez Hilton, and over 100 media outlets. Even law-focused publications referred to McLafferty as a "bad, ugly singer" who "ruined the Pink tribute band." Instead of actually listening to Ms. McLafferty's video on youtube, TV Show Arise Xchange reported allegations that "she couldn't carry a tune."
The classically-trained music lifer knew she had one of two choices: crawl up in a hole and hide, or face the music proudly and stand strong.
"40 is a gorgeous age for a woman. I make it a point to mention my age in interviews for that reason. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that my 'window is closing,' I would be richer then Michael Bloomberg. I started hearing that when I turned 27. Guess what! I'm gigging still!"
McLafferty is on a mission to empower lifers of any age, "As a working class musician, I'm constantly putting my name in front of new potential employers who usually do a search on me while reviewing my materials."
She has found some support. Commercial radio station 95.7 KJR spun tracks from her old band edibleRed. Time Magazine posted her singing competition from "Next Broadway Star," where she was one of 7 finalists, down from 6000 hopefuls. Her "MTV Buzzworthy" video "Hey Ya" surfaced on Clear Channel sites and I Heart Radio.
Fellow musician and noted journalist, Marisa Torrerri Bloom connected her with women's blog xoJane.com. Ms. McLafferty wrote an honest, raw and truthful account of her ordeal. Musicians from as far as the UK and Brazil wrote in their support, as did women from all over the world, touched and shocked by her story. After reading her account, the staff at Indiegogo reached out to help crowdfund for her legal bill.
"I felt it was crucial to tell my side, as this can happen to anyone. I also felt a newfound commitment to myself, as it forced me to stand up for myself while national headlines were referring to me as "old and ugly." I had to love myself through all of this. It was the only way I would survive. I think this can help any woman or girl stand up to the face of criticism from the media or society.
As for The Plaintiff, McLafferty bears no ill will, but would like to see an "appropriate outcome" to the situation, "It's hard to say what this seeming very angry ex-drummer might be dealing with, but my heart goes out to anybody who doesn't want others to sing someone else's songs, especially those by an artist like Pink, who sings about empowerment."
As a lifer, Collette McLafferty continues to gig. In addition to fronting both '80s/'90s band, Lavender Steel and '80s jam band, The Fred Savages, McLafferty appears in three films due out this year: "Stiffed," "Occupy Cannes!" and as a high school student on roller skates in "Return to Nuke Em High Volume 2." She was recently cast in a supporting role in "Center of The Universe" a Sci-FI Rock Musical.
McLafferty hopes her story will inspire other performers to stay strong in their "self worth, embrace everything they are, and sing out!" Keep up with her performance schedule at www.lavendersteelmusic.com
Check out Collette McLafferty and decide for yourself at
"Drumming Like a Rockstar" Collette McLafferty featuring The Identifiers
edibleRed, "Hey Ya" MTV Buzzworthy
Collette's empowering interview w/ Dangerous Lee: http://dangerouslee.biz
Collette's indiegogo Crowdfunding campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/p-nk-tribute-legal-defense-fund