I spent Sunday morning with Al Walser, the controversial Grammy nominee, to profile him for Billboard. He was very nice and gracious about letting me spend time with him amongst his entourage. He and his wife were cute together, and I admire their commitment to each other amid the chaos of the day. But after my half-day with the dude, I can assure you that there’s little hope for him sticking around the music business. Here’s why…
1. He has the wrong team
Between the personal assistant who didn’t answer the phone or the door and the publicist who actually tried to get me to interview someone else while I was there… Al Walser is surrounded by the wrong people. In my near-decade of working in music, I’ve never seen an artist’s team be so bad at supporting the artist. Especially for big events, every artist needs a manager or an assistant to run the show. Poor Al was stuck corralling people and running logistics while his hired team was eager to soak up the Grammy spotlight.
Meanwhile, he had no control over what was going on around him. There was a German designer who referred to herself as the “stylist,” but was really being filmed for a different reality show (by the same crew); there was the other client of his publicist; there was a pair of Austrian men introduced to me as “security” who were posing for pics in the hotel room. It was a madhouse and so amateurish I almost felt bad for the nominee.
2. There’s something fishy about the song
Usually when you ask an artist about how they wrote their hit song they either launch into an elaborate story about how they were inspired and what it means to them, or they shyly demure and allude to a simple moment where the melody sort of came to them. When asked about his Grammy-nominated “I Can’t Live Without You,” Al Walser talked about the video, immediately getting defensive about it being “low-budget.” It was bizarre.
The song has a credited co-writer, a dude named Paul Sissions. And look, I’m not saying Al Walser didn’t write his song (why would you lie about writing that song?), but for a supposed songwriter, he had a suspicious lack of things to say about the writing process.
3. I made him moonwalk
I mentioned in the Billboard story how we got on a bus with a German-speaking driver. How many German-speakers are there in Los Angeles? Who drive busses? He was obviously a plant, arranged by the German reality TV crew, who was eager to stoke the flames by getting Walser “lost” and then film him wandering the Staples Center grounds in his space suit, asking people if they knew where the red carpet was. I can’t imagine Calvin Harris was in that situation.
When we were still in his hotel room, watching Al put on his suit, I (somewhat jokingly) asked if he could moonwalk. While was concerned that would be too Michael Jackson, he cleared the furniture in the room to show us. I said he absolutely had to do this on the red carpet. Everyone agreed. I had no idea he would be so suggestible. The result was an unfortunately wacky appearance in front of global media, when he would have been better off showing some humility and graciousness.
The most shocking moment in our interview was when Walser said that other people break into the music business with “sexual favors.” Reader, you can rest assured that if Skrillex had performed sexual favors in order to win his Grammys, I would be reporting that shit so fast he wouldn’t have time to put his glasses back on. But Walser’s delusions about “the industry” are so dated and so entrenched, there’s nothing anyone could say to change his mind.
I feel confident asserting that’s all we’ll need to say about 2013 Grammy Nominee Al Walser.