He spoke of watching my videos on YouTube, being “appalled” and “immediately hating” my singing. Despite 13 allegations ranging from “Conspiracy for Fraud” and “Tortious Interference” the following stood out like a sore thumb:
“Defendant McLafferty was ‘too unattractive’ to front” this kind of band.
“Pink is a visually striking woman,” it read as it was further alleged that I didn’t “look the part or contribute to the overall aesthetics” of the group.
The damages sought were around $10,000,000 and the “legal fees” Chuck felt he was entitled to by defending himself. In addition, he sought to ban me from performing in any P!NK tribute band in perpetuity.
I immediately quit my job in the band.
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Has this case affected your self esteem or self worth in any way?
Interestingly, my self esteem has never been better. Let me tell you, when you get sued for millions of dollars for no reason, you get real spiritual, real quick. A friend of mine told me that if she were in my situation with the case and the press she would most likely slide into a deep depression. That really shook me up. If this happened to me at a different point in my life, I may have just given up music or done something self destructive to cope. I think this would absolutely crush a less experienced performer. Fortunately, with 20 years in the music industry under my belt, I’ve had to battle a variety of insanely harsh situations. It became fight or flight. And I chose to fight, and the fact that I am a “lifer” in the music game has been my most valuable asset. . I’m stronger overall. I do have some very sad “why me” days though. I usually just drink of wine, cry and watch Jon Stewart and wait it out.
Have you heard from P!nk or her people?
The NY Post reached out to P!NK’s “camp”. I’m guessing a publicist. We got a “no comment”. This was when the story first went public. It’s hard to say if she knows the details of this case or not. Pop stars are so insulated and there are thousands of people trying to get in touch with them on a daily basis and everybody wants something. Plus legal issues are sensitive and no one wants to get sued themselves. That being said, P!NK’s platform is all about empowerment and sticking up for the underdog. There are a lot of parallels between her music and this case. Speaking up on the matter would be consistent with the message she puts out as an artist. However, I know that if I were in her situation, I would want the facts first. And getting them is time consuming. I mean my schedule is crazy just as a working regional artist, I can’t relate to what her life is like at all.
Has anything positive come from this experience?
Yes! I have gotten a crazy amount of support, especially from female musicians my age and the New York City music scene has been AMAZING to me. I’ve always wanted to speak very publicly about the value of older performers and why we should be celebrated and not silenced. Because The NY Post decided to make an issue of my age, I now have a platform to talk about it, so it’s a gift in strange wrapping paper. It’s also taught me that as of today I can handle almost anything life throws at me and it’s going to be OK.
What have you learned from all this so far?
You have to stand in your own strength regardless of what others may think of you or say about you. I feel that I started playing it safe in my career a few years ago, because I got tired of reading the harsh comment when I would put my work out to the public. It made me want to be less open and vulnerable. But this experience has taught me to build a shield, focus on the art and those who love you. Oh, and also keep records of everything music business related! Emails, texts, everything!
Has this case affected your career negatively?
Unfortunately, in the short term it has been rather financially devastating, only because fighting this is a full time job. I spend hours everyday educating myself on the legal system instead of working on music. I’m slowly working on becoming a balanced human again. I’ve managed to work consistently for 20 years because I have always been diligent about auditioning, submitting my work, attending shows and jam sessions etc. As a freelancer, I do a lot of “one off” studio sessions, sub gigs etc, and there just hasn’t been time to pursue those things. Getting the work itself is a full time job. Fortunately, my 2 bands The Fred Savages and Lavender Steel are getting out of the “start up” hump and it looks like I’ll be busier in the fall. But it’s been a tough summer.
Also, If you Google my name, “old, ugly, bad singer” comes up repeatedly, thanks to the NY Post’s version of the story, which made the newswire. It’s kind of hilarious, but eek! They say there’s no such thing as bad press, but as a professional singer that is the worst possible press you can get! Now I can look at that and know absolutely that I am neither old, nor ugly. And I can sing, obviously. But in this business, you are constantly introducing yourself to new people, submitting head shots and demos online etc. And the first thing a potential employer does is Google you. So this has to be addressed, and I have to create new headlines for myself. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma to being sued. So there’s that too. This is going to be a huge challenge going forward to be known for my work once again and not as the “lawsuit girl”. Someone actually called me that at a concert I attended.
When things get resolved, however, if I can channel the strength I have found from this whole ordeal into my music and my artistic platform, I will be Dangerous! Pun intended!
Collette is represented by Martin Kera of Kera and Graubard, 212-681-1600
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