Saturday, 23 October 2010

Katie Waissel the 'part-time receptionist' was spotted by Simon Cowell's record label partner six years ago



Katie Waissel has extensive links with executives at Sony BMG

She is one of the most controversial contestants on this year’s X Factor, surviving to the live shows ahead of audience favourite Gamu Nhengu, despite a barrage of criticism.

Now, in an extraordinary twist, it can be disclosed that Katie Waissel, described on the ITV1 show as a part-time receptionist, has extensive links with executives at Sony BMG, the record label that jointly owns the rights to the show with Simon Cowell.

Ms Waissel’s potential was first spotted by Sony staff in 2004. She was subsequently auditioned by a vice-president at the record label in New York and, as recently as two years ago, she received advice about her career from the company’s head of UK artists and repertoire.

Sony is a partner with Cowell in Syco, the company set up to manage and exploit the commercial potential of The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Cowell has described the company as ‘my home for 15 years’, while his talent shows reportedly provide 70 per cent of Sony UK’s annual profits.

While there is no evidence that Ms Waissel’s links to the record company have assisted her on the programme, critics claim the singer, from Pinner, North-West London, has been given too much leeway.

The 24-year-old failed to make it through her first audition on the show without mistakes, despite insisting she was going to be a ‘star’, an ‘icon’ and a ‘legend’.

And she should have been disqualified when it was revealed she had signed a record deal in America earlier this year under the name Lola Fontaine – but lawyers got her out of the deal so she could continue.

Katie performs on The X Factor last night. Her potential was first spotted by Sony staff in 2004

While Ms Waissel has never had a recording contract with Sony, her links to the company were disclosed in an online autobiography she wrote last year under her stage name Katie Vogel. In it, she reveals that her first encounter with the record label was in 2004 when she was spotted by David Massey, then a vice-president of Sony in New York, although he has since left the company.

Ms Waissel wrote: ‘I went to Dave Massey’s office a couple days later and spent the entire day there! We went through all my music, we jammed on the guitar, he introduced me to his team! And at the end of the day, he told me he wanted me to come back out and perform at a venue in NYC for him and Sony.’

She also reveals that she went on tour with 2005 X Factor runner-up Andy Abraham, thanks to her agent at the time at Creative Entertainment Group, whose clients include 2006 winner Leona Lewis.

Ms Waissel also wrote about the help she received from Jo Charrington, the head of A&R at Sony UK. She was introduced to Ms Charrington by her friend Simon Ward, a freelance producer who works on X Factor host Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show.

Ms Waissel wrote: ‘Joe (sic) Charrington from Sony BMG jumped back on the bandwagon and introduced me to a wonderfully talented writer Ian Barter. Joe and Simon together decided that a female version of Coldplay indie rock sound would be best for me.’

Ms Charrington said she did not recollect her dealings with Ms Waissel as described online, but declined to comment any further. But a source said: ‘Simon played the music to Jo. She listened to it and offered some advice. But in the end Jo didn’t think it worked.’

A Syco spokesman said: ‘Katie was not known at all to either Simon Cowell or anyone at Syco before she entered The X Factor. Syco has nothing to do with artists’ tours or their support acts. Those are run by independent agents.’

source :dailymail

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