RVA’s Bill McGee is a
Billboard Top 20 Artist
By Janice Millan
Local jazz artist Bill McGee continues to fly high—(on the Billboard charts, that is). Since he was featured in Urban Views Weekly the beginning of April, his popular track titled “Cantaloupe and Watermelon” has risen from #24 to #18 in the smooth jazz category. McGee’s hit record from his newest album titled Still Bill has essentially moved up about three spots each week. For an independent artist like McGee, this type of recognition was beyond his expectations. “To be honest, of course you want all of your records to reach #1, but I was just glad to get to top 20.”
McGee hopes that his Billboard success will provide the name recognition to make his future releases climb radio charts, too. So far, “Cantaloupe and Watermelon” is the only track he’s released from Still Bill. McGee says he has at least two more records he wants to release from this album, but he’s unsure which record he will release next and is recalculating his promotional strategy.
“The record being as high as it is right now almost puts you in kind of a limbo, because you don’t really know what’s going on. Every time I get started working on a new release, this one goes up. If this goes up past #15, it’ll be a month before I even consider releasing a new record…What goes up must come down.”
But according to McGee, promotion can only get you so far. He believes that the demand from people is vital to the success in music charts.
“You’re not in control of how long your record stays at #1 or even if it gets to #1. Somebody has to really like it. Basically, when you get up that high, you don’t get a lot of control over it. If they don’t want it to go higher, you can beg all you want to, but the radio people are only going to play it as much as they want to at this point.”
The time of year also determines what type of songs McGee releases. He thinks that during the spring and summer people are out and about more often and want to hear more up-tempo music. He also said in the fall and winter, generally tempos are a little slower. With summer right around the corner though, he plans on releasing an upbeat themed song. McGee is also in the process of recording more music for releases in the fall, including a compilation CD that features several artists from his record label (The 804 Music Group).
Making Billboard Top 30 was McGee’s original goal. Several artists that were listed higher than McGee last week have now moved below him. As McGee rises toward spot #15, he said that to get in The Billboard top 20 makes it even more of an accomplishment for him.
“It’s like if you go on a diet and want to lose 100 pounds and you lose 120,” he joked. “I’m just happy to get where I am.”