Capitol Records released Liz Phair’s fourth album on June 24, but not too long ago the artist was fighting to get off the label.
A critic’s darling from the start, Capitol had expected the photogenic Phair, who’s modeled for Gap and Calvin Klein, to become the next Sheryl Crow. It didn’t happen.
Phair’s last album, 1998’s “whitechocolatespaceegg,” was her first to receive a major marketing blitz from Capitol Records. It was also her worst selling.
While none of her albums have sold more than 400,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, “spaceegg” failed to even top 300,000. Tired of the expectations, Phair, who had started her career with Matador Records, wanted back in the indie world.
“A few years ago I waged a campaign to get off [Capitol],” Phair says. “If I only sold 100,000 records, I’d still make more money than if I sold 1 million on a major. Major labels give you a lot of flattery and perks, but you’re not an entrepreneur, and once you get in your 30s, that bothers you. It bothers me.”
Capitol, however, wasn’t ready to cut Phair loose. Convinced that Phair could yet be made a pop star, the label introduced her to songwriting trio the Matrix, who co-wrote and co-produced much of Avril Lavigne’s Arista debut “Let Go.”
The pairing resulted in four songs on “co-headlining U.S. tour with Jason Mraz July 21 in San Francisco.