The Discontent Between Business and Artistry
The songwriter and singer of Sixpence None the Richer talk about how the business side of the music industry—and outside expectations—can constrain the creative process
August 1, 2003
Songwriter and guitarist Matt Slocum first heard Leigh Nash (then Bingham) sing at a Texas church event in the late '80s. He was 17. She was 13. Before she was even old enough to graduate high school, the two formed Sixpence None the Richer, a group now popular in both the Christian and mainstream industries. Known for insightful lyrics and melodic modern rock, the group is currently riding the radio success of its critically acclaimed 2002 album, Divine Discontent.
But the road has not been easy for the band, which has released consistently strong albums but suffered from bad business luck. After forming the group, Sixpence signed with Nashville independent label R.E.X in 1993. The band released three recordings before the company went bankrupt—just as Sixpence members moved to Nashville.
The label's financial woes left Sixpence tied up in a legal mess that meant they couldn't record for more than a year. Eventually, the band was freed of its contract and allowed to sign with Steve Taylor's Squint Entertainment.
While Sixpence was a longtime cult favorite in the Christian music scene, Taylor released the band's third full-length album into both Christian and mainstream markets. The self-titled 1998 album, and its runaway hit "Kiss Me," exploded in pop radio. Suddenly, the band was huge. Sixpence got a slot on mega-tour Lilith Fair and recorded a cover of the song "There She Goes" for the She's All That movie soundtrack. In 2000, they returned to the studio to record their next album.
But old frustrations returned in early 2001 when Squint's parent company, Word Records, put Taylor's label up for sale. Again in legal limbo, Sixpence was eventually picked up by Reprise Records in 2002 and soon after released the long-in-progress ...