We all settled into the conference room with the three of us from LA on one side of the table, and Jean, Norbert and Sheryl on the other. Karen and I narrated our story and Richard worked the music. Whenever there was a video to go along with the music from Victor, we’d play it. Everyone loved Victor’s energy, talent, and especially his take on Dan’s music. As we anticipated, Jean’s biggest concern in signing on to a project like ours was that the INTEGRITY of Dan’s music be maintained. Luckily for us, they all agreed that we had found just the right musician for the job. At one point in the presentation, as we ended the telling of Act I, Jean gasped out loud… in a good way. We knew she liked where we were going.
By the end of our presentation, Jean and Sheryl were open about how they felt. They both expressed how impressed they were with what we had put together. Norbert seemed somewhat more reserved which made us a little nervous. He was, after all, the man who knew Dan’s musical artistry longer and better than anyone. We looked at him, waiting for a response. Any response. He took a deep breath as we held ours. And then, he spoke: “You’ve got it all here. There’s nothing for us to do.” As we exhaled, he talked about the emotional aspects of the story, as well as how taken he was with the ordering and selection of songs we’d chosen. “It hasn’t been done before. It’s great.”
We knew we’d done really well, but no one was saying the magic words we came to Nashville to hear. The next thing we knew, Norbert had invited us all to the hotel bar to celebrate. Celebrate what? A good pitch? A long flight? We were dying for more, but apparently, we weren’t reading the signals.
In the bar, we all got on like gangbusters. Norbert and Sheryl regaled Richard and I with the story of when Clive Davis came to Norbert with a cassette tape of a young budding musician and his very first songs… Norbert knew and respected Dan’s talent from the very beginning. Jean and Karen spoke of dealing with loss – Karen had come right to the airport from the memorial of a dear friend who had passed away from cancer. Jean told her about the Don’t Lose Heart website, created by Jean to provide support for caretakers of the terminally ill.
While our side of the table was yucking it up about Norbert playing bass for Elvis and how his band blew off the chance to meet the Beatles in their hotel room, I heard Karen blurt out to Jean, “So, what now?” All conversation stopped cold and we all looked to Jean. It was a total E.F. Hutton moment. Jean told us she wanted to work with us, that Dan would have loved this project, and she promised she would call the right people to get the deal rolling. Part of the Plan was officially born in that moment, the moment we all had waited for... Now we were ready for the Grand Ol’ Opry!