A name like ''Singing Potato'' may sound like a cartoon character, but it's actually a corporation that's known for music transcription. Their clients have included Elton, and John Eidsvoog, one of the founders, was kind enough to answer a few questions for Cheryl's Specials.
EJW: What did you hope to achieve when you formed the Singing Potato?
JE: My wife, Julie, and I have been in the music business for more than 30 years. We do music copying, which is basically the preparing of printed music for any need. Traditionally, copying is taking a composer's score and creating individual parts for each instrument. This is primarily done for orchestral music, especially for film scoring where a lot of music is composed for orchestras
EJW: How did you end up assisting Elton?
JE: One of the services we provide is music transcriptions or takedowns. We take an audio recording and transcribe the music, writing it out so it can be read and played by musicians. We've done this for a lot of people, some well-known, others not so much. Often music albums are recorded without written music and later the artist needs the music for either copyright purposes or for a band to back him/her on a road tour.
It is in this capacity I first started working with Elton John. Elton, Leon Russell, and T Bone Burnett were writing songs in the studio for The Union. Elton has a great memory as he composes, but Leon is more visually oriented and wanted printed music. We had done some work for T Bone before so he called us. I remember coming home from a haircut and Julie told me to get my gear together because I had to go meet Elton John!
I met Elton, Leon, and T Bone and they were all very personable. My job was to listen to what they came up with and write out basic chord sheets for what they wrote. Later in the project, the music was expanded to include melody and lyrics.
EJW: Did you team up with Elton again?
JE: Yes, two years later I was called again to work on The Diving Board album. The process there was a little different because Elton did the songwriting alone. Bernie Taupin had provided 18 new songs (lyrics) and Elton would go sit at the piano and start "writing." The tape would roll and we didn't even know which lyric he'd choose until we heard him singing. He'd start with an idea and work with it. Often in 10-20 minutes he had a song written and would then do a demo recording which was pretty much what the finished song would be. This is what I'd write out and Elton and the other musicians would use to record the final track.
EJW: How long ago did you and your wife start your company, and what are some other high-profile jobs you've been involved with?
JE: The Singing Potato started about 15 years ago.
Over the years, we've provided music services for a lot of movies (Ted, Anchorman, Walk Hard, and more lesser-known) and many artists, including Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban, Burt Bacharach, Diana Krall, Quincy Jones, Richard Carpenter, Patti Austin, and Paul McCartney.