|Apr 12th, 1991
by CHUCK PHILIPS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Paula Abdul says she is no Milli Vanilli.
She has launched a counterattack against charges that she wasn't the sole lead vocalist on her smash 1988 album, "Forever Your Girl."
"Every time I hear one of these commentators comparing me to Milli Vanilli, I just want to reach into the television set and grab them and shake them," Abdul said in an interview this week.
"It's not right and it's not fair. When they took the Grammy away from Milli Vanilli last year everybody knew they were a fraud. Well, I'm no fraud."
The lip-sync allegations stem from a $1-million "false and deceptive packaging" lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Monday against Virgin Records, Abdul's record company, by Yvette Marine, a singer credited with background vocals on the 7-million selling album.
Marine--who claims a lead vocal track that she sang was electronically combined with Abdul's voice on at least two of the album's songs--is seeking proper credit and compensation for what her lawyer calls "co-lead or supporting vocal" contributions.
"This lawsuit is a slap to my personal integrity," Abdul said Wednesday. "I do not profess to be any Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey. But that is my voice, from the first note to the last.
"Maybe I don't get much critical acclaim for my singing, but I've worked hard and my fans like what I do. And that's the most important thing to me: my fans. I never have and I never will let them down. I want them to know the truth."
Marine's lawsuit against Virgin does not contend that Adbul's voice is absent from the recording, but alleges that Virgin--without authorization--combined a lead "guide" vocal track sung by Marine with Abdul's vocal track in the song's final mix, misrepresenting it to the public as one voice.
Abdul's management and Virgin executives allege that Marine's manager Rick Barlowe persuaded his client to file the suit after attempts last month to extract a record deal from Virgin for Marine proved unsuccessful.
Barlowe was unavailable for comment, but Steven Ames Brown, Marine's attorney, said that his client filed suit against Virgin after consulting with three independent lawyers, all of whom told her she had a meritorious claim.
Virgin co-managing director Jeff Ayeroff said that although he believes the lawsuit is a publicity stunt, if successful, it still could pose a serious threat to the industry.
"This is really an issue of a chef being sued by the spice in the turkey," Ayeroff said. "Based on this suit, there isn't an album put out in this business that somebody couldn't sue somebody over something. This girl was hired to sing background vocals and she was paid and credited for it."
Virgin executives claim they intend to fight the case in court. Abdul said she too is in for the duration.
"They filed this suit to manipulate the public," Abdul said. "This is about negative headlines and malicious lies. It's ridiculous that I have to come out to defend my own singing, but if that's what it takes, that's what I aim to do. I take my job and my fans very seriously and I'm not going to let up until I put this behind me."
Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times
Filed under: Music