Like the rest of us, Q100’s Bert Show co-host Melissa Carter routinely rolls her eyes whenever tone-challenged Kim Zolciak refers to herself as a “recording artist” on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
On-air, Carter theorized that in the age of T Pain’s “I Am T Pain” AutoTune app, anyone could create a hit song with the right producing team.
Her Bert Show co-workers promptly told her to put her money where her wobbly vocal chords were and prove it.
The result: “Unplugged,” Carter’s debut single now available on iTunes and Amazon.com.
“These days, Top 40 music is really the producer’s genre,” the freshly minted dance diva told Intel Thursday. “It’s not like the days when Heart‘s Ann Wilson could just belt it out. To this day, if you go to see Heart at Chastain and there’s a power failure, you know you’ll still be entertained.”
Like Zolciak on “RHOA,” Carter paid a visit to esteemed Atlanta vocal coach Jan “Mama J” Smith who told her: “If anybody walked in off the street, they would be comparable to you. That’s not good or bad.”
Says Carter of her interaction with the woman who polishes Usher, Rob Thomas and Justin Bieber‘s pipes: “I love me some Mama J. She told me that training me to be a singer would be like putting a Band Aid on a dam. She made my palms and my skull sweat but she’s straight up honest with you. She’s good people.”
Carter enlisted Atlanta producer Nate “Billionheir” Butler and a whole lot of AutoTune trickery to produce “Unplugged.”
“He literally had to come in the vocal booth with me at one point and sing in my ear so I would hit the notes!” cracks Carter. “That’s how amazingly talented I am. Nate’s a miracle worker.”
Still, since the track hit iTunes last week (all the proceeds from the sales go to kidney transplant recipient’s non-profit Melissa Carter Transplant Fund at Piedmont Hospital), listeners and buyers have praised the effort.
Says Carter: “My favorite iTunes review has to be the person who wrote: ‘The most anticipated single of the year!’ because the world was waiting for this clearly. Somehow my mother found out how to post reviews on iTunes!”
A ringtone of the song is also available. And one of Carter’s co-worker’s already has it programmed into his phone: Jeff Dauler.
Carter is perhaps most honored that dancers at both the Clermont Lounge and Swinging Richards have added “Unplugged” to their respective playlists.
On Friday morning, Bert Show namesake Bert Weiss is planning to surprise Carter and listeners with an announcement about how many downloads and how much money “Unplugged ” has raised so far.
As for Zolciak, after she heard the song, she tweeted: “You guys need to check out and buy @MelissaCarter’s new song ‘Unplugged’ on iTunes. Super catchy!”
Says Carter: “Considering that this all started as an attack on her, it was a very classy thing for her to do. With her 100,000 Twitter followers, that helped me out a lot.”