PUBLISHED IN THE TORONTO STAR ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1999
By Nick Krewen
Special To The Star
ROBERT LANTOS, are you listening?
STEVEN GOLDMANN, a man who wants to be the next ATOM EGOYAN, is on the verge of a rare three-peat at this Wednesday's Country Music Awards to be held in Nashville.
If he gets the nod for Best Video for ALAN JACKSON's "I'll Go On Loving You," it will echo the Montreal native's 1997 "455 Rocket" victory for KATHY MATTEA, and last year's computer animated FAITH HILL video win for "This Kiss."
He's also been named CMT Video Director Of The Year thrice, and won CLIO, Addy and Telly Awards.
Yet Goldmann can't understand why he's virtually a stranger in his own backyard.
"Why hasn't Robert Lantos heard of me?" he asks, naming the former Atlantis/Alliance motion picture producer as he sits in the lounge of The Trace, pow-wow central for country music's movers and shakers.
While Goldmann nurses a mineral water and dabs at a Mediterrean appetizer, several associates and clients make their way over to say hello, including cornpone comedian CLEDUS T. JUDD, with whom Goldmann made his hilarious DEANA CARTER parody video "Did I Shave My Back For This?"
In the feature film circles where Canadian impressario Lantos is a heavyweight producer, Goldmann is an unknown. In country music circles, he has no such identity problem. Steven Goldmann is the man to know. Arguably country music's busiest video director, he has superstars Alan Jackson and Faith Hill calling upon him regularly for his services.
North of the border, Goldmann is a talent still struggling for recognition.
"Last year when I repeated as CMA winner -- the first director to win two years in a row -- for Kathy Mattea's `445 Rocket,' and then Faith Hill's `This Kiss,' there was an announcement in the Montreal Gazette, my hometown paper, about the Canadians that were up and who won," Goldmann recalls.
"There was no mention of my victory, which really bothered my father.
He sent a fax to the Gazette letting you know that three Canadians did win, and the third one was Steven Goldmann. They didn't publish a correction. It was almost as if I didn't exist -- even though I've done six SHANIA TWAIN videos, and Shania sells lots of records to both English Canada and French Canada."
Artists will most certainly tell you that not only Goldmann exists, but that the 38-year-old has been crucial in developing a visual stamp on their career that has enabled them to attain higher levels of stardom.
When Shania Twain was cultivating her plans for world domination during the The Woman In Me years, Goldmann lensed four of her videos, including the memorable step-dancing mini-movie " (If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here" and the spectacular go-kart reel "You Win My Love."
When MARTINA McBRIDE needed a breakthrough video, Goldmann came through with "My Baby Loves Me" and followed it up with "Safe In The Arms Of Love." And Goldmann's computerized animation video for Faith Hill's "This Kiss" -- filmed in Toronto over four days -- has set her on a path that is continuing to blaze crossover trails more than a year after the song was released.
FLETCHER FOSTER, senior vice-president of marketing for Arista Nashville, says Steven Goldmann's work on two Alan Jackson videos, the CMA-nominated "I'll Go On Loving You" and "Little Man" of his High Mileage album, has given country fans a whole new perception of his flagship superstar.
"For us, a video is a huge marketing tool -- a way for our audience to know an artist more than just what they hear from a one-dimensional song on the radio," Foster explains. "It gives the artist a personality, and a visual connection to the consumer."
Foster says the right video can even generate sales, pointing to Australian singer Sherriè Austin's recent #1 hit "Never Been Kissed."
"We achieved that from video play, because that's the only thing we had going," says Foster. "We didn't have much radio airplay, but we had a video that worked on multinational levels. We've also seen bumps in album sales when a video comes out, and Alan Jackson was a prime example."
Foster said the label felt it necessary to retool Jackson's image, and that Steven Goldmann ideally fit the bill.
"`I'll Go On Loving You' was completely different than what you would ever think of an Alan Jackson video being," says Foster. "It had water ballet. You don't think of water ballet in a country music video by any means.
"Steven finds a unique spin that doesn't detract from the song. He's very careful about making the artist look the best. He's the one you consistently go with for a quality video that stands apart and looks really great."
Foster and Arista aren't the only ones singing his praises. Happy customers include fellow Montrealer TERRI CLARK, ALISON KRAUSS, BROOKS & DUNN, CLINT BLACK, PAUL BRANDT, FRED EAGLESMITH, newcomer JULIE REEVES, PAM TILLIS and MICHELLE WRIGHT, whose "Take It Like A Man" video brought Goldmann to Nashville.
Yet Goldmann says because he works in country music, he's not taken seriously in some circles. He blames the perception of country music on snobbery.
"The creative elite, the people who make films and commercials -- look down on country music," he says. "They don't see country as an artform. It's probably easier to make a bad video for a Canadian pop group and get noticed by the artistic community.
"It's been hurtful to a degree," he admits. "I try not to think about it, but it ends up fueling a desire to say, `You don't understand. I'm really good at what I do.' There are few commercial directors that have had my success."
And part of his anonymity he blames on country music video channels, including Calgary's CMT, who don't identify the directors whenever they play videos.
"I find it very frustrating," he says. "I'll sit and talk to (CMT Canada program manager) TED KENNEDY who will lament the standard of quality of the videos he's getting. You want better videos? Then promote the directors who are making the videos. Put their name on it.
"Every artist in country music watches videos. They want to see who the cool directors are. Even Shania tracked me down personally. She wanted the guy who did the Michelle Wright `Take It Like A Man' video. She had to do intense research to find out who I was."
Although the son a former Hudson Bay and Seagram's salesman is now based in Nashville and New York with wife STEPHANIE and daughters ALANNA, 7, and ALEXANDRA, 4, he'd like to return to Canada some day as a moviemaker. But he admits he can't do it without some help.
He hopes that a potential third victory at the CMA Awards will garner some attention.
"I'm hoping to get some notoriety," he admits. "I want to go to Toronto and develop a motion picture with Canadian financiers. I care about Canadian talent. Okay, I'm in Nashville. I'm kind of the classic Canadian who went away to become successful. Kind of a boring old story, isn't it?"
1992 -- Lee Roy Parnell, "The Rock"
1992 -- Martina McBride, "Cheap Whiskey"
1992 -- Pam Tillis, "Shake The Sugar Tree"
1993 -- Clint Black, "When My Ship Comes In"
1993 -- Martina McBride, "Life #9"
1993 -- Martina McBride, "My Baby Loves Me"
1993 -- Pam Tillis, "Let The Pony Run"
1993 -- Shania Twain, "What Made You Say That?"
1993 -- Shania Twain, "You Lay A Whole Lotta Of Love On Me"
1993 -- Michelle Wright, "Take It Like A Man"
1994 -- Suzy Bogguss, "You Wouldn't Say That To A Stranger"
1994 -- Mark Chesnutt, "She Dreams"
1994 -- Kathy Mattea, "Walking Away A Winner"
1994 -- Kathy Mattea, "Nobody's Gonna Rain On Our Parade"
1994 -- Shenandoah & Alison Krauss, "Somewhere In The Vicinity Of The Heart"
1994 -- Pam Tillis, "Spilled Perfume"
1994 -- Pam Tillis, "When You Walk In The Room"
1994 -- Lari White, "Now I Know"
1994 -- Lari White, "That's How You Know (When You're In Love)"
1994 -- Lari White, "That's My Baby"
1994 -- Michelle Wright, "He Would Be Sixteen"
1994 -- Michelle Wright, "One Good Man"
1995 -- Patricia Conroy, "Bad Day For Trains"
1995 -- Patricia Conroy, "Somebody's Leaving"
1995 -- Patricia Conroy, "What Else Can I Do"
1995 -- Wade Hayes, "I'm Still Dancin' With You"
1995 -- Ty Herndon, "Heart Half Empty"
1995 -- Ty Herndon, "I Want My Goodbye Back"
1995 -- James House, "Anything For Love"
1995 -- James House, "This Is Me Missing You"
1995 -- Kathy Mattea, "Clown In Your Rodeo"
1995 -- The Mavericks, "I Should Have Been True"
1995 -- Martina McBride, "Where I Used To Have A Heart"
1995 -- Lorrie Morgan, "I Didn't Know My Own Strength"
1995 -- Lorrie Morgan, "Standing Tall"
1995 -- Collin Raye, "I Can Still Feel You"
1995 -- Marty Stuart, "The Likes Of Me"
1995 -- Pam Tillis, "Deep Down"
1995 -- Chely Wright, "Listenin' To The Radio"
1996 -- Paul Brandt, "I Meant To Do That"
1996 -- Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Let Me Into Your Heart"
1996 -- Wade Hayes, "On A Good Night"
1996 -- Wade Hayes, "Where Do I Go To Start Over"
1996 -- Ty Herndon, "She Wants To Be Wanted Again"
1996 -- Kathy Mattea, "There's A New Kid In Town"
1996 -- Martina McBride, "Safe In The Arms Of Love"
1996 -- Lee Roy Parnell, "When A Woman Loves A Man"
1996 -- Collin Raye, "I Think About You"
1996 -- Collin Raye, "Not That Different"
1996 -- Bruce Springsteen, "Born In The U.S.A. (Acoustic)"
1996 -- Pam Tillis, "The River And The Highway"
1996 -- Shania Twain, "Home Ain't Where His Heart Is (Anymore)"
1996 -- Shania Twain, "(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!"
1996 -- Shania Twain, "No One Needs To Know"
1996 -- Shania Twain, "You Win My Love"
1996 -- Michelle Wright, "Nobody's Girl"
1997 -- Sherrie Austin, "One Solitary Tear"
1997 -- Matraca Berg, "Back In The Saddle"
1997 -- Brooks & Dunn, "He's Got You"
1997 -- Brooks & Dunn, "How Long Gone"
1997 -- Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Better To Dream Of You"
1997 -- Wade Hayes, "The Day She Left Tulsa (In A Chevy)"
1997 -- Ty Herndon, "I Have To Surrender"
1997 -- Ty Herndon, "Living In A Moment"
1997 -- Cledus T. Judd, "Did I Shave My Back For This?"
1997 -- Lonestar, "You Walked In"
1997 -- Kathy Mattea, "455 Rocket"
1997 -- Michael Peterson, "From Here To Eternity"
1997 -- Michael Peterson, "Too Good To Be True"
1997 -- Anne Murray, "I Can See Arkansas"
1997 -- Ricochet, "Blink Of An Eye"
1997 -- Pam Tillis, "All The Good Ones Are Gone"
1997 -- Chely Wright, "Just Another Heartache"
1998 -- Terri Clark, "Now That I've Found You"
1998 -- Terri Clark, "You're Easy On The Eyes"
1998 -- Faith Hill, "This Kiss"
1998 -- Faith Hill, "The Secret Of Life"
1998 -- Faith Hill, "You Can't Lose Me"
1998 -- Alan Jackson, "I'll Go On Loving You"
1998 -- Alan Jackson, "Little Man"
1998 -- Kathy Mattea, "I'm On Your Side"
1999 -- Sammy Kershaw, Lorrie Morgan, "Maybe Not Tonight"
1999 -- Lila McCann, "Crush"
1999 -- Lila McCann, "With You"
1999 -- Shane Minor, "Ordinary Love"
1999 -- Shane Minor, "Slave To The Habit"
1999 -- Anne Murray, "Let There Be Love"
1999 -- Julie Reeves, "It's About Time"
1992 -- Canadian Country Music Award, Video Of The Year, Michelle Wright, "Take It Like A Man"
1993 -- Country Music Television, Director Of The Year
1993 -- Canadian Country Music Award, Video Of The Year, Michelle Wright, "He Would Be Sixteen"
1996 -- Academy Of Country Music, Video Of The Year, Collin Raye, "I Think About You"
1996 -- Canadian Country Music Award, Director Of The Year, Shania
"(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!"
1996 -- Canadian Country Music Award, Video Of The Year, Shania Twain,
"(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!"
1997 -- Canadian Country Music Award, Director Of The Year, Paul Brandt, "I Meant To Do That"
1997 -- Country Music Award, Video Of The Year, Kathy Mattea, "455 Rocket"
1997 -- Country Music Television, Director Of The Year
1998 -- Academy Of Country Music, Video Of The Year, Faith Hill, "This Kiss"
1988 -- Country Music Association, Video Of The The Year, Faith Hill "This Kiss"
©1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink
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