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A Helluva High Note: Surviving Life, Love, and American Idol Hardcover – April 26, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
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From the Back Cover
Kara DioGuardi is an award-winning hitmaker, a savvy record executive, and a successful music publisher whose songs have been recorded by such superstars as Pink, Carrie Underwood, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Santana, Steven Tyler, Céline Dion, and so many others. She was also the feisty fourth judge on American Idol. But success wouldn’t have happened for this songwriter, artist, and producer without the dark times of defeat. Filled with the grace, raw honesty, and haunting emotion of her hit songs, A Helluva High Note is the soundtrack to Kara’s life—an intimate anthem about living, creating, loving, stumbling, picking herself up again, and ultimately succeeding. It is a moving chronicle of the experiences that have inspired her songs and given her the resilience and perspective to become the confidant, accomplished, adventurous warrior she is today.
Kara not only writes about what it was like to collaborate with some of our favorite performing artists, she also opens up about everything from her struggles with debilitating stage fright and an equally paralyzing eating disorder, to the most devastating yet profoundly life-altering experience—caring for her mother during her fatal battle with cancer. And, of course, she shares behind-the-scenes stories from her years on American Idol and the real truth about her departure from the show.
A Helluva High Note is filled with memorable and inspirational tales from the heart and trenches of life, business, and the world of entertainment. Passionate, wise, funny, and down-to-earth, it proves that finding, cultivating, and following your own true voice really is possible.
About the Author
A Grammy-nominated, 2011 NAMM Music for Life Award winner, 2009 NMPA Songwriter Icon Award winner, and 2007 BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year, Kara DioGuardi has songs that have appeared on more than 160 million albums. Kara also serves as executive vice president of talent development at Warner Bros. Records and co-owns Arthouse Entertainment. In 2011, she made her Broadway debut in Chicago as Roxie Hart. She lives in Los Angeles and Maine with her husband, Michael McCuddy.
Top customer reviews
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I thought it would be juicier. I thought there would be more secrets and gossip, The only thing I found remotely interesting were the stories about being on AI, but even then she played it way too safe in her verbiage and the way she described certain situations. Other than that it just seems like she doesn't want to burn bridges with powerful people (namely Simon Cowell) so she doesn't really tell us anything we haven't already heard on the Daily Mail, so again - I was disappointed.
Kara's strength, resilience and her "I'm not going down without a fight" attitude is very inspiring. Through her story, this self made, independent woman proved that women can be successful in a male dominated industry without selling her soul.
If you're an aspiring songwriter looking to get some behind the scenes music business info, want some insight on the creative songwriting process, or just want to know about Kara's journey, I highly recommend this book. However, if you're looking for some juicy, behind the scenes American Idol secrets you may be slightly disappointed as she only devoted one chapter (the last chapter) to her experience on Idol.
I liked the book. It gave me a lot of insight into how much a person can endure to get to where they want to be. She worked hard, dealt with many traumatic events and survived stuff most people only encounter in their nightmares. She knew what she wanted and knew what she had to do to get there. I don't even know her and i'm proud of her!
The writing in the book is not literary brilliance or anything, but I don't think it was supposed to be either. It almost felt like she was just here hanging out, telling me some stories about her life. I appreciate that. It's just like, "hey, it's me, this is what's up." I love the fact that it was autobiographical, instead of someone else's account of her life so far. Just like her songs, she puts her emotions out there, and I think only she would be best at allowing us to feel them.
The thing about the writing that I didn't think I liked, but makes more sense to me now is the way that the chapters were kind of out of order. Thinking back on that now, that's what gave it the feel of her just hanging out shooting the breeze. I liked it. It wasn't an orderly, this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened. It seemed almost like, ooh, did I tell you about that one time?
I don't normally write reviews about books i've read, but I felt this one deserved one, so, if anything, more people would get to know who she is in a way American Idol never allowed us to.
If only the rest of us would go after what we wanted as wholeheartedly as she did, there would be a lot less unhappy people. Kara, if you're reading this, excellent job!