Forget about AMERICAN IDOL. Tonight the best singing is on 90210

AndreeBelle In the music industry, the most satisfying career experiences don't happen overnight. It is a long haul over time, with a lot of craft study, bad experiences, missed opportunities—

And lucky breaks.

I can't sing worth a flip, but my sister, Darien, can certainly carry a tune, and as we say in the South, "the nut don't fall far from the tree." In her case, her wonderful daughter, Andree Belle, was blessed with Dee's talent gene and is making the most of it in one of the hardest music markets to crack: Los Angeles.

In the few years she's been there, (1) she's gotten her degree in Music, emphasis on Jazz, at the renowned USC, paying her way through school by waiting tables; (2) worked in the music department at talent industry titan William Morris; gotten a steady gig at Nic's Martini Lounge in Beverly Hills; and (4) and networked with a community of wonderful talented jazz musicians, many of whom you can hear on her debut album, M.U.S.I.C, which you can purchase directly from iTunes

And because she's so upbeat about her journey — and of course, because she's so talented — others are drawn to her, like moths to a warm, glowing flame.

Even the guy that runs her local boite, Indie Coffee & Tea, in NoHo. She drops off copies of her CD there, and he sells it on consignment. (You can hear some of the cuts on her Facebook page, here. Just scroll down on her left sidebar.) The dude was so impressed with it that he recommended it to a music scout who was looks for a fresh new voice, and great catchy songs.

Turns out the Indie Coffee dude turned the scout onto a winner.

You'll be hearing that song, VARIETY PACK, on tonight's episode of 90210 ("Clark Raving Mad", 3/30/10; It runs on the CW, at 8pm ET & PT/7pm Central.)

The song is fun. It's sexy. It's naughty, yet oh so innocent. Best of all, it's original.

In other words, it puts the (Sugar) pop in pop music.

Sadly, something that AMERICAN IDOL hasn't done in a while.

Ironically, 90210 runs up against AMERICAN IDOL on tonight's TV schedule. But let me ask you something super important, at least as it pertains to pop culture history:

Would you rather watch another hour of tired, lackluster amateur performances that even Simon Cowell can no longer stomach ("Will someone puhleeze get me off this reality show?"), or do you want to say you were THERE, listening to VARIETY PACK for the very first time?

Because this TV event will be the new millennium equivalent of then unknown artist Vonda Shepard's
, "Searchin' My Soul " on ALLY McBEAL

I'm just sayin'.

But it's your call.

90210 is nostalgic for a whole generation (make that Gen Y). And perhaps the 2.0 version hasn't caught the zeitgeist of the original, but that doesn't matter. Because tonight 90210 won't be about Naomi or Navid, or Adrianna or Dixon.

It'll be about Andree — someone who leads the real (as opposed to reality TV) life of musician-singers in this day and age.

Every now and then, that means a break that can lead to a satisfying career.

A star is born,


Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it

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, bestselling author of Hollywood Wives and Poor Little Bitch Girl

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