If you are like me, you have been watching the actions of our fake mayor, Teddy Conrad, with increasing disgust. I could not believe that he signed his 15-year-old daughter, Maddie, to a record deal with Edgehill Records. He didn't even read the contract!
I'm not going to give any spoilers away to those who did not watch the most recent episode of Nashville but the situation did cause concern. No serious record company, no matter how evil, would sign a minor to a long-term recording agreement in Tennessee without seeking a court order removing the "disability" of the child's minority for the purpose of "making a contract".
T.C.A. Sec. 29-31-101 et seq. sets out a very straightforward framework in which a minor, either through his or her "next friend" or parents, files an application in Chancery Court to "remove" the child's minority. This is routinely done when a child signs a recording agreement or a publishing agreement.
While it is true that a parent can sign a minor to a contract, that contract can be completely voided by the upon reaching the age of 18. Thus, if Edgehill Records was going to invest its significant resources in Miss Maddie Conrad, it would want to make sure that she could not terminate the contract at the age of 18.
This is the exact situation Le Ann Rimes found herself in in 2000 when she tried to terminate her recording contract with Curb Records. The label in that case had taken the extra precaution of having Ms. Rimes' minority removed by the Chancery Court in Nashville and by having a Texas court affirm the contract. Courts in Texas and Tennessee refused to let Rimes set aside the contract for this reason.
I constantly have to remind myself that Nashville is a soap opera (and that Deacon Claybourne does not live on Boscobel Street and is not my neighbor) but it would have been interesting if Jeff Fordham had been required to battle Maddie's contract out in court. Next time maybe one of these guys will hire a lawyer.