Gregory Ego's "Billionaire" suddenly paying off

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In 2003, local songwriter Gregory Ego -- formerly of the band Ham Hoc War Lox -- released a CD called I Want to Be a Billionaire, which included a song with the same title. The tune didn't get a lot of attention -- until now.

Earlier this year, Ego began seeing a huge upsurge in traffic to his website from people looking for the song. The traffic surge was perplexing until he realized that Travie McCoy released a song called "Billionaire" with some lyrical overlap. People looking for McCoy's song were finding Ego's instead.

Wisely, Ego took the opportunity to place the song on his MySpace page, where it's received 4,000 plays in a short period of time. Despite that, there's not much chance anyone will mistake the songs for each other anytime soon. "I think it's safe to say mine is a little more satirically bent," he points out, "and a little more lyrically baroque."

While the two songs don't have much in common (McCoy's is an earnest, starry-eyed tune about how cool it would be, delivered as smooth, reggae-tinged pop R&B; Ego's is more of a satirical examination of the lifestyles of the rich and stupid in glorious lo-fi post-punk style), Ego figures the free attention and exposure can't hurt. He's using the opportunity to remind people he's still around.

"It's been several years since I released anything, but I've been recording again," he notes. "I'm putting together a new CD. My goal for the next release is to have it released by a label. I'd like somebody to take me under their wing and give me the stamp of approval." Look for that disc next year, or visit Ego's MySpace to hear the original "Billionaire" song now.

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