How does it feel to have been so instrumental in the success of some major national and international artists?
Thank you for those words. It feels great. To be honest, I love what I do, I’m grateful that I can do what I do on a daily basis, but the joy is not from the success in terms of sales or touring, instead the joy is seeing an artist or band go from good to excellent and then from excellent to successful. My grand plan and my mantra is that the music business is not as difficult as people make it out to be. When I see these artists have major success, I know it is working.
You have had huge success with the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Neon Trees, Less Than Jake, etc,. Is there an artist that you have never worked with before and would like to work with?
I really dig a couple of new artists right now: 24kGoldn and Peach Tree Rascals. So those are two artists that I’d love to work with.
In your opinion, with the power of digital streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music in place, do you feel they make it easier for artists to get recognized? Also, as a songwriter and former A&R do you go on those platforms to scout new artists?
The current state of the music business means that they are fewer gatekeepers. By that I mean, an artist can directly impact their fans without the cumbersome nature of a record company or distributor or record store. Instead, the artist can go straight to their fans which gives the artist tremendous leverage and power and opportunity. That is why I like to explain and coach my artist from start to finish: they need a song that people like, visuals to accompany that song that is truly spectacular, they need to know how best to market and promote the songs. Finally, they must listen to their fans: What do your fans like? What do they not like?
As far as scouting new bands, I do that 24 hours a day. I have nationwide if not worldwide relationships and in touch with people on a daily basis talking about new music. I’m always on all sorts of sites to find new music.
With your extensive background in music and music production spanning over two decades, I’m sure you’ve witnessed a plethora of changes in the music industry. As you see it, are record labels even necessary in these present times?
Yes, they are necessary in that they provide manpower, services, and opportunities and finances that most artists do not have at their fingertips. To be successful as an emerging artist or any artist, the artist needs a team of people. You can call those people your employees or a record label or promotion company. It depends on how you assemble and pick your team. My recommendation to artists is find someone to help you, start with one person. Always be generous with your time, be cognizant of their time, and always remember that success does not happen alone.
Do you feel that Facebook and Instagram ads work to get bands new audiences?
Yes, those ads work. I have proof that they work.
In the early 2000’s, the trend was for emo, pop-punk, alternative and rock bands in general to be signed to major labels so frequently. It seems like in this season, major labels are mainly looking for pop artists or musicians that are marketable for the Billboard Top 40. What tips would you give an artist that is interested to be signed to a major/independent label?
Very good question. Make sure that you show a label that you already have an interest in your streams and videos and demand for your t-shirts and touring. In other words, think of yourself as a local ice cream shop. The goal of your local ice cream shop is to make money and then partner with Baskin Robbins (or somebody bigger). To do this, you have to show Baskin Robbins that your product works, that it sells, that your shop is clean. You are a business. It is the same with music. It’s not as mysterious as we think.
In the 90’s we had Grunge. In the early 2000’s we had New Metal/Pop-Punk. From your perspective, is there a certain genre that will be the “next big thing” in the upcoming decade?
If I could answer that question with any accuracy, I’d be a psychic. Music is constantly evolving, and it is up to all of us to find the joy in embracing new music.
What is the next wave for music especially with all of the changes since the onset of the pandemic, venue closures and postponed shows and festivals?
Great question. More and more artists will have to put out more music, better songs, more frequently, and utilize their opportunities to promote these songs in a way that they have never done before, i.e. do it themselves. I think this pandemic can be looked at two ways – one way to look at it like a negative, the other way is to look at it like an opportunity to be more productive, influential and creative. I prefer to view it optimistically. Embrace life’s challenges.
What’s the best way for aspiring artists to contact you with interest in taking their writing and musical goals to the next level?
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.