Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Getting real with new artist development

Note from Judy:
There are scams and crooks in the music business. (Duh). You don’t have to be around it very long to know this. You need to check out ANYONE you work with before you trust them with your talent - or hand over a one of your red cents.

However, it is also true that there are people of the utmost integrity that work within our industry. If you are wise and fortunate enough to get these people on board your team, you may want to read these thoughts from David Pell. This is man who finds and develops new talent. He’s an honest professional- a good guy, and really cares about those he chooses to work with. As you’ll see, he’s dealt with some squirrelly folks, too. He tries to keep it real. Here is his guest post, and as always, we invite your comments!

Get real. You owe it to yourself and the rest of us.

When young people who come to me and say "I want to be on records / CD,s and be a recording artist / star". I'll ask, Why? Usual answers include money, I love music, etc...I'll listen to the would-be artist, and if I feel there is enough talent, desire and family support, I’ll go to the next level with this person and family.

Next, I’ll dish out some tough love. I'll tell them that they have to work harder than they've worked up to this point because all successful people, regardless if they are a recording artist, banker, ditch digger, etc,.. have had to work hard and smart to become successful. It didn't fall in their laps. In other words, you've done a good job at being ordinary, and you've come to me and the people I'll introduce to you to focus on the "extra" so you'll become extraordinary. This means hard work and dedication.I may tell them they need to change some of their thinking. I’ll explain that successful people have a different outlook and place value on items other than what the person may currently think matters.

  • I see you bought Judy's CD package. Are you using it everyday?
  • Have you written a thank you note to someone who has helped you?
  • Who's your target audience?
  • What style of music do you want to do?
  • What musicians (kinds of instruments, etc) would you want on your CD? What do you want your image to be?
  • What kind of role model do you want to be to your fans?
  • What do you most long to do- Do you want to follow the music industry (work at a record / CD shop or be a fan ) or be a part of the music industry? ( artist, songwriter, stage or studio musician, producer, arranger, etc..)

I'll ask the person to draw up a list of long- and short- range goal(s) for themselves. For instance,

  • What kind of training do you need to become excellent at what you want to do?
  • What can and are you willing to commit to make it real?
  • What are your expectations... what outcome of success would you consider good enough to commit yourself to these goals?
  • What do you expect me to do to help them meet those goals?

Like George Harrison wrote in the song "Any Road":

"If you don't know where you're going Any road will take you there "

But before the person puts pencil to paper or keystroke to Word document, I tell them they have to talk to someone that has known them longer than I've known them about their list of goals to make sure it is correct. Who is that? Mother, Father, Grandparents, Pastor or some other trusted individual. Then I put my finger square on the middle of the want-to-be's forehead and say "You- You know if your musical aspirations are true to the heart or just a passing fancy." Get real with me, now.
After receiving the list of goals from you, I make a decision to, or not to, commit. Once I've made my commitment to your dream, from then on I consider you to be an artist- and I treat you as such. This means at times I'm not very nice when you don’t work smart or hard enough, don't follow directions or advice in areas that need to be addressed. etc.. I'm also your biggest supporter to make sure you are prepared for the day(s) that will make your dream come true. Everything is done with your success in mind. However, I will not blow smoke up your whoop-a-daisy. You already have family, friends and pets doing that.

Here's the really hard part. If you get into this and find that you are not willing to go the distance because it’s not worth it to you to commit this much of yourself, don't be afraid to tell your mentor, family, or team that this is not what you really want to do. Now, make sure that you really want to quit or you'll be living the David Wilcox lyric from "Eye Of The Hurricane"

"That when you lay your dream to rest You can get what's second best But it's hard to get enough"

If quitting is what you truly want to do, take the heat and stand your ground: "No, I don't want to do this." That's what responsible, ethical and successful professionals do. Tell the truth to all involved and be sure to say "Thank You" to each person who was helping you make your musical dream come true. You owe this to everybody.

Don't be surprised if some people of the team get angry. Remember, they made a commitment to / invest in you and your dream and now you want to abort ship. We who have committed to our musical dreams want to help young talented artist and provide opportunities that weren’t provided to others. So, it's hard to watch talent go down a path that leads to nowhere, knowing that talent will never be used to it's fullest potential. Trust me it's really hard on us.
If you quit for some bogus reason, then most likely the majority of your team will be highly upset. If you went to the trouble to surround yourself with legitimate people who know your real chances of success, listen to them before making your final decision.

Any who, when you conduct yourself in a professional manner on your way out, you've can leave on good terms. If you want to return to the pursuit of your musical goal then you may still have people who will help, although you'll have to work even harder to convince them that you won’t bail again.It's not easy getting in or out. It takes commitment and professionalism no matter how you slice it. Respect everyone you deal with by being honest, accountable and considerate of their time and energy.

Get real with yourself- and do it now, not later!
-David Pell- http://www.catsimagination.com/

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