Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Being Prepared 101

Last week our local Recording Academy (NARAS, Atlanta) held a "Meet and Greet". The purpose was to give our student and non-voting members a chance to meet the people who are on the board, voting members and other industry folks, as well as to get new-comers interested in joining. I drove down there with another producer friend of mine, Dan Hannon. Now Dan's a real straight shooter and he is going to tell you exactly what he thinks. At one point during this event I walked up to him as he was talking to some youngster and heard him say "Well that's 2 strikes against you! First you don't have a cd of your music. Second you don't have a business card and there is going to be a third if I don't have a drink in my hand in 2 minutes!" He was only kidding about the drink, but his experience was not uncommon. We talked about it on the drive back and we'd both noticed that there was not one single person there (that we'd talked to) who had their music on a cd or flash drive. Only a few had business cards, and almost all of them tried to get us to memorize their myspace address! This is something I've been noticing more and more the last couple of years. I get cd's sent to me with NOTHING written on them! I've had people hand me cd's at shows with NOTHING written on them! Are you kidding? One of the most basic rules I was taught as I came up in the business was that you always had your music with you and you put your name and contact info on EVERYTHING! Be prepared!

Now let me tell you about Ricky. Ricky is 8 years old. I first met him a couple of months ago at one of my son's birthdays parties that we had at my studio. I had all the kids in there wearing headphones and banging out some crazy music. After they had finished with that Ricky came up to me and said he wanted to record a new song on piano. I hooked up my midi keyboard and he played out a couple of A and B sections, not too bad actually. I thought it would end there, but no, he then wanted to add a bass. I got him a bass sound on the keys and he laid that down. Next he wanted drums and strings. After those were done he wanted to start editing and had very specific ideas about when certain instruments should come in and out. I asked him what the song was and he said it was his version of a live version of a remix by Daft Punk. He then went on to describe how he gets tracks off the internet, puts them in Garage Band and does remixes. Pretty cool. I've been told he has a blog going as well.

This last Sunday I had another birthday party for 2 of my other boys and Ricky was there. I asked him if he had done any new songs. He said yes. And before I could ask him to email it to me or ask where I could hear it he told me "I have it in my pocket!" He then pulls out his iPod, hands me the head phones and says "Tell me if it's too loud". Now talk about prepared! This 8 year old was more prepared than those 'producers' at the NARAS event of the previous week!

I don't think he was thinking that he might run into someone in the music industry that he might want to play music for. He was just keeping what he loves and is passionate about close by. If you're not that prepared and that passionate about music, then you shouldn't be doing it for anything more than a hobby.

Be prepared.