ANAHEIM — If “It’s not what you know but who you know,” then aspiring songwriters and musicians are in good company, a panel of music industry experts said at NAMM over the weekend.
During a panel discussion entitled 360 Degrees of a Hit Music Track, a room of 250 songwriters and musicians were told to work the event circuit and talk up their work — to each other — and help each other make it to the top.
“Network with everyone,” attorney Neville Johnson of Johnson and Johnson LLP of Beverly Hills said. “Look around you. The people in this room are your colleagues. Go to the events, industry meetings, groups for writers. It’s a team effort.”
Panelists included singer songwriter Barry Keenan, A and R executive Don Grierson, producer Matt Forger, publisher Robert Case, attorney Johnson and was moderated by Alex Del Zoppo of the renowned band Sweetwater.
Aspiring musicians must know their audience, take stock in their catalogues and pay close attention to the emotional communication they intend, said panelist Grierson, who has worked with many of the most notable artists in music. It all comes down to the message and the appeal of the message, Grierson said.
“I guarantee you this: They will never ask if you recorded on one track or two tracks or if it was analogue or digital,” said Grierson. “They only care about ‘Did it resonate here,” he said, pointing to his heart.
Keenan said competition may be tough, but “Never give up on your dream.” He added that when the time is right to get your CD into the hands of a producer, make sure the product is good.
Johnson added that with continued efforts, it is possible for a new artist to break through.
“Look at Lorde, she came out of nowhere,” he said, referring to the 16-year-old New Zealand-born phenom, nominated in four categories at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. “And Adele, she’s broken all records…”
The Internet has done a lot to help aspiring and established artists get exposure. Keep networking and posting song, it was advised.
“Find a great song,” Johnson said. “I know a guy who had a one-off song that became a hit, then he bought a nice house, got a nice car, nice wife, nice life.”