What a week its been for me, hell what a 10 day stretch its been for me. Last week I had the opportunity to Skype with an A&R rep from a major label. We talked about my career and where I see it, who my market is, and how important it is to reach a specific demographic. Then he listened to some of my tunes commenting on how he liked this and my lyrics were strong and I had an interesting voice. This is what we in the business call a Consultation. Near the end of the conversation he got into: Joe I have some bad news for you….. I chimed in with: Dude don't even say it I know, I know its a young persons game. "I won't be able to offer you a deal at this time" was his next line.
I've been working on songwriting and performing for a good while now and I guess I must have looked crushed because he said, "Dude don't give me that face….. ok this is what I can do for you…." He took out his calculator and said "usually I charge $8500 US. per track to produce but for you because I see a lot of myself in you, I will waive my producers fee. You just need to get yourself out her to L.A. and cover some of the costs for recording the weeks session. Studio time, engineer, sound design, mixing and mastering ……. 12 thousand US Dollars."
Now had he been anyone else I would have laughed and ended it right there but this guy is responsible for some of the biggest acts and has over 100 million in record sales, I'm not boasting here, just giving you a frame of reference for later. So i'm like ok so 12K and a plane ticket…. I'll get into it.
That was Sunday last……..
For the last 10 days I have approached just about everyone I know family, friends, friends of friends. Today I reached out to Dan Hill and Ron Hynes and even the president of ASCAP to see if anyone would sponsor my recording. I received a response from Dan saying something along the lines of its a nasty business and I should be wary of such a deal. I went back to the industry pro's site and re read his accomplishments. Really a large figure in the business, I'm still on board. He gave me until tonight to give him a yes or no so I continued and was on the phone all day, sending emails out to everyone who I might have thought had been in the same position as myself at one time in their own career. So its crunch time and I have an hour to deadline and I send out another email to another industry guy who previously talked to me about my career, to see if maybe he would get behind this, no answer and then its 9PM or 6PM PST. I've done all I can do and I was unable to jump through that large door that was so graciously opened for me.
So I did what everyone else would do in a situation like this…. I went to the pub.
My badminton crew was there wondering where I was tonight and I laid out this story for them. They were on my every word about the last 10 days and of course i'm thinking could this be it, would these nice people be able to support it… no that wouldn't be right but they did offer up great words and suggested to me that I walk away from the deal and come back to it later. Since I was not able to come up with the funds it wasn't hard to get to.
I had my beer and poutine bought for me and got a great handshake and some encouraging words from a good friend and went home to write my last email for the day to the industry pro in question.
Here it is minus the greeting as to protect confidentiality:
While I appreciate the offer that has been presented to me at this time i'm going to have to graciously decline coming to Los Angeles and working with you. I take songwriting very seriously and am grateful for what I received from our Skype conversation. I have been able to apply it towards my music and in the end that is what counts. Some offers do come but once in a lifetime but I feel that I have the talent and determination to make it in this business.
Thanks for working with me and pointing out my strengths and weaknesses. It is only through seeing clearly what they are that we can grow.
Well good reader, that was the hardest email that I ever had to write and one of the toughest weeks I've ever experienced in my music career. Man I'm getting so close I can almost taste it….. almost.