Need Some Tactful Advice??

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Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by Oneal »

Okay guys...

So I'm a songwriter and producer and I am releasing a compilation album next week where LA-based unsigned artists are performing songs I've written and/or produced. All the songs were recorded, mixed, and mastered in major studios in LA and I'm very happy with the project....

So my short term goal is to find some mentors in the industry and my ultimate goal is to land a publishing deal as a songwriter.

So I attended my first real networking event this past week and I briefly met an A-list producer who has produced 3 grammy-winning albums for a current A-list artist....I mention all that for a reason so keep that in mind....

This producer is currently trying to break out a new artist who is signed to a major label (who I also met) and had a great conversation with.

Soooo both the A-list producer and new singer followed me on social media and I was curious what you guys think would be the most tactful way to approach the producer about mentoring me? Even if I'm doing something as simple as carrying golf clubs or getting sandwiches for people in the studio 😂.... And what would be the most tactful way to present a reference song to the new singer? I understand that major artists and major labels can't accept unsolicited music so what would be the best way to go about this? She definitely seemed interested in co-writing with me.

I apologize if these questions are a bit dull. I just want to be careful and not step on any toes.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by Arpangel »

Simple, wait, to to be asked, also, it’s OK to create opportunities, but if you go further than that, it can come across like we’re "persuading people" to like what we do.
Our work should sell itself, If you have something amazing to offer, they will know that, and you won't have to ask, and stepping on toes won’t come into it.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by Lophophora »

I can't really help with the best approach since I'm not exactly the most socially skilled person :? But I would suggest you consider avoiding mixing two different things.

Getting someone to mentor you should be a sincere approach based on your genuine appreciation of someone's work. If you show them that you are aware of their own special talent and that you are specially sensitive to that, they might offer you some help without you having to try too hard. I've been amazed at how much mentorship I've been able to receive from some of the best mastering engineers in the world just by engaging with them and recognizing my appreciation for their particular way of working rather than asking upfront.

However, pitching a song to a producer is a much more down-to-earth, transactional approach and I'm not sure both are compatible. If you ask someone to mentor you and then pitch a song to them, they might think that you're not really interested in learning from them but only wanted to use them to market your music. To be honest, just by reading your post that's kind of what I am assuming (rightly or wrongly, that's not really relevant anyway).

Anyway that's just my 2 cents, as I mentioned I'm not a social expert, far from it, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by RichardT »

First, post links to your album on social media when it releases so they can listen to your material if they want.

I think with the producer, think carefully about what mentoring would involve, and be specific about what you ask for. Make it realistic and achievable - so don't ask for too much. If you really want him to produce your material, rather than just mentor you, you could have problems, so it's best to be upfront about what you really want otherwise he will soon spot your ulterior motive!

With the singer, I guess it's possible she was just being polite, or she may really have meant it. I would simply message her on social media to ask if she would like to receive a demo track from you.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by Dynamic Mike »

Mentorship sounds like a massive commitment which could be off putting. Maybe ask for mentoring in one very specific detail, perhaps EQ or compression. Pick one of their strengths and your weaknesses. If you develop a relationship maybe things will take off, if not nobody is left with a bad experience, and no bridges have been burned.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by blinddrew »

Building on the last three comments...
I've been involved with a few mentorship programmes, both as a mentee and (somewhat amazingly) as a mentor. My experience is that most people are happy to receive a genuine request for mentoring.
But that sentence comes with some caveats...
1) the request has to be genuine. If it's anything else, whether that's a sales pitch, a way to access their contacts, or just as a bit of advertising for a social media profile, it will go down like a lead balloon. And in a small industry that can get around really quickly. So as stated above, be really clear about why you are approaching this person.
2) Also as stated above, mentoring can be quite a big commitment. But it doesn't have to be. If your potential mentor is open to a conversation about it, establish a few ground rules around the scope of what you're looking for, how much time you're both prepared to put in on a regular basis, and what you might be able to give back. The main reason people get into mentoring is because of the sense of reward and satisfaction of seeing their mentee grow and develop, but there may be other things that you can offer.
3) Even if the stars align and everything is rosy in theory, real-life might get in the way and they may not be able to commit. Take it in good faith, ask if they'd be willing to think about it again in the future, and if you were able to establish a bit of quid-pro-quo in the conversation, make sure they know that your offer is still available if they need it.

Haven't got any experience in the song-pitching area but a genuine message to the singer asking if she's interested in a co-write is unlikely to do any harm and may result in a positive response.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by The Red Bladder »

Dynamic Mike wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:17 pm Mentorship sounds like a massive commitment which could be off putting.

THIS!

Remember that despite his Grammys and other accolades, he is just another struggling, working schmuck like you and me! The difference is that you are where you are - Crazy-Ville! Everybody is hustling for a gig in that town! Me! Me! Me!

Half the population is on the hustle, the other half are seriously out to lunch!

Ask him for a little thing, something totally insignificant. Stay cool but stay in contact. Maybe you can do HIM a favour! Then maybe, just maybe he can find a few moments to give you a leg-up - but don't count on it!

Keep networking and keep sowing seeds. Sometimes golden opportunities come from the unlikeliest of places and people.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by RichardT »

Another thing to think about - with a new album out, you should be planning to promote it as much as you possibly can!
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by OneWorld »

Arpangel wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 7:53 am "Our work should sell itself, If you have something amazing to offer, they will know that..................."

I think that says it all. Although if course there's always the exception to the rule the most famous example of all of course is the Beatles being turned down. But on the whole I think it applies to a lot of things, the right thing at the right time and place will sell.

That being said though, I am reminded of an interview with Simon Cowell, and the success of SiCo. He said "We are just selling a product, imagine walking down the aisle in the supermarket where washing up powder is stacked. The contents of each box is for the main part identical, so the manufacturers have to dress up their product so their product appeals more than the others. Same with commercial/pop music, much of it is formulaic, so we have to make our boxes the ones that catch the eye/ear of the consumer"

I know it is unfashionable to give any credence to the likes of Simon Cowell, but I do like his candour........tact? He went on to make the point that not all music is quite so formulaic, the points he makes do not apply for example to jazz, classical etc, where not only is the music exceptional but the skill and artistry of the performer is exceptional too. I was watching a young man on YouTube the other day, he was playing Shostakovic's 2nd Piano Concerto, and oh my goodness, no matter how many times I watch a performance of this, I shake my head in disbelief, then check GumTree and eBay for what I might get offered for my piano.

I don't know if anyone else here has been watching the documentary about the Spice Girls on TV - as expected, gives a lot of insight to the industry. And therein lies the clue to it all, it is not called the Music 'Industry' for nothing
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by Arpangel »

OneWorld wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 3:06 pm
I know it is unfashionable to give any credence to the likes of Simon Cowell, but I do like his candour........tact? He went on to make the point that not all music is quite so formulaic, the points he makes do not apply for example to jazz, classical etc, where not only is the music exceptional but the skill and artistry of the performer is exceptional too. I was watching a young man on YouTube the other day, he was playing Shostakovic's 2nd Piano Concerto, and oh my goodness, no matter how many times I watch a performance of this, I shake my head in disbelief, then check GumTree and eBay for what I might get offered for my piano.

Simon Cowell is as relevant to the "industry" as he’s ever been, and you’d be foolish to ignore what he says.
I’m not involved in that scene in any way, but if you want to be, you’ve just got to play the game, I guess. I’ve witnessed obliquely how Cowell and co do business, they are in no way like the media paint them, very nice, very clear, very business like, don’t get the impression it’s all aggressive hustling.
As I said, you have to be doing something amazing, and I do believe it has to go deeper than the box the soap is in though, and you must have 150% confidence in what you do, don’t sell that piano!
Red Bladder is right, opportunities can come from the unlikeliest of places, and sometimes things pop up when you’re least expecting them, and we always have to look for new angles, new corners to inhabit, that no one else has found.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by The Red Bladder »

Arpangel wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:49 am Simon Cowell - very nice, very clear, very business like, don’t get the impression it’s all aggressive hustling.

Or as investment banker Peter Kaufman said (about traders and brokers) "If all these crooks and promoters knew how much money there was in being honest, they'd all be at it!"
Arpangel wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:49 amwe always have to look for new angles, new corners to inhabit, that no one else has found.

Pete Waterman started with a fat bloke in a pink dress gigging in the gay club scene. Rap and hip-hop started with street parties. Rock started when several hitherto unrecorded artists including Chuck Berry speeded up 4:4 blues to make it more fun to dance to at the local hop.
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Re: Need Some Tactful Advice??

Post by Oneal »

Dynamic Mike wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:17 pm Mentorship sounds like a massive commitment which could be off putting. Maybe ask for mentoring in one very specific detail, perhaps EQ or compression. Pick one of their strengths and your weaknesses. If you develop a relationship maybe things will take off, if not nobody is left with a bad experience, and no bridges have been burned.


blinddrew wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:58 pm Building on the last three comments...
I've been involved with a few mentorship programmes, both as a mentee and (somewhat amazingly) as a mentor. My experience is that most people are happy to receive a genuine request for mentoring.
But that sentence comes with some caveats...
1) the request has to be genuine. If it's anything else, whether that's a sales pitch, a way to access their contacts, or just as a bit of advertising for a social media profile, it will go down like a lead balloon. And in a small industry that can get around really quickly. So as stated above, be really clear about why you are approaching this person.
2) Also as stated above, mentoring can be quite a big commitment. But it doesn't have to be. If your potential mentor is open to a conversation about it, establish a few ground rules around the scope of what you're looking for, how much time you're both prepared to put in on a regular basis, and what you might be able to give back. The main reason people get into mentoring is because of the sense of reward and satisfaction of seeing their mentee grow and develop, but there may be other things that you can offer.
3) Even if the stars align and everything is rosy in theory, real-life might get in the way and they may not be able to commit. Take it in good faith, ask if they'd be willing to think about it again in the future, and if you were able to establish a bit of quid-pro-quo in the conversation, make sure they know that your offer is still available if they need it.

Haven't got any experience in the song-pitching area but a genuine message to the singer asking if she's interested in a co-write is unlikely to do any harm and may result in a positive response.

Thanks guys. I think I am going to approach him by stating I'm looking for mentors in New York, LA, ATL, and Nashville...and I simply want to attend any studio sessions he's open to letting me attend. I simply want to watch his process of building songs and albums from scratch. In addition, I'm open to assisting with any small tasks he may need even if it's getting lunch for everyone....and I'm hoping this arrangement can turn into me co-writing and making beats.
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