Thanks to our friend Melody Demel, who wrote this guest post for us.
How do you make it in the music business? Blaze your own trail, network, have an online presence, and take rejection in stride. Those were some of the answers I heard regularly during a GRAMMY Camp L.A. panel where high school campers asked industry professionals what steps to take to make it as an artist or land a dream job in the music biz.
Grouplove producer and drummer Ryan Rabin gave students this advice on the subject.
“The Internet is a powerful thing. Grouplove started by a group of friends recording a few songs together for fun and throwing them on the Internet. Indie music blogs kept posting the songs and a few months later there was label interest and we played a show. We had never even really played live together.”
Fast-forward to two years later and the band grabbed their first number-one single, “Tongue Tied,” on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.
Steven Slate, a music producer who’s worked with bands such as Train and Black Eyed Peas, also chimed in.
“It’s all about the people you meet along the way and never losing focus of who you are and why you’re passionate about music. Surround yourself with bright minds and creative individuals. That’s when the big ideas come to the table.”
And what if you’re rejected? GRAMMY campers were told they can pretty much expect rejection at least once when pursuing music.
“The timing has to be right. If you go after it when the timing isn’t right, it won’t work out,” said Brian London, keyboardist for Lady Gaga and Katy Perry (he’s also musical director for Bruno Mars and Taio Cruz).
“Sometimes things will just work out in the strangest ways, when you least expect it,” added Grouplove’s Rabin.
Former American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart was also there. When she didn’t win Idol, she kept pursuing her dream of making it as an artist and managed to land a record deal with Interscope Records. “Keep putting yourself out there and don’t give up,” she told us.
I also had the chance to swing by a few classes, where I saw music production students work with Pro Tools (while wearing Shure SRH440s) and singer/songwriter students rock their songs on wired SM58® microphones and wireless Beta 87As.
Are you or any high school students you know interested in attending GRAMMY Camp? Check out grammyintheschools.com for 2013 application information. Financial aid is available, and approximately 75 percent of students who apply for financial aid receive assistance.