Cris Velasco knows a thing or two about grit. He spent 7 years working day jobs (from retail to telemarketing!) until his big break into the gaming world. Now Cris has a worldwide passionate fan base and is one of the most sought-after, award-winning composers in the business, including his latest work on Fortnite, Resident Evil, Assassin’s Creed and many more. Cris also has written for TV, film and VR, the next innovative platform. During this insightful music careers episode, Cris walks us through his journey, from UCLA to crappy day jobs to his wildly successful video game soundtracks, how to write for an immersive, non-linear experience, how to get started in the business and to never, ever give up.
Michael Beinhorn, Grammy award-winning writer and producer (Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit”), as well as a Grammy nom for Producer of the Year (Hole, “Celebrity Skin”, Marilyn Manson, “Mechanical Animals”), is responsible for wrangling and producing the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ first two breakthrough albums, producing and collaborating on seminal albums by Soundgarden, Social Distortion, Korn, and many more, and most recently collaborating on Weezer’s brand-new album “The Black Album.” He has an exquisite knowledge of, and endless passion for, the creation of music. During this phenomenal music careers episode, we go back to dirty, crime-infested New York City, where incredible art, music and new sound were beginning to develop and coalesce, to the creative process that led him to Herbie Hancock’s Rockit, to working with the Chili Peppers, to looking at the future of music in terms of streaming and AI, and tons more.
John DelVento truly understands the meaning of hard work. His passion and commitment started with 2 hour practices on the euphonium as a child, and he continued that drive to write music for advertising campaigns, video games, award-winning films, popular tv shows, documentaries and more. During this music careers episode, John walks us through his career trajectory and what it takes to be a successful composer, which is really all about being a music entrepreneur, and to practice your craft at every available opportunity. (As proof, John, is still a sought-after euphoniumist, playing venues like Carnegie Hall and other high-profile performances.) John also shares invaluable tips and insight, like how to pitch your music, how (and when) to start your own business, how to find opportunities, what pitfalls to avoid, how to market yourself, and more.
John McLucas, drummer, singer/songwriter, producer, podcaster and recording engineer, is all about his music career. After Musicians Institute, he worked with several bands and toured with signed rising-star bands, playing shows with the likes of Tool and Primus before he decided he needed to strike out on his own to create a lucrative music career. His hard work (including living and sleeping at his studio) paid off with his own production/mixing business and a popular podcast, Stay Spongy Show. During this music careers episode, John shares what it took to get his business off the ground, the cost-benefit analysis of a bunch of guys touring versus a targeted IG ad campaign, what he’s learned from Gary Vaynerchuk, working on his solo career, and more.
Matthew Mayer is a busy guy – in addition to an MBA, a young family and a successful business career, he is also an award-winning, internationally renowned, Billboard-charting piano artist. Oh yes, and also a podcaster (“Going Solo”,) blogger, and founder of the popular online collective for piano artists, solopiano.com. During this special music careers episode, Matthew shares about his trajectory from piano lessons to business school to working at NBC in LA, discusses his approach to both his music and business careers, how having financial freedom allows him to pursue different avenues for his music, and how changing his perspective from stressful time management to maximizing his energy has helped him to achieve success and “getting it all done.”
Cherie Hu, an award-winning music business journalist, was on track to be a classical pianist through Juilliard’s pre-college program when a teacher suggested an alternative program of dual studies. That brought Cherie to Harvard, majoring in math and stats, while writing for the university arts blog and an arts column for the Harvard Crimson magazine. Cherie’s musical talents combined with data analysis gave her a fascination of the intersection of tech and music, ultimately leading her towards her current exciting and prominent career as a music + tech journalist. During this music careers interview, Cherie walks us through her trajectory as a musician and ultimately a music journalist, the parallels between math and music, AI, Spotify playlists and its profound effects upon music creation and discovery, how she stays on the cutting edge of tech and music trends, and more.
In her early 20’s, Lauren Deakin Davies has already experienced success and and acclaim as an award-winning record producer in the UK. Her hit work has already garnered her two “Producer of the Year” awards from NMG and a Breakthrough Studio Engineer award from Pro Sounds. Her production work has been featured on BBC shows and reviewed by the Sunday Times, and her plate is full working with artists from every genre. Starting out as an acoustic songwriter and performer in an all-girl band in her teens, Lauren has experienced both sides of the “studio glass” as an artist and now an engineer, which brings her a unique perspective when working with artists. She has also recently launched her solo music career as Didi, releasing a new EP, “Green” on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms. In this music careers episode, Lauren shares her musical journey as artist, producer, writer and engineer, and shares her secrets to success and how to get exposure in a competitive music industry landscape.
Eric “Boots” Greene has been drumming since the age of 2, and has been blessed with the gift of music ever since he can remember. From performing in his family’s church to teaching himself keyboards, instruments and learning “The Wiz” entirely by ear, Boots had a profound talent for music and knew he was meant to perform with fellow greats. A Philly native, he started touring with Jill Scott while still in his teens and continued his career from there, performing with Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell, and Jay-Z. Boots is also a gifted songwriter/producer, producing his own albums as well as for other artists. During this music career episode, Boots shares about the importance of faith, standing in your truth, never resting on your laurels, and to keep looking towards the horizon.
With over a decade of experience in the tech landscape as a software developer and entrepreneur, Jongnic Bontemps has an intimate knowledge of the marriage of music and tech, especially in today’s music industry. Jongnic has made a name for himself as a prolific and sought-after film composer, scoring for features, documentaries, shorts, VR, video games and more. His music is featured in the blockbuster hit movie “Creed II” as well as The New York Times and Tribeca favorite documentary “United Skates,” Sundance selection “Leimert Park,” and others. In this episode, Jongnic walks us through his music career trajectory, from Yale to Silicon Valley, USC’s film scoring program and Sundance Film Music Lab, and also discusses the unique perspective and innovative opportunities his tech and software experience have provided him in his successful career. He shares his valuable insight and experience in film scoring, music production, supporting your art and music entrepreneurship, as well as the importance of creating long-lasting relationships in the music business.
Ben C. McLane, Esq, has had decades of experience working with bands and artists, first working as an artist manager during college before going on to get his law degree and immersing himself in all things related to music business and music law as an attorney. He has written hundreds of articles, won awards for his work, has been featured as a speaker at worldwide music conferences and events, served as an educator in music schools, and has participated in projects involving the best and the brightest music superstars today, from Beyonce to Jay Z to MJ, J Lo and beyond. During this episode, Ben talks about his decision to become a lawyer specializing in the music business, his music law career trajectory, his book, “Music Business in 10 Easy Lessons,” and what artists can learn when working with a label or going the independent route.