Lava Room Recording’s First Annual
Emerging Artist of the Year Award for 2012 is….
Let’s play Imagine for a minute!
First, Imagine you are at work one day and you get a call from a prospective client, a sponsor really, an individual who has the finest reputation in the community, an individual from outside of the music business.
That much you know from the name, a name you immediately recognize.
So you immediately wonder:
“Why is he calling?” and “What is this about?”
You are intrigued!
Are you with me?
Now Imagine that he begins the conversation talking about himself and his mission, a mission to feed a million people! He goes on to explain how his mission has taken him to places that have really opened his eyes to the plight of poor and starving people all over the world. He speaks of his mission as some kind of a quest, a life’s mission not unlike the mission Bill Gates and many other wealthy entrepreneurs have pursued after building their empires.
Apparently, that is where he is at in his life, trusting his empire to others, in this case his daughter, as he has gone on to do what many would call “God’s Work.”
I am totally serious here, about the man and his mission. It alone had me tuned in…and more than a little inspired!
So, I waited…and listened.
Ready to shift gears again?
Here is Step 3 in our game of Imagine:
Well, after a few more minutes of discussion about his mission, a discussion that was really more him talking and me listening, he got to what he was really calling about. And this is where the conversation started to get interesting.
Now, I have to tell you this, I get calls almost every day from people who say they know someone who can really sing or they have a cousin who is an extraordinary singer or they have a sister who has a boyfriend who has a….
Yup, okay! Get it?
But this call was different. I mean right from the start, this was different!
One, because of who was on the other end of the line.
And two, because of something in his voice.
You see, being a sound guy, an expert really, I pick up on the nuances many miss.
And, because sound (read: music) is my life and my livelihood, I pay attention to the little things in a voice that many people miss.
In other words, I was tuned in.
As the conversation progressed, the caller continued to talk about his mission and about the people, and he was really sincere.
Consequently, I was certain of one thing at this point, this caller was in earnest, he meant every word…and that drew me in!
And then, all at once, he shifted gears!
It was funny—funny as in peculiar—because he said something I wasn’t sure I’d heard.
And that’s unusual for me, downright strange, actually!
And I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, I need to explain something.
You see, as the pace of the conversation picked up, with the same sort of dynamic, he did all the talking and I continued to listen, I was drawn even deeper in…much deeper.
It’s strange, I know, but either this guy was the best salesman on the planet or I was being hypnotized by his words and the story he was telling me. Or maybe both?
But why did he call? I mean, the story was fascinating and all but there was something else. And it was that something else that intrigued me.
And then it hit me…I finally got it!
I was being drawn in by his tone, by his inflections, by the words he used, and by his genuine sincerity.
It was almost like being at a rock concert, one of those concerts where everything goes right. I mean a concert when the band is on, the acoustics are amazing, and the music is like nothing you’ve ever hear before.
Well, during this conversation, this rock concert, I was the crowd, he was the band, and his voice the music.
I was being drawn in by the sound and the music in his voice, and not by the words.
It was incredible!
As he continued speaking, I was drawn in by the story, to be sure. However, and more significantly, I was being drawn in by the absolute certainty and sincerity in his voice.
Okay! Got it?
Let’s move on…
So Imagine that the conversation is now flowing rapidly, the caller’s words are coming in a stream of sentences and his sentences are flowing so rapidly that, had I not been drawn in gradually, I would not have been able to keep up. In fact, I would have missed most of what he was saying, probably writing him off as some kind of crank caller.
Yup, we get those too!
But this guy was different and I was right with him, word for word and sentence for sentence. In fact, I found myself finishing his sentences, something I almost never do!
You see, I’m one of those guys who lets people finish their own sentences…I make it a point to listen!
It’s my job, remember?
Alright, so by this point in our game of Imagine, he’s in overdrive and I’m riding right beside him.
Interestingly, it’s at this point that he gets into the meat of the matter, the real reason he’s called. Sure, he’s danced around it up until now; but now he’s there, ready to tell me why he called.
And I’m ready!
He said that he discovered a singer on one of his missions to, of all places, Cuba. He was absolutely certain that she had the potential to be a star, a major, solo recording artist.
Significantly, it’s at this point in a conversation like this where my expertise really kicks in and serves me well.
This is where I usually catch uncertainty, BS, and/or ulterior motives in a caller’s voice.
And there are plenty of all three and more in the music business. But there was none of that. I knew one thing with absolute certainty, this caller was absolutely sincere. I also knew, with the same level of certainty, that he was equally committed.
So, he is sincere and committed…but could his discovery sing?
Well, we’ve all watched enough of The X Factor, American Idol, and The Voice (come on, admit it!) to know that people don’t always hear exactly what is coming out of a friend or family members’ mouth.
Actually, it’s always amazed me, for at least as long as I’ve been in the music business, that people hear what they want to hear!
I don’t know why it is?
I suppose it’s something like the whole “Love is blind” phenomenon. People really do see and hear what they want to see and hear. I think it’s because they’re emotionally invested. But it’s different than simply telling someone you care about something they want to hear because you’re friends, family, or a loved one…it’s real!
It’s what academics would call a conundrum, and the rest of us might call a puzzlement or a mystery or something like that….Or just plain strange!
But it’s real! People really do hear things differently depending on their emotional investment.
Was this what it was?
I didn’t think so!
Well, it’s at this point in any conversation that begins with:
“I have discovered the next ____________! (fill in the blank) that I tend to get real.
And it’s at this point in the conversation that I want to either hang up politely or get the singer or the group into the studio so I can hear him, her, or them for myself.
Basically, I want to cut to the chase so I can assess how well the caller’s hearing is matching up with what I believe the rest of the music listening public will be hearing…once we put a mic in front of him, her, or them, of course.
Just an aside:
You’d be amazed if I told you the number, as a percentage of the people who call, who never show up!
I’m not sure why? Maybe they have time to kill, mine and theirs. Or maybe they’re trying to impress someone in the background. Or perhaps the singer or singers are too afraid or nervous? That happens a lot! Or who knows why? But it’s part of the business…unfortunately….
Consequently, it’s at this particular stage in the conversation, with this caller or any other that I do just that…I asked for an appointment!
He came back immediately with his reply….
Part II and the winner of Lava Room Recording’s First Annual Emerging Artist of the Year Award for 2012 will be announced on Monday, December 24, 2012.
Please stop back and share this with your friends!
If for any reason you can’t make it back on Monday, we want to wish you the happiest of holidays from all of us at Lava Room Recording: Mike Brown, Chris Ebbert, and the Rest of the Lava Room Recording Crew!
Lava Room Recording
5000 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, Ohio 44103