On Business Behind the Music:
You have the 360 deal, licensing deals, standard deals, and a few others, but if you do not have the money, you have to go with what the company may give you. Today you need the labels’ backing to help make you as big as you can be. This is what is so scary about being a new artist. I don’t know if they are putting enough time and money into new artists to allow them to develop. When I came into the game it was really the last few years of artist development because they found out how fast the money could come in. They could grab anyone to come in, sing a song, and get right to the next person. Everything is so fly-by-night, and they are ready to hear the next artist, and the artist after that.
If I were a new artist I would beat the pavement, try to hit as many radio stations as possible, and put out free music (mixtapes) so people know your presence is in the building. There is so much out there in the marketplace, so you have to come up with a strategic game plan to get your music seen and heard.
You have to take ownership of your career. Period. I tell everyone that comes into the studio that you have to learn and invest time in your craft, not just musically but professionally. Take time to understand the game and the direction it is moving in.
For me it is continuing to stay true to R&B by telling real stories through my music, while at the same time branding Avant music. You never stop building your brand and engaging the people that have supported you throughout the years. There are always stories to be told musically, so it doesn’t have to be the same R&B but you can bring a new version of it to the listeners. The key is maintaining the integrity of R&B in the music despite the heavy influence of hip-hop and pop music.
Advice for Young Artists Coming Into the R&B Game:
- Believe in yourself wholeheartedly and fight hard. Keep your faith high and understand that it will take time. Become a student of music and the business of music so that you can control your career. Listen, learn, and listen some more.
- Understand that everyone is not going to like you, believe in you, or want to work with you. Some people will hate you, but you have to fight through all of the negativity. That’s not just in music, but in life. Be ready to withstand a lot of abuse, because it is coming your way, and say hey, I’m still here.
- Stay true to the music. There will be a lot of people telling you that you should switch up your style and that certain things are what people want to hear. Maintain the integrity of the music and of who you are because this is what people will support you for.
Daron Pressley (@daronpressley) is an entrepreneur and former Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive who has been featured on outlets including Fox45 News, Black Enterprise magazine, and The Washington Post. Knowledgeable in marketing and branding, Pressley works with professional athletes, organizations, and individuals to develop strategies to create, build, and grow brands. As a speaker, Pressley has reached more than 20,000 students. He also provides dynamic insights on leadership and branding via his Website:Â DaronPressley.com.