Throughout my journey as a teacher I have had the distinct pleasure of coaching hundreds of students through my personal coaching and mentorship program.
Each student has a unique set of goals and motivations, and I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to help other musicians aspire to achieve their goals in music, and in life.
Recently one of my students, Jasper Luetkens, shared an incredibly heartfelt message about his musical journey with me. In this message he shared some profound lessons he experienced, challenges that he overcame, and key insights to achieving his ultimate goal: getting signed to a label.
If you have ever wanted to get signed to a major label that inspires you, and want your messages to be heard and not lost amongst the thousands of emails that labels receive, this is a must read. Here is his story:
There is quite a story to tell about my odyssey in getting signed to a label, and I’d like to share my experience with you.
When we last spoke, I was in the process of reaching out to contact some labels that were relevant to the genre for the EP we prepared. I contacted them, but never received a response. I tried sending another demo of different track to the same label. Still no response. I think I’ve sent four demos in total now without receiving a word back. It was very frustrating. I realized I was getting nowhere with this approach. It’s really a paradox: all the labels ask for demos on their website homepage, but provide no other way for you to reach their contacts. Even when you do find a way to send them something, they often seem like they won’t even end up listening. So I changed my approach.
I went about creating a list of labels I knew I could get in touch with through friends, or through friends of friends. I learned that one of these labels was located in a pretty small town where a good friend of mine originally grew up. Coming from a town of similar size myself I knew that if you grow up in such a town you likely will know/meet everybody at some point. So I got in touch and sure enough, he knew the guys that ran the label. This was great news. I was able to get on the phone with the label head, who then asked for my demo and indeed gave it a listen. He didn’t see my music as a match for his label but he referred me to the label that does the distribution for them. What really blew me away was that this distribution label is the one biggest independent labels for electronic music in the country, with massively inspirational artists under contract. (*contact names & brands are omitted for confidentiality)
I dug up the courage and got on the phone with the label head and started telling him my story. When he heard that the owner of the other label had referred me to him, he asked me to send in my demo so he could have a listen. But unfortunately, no fit either. Back at square one. But, a powerful lesson had been learned; Get in touch with people personally, or at least over the phone.
I went back to my list and there was still one label I had not contacted yet, mostly because I was a little scared. This label was easily the most prestigious label in it’s respective genre, even the Petshop Boys released on this label! As if that wasn’t already enough to deter me, I knew the label owner used to be the editor of one of the largest electronic music magazines in the country and easily the biggest critic in the genre, having written over 10,000 reviews. Frankly, I was intimidated and wouldn’t have seen myself and my music in the position to fit amongst the calibre of a roster such as this, but I thought, “What the hell, there is nothing to lose”, and I called them. I specifically asked who would listen to the demo I’d send them (of course it was the label owner!), and five minutes later they had my demo. Then the most incredible thing happened. The label owner got back to me…within one hour! He asked me if I could send him one of my tracks with a different bass drum in it. Whoa! He listened to my music!
So I called him, now having his personal extension, and asked him what he was specifically interested in hearing. We talked for almost an hour and by the end had started to establish something a mentor-student type relationship. Now every time I’m working on a new track I send him my music when I think I have something that might fit with the label and he always gives me his time and expertise, providing feedback for me on my tracks. With his help I have made so much progress, I would not have been able to achieve what I have without him. I’ve yet to have anything signed with him yet, but with all the hours of phone calls and personal guidance I’m sure he will as soon as I bring him something that fits the label. He is bit of a perfectionist, but I know he’s like that with all artists signed to the label and is a testament to why this label has such a good reputation.
After going through this process, I did finally achieve my goal. I got all the tracks that we worked on signed to other labels! I put together an EP with songs I did for one of the labels that weren’t a perfect fit and sent it them in. MAN! Was that ever a home-run. I received an answer on the same day, “Hey, great music, we would like to offer you a contract.”
Long story short: personal relationships are everything, and if you don’t have them, establish them. It could even be as simple as a single phone call before you send something into the label, that will make all the difference.
So Vespers, thanks so much for your support and mentorship! I look forward to speaking with you again soon and wish you all the best in 2016!”
Follow & Listen to Jasper aka. Aural.Node
Jasper’s Review of Accelerate One-on-One Coaching
“Facing the next step in my career, I searched for someone who was familiar with the specifics of the electronic music business to give me some guidance. If you’re an indie or alternative rock artist, the supply for coaches covering that topic is virtually unlimited, but when it comes to electronic music, there are few to none. Vespers fills this void.
We worked on a strategy on how to approach labels and created a coherent artist package with full branding.
Vespers is never short of creative ideas on how to stand out amongst the crowd. He offers tons of inspiration for thinking outside the box and more importantly got me into the right mindset to face the next big challenge. He was very supportive and forthcoming.
If you’re in need for a coach to guide you through a challenge, whether it be regarding sound design & production, developing yourself as an artist or career advice, then Vespers is your go-to coach.”
We focus on exactly what you need, and nothing that you don’t. Depending on your unique situation and what you specifically need to improve YOUR music, we can cover everything things such as: sound design, synthesis, recording & live mixing, song writing / arrangement, workflow ninja tricks, mixing & mastering and more! Come and read how you can get your Accelerate One-on-One Coaching sessions started here.