By Dominick J. Centi as sent to Joy A. Kennelly:)Go here to read the reviews of those who attended too: http://www.drivenatlanta.com/1. What made you start the Driven Music Conference?
For years, we were on the other side of music conferences. We brought talent we represented, "worked" the conference and always walked away with something for the talent; a record deal, publishing deal or a session with a top producer scheduled, for example. It was an effective tool for advancing an artist and those experiences inspired us to produce our own music conference.
2. How receptive has the music industry on the Southeast coast been?
Exceptional, but we've also seen interest from all corners of the states, from CA to NY. We've reached outside the U.S. as well. For example, at our last conference, a performer traveled from Australia to showcase for the industry. We're working on plans now to more easily open up access to our conference to those outside of the U.S.
3. What would you say is the biggest draw?
Each person's interest in our conference likely differs, however, if I had to pick, it would be both the access to our Featured Panelists; industry giants such as Van's Warped Tour Founder Kevin Lyman, major label A&R and others, as well as the chance to showcase for them. Most can easily recognize we're fostering a networking opportunity and a place to go for a chance at advancement in music.
4. Who normally attends?
Its split down the middle, with one half of the group being artists and the other half being compromised of others working within the music industry and those wanting to learn more about the business from the pros, such as college students, for example.
5. Any success stories come out of speakers and attendees participating you've heard that you can share?
See answer 11.
6. How did you manage to get such an eclectic collection of speakers? Personal friends? Done business with them before?
Hmmm... Like some artists do, we try to keep some element of mystique swirling around the conference! Let's just say there's no substitute for hard work. That can usually work as an answer to almost any "how did you do that" kind of question!
7. Looking back at both conferences what changes will you make to your next one, if any?
More showcases! Who can argue with that change, right? We'll reserve at least 20 additional showcase spots.
8. What was the highlight of the conference for you?
For me, I liked how the ballroom where the panel discussions were held was full, both to capacity of people and energy. How accessible the Featured Panelists made themselves to the artists and the others attending was also an adrenaline rush.
9. What do you wish had turned out differently?
Not much, but if I have to pick one thing, it would be that I would have liked to more so experience it from the perspective of the attendees. That's tough to do when you're organizing the event because of all the on-site work involved, however. I'm not complaining. Goes with the territory. Its a workload our team puts upon itself for the sake of striving towards making the conference the best it can be for everyone involved.
10. What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?
How many hours do I have? This is an answer that is tough for me to keep short, but I will do my best to sum it up into 2 abbreviated points... 1) Always work towards increasing your odds. Using one very specific example, attend a music conference. If you're the artist at a conference and in the same room as top industry executives, then aren't you in a better position than the artists that are not? Now, if you also introduce yourself to those executives, aren't you in a better position than the artists in that room with you that do not? If you approach everything with that mentality, its really simple to see the big picture clearly. Part of what your doing is a numbers game. As a general ongoing rule, "work it" to the point to where the odds of advancement swing closer to your favor. You can never go wrong, if you do. 2) Understand that if you're making the choice to advance in the music business (which is not for everyone), you can't ignore the business side of it. If you do, you're looking at more of a hobby than a career. Learn about the business side or put your faith in someone you feel has. Music without business is a hobby and business without music is, arguably, "boring work"! They both are important, they both need attention and they both need each other to advance as one cohesive entity.
11. How did all the bands work out performing? Anyone picked up? Any feedback from anyone?
I absolutely love these conferences because of the element of surprise that always comes with them. There is nothing routine about them, just as there is nothing routine about this business, in general. At our last conference, Vans Warped Tour Founder, Kevin Lyman, offered The Silver Comet a spot on Warped (which is currently under negotiation and not confirmed per The Silver Comet) and Atlantic Records A&R, Jeff Levin, offered Super Water Sympathy a deal with Atlantic, both right on the spot. The reaction of both showcasing artists after receiving the news was priceless. I'll never forget their expressions. What a rush!
12. Anything else you want to add that I've neglected to cover?
I appreciate your interest and that of your readers! Right now we're in South Florida and Atlanta annually, with plans for further expansion into additional markets. The latest on the Driven Music Conference can be found at:www.drivenentgroup.com
More to come!