This past weekend I attended a songwriters' convention out in LA called "TAXI Road Rally." I wasn't sure what to expect, but since I'm a member of TAXI Music, I figured I might as well check it out. What I found exceeded my expectations in every way.
For those of you who don't know, TAXI Music is an independent A&R company that pairs indie songwriters with publishing companies and music supervisors in every aspect of entertainment. There are unending opportunities to submit your music for use in TV series, movies, and commercials. There are also constant submissions for big-named artists that are looking for new songs.
The "Road Rally" is something TAXI does every year. There is such a tangible sense of community amongst the attendees. Everyone is humble as can be and open to learn from experts in all aspects of the music industry. In order to give you a sense of what happens at the Road Rally, here's an overview of what I did on Day 1:
At 9am, we all met in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel for the opening remarks from TAXI founder Michael Laskow. Immediately afterwards we had the unique opportunity to honor the prolific songwriter Diane Warren (writer for Elton John, Aerosmith, Celine Dion…just to name a few) with a lifetime achievement award. We then got to witness an interview with John Braheny, one of the fathers of songwriting. Then I was off to meet with an industry person of my choosing for a short talk and listening party. In order to protect the privacy of the person I met with, I can’t disclose his name. But I can say that it was an exhilarating experience to hear him critique my music in such a favorable way.
I then attended a session called "Multiple Streams of Music Income," which focused on the anatomy of a solo artist's business. At about 12:45pm it was time for our "Mentor Lunch" where music producers, publishers, promoters and successful artists take turns sitting at your table. They spent 15-minute segments answering questions and telling you about their side of the business, which was awesome for networking and getting some down-to-earth answers about anything you might not already know.
In the afternoon I went to sessions on music licensing, the ins and outs of writing a hit song, and a hands-on lyric master class.
After dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant in LA (il Pastaio) it was time for the open mic nights at which any TAXI member or guest of the Road Rally is welcomed to get on stage and play a song or two. Then it was time to head back to the hotel room for debriefing with my convention buddy followed by some well-deserved sleep.
I felt like I was suddenly on the leading edge of the music business and that was just after the first of three long, productive and eye-opening days!!
I left the Road Rally with a newfound sense of excitement about songwriting and the music business in general. I am now fully aware that being a self-sufficient songwriter and artist is an achievable and, in my mind, an extremely noble goal. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but I'm certain that it's going to be a rewarding, soul-enriching journey.
Thank you to Michael Laskow, Pat Pattison, Jon Flanagan and everyone else who helped make TAXI's 2012 Road Rally such a huge success!
Luke Davids Video Blog - 11/14/12 Update - TAXI Road Rally!!
How Taxi Works (great blog post by James Kocian)