• Doing S#!t Backwards

    — On Purpose


    "You’re very good at teaching somebody how to teach themselves. Nobody really does that."

    Know how every great leader has that one person pulling the strings behind the scenes?


    Most on the outside couldn’t tell you what that person's real job is but they’re the “glue”?


    I counter-intuitively take what I’ve learned from licensing my original music — to more TV shows and brands than I can count, watched by over 100 million around the world — and walk you through how to turn your PROCESS into a product so you can finally get rid of client-work (for good).


    *(...IF you're a fiercely independent, high-ticket D.R. consultant/advisor in a transition period right now).

  • ClarkCONNECT examines

    the art, and business, of creating

    Creative Arts Panel @ Clark University, MA



    Transferring to Clark to play ball and then quitting to focus on music


    "So, I came to Clark as a transfer student to play basketball. And we were super excited that year… a whole bunch of new kids came in that year. It was me and two other transfer students and a whole bunch of new freshman. And then I quit in the middle of the year. [audience laughs] And it was really bad. People were really mad at me. But I quit because I had just started making music like 6 months before I chose to come to Clark. And it was the first time in my life that I had something other than basketball that I loved and I felt like I could do something with [it]. So that's what allowed me to quit basketball and say "i'm gonna focus on music". But after I quit, I didn't know that you could major in Music. I didn't know that was a thing, so I call my mom and I'm like, "I wanna come home. I don't want to be in school anymore 'cause the whole reason I'm here is to play basketball." And she was like, "well, what about music?". I'm like, "they don't have music here, what are you talking about? Let me just come home!" And she was like, "just listen to me and go do some research." So I did some research and realized you CAN do music in college [audience laughs]. So then I stumbled upon Matt (who'd become my advisor) and all the things Matt was doing. And then I spoke with — I don't remember if I spoke with him or who I spoke with at the time — but then it became a reality that I could major in Music Technology. And then once I got into it — and I got into it the next year — I was like, "wow, this is the best thing ever". And everything changed at that point. Because I was like, "okay, I can really do the thing that I think I'm passionate about." So I did that for — that was my sophomore year — so I had two years here at Clark where I did Music Technology and minored in Business — because that's what I was majoring in before I switched over.


    Being business-minded about my music from the start and landing a freelance audio engineering job 6 months after graduation


    "[fast forward, I] Graduated — worked really hard. The big thing about me that's different from a lot of musicians is that, from the beginning, I was focused on the business side of music. I wasn't just someone that wanted to be creative. I was like, "if this is going to be my career, how the hell am I gonna make money off this shit?". So I really read so many books about the business side of music — from the jump — while I was learning how to [produce] music. And that single thing is the reason why that long list of— all those TV shows and all that stuff that I'm, like… I'm embarrassed to hear it [audience laughs] — the root of that is because I'm business-minded about my music. I'm not just someone that's trying to show off my musical talent. I can read contracts. I can negotiate contracts. I'm not intimidated by any business aspect of the music. And that's what's pushed me forward. So, after graduating — I got lucky and got my first freelance job, 6 months after graduating, at a studio in Jamaica, Queens which is Jam Master Jay's old studio, from Run DMC. So I went in there — it's in the hood… like the HOOD HOOD — I went in there all dressed up in a suit. They weren't expecting that, [because] we're in the hood… they just want someone that can [audio] engineer. But that left a good impression. They looked at my resume, saw I went to school, blah blah blah. And so I'm freelancing there… I'm the kind of person where I don't wanna have a boss. I never wanted to have a boss, since a little kid. I never wanted to be an employee or anything like that. But being a freelancer, man, your life— the Ramen noodles thing is real… but I'm vegetarian so I ain't eating no Ramen Noodles [audience laughs]. But it's real — not having money, you gotta get used to that, for real [when you're in that kind of situation].


    Getting stagnant as a freelancer, but then my music appearing on the MTV VMA after show out the blue


    "So I was engineering there. I was there for 3 years and you just get stagnant at a certain point. You gotta move on. And when you're freelancing, you're not making no money, so it's like, "man I gotta move on to something else." So that's what — '08/09 — in 2009 — and this goes back to the business stuff: I randomly get this big envelope in the mail. And it's a royalty check from my music being on television. And it came out the blue. I didn't even try to get my music on TV or anything. But the reason I got it was because I was business-minded and I put myself in position to have registered my songs with the right — if you know about music — it's a Performing Rights Organization. So I was with BMI and I had registered all my songs. And someone took my music — they didn't even get my permission… but thank God — they took my music, put it on the MTV VMA Music Awards after show… when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift? So my music is during that moment. [audience laughs] Not during the actual show — the after show. You know how MTV does the After show right after? So if you listen to that— the clip is online, you can look at it [audience laughs] — my music is used right there. So my mind is blown. I'm like, "yo, this is a thing?" So then I went all the way in. I stopped chasing the Rihanna's and 50 cent's and all [those kinds of big artists] — because that's what I was doing up to that point. And I was like, "I can do licensing and keep more control over my music without having to rely on someone else." And so I went all the way in and that's how I got all those [placements on that list the moderator read] 'cause I learned the business side of actually licensing music. And that was 2010. And I've just been on that path of really just forging my own path. And not really caring about what the norms are in the music industry or anything like that. But the business side is so important for being in control of your own thing. Otherwise people would be controlling me. I wouldn't be able to do what I want to do. And, like I said, I don't wanna have a boss so I wanna do what I wanna do. The story can go on and on and on but I'll stop there.


    Communicating the value of your art and being the conduit for other people's success


    "Alex stole what I was gonna say. That really is the most important thing — your ability to sell yourself and your art: communicating the value of what you're doing as opposed to just, "what I do is cool" or "i'm great at this". It's really: how does THAT help someone else accomplish what they're trying to do? How does the thing that you create make someone else's life better? That's your marketing right there. Instead of saying "I'm the greatest, I'm the greatest, I'm the greatest". My heart dropped when the hands went down of the people who feel like they think they can make a living off their art. Because it's really possible. But you do have to go about it in a different way than how the world has taught us. Because the world kind of teaches you that if you're talented you can be "rich and famous". And, in the old world, that's kind of true, but [a lot of those] people still end up broke… AND famous — they don't [usually] have any [generational] money for themselves. But with the internet now you can really do things that were not possible before. But you have to be aware of the business and marketing side of it. That's super huge. So I would say being able to communicate the value of what you're doing in context to how it helps other people, and be the conduit for that instead of saying "me, me, me, me, me". That's what I would say I wish I knew. You've got to unlearn everything you've learned in life and re-learn new shit. [moderator laughs]


    Bridging the gap between my advising for B-MCs and my music


    Moderator: "Can you talk, perhaps, about how the world drew you in a different direction. Maybe you know, you thought you wanted to do this kind of work, but it seemed as though the easier path — or it was pulling you somewhere and you kind of went with it… or it changed your mind about something...


    "So the thing that makes me the most money now is advising. I advise other creative entrepreneurs on how to change their thinking about what they do. It can be confusing for people because they know I do music and then I say I do advising, too. So they ask me, "do you not do music anymore?" No, this is just a natural progression because [the advising] is how I actually do music better now. Or position my music — or anything I do creatively — in a better way because I'm learning by helping other people. So by helping my clients and my mentees and my advisees on how to look at the world differently and how to position what they're doing differently, I'm not only building my own network of clientele and people that help me do my job better, but I'm learning how to apply what I'm helping them with from their problems to my own stuff. So I would say — if you really wanna do it — you can't escape the business and the marketing side of the creative thing you're doing. So what I've done to bridge the gap is literally turn it into a business of advising people so that it's practice for my own self, too. So I've turned my process into the actual product. I didn't think I would be doing this. But I'm glad I'm doing it.


    Moderator: "so that surprised you?"


    "yea, I thought I'd be making music and I'd be rich and it would just work. [audience laughs]. No [if you're going to stay INDIE and actually be sustainable], you have to learn — marketing is super important. And "marketing" is not what we think it is until we actually learn what marketing actually is.



    via Clark University Live on Demand (LiveStream)



  • How MUCH do we vibe?

    *important before moving forward

    If I could ONLY access 5 sites a day for a year?

    ...listen to only these musicians' catalogs?

    *not just as rec. artists,

    but songwriters, composers, producers, thinkers, "marketers"

    • Kanye (for "ahead-ness")
    • Tame Impala (for virtuosity)
    • Timbaland (for inventiveness)
    • Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (for genius)
    • Michael Jackson (for challenging what most think is possible)

    In your business you're obsessed with deeply understanding/leveraging

    • Direct Response
    • Behavioral Economics
    • IP
    • Unique, solo business models
    • Dramatic Construction

    About me


    Born: Brooklyn, NY

    Raised: Long Island, NY

    Personality: Slightly misanthropic

    Hobbies as kid: Trumpet, Piano (by ear)

    First Lifelong Dream: NBA

    Degree: '08 Music Technology (Major), Business MGMT (Minor)

    Addiction: Making the invisible visible, then sharing lessons learned w/ my squad

    New Lifelong "Purpose": Sustainable biz model(s) for business-minded creatives. Especially for independently performing and selling our art online — from anywhere in the world — to hyper niche audiences

    Core POV: Your PROCESS = your product

    Self-Check Ques.: "Is this the highest and best use of my time, money, and energy? ...In context to my purpose, life goals, and what makes me and those closest to me happy?"

    Fav Quote: "You don't know what you don't know until you realize you don't know it.

    Pulled your seat up?

    In the past 3 years I’ve helped my Best Partners, Mentees, and Clients:

    • land contracts worth 6-figures and drop their employer
    • quadruple their product prices, double their consulting rates, and close higher value clients that appreciate their uniqueness
    • lose the fear of jumping into creative industries they’ve always dreamt of being in even though they have no experience
    • see the world in a completely 180 degree perspective few believe exists (once specifically defining what they actually want/need)
    • shave 2 or more years off their journey by combining processes from unrelated industries that allow them see things most can’t/don’t/won’t
    • finally believe in themselves and their own ideas because someone else genuinely cares about their success, too


    [ APPLY for behind-the-scenes access ]