I want to share a nice story from a friend of mine (it’s the guy that has done most of the mastering job on all my albums, by the way!). He is an inspiration to me and I thought this story in particular could serve a lot of you as well.
Meet my friend Connor
My friend Connor Seidel is a very talented guy from Montreal. He started his own recording business in his parents’ basement at age 13 or 14. It didn’t take long for him to get great recognition and he started recording all the best local bands from the area for cheap.
He is the kind of guy to make you comfortable right away. You just know you can trust him after one meeting (not in a bad way… not like a salesman that is too good to force you to buy something). If I could describe him in one word, it would be: genuine.
I am of those people in the world who believe you can actually give your trust to someone if you really feel it. Maybe someday, I will get scammed with that mentality, but I’ve always been a very positive person. I believe in people.
After meeting this guy, I know I’m going to leave with a greater sense of achievement and belief in myself. I know I’m going to be confident in my abilities to success. And that attitude is what allows him to go far and push his limits every time.
He’s now not much older, but has gotten many great mixing, mastering gigs and opportunities. He’s now building his own company that I will talk about more at the end of this post.
Story of hustling
One story he had told me while taking a break from the mastering of Space Culture late in December 2016 really struck me. I think about it fairly often these days and am figuring how to apply it to my own life.
He said that some years ago, he was in a period of questioning about his life. Even if he was really talented at what he was doing, met great people and got great contracts, he didn’t know if he really wanted a life as an audio engineer and mixer. You know, the kind of reflection we all have in our early twenties. We are scared to think we would do something for the rest of our lives (and it’s even truer for creative musicians like us. We hate routine!).
So he started considering other options of jobs and other fields of study. Nothing really seemed right and he was confused about what to do next. He declined more and more offers to record and mix albums and entered in a bad position of self-doubt and being in a grey area. He had to take a step back.
One day, still very confused, he decided that he wanted to get a job and get things going in the music industry. He entered the headquarters of the company Sennheiser in Montreal and talked to the secretary. He told her:
‘’ I have a meeting with the boss today at 1 pm’’.
Which was not true. He didn’t have any meetings scheduled there. He wasn’t hoping for anything and thought the secretary would just turn him down anyways.
She then told him the boss was available for a meeting right now and gave him his room number on the fourth floor. What? It worked?
He showed to said room on the fourth floor and presented himself to the guy that was working there. He explained his situation, that he was an audio engineer and mixer working hard, but that he has been looking for different opportunities. As I told you earlier, Connor is a very convincing, genuine man and I’m sure it was a lot to his advantage.
The boss related to his story and offered him a job at Sennheiser. He offered him a job! Right away! After a 10 minutes chat that was anything but planned. Wow! Connor refused the job, because it was unrelated to what he wanted to do, but nonetheless, he just showed up in a meeting that was not even planned and left with a job offer.
2 years later, Connor was attending a music festival and he saw a Sennheiser tent on the VIP backstage section, as they were a big sponsor for this festival. He showed up there and the same ‘’boss’’ he met 2 years earlier recognized him, remembered his name and invited him to come to the tent. Connor then spent the evening talking and meeting members of the team.
Since then, Connor gets audio sync contracts every week from Sennheiser. Synchronization (short ‘’sync’’) are contracts to use audio on video content. It’s often to find music for television ads or such. Every week he refers Sennheiser to some good artists songs’ he knows and think would fit the criterias. It’s great opportunities for him and for the artists he works with (and invaluable contacts in the industry!).
What can you learn from it
I remember after listening to his story, Connor told me: ‘’You should totally do the same thing and go to Ubisoft (video game company in Montreal), ask to talk to the boss, present you and say that you are a music composer and have a very special offering for them.‘’
‘’Don’t try to show him your music. People don’t care about that. They want to know who you are and what you are made of. They want to know what value you can bring to them. And the human value is more important than anything else.’’
‘’It might not work like it worked for me, but it will work someday for you, I am sure. Because you have the talent and you work hard.’’
‘’That’s how you do it, man. Go out and meet people. Those contacts are not going to be made by themselves.’’
Later, he gave me a list of video game makers in Montreal. A list of like, more than 150 game studios ready to hear what I have to offer with my music… Can’t you imagine how I was pumped and ready to do it?!
Still, today I haven’t gotten the guts to show up at either of those studios yet. Maybe I’m writing this post to get the necessary motivation and pressure to finally do it.
How you can apply this story to your own career
I think the biggest lesson you can learn from this story is to go out there and meet people.
We all have the impression that today, we can do anything online and that it should be enough to make a career and get opportunities. While it can be true for very few of us, the reality is that the industry, the big names, the big people are still out there in the real world. They are following their rules, their guidelines and their way of doing things in the real world. If you don’t meet them, it’s not a Youtube video or an email that’s going to give you what you want from them.
When Connor told me to hustle, it didn’t mean to obtain money by fraud or to promote myself aggressively. It was meant in the sense: ‘’ to make arduous efforts to obtain business’’ a.k.a; work very hard and go out there!
It worked for him, why couldn’t it work for us?
Connor’s new company
Connor has never asked me to do any promotion for him, and I’m doing it just for thanking him for all he has done for me. I also think it can serve a lot of you well too!
After having those kinds of experiences, Connor has now started his own company called Outro. It’s a great innovative platform to connect with other musicians and content. You can basically decide to work with other musicians, or upload your own stems to the catalog and sell them.
It’s very easy to use and it’s a great way to make money with your music. It’s still in Beta phase, but I’m sure it’s going to get big in the future.
If I have some hours of free time, I can just take a couple 50$ contracts to record guitar or keyboards on a song and make a quick 100$ by doing what I love.
I also plan on using it in the future if I want other instruments on my albums. Let’s say I want to have a saxophone solo on my record, it’s not going to be easier than this to find a good saxophone player and get the job done fast for cheap.
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