Musician Adam Hamilton- From L.A. Guns to Vanilla Ice to William Shatner

Adam Hamilton is an accomplished, well-rounded musician who was discovered by C.C. Deville from Poison, and was the former bass guitarist for L.A. Guns.  He’s worked with everyone from Angie Stone to Vanilla Ice to William Shatner, who he continues to work with on a regular basis.  Hamilton also owns and operates Palm Ranch Studios in LA.

Additionally, Adam has an endless list of film and TV credits, as his music has appeared everywhere from The Bourne Identity to Saturday Night Live to The Simpsons. We delve deep into publishing and Adam breaks down the pay structure and benefits of placing your music in film, TV, commercials, and more.  This is a great episode for any aspiring musicians or artists, and especially anyone interested in publishing (which should be all musicians and artists).

Show Notes:

1:53 Having to fight for your credits
8:36 The only musician to work with William Shatner and Vanilla Ice
9:26 The importance of moving to LA
12:53 C.C. DeVille from Poison gave Adam his first big shot
13:34 Taking advantage of opportunities immediately
19:49 The positive effects of getting sober
22:48 Breaking down the business of publishing and TV/ Film placements
32:53 Don’t ever sign a contract without having a lawyer reviewing it
35:02 Being kind pays
36:58 William Shatner’s motto is “say yes to everything”
42:53 You are the company you keep
43:29 Adam never had a backup plan
45:00 You can turn a number of tools into multiple income streams
48:00 Putting stressful situations into perspective and solving them one step at a time

Check out this episode!

Music Entrepreneur Dame Ritter- Always Focus on Your Fans

Dame Ritter is best known as the co-founder of the successful Indie Hip-Hop label Funk Volume (Hopsin, Dizzy Wright, Jerren Benton).  After the dissolution of the label, Dame founded the Music Entrepreneur Club, a music business educational platform. Dame also continues to work with a select group of artists, including Dizzy Wright and their Still Movin’ Movement.

After all of his accomplishments, Dame continues to keep striving for more success, and both his persistence and business acumen are on display throughout the interview. This is a great episode for anyone interested in building their own label, brand, or business.  Take notes.

Show Notes:
5:07 Funk Volume focused on the fans
5:51 You don’t have to take huge risks
7:15 Put out content and tell your story before you waste money putting out an album
8:50 Focus on visuals
10:01 You might have to become your own team until you can attract a team
17:52 The transition from Funk Volume to the Music Entrepreneur Club
22:00 How Dame got into music education
23:45 Dame’s side hustles while building Funk Volume included substitute teaching
26:27 How to be a true leader
28:14 Dame finds out about the dopest artists from the fans, not directly from the artist
30:32 Early conversations with Russ
33:05 Sometimes artists overlook the uniqueness of their own talent when they give advice to others
34:22 Your branding has to be consistent
35:06 Giving back to your community
40:52 Starting the day with small wins
43:32 Building the Music Entrepreneur Club
48:56  At some point you’ve got to jump!
53:49 Figure out what your passion is before you can follow it
58:35 Donald Passman’s book All You Need to Know About the Music Business is only relevant for artists who have achieved at least limited success

 

Check out this episode!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a short snippet.

Tastemaker Jen Deleon- Sacrificing Money for Your Own Happiness

Jen Deleon is a perfect example of the Indie Playbook lifestyle. She has proven her willingness to sacrifice money for her happiness in order to follow her dreams.  She inspires a number of people daily through video content that allows her fans honest access into her personal and professional life. Jen has also accomplished a great deal in the music industry, as an interviewer, personality, publicist, consultant, agent, and tastemaker, and it’s obvious that she is only beginning.

When Jen says she will have her own TV show one day, you know it’s going to happen.  Her self-awareness and growth mindset are exemplary, and I hope her confidence and willingness to sacrifice for her vision inspires everyone who takes the time to listen to her story.

Show Notes:
The importance of speaking things into existence
13:29 Jen had to fall back from her professional goals to do work on herself
15:40 Jen’s biggest lesson learned from Oprah
21:33 You don’t always need to respond to everything immediately
24:41 Jen’s parents gave her the freedom to figure out her own path
29:57 God makes things happen for you when they’re supposed to
35:30 Jen doesn’t ask artists things that can be googled in her interviews
40:50 Jen is open about all of her mistakes in order to inspire others 
43:41 Jen tricks people in order to inspire them
49:44 It can be a lonely world when you’re working to accomplish your goals
53:15 Follow your own path instead of trying to do things the traditional way
57:10 How to connect with brands
57:36 How Jen created her own campaign for Postmates while driving for the company
1:01:58 Going from driving for Lyft to partnering with Lyft
1:06:39 The challenges of being a booking agent
1:14:05 Utilizing a planner and goal setting
1:16:58 Why Jen would turn down a $5 Million salary if it meant working a corporate job
1:23:23 Embracing failure and learning from it
1:28:38 Be yourself
1:37:26 Why the move to LA was crucial

 

Check out this episode!

Agent Jamie Adler- The Importance of Taking Risks and Helping Others

Jamie Adler has become a powerful force in the Hip-Hop world, but it wasn’t always that way. Born into a rock n’ roll family as the younger brother of Guns n’ Roses co-founder and original drummer Steven Adler, Jamie initially utilized his family connections to secure a position as a rock agent. Jamie went onto work with rockers Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung, Motorhead, and Danzig, and eventually R&B and Hip-Hop artists Tyrese, Bobby Brown, Ol Dirty Bastard, and Guru from Gangstarr. Adler is perhaps best known for his long running position as agent/manager for the legendary Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and DJ Quik, and agent for Dennis Quaid & The Sharks.

In this episode, Jamie balances unbelievable stories with the expert advice of an agent who has been around the music business since he can remember. We discuss everything from working with stars to career advancement to drug addiction to taking risks to being the person your friends can rely on. Jamie has a great heart and it really shines through in this episode. He’s helped me tremendously in my career, and he offers advice that is invaluable to anyone searching for happiness, success, and life balance. I HIGHLY recommend this one!

Show Notes:

2:09 The time Jamie was kidnapped by a man he thought was the manager of The Rolling Stones
16:09 Adler always told his friends growing up that he was going to manager Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (which he ended up doing)
23:33 Motorhead’s manager concocted a brilliant plan to get Jamie a job at the Agency Group
29:33 How to find that perfect balance between being persistent and not annoying
37:49 If you’re the smartest person in the room, run!
38:38 How Jamie recovered from a rock bottom moment
44:53 The moment Jamie stopped relying on friends and became the person his friends could rely on
47:36 How soliciting Bone Thugs-n-Harmony without permission led to our great working relationship
50:43 Agents should be working together instead of being selfish
Health is wealth
56:53 Jamie prides himself on telling people what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear
59:18 The importance of taking risks
1:00:28 Some of the richest people are the most miserable
1:01:47 Build your own identity and find your own success
1:02:01 Don’t judge yourself against others

Check out this episode!

Artist/ DJ Hanif Wondir- Have Faith in Your Own Perspective

Hanif Wondir is a multi-talented artist, DJ, and graphic designer. He was voted “Best Club DJ” by readers of the Monterey County Weekly six times out of the last seven years. He is also the official DJ of the prestigious Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival. Hanif has toured the country and regularly performs up and down the west coast.

Because Hanif has made a living solely from his art for over ten years, he has great advice for all of you artists aspiring to support yourselves doing what you love.

Show Notes:

7:20 Competing for people’s attention online
12:48 Going down a rabbit hole to discover new music
21:13 Don’t try to be overly cool when you meet your idol
22:57 Have faith in your own perspective
27:45 Hanif’s brother always put him in dork check growing up
30:22 Have patience when taking in art and music
34:08 Capitalizing on every opportunity at the beginning of your career
39:55 Networking in a new market
43:25 Relate with people on a human level instead of asking what they can do for you
45:30 Build a following locally and then expand
54:25 Believe in your ability
1:04:23 Cut loose your loser homies
1:06:56 Sometimes putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation leads to your best work

Check out this episode!

 

Stance Socks’s Albie Rosario – Just Be Good to People

Albie Rosario is the Men’s Lifestyle Marketing Director at Stance Socks, which is currently one of the most cutting edge, forward thinking clothing brands in the game. You’ve probably seen a number of their incredible artist collaborations, including Tupac, A Tribe Called Quest, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and many more.

In this episode, Albie takes us through his journey from DJing parties to his beginnings at LRG to his time at The Hundreds to his current role at Stance. We wanted to speak with Albie because of the importance of brand partnerships and apparel in an artist’s career, and because he has years of experience working with artists and marrying fashion with music.

In celebration of our 8th episode, we’re giving away Stance’s “Praise” Collection to a lucky listener, featuring three pairs of socks with Notorious B.I.G., Eazy-E, and Aaliyah.

In order to win, just email your favorite Biggie, Eazy, or Aaliyah track to podcast@focusednoise.com.

The 8th person to email us will win. We’ll reach out and get your address and mail you the socks. Very simple.

Show Notes:
4:57 The first Stance/ Anthem collaboration was with TDE
9:20 How the NBA collaboration blew up the Stance brand
18:44 It’s important to keep the ego in check
22:55 Success is doing a job you enjoy
24:25 Why the Tupac sock could end up Stance’s #1 selling sock of all time
31:55 Albie makes sure to travel in order to keep his finger on the pulse
32:22 Spend time with people who inspire you to improve your own skill set
34:09 How being good to people helps build long term business relationships
41:18 The value of Instagram in the fashion world
45:22 Time is the most valuable thing on Earth


Check out this episode!

Entrepreneur Josh Levine- Finding Your Own Style of Leadership

Josh Levine is yet another Indie Playbook guest with a wide range of experience in the music industry. Beginning as a journalist at the Source, XXL, Vibe, and URB among others, Josh went on to manage WC from The Westside Connection, and eventually created his own lane in the exciting world of culture-marketing. Many of you remember the Scion campaign that Josh created for Toyota, targeting a younger demographic through activations in nightlife, DJ, art, and street culture.

Levine is currently the CEO of Rebel Industries, where he has created numerous brand partnerships, including pairing Mazda and Mayer Hawthorne, Camarena Tequila with a number of incredible chefs, bringing 7UP into the EDM world, and much more.

First and foremost, Josh has great ideas and the ability to calmly navigate between the arts and the corporate world. But even so, success isn’t guaranteed, and Josh is a great example of hard work, dedication, and follow through. This is a great episode for young entrepreneurs, aspiring marketing moguls, and even artists. Check it out!

16:31 Going out to shows organically created friendships in the music industry
23:29 Say “Yes” to everything and figure it out as you go
25:32 As a journalist asking good questions, make sure you leave room for the answer
29:50 Managers need to be good leaders
33:27 Everyone has to find their own style of management
36:39 Ask more questions and confront the truth
37:16 Josh is surprised how much influence he is able to have in conversations with powerful people
38:44 Partnering with Urb Magazine create a street team business, and eventually an agency
41:10 Toyota tapped Josh to help them build a cool brand
49:17 Lesser known artists can bring more value to a brand because they have closer relationships with their fans
57:14 Why saying “I’ll do anything” is the wrong answer in an interview
1:03:55 Josh has learned to set the rules at the beginning of each working relationship
1:06:36 Morning routines can take care of your body and mind
1:11:00 What Josh did to start over after parting ways as WC’s manager
1:14:30 An important lesson from Tony Robbins
1:17:39 Why Josh started Rebel Radio
1:20:04 How a $10,000 album budget would be best spent
1:29:40 Important lessons from father to son


Check out this episode!

Talent Buyer and Manager Thomas Cussins- Why Mistakes are Crucial to your Success

Thomas Cussins is the co-founder of Ineffable Music Group, a company which manages the careers of Collie Buddz, Hieroglyphics, Stick Figure (who is personally managed by Thomas), and many more.  Cussins is also the Head Talent Buyer for the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA, the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, CA, The Cornerstone in Berkeley, CA, and the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, CA.  He also produces the Levitate Music festival just outside of Boston, MA.
We conducted this interview live from the bar upstairs at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, so there’s a little background noise, but you’ll get so many great lessons from this episode.  Thomas breaks down the business in digestible, detailed, and transparent manner, so take his advice and run with it.
Thomas also reminds us of the importance of taking chances and making mistakes.  Having achieved success as both a manager and talent buyer, Cussins offers a unique perspective.  This episode is a must hear for anyone looking to stand out from the crowd as an artist, manager, promoter, or entrepreneur.

Check out this episode!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show Notes:

8:57 Never burn any bridges
9:58 Thomas isn’t afraid to make mistakes
17:13 Thomas explains what impressed him about Stick Figure at the beginning
21:05 How Thomas created his own position with Collie Buddz by promising him $100,000 in his pocket
23:36 Having a business mind and the ability to produce can set an artist apart
25:49 Thomas breaks down how his company Ineffable is structured
27:02 Why producing festivals is such a high risk
30:05 What makes Thomas easy to work with
31:35 How upcoming artists should approach Thomas to get on shows
33:09 Opening artists should always have something material to give or sell to fans at shows
35:00 The biggest advantage of being independent is that we can move fast and make quick adjustments
37:40 The most important part of branding is having consistent content
40:07 The one thing Thomas makes sure to teach people he takes under his wing
42:53 What Thomas would spend a $1000 marketing budget on when promoting a live show
50:00 It’s important to swing at a ton of pitches
55:09 Making money in the music business often comes down to connecting people
56:40 Bouncing back from failure is essential
1:00:02 If Thomas had a $5000 marketing budget to release an album, here’s what we would spend it on
1:01:39 Thomas’s thoughts on buying onto tours
1:03:31 It’s important to roll the dice and take chances

Creed Bratton- Never Stop Believing in Yourself

Creed Bratton is the lovable enigmatic old man from the hit TV show The Office, known for some of the show’s funniest one-liners. What fewer people know is that Creed also co-founded The Grass Roots, and was a huge rock star in the late sixties and early seventies.  For over four years, Creed and I have worked together very closely, traveling and playing shows all over the country, and I’ve been fortunate enough to get a rare glimpse into the real Creed, a passionate, caring, hilarious, and brilliant artist, father (and now grandfather), and friend.  I wanted to share the Creed I know with the Indie Playbook audience, so you can truly understand the commitment and sacrifice that goes into building and maintaining a successful career. And Creed’s done it both as a rock star and a successful actor, so listen up as he tells his unique story and drops gems along the way.

11:11 Everybody should go see the world if they can
11:26 Creed’s near death experiences
18:21 Meeting Warren Entner and starting The Grass Roots
21:35 How Creed’s vision and love for his art kept him from quitting during his toughest years
23:44 The moment a Rolling Stones song reenergized Creed when he needed it most
28:50 Why a fear of success can be more frightening than a fear of failure
31:32 What makes Producer Greg Daniels so special
32:28 Creed’s biggest lesson from working with The Office cast
33:39 Creed’s different income streams including
37:45 Why Creed considers Jeff Bridges such a great success
45:58 Creed starts each morning hanging upside down on an inversion table
49:30 How Creed maintains his energy and the benefits of fasting
51:00 Rejuvenating through Transcendental Meditation
53:45 The importance of note taking for high achievers

Check out this episode!