If I had a dollar for every time an artist sent me a Facebook message with a plea for my attendance at (and published stamp of approval for) such-and-such event, I wouldn't have to be a writer anymore.
The hardest part of being an artist in the music industry is often not the creative aspect - it's getting your art noticed. There are plenty of invisible barriers and long-established rules that, for someone new to the business, can seem arbitrary and frustrating. I'm not saying there's only one right way to do things - there are plenty of people who check Facebook messages far more frequently than I do - but having a little guidance wouldn't suck, either.
That's part of the reasoning behind KPRS' Hot 103 Jamz Music Conference this Saturday at the VooDoo Lounge in Harrah's Casino. Artists and other aspiring music-industry types will be able to network with upper-level music executives, hear panel discussions, and get important questions answered.
spoke with Myron D. Fears, the KPRS operations manager, about what we can expect at the conference on Saturday.
The Pitch: Is this first time you guys have done something like this?
: Yes. This is the first time we've ever done it. We've participated in some other local seminars that have come into the city, but we've never put it on ourselves. For us to provide this for the Kansas City music scene is a great thing. I'm very excited about it. This is a long time coming for the radio station.
What kind of artists do you expect to see come out on Saturday?
If you're pop, country, hip-hop, gospel or R&B, it doesn't matter. If you're a singer, artist, writer, manager, or if you've got your own record label or if you're producers ... anyone in the industry. We have a very diverse group of panelists that's going to be involved in the event.
I think of it like this: If it was a race, [this conference] would be the start to the finish line. A lot of times, the artists out here, they wonder how to get airplay or how to make it, and there are necessary steps at the beginning to get to the finish line.
When I was looking at other conferences, it was a lot of "How to get airplay," "How to get a record deal," but it didn't look at how to prepare your music, how do you write it, how do you prepare yourself for going into a studio, what's the difference between going into a home studio versus a professional studio, what about copywriting. We have some people who are going to help the attendees get ahead.
Tell me about some of your panelists.
We've got 16-20 panelists that really have a very diverse background. One person who has helped me a lot in conversations is [Chief Executive Officer] Travis O'Guin of Strange Music. Travis needs to be teaching marketing on a college level because he knows how important it is to keep a person's name and their brand out at all times. We'll also have a video interview with Tech N9ne and Julie Jones over lunch. He'll give insight on how he started.
We've also got people like Cynthia Johnson from Sony Records, Alex "Asaph" Ward - he's a local producer, but he's produced almost everybody in gospel music. Brian Kennedy, who is a Grammy winning producer and singer songwriter; he wrote the biggest pop hit for Chris Brown.
Why did you guys decide to put this conference on?
Well ... I was in line at Price Chopper, and there was a young artist who works as bagger at Price Chopper. And he asked me if we were part of this showcase that came on back in the spring, and I said no. He said these guys really ripped off everybody - made all these promises. A lot of people paid their money, and the place was packed. Basically, people were believing in something, and it didn't happen. When you hear a person tell you that story, and they're heartbroken, it makes you wonder what can you do to help these folks out here who are trying to further their music career.
That's why we decided to do this. We're not promising anybody any type of record deal or airtime or production deals. What we wanted to do is bring in key people that can help give them solid information that will help them with their music career.
For the full schedule, list of panelists, and information on registration for the Hot 103 Jamz Music Conference this Saturday at the VooDoo in Harrah's Casino, go here.