Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Music industry professionals to share tips with aspiring artists

(Originally published in the 11/10/15 edition)

   Looking to gain a career as an entrepreneur in the music industry? Solano College has an event to help the future Jay-Zs of the world on the path to success. 
   On Nov. 20, Solano Community College and the Solano Small Business Development Center will come together to host Music Biz Live 101 to assist those who are passionate about music by providing them with entrepreneurial advice to help thrive in the business. 
   According to Melissa Pegg, an assistant at SBDC, the idea is “to introduce entrepreneurship to the millennials.”
   “The goal is to bring high school kids and college kids together so they can learn what these artists who have already been in the business have gone through and what they’ve done to become successful,” she added.
   To get this message across, visitors will be treated to panels and performances by industry professionals, all of whom are local and many of whom are either current students or alumni of Solano College.
   Some performers have even achieved worldwide success. The headliner, Vacaville resident Lyndsey Elm, was a contestant on the current season of NBC’s “The Voice.” The 22-year-old wowed the judges with her acoustic rendition of Meghan Trainor’s hit “Lips are Movin’,” which led to all four of them trying to claim her for their team. The video of her performance has been viewed on YouTube over 1 million times.
   Elm was selected to be a part of Gwen Stefani’s team, but the contestant was eliminated in one of the Battle rounds. Nonetheless, Elm’s appearance on the show has led to a number of gigs since, including singing the national anthem at the Golden State Warriors’ Nov. 4 game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Elm will share her experiences to the attendees of Music Biz Live 101 and perform songs.
   “I reached out to Lyndsey through Facebook and got a response,” Pegg said. “We’re very lucky that she responded that way.”
   DJ Symphony of the rap group The Wu-Tang Clan will also be performing. The turntablist also runs the Symphony DJ Academy at the Solano Town Center, which Pegg happened to walk into when she was looking for performers.
   “I just walked into his shop and was talking with him, and he said ‘Well, why don’t I do it?’” she said. “He offered his participation, and that’s so awesome because it’s tough to get people to volunteer to do these types of events.”
   The rest of the performers will be Solano alumni and current students, including LaTiana Kates, Karyssa Lynne, the Flow Alliance Dance Crew, and more. 
   “For them to take the time out of their day to help support bringing the kids to the college, teaching entrepreneurship and giving back to the community is the best thing,” Pegg said. 
   In addition to the performers, there will also be a panel featuring professionals talking about the industry. Panelists include Solano music professor Kristy Juliano, Felstar Recordings President Felton Pilate, Vallejo rapper Dulon “Mugzi” Stevens and Christopher Upperman, a senior advisor with the national Small Business Administration.
   “They’ll talk about the business plan,” Pegg said. “Some of them will probably go into stories of how they made it.”
   Other topics will discuss financing, how to get a loan and what opportunities are available. Even if students do not have an interest in working in the music industry, Pegg says these skills are important for any aspiring entrepreneurs to learn.
   “Even if you aren’t going to handle finances, you should know what a balance sheet looks like,” she said. “It’s all about the bottom line when it comes to being an entrepreneur. To understand the concepts and the legalities of the business, we know you’re not going to be a specialist in it, but you have to understand what you’re getting yourself into so you can be successful.”
   “I was in the business for 15 years, and had I known some of the things that i know now, I would probably not be sitting in this seat,” she added.
   Music Biz Live 101 will take place from 1 to 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20, at the lecture hall and auditorium at Solano Community College Vallejo Center. The college is located on 545 Columbus Parkway. Tickets are $1 general admission, and there will be a $1 parking fee. Attendees can register at SolanoSBDC.org or EventBrite.com. All proceeds will benefit SCC’s music school. 


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