Each year approximately 43,000 demos are being sent to approximately 35 major labels. Out of those 43,000 demo submissions, roughly 30 get that rare multi-album deal of yesteryear, which includes a large advance and all the perks.
Even if you have a recording label - - there are still so many variables which can alter the level of "success" in an instant. Think of the countless "one hit wonders" and those that succumb to drugs, alcohol and destructive lifestyles. And then there are the very few that seem to have pulled it all together.
I am not the typical agent in this overly crowded, super competitive field of male dominated managers-- by no stretch am I the "mold." After many years of varied professions, in 1990 at the age of 50, I decided to start my own talent agency in Vancouver in search of local talent. Little did I know at the time-- three years later in 1993, I would "discover" a super star -- an 18 year- old teenager that I knew almost instantly had that very special "star-quality" and begin forging a decade long journey with him to stardom -- Michael Buble.
Early on, I partnered with Ray Carroll, (formerly of The Platters) and held talent contests around town in Vancouver, BC and one of them was at the Big Bamboo nightclub on Broadway in Vancouver. One of the contestants who had signed up that night in 1993 at the Big Bamboo was a good-looking young man wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans. He had signed up to sing It Had To Be You, a 1924 standard. As we were busy preparing to start the evening, he was becoming more and more impatient and kept coming over to the judges' table, leaning over and bugging us about when the show would start. It was starting to annoy one of the judges who kept turning to me asking "Who is that?": "It's Michael Buble," I told him. "He's one of the contestants." Michael won the contest to the applause of a roaring crowd. However, we had to revoke his win because he was under age. His talent impressed me so, that I invited him to perform in a talent contest that I was in charge of at our annual summer fair exhibition. He won that contest, and began to receive requests to perform at various events throughout the city. That was the beginning of over a decade long journey being Michael's manager, seldom leaving his side as we struggled to get a foothold in the tough music industry. With each performance booking and introduction, we came closer and closer to the "big one." So how did I know that he really had that "star quality?" and, how did I not give up even when Michael doubted himself?
In countless worldwide radio, TV and print interviews, one of the most common questions that I am asked is: "so, what does it really take to make it in the industry?" Or, phrased this way: "how do you know that you really have potential and talent?"
Here are my five tips that apply not just to the music industry but any profession:
1. Be your own person, stay true to your genus/genre. Ask yourself (and with objectivity from others) these three questions with brutal honesty:
- Is my voice/music recognizable on the radio?
- Would I pay full price to see me in concert?
- Would I buy my CD?
2. Hone your skills/expertise, go to the experts and seek their opinions/advice/and recommendations. Get professional help with an agency specializing in your discipline/genre and shop around, do your research, seek recommendations and referrals from others.
3. First impressions are absolute. Be prepared, and remember... you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
4. Take that risk knowing that you are ready but be realistic about your forte, your strengths and limitations.
5. Proceed with caution when 'signing on the dotted line'. Get legal assistance before committing to something that could hinder or bind your future progress.
Most importantly, always remember that attitude is paramount. Your persona is who you are, and will show through in either a positive or a negative light. Everyone loves to work with someone who is cooperative, helpful and accommodating
Beverly Delich has long been a fixture on Vancouver's cultural scene, from her years as a cantorial soloist, and entertainment coordinator at the Pacific National Exhibition to her personal and business partnership with the late Ray Carroll of the Platters, to her current ownership of the Silver Lining Management talent agency. Hers is a storied life. She was born in Montana, moved to Vancouver after a divorce, remarried, converted to Judaism, raised two children and survived breast cancer.
In 1993, Beverly Delich discovered an 18-year-old singer named Michael Buble in a Vancouver talent contest, became his manager, and moved with him to Toronto, and then L.A., as he tried to break into a tough, unforgiving business. This book is her vivid, behind-the-scenes story of the making of a modern-day superstar, from the early days when she and Bublé struggled to get bookings, to the giddiness of hobnobbing with musical royalty, to the pivotal and sometimes heartbreaking decisions that would take Buble to the top and found Beverly on the sidelines.
"Come Fly with Me: Michael Buble's Rise to Stardom, a Memoir"
by Beverly Delich
Publisher Douglas & McIntyre
Published May 6, 2014