By Tayana Lewis, Journalism Major
Texas Southern University students got an inside view on what it takes to break into the music industry from long time professionals.
TV personality Moriah Scott, Atlantic Records A&R rep Mike Barnes, and Hip Hop guru Rashad 360 kept it real Tuesday, April 17 on what a budding performer needed to do to get noticed by an entertainment executive.
“The best thing to do to get noticed is show consistency,” said Barnes.
This discussion was the kick-off to the School of Communication’s annual conference designed to get students primed for careers in media, music and film.
Panelists had a toolbox choked with plenty of dos and don’ts for the beginner.
“Make sure you deliver high quality art,” said Barnes.
The panelists said that there were thousands of talented people who want to jump into the industry; however, success is not an over night thing.
They said artists sometimes have a hard time following their true identity due to the constant changing trends in music.
“Don’t dumb down your music because you think it’s dumb right now,” said 360.
Artists that remain true to themselves possess substance, and achieve longevity in the music industry, according to the panel.
Rashad 360 made a reference to Mary J. Blige and her staying power on the music scene. He said it’s about substance, not trends.
Scott added that while social media is big in the industry; it’s not what sells singles.
“Many artists feel like social media is the only way for them to get their music out,” she said.
She said a more personal approach is better, going directly to core audiences. Being a more hands on artist is more memorable than sending a link on twitter or Instagram, she added.
Barnes added that artists must learn how to foster and build relationships.
The moderator of the panel, TSU entertainment, recording, management major Erica “Knowledge”, pointed out that throughout the discussion relationships was always the answer to success, opposed to raw talent.
“The industry is 90% business and 10% art,” said 360.
Once students understood that the entertainment industry is a business and built on relationships, the room poured with questions.
“All great minds go to the same events, be at every hip hop event. You’ll start seeing the same faces, start building from there,” said 360.
Scott told the student audience to not be afraid to be themselves.
“It’s better to just be genuine,” said Scott.
Barnes agreed with Scott.
“Don’t try to sell someone with a fluff, it’s a very small world,” said Barnes.
As the panel was winding down to prepare for the talent showcase, Barnes was asked to be a judge. He said yes.
Students gathered their things after he agreed, and headed to the recreational center for the duration of the day.