WAM INTERVIEWS: Richard Gerver ahead of Around The Sound event
A number one best-selling author and award-winning speaker, Richard Gerver has worked with a variety of music industry leaders in the UK, including heads at Universal, Decca and Capitol Records. Supported by WAM, new online music media Around The Sound is hosting a very special event with Gerver on Saturday 10 June to share his insights into the music industry and discuss with participants on how to be an entrepreneur when managing your career in the music industry. Thanks to the rad folk at Around The Sound, there are limited FREE tickets (including plus ones!) available to WAM members, more info below on how to RSVP.
WAM‘s Ariane Katscherian caught up with Richard Gerver ahead of Around The Sound pres Richard Gerver: Minding Your Own Business to chat about Jay Z, entrepreneurship and how artists are ‘democratising’ the industry.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved in the international music industry?
I spent twenty years working as a teacher and school principal, over the last ten years though, I have worked as a speaker and author exploring human potential, change and self-leadership. It has taken to many interesting places and introduced me to some amazing people, including the Dalai Lama, Steve Wozniak and President Obama. As for the music industry, it was never a plan! I do come from a musical family; my mother wrote her own wedding waltz and claims to have written the original tune for ‘I will always love you,’ the Dolly Parton song made global by Whitney; it’s a long story… I’ll tell you all when I’m in town. I was a chorister at school but never really got much of the talent in the gene pool. In all seriousness, my second book, Change was read by some people working in the record industry in London and they invited me to ‘lunch’, they included executives from Decca, Universal and the President of Capitol UK, Nick Raphael. I have met with them regularly since to talk about developing the capacity within the industry to be proactive rather than reactive.
Your latest book, Simple Thinking: How To Remove Complexity From Life And Work, is about success generally – how can this streamlining approach be applied to musicians?
I think that it’s a universal truth that we all tend to over complicate our thinking and our lives the older we become. I also think that we see success and the path to it as something rarefied and almost abstract. I wanted to share some of the insights and stories I had come across during my own journey, strip the principles down and make the concepts easy to understand and to action. I think that musicians and the industry itself is no different; amazingly gifted people who have come to overthink and maybe even drown out their instincts.
In your new book, you discuss the global success of artists such as Sam Smith and Jay Z. What sort of work practices/ behaviours have artists like these used to sustain and grow their musical achievements that apply to artists early in their careers?
They are deeply entrepreneurial; driven by vision and belief. They both have a real sense of purpose and self-leadership. Both have been made by the way they respond to failure and both take risks. Most importantly, they learn and are hungry to know more so that they can keep developing. Curiosity is the greatest of all human gifts in my opinion and they have it in copious amounts.
Changes in technology means that music consumption behaviours are changing rapidly. What are some recent innovative technological changes you’ve been impressed by artists using them to promote their music and reach new audiences?
For me the sophisticated way artists are using social media to ‘democratise’ the industry is inspirational. Artists no longer need labels to curate music and that is a wonderful thing for musicians.
Many artists don’t view themselves as “entrepreneurs” or their music as a potential career/job. How would you suggest they manage their careers for long-term success?
They must have a clarity of who they are and what they want their art to say and achieve. Entrepreneurship is not a dirty word, it is a mindset. Artists need to use their incredible creativity and emotional intelligence as way to drive their careers. Entrepreneurship is the ability to learn, to spot opportunity, to have the courage to seize it, to learn from mistakes and to go again. The most important characteristic of successful people, apart from their unlimited curiosity is their vision, drive and sense of purpose.
From your experience working with a variety of businesses, for artists at any stage of their career, what three things should they be doing to better market and promote their work?
Develop a clarity of identity/brand, live it don’t just project it and take personal responsibility for it!
What can audiences expect from your upcoming presentation Minding Your Own Business when you come to Perth?
I will be sharing the insights I have gained into change and success from a range of sources; education, business, sport and music. I will explore why we find change so hard and success so complicated. Most importantly, I will try to help people understand how, with just a few simple tweaks, they can feel in more control about their futures. Hopefully we will also have a good laugh!
And first time to Perth? What are you most looking forward to experiencing?
Yep, I’ve been to Australia many times but never to the West Coast. I can’t wait for all of it. Meeting and hanging out with people younger and cooler than me, near a beach in weather that although winter, will still be a damn sight better than here in the UK!
►Around the Sound presents Richard Gerver: Minding Your Own Business
Saturday 10 June 6pm-11:30pm at Gate One Theatre, Claremont Showgrounds. Grab your tickets here or limited FREE tickets for WAM Members.
►WAM MEMBERS +1 FREE RSVP
Thanks to the rad folk at Around The Sound, WAM Members have the chance to RSVP for free with a plus 1. Please note tickets are limited though, so best hurry! To secure yours, click the RSVP button to email WAM’s Admin Officer Kate Branson, and use the subject line “AROUND THE SOUND”. Please note you must be a WAM Member.