In today’s world, you’d be hard pressed to find an individual that is involved with just one product. What I mean by this is that there was a time when a carpenter was just a carpenter, a plumber was just a plumber, and a lawyer was just a lawyer. This is definitely not the case today, multiple roles not only applies to any one specific job and the breakdown of your job responsibilities, but it also applies to your personal life as well.
The focus of today’s discussion is no exception. Meet Jon Landers, a graphics designer, a manufacturing expert, a musician, a businessman, and the organizer of the prestigious Big Apple Indie Music Series! Wow, talk about wearing a lot of hats. Jon and I recently had a phone discussion where we spoke for over an hour. We spoke about professional topics, personal topics, we joked with one another, we shared ideas and covered a lot of ground. It is my hope to share all this with you guys today.
For those of you that don’t know me, I’m “newish” (is that a real word or am I violating some journalistic code of ethics here) to the whole interviewing of people that I don’t know personally. Up until more recently I’ve only interviewed artist that I personally knew and worked with, that’s easy. When talking with someone you don’t know at all, that’s a little different. When speaking with Jon the transition from introducing myself at the beginning of the call and transitioning into the interview was pretty seamless. That was awesome because I was a bit worried about how to work this. But when you are dealing with a good interview guest the transition seems pretty seamless.
Jon told me about his personal skills, a quite packed set of skills might I add. Coming from a manufacturing background, there was a time that Jon was putting in at least 54,000 miles a year on his car. Back in the early days his agency was one of the first to service Home Depot. That kept him and his car quite busy.
As I mentioned before, Jon is a graphics designer, self taught! He told me that he started on a Mac book back in the 80′s and to this day he stills uses a Mac book. My wife and many friends are big on graphics, and like Jon, they are Mac users all the way. That seems to be the preferred platform for graphics geeks. So I bet you weren’t expecting to walk into an I.T conversation on this article where you? But remember, my day job is that of technology geek, so it’s gonna happen yo! Not surprisingly, Jon creates and edits videos of The Big Apple Indie Music Series events. Anyone willing to guess what he uses for editing? Haha! Any one of you that has ever edited a video knows how exhausting and time consuming the process is. Jon knows this too and hopes to be able to pass this work on as the show continues to grow and gain sponsors. I know all about it, I’m still editing an hour and a half long video interview I recorded of musical comedian I’wante Diamond over 6 months ago! Sorry I’wante, it’s just very difficult to find the time! So I can relate to Jon’s sentiments on this video editing topic, help would be awesome!
Jon Landers is a musician as well. He said that he first started playing with piano keys that he had labeled to learn them. Currently he has 15,000 fans on Reverbnation, a top ranking 9 track cd, and his music is available on over 40 sites. Pretty impressive for a man that started by putting key names on his piano! Jon told me that he can’t “sing”, (we share that in common pal) so some of his songs are actually performed by other singers. I’ve done this myself, I’ll have someone sing my hooks and choruses, but I always have my parts in the songs. I have considered using other artists for entire songs that I have written, but for now I enjoy being a part of and performing my own songs. I’ll continue “outsourcing” the parts I can’t do, but I love to perform.
We all know that music is therapy. One of my favorite artists and good friends, Charlie Scott, has a series of mix cd’s called “Lyrical Therapy”. Something that I am all too familiar with, and so is Jon Landers. There was a particularly difficult time during his life where music provided his much needed therapy. A divorce, his beloved mom battling cancer, a distraught dad’s attempt to take his own life, and a very ill brother all happened in rapid succession. These events are enough to bring down the strongest person to their knees. Jon Landers did what many of us in the creative arts field do, create as a form of therapy. Lyrical therapy. I’m happy to report that after seeing Jon at The Big Apple Indie Music Series, he appears to be doing ok. That musical therapy will work wonders on us. If you’d like to listen to Jon’s top 10 music, check out his cd “A man and his music” here.
I asked Jon what music he listens to when not listening to indie artists. Jon’s favorite artists vary, but he mentioned Sinatra, The Beatles, Springsteen and some Motown music among others. He said that he can listen to techno, and heavy metal, but it’s not his preferred style of music. He appreciates rap, and can get with it so long as the work has a message and it is not riddled with curses and misogynistic lyrics. That is probably one of the reasons Jon enjoyed my music, I am a rapper (as I mentioned, I can’t sing) but I’m all about the message. My lyrics always tell a story and bring a deep message. As you can tell, Jon enjoys mainstream music as much as the next guy, but he feels that indie artists offer up so much more variety. Where mainstream songs may all sound quite similar, indie artist all sound very diverse.
There is another side to this industry, I’m fairly new to the music scene and even I know this. The business side! Jon is big on the business side of things as well as the creative side. I mean a fellas gotta eat after all, right! Jon has over 65 domain names registered and over 20 websites all representing his company Creative Group LLC! The focus of the company used to be more in the graphics and manufacturing, but now Jon is rebranding and moving more towards creative promotions and the entertainment industry. He’s doing a pretty good job of it so far. The Big Apple Indie Music Series is already making big waves, his baby, 2 years in the making! Woot woot! Cheers to making dreams come true!
The same way artist collaborate on the music side of things, so do businesses. Jon is working with the folks atTalent army promotion who co-produce the The Big Apple Indie Music Series (TBAIMS) event. I had the pleasure of meeting these guys too and they were pretty awesome. Talent Army is another great development group that is out here working hard for indie artists. Make sure you check out their website and tell them that their friends over at Talk Rendezvous sent you! Just like TBAIMS, Talent Army promotions also takes submissions from independent artists to participate at musical events such as TBAIMS. If you are an artist, or a fan of the arts, you owe it to yourself to check these guys out! Go, go, go!!!! But make sure you come back here after you go!
Jon is also working with folks at NBC, CBS, Fox and other independent media outlets. PR Web accounts and websites such as the Examiner (where I happened to get a shout out on after my show) are involved, and a partnership with a startup called Spacebar.com is in bloom. Jon will even be working with a legend in the industry, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet in music, the great Stevie Wonder. A man that Michael Jackson, a legend in his own right described as a musical prodigy, a genius!
As a performer at the show, The Big Apple Indie Music Series is all a surreal haze to me, but I’m fairly certain that the event’s host Charlii said that the event was being broadcast to Singapore, London and more viaSpacebar.com. Pretty cool! We are going international with this thing yo!
The whole concept of this partnership is pretty awesome, not only is the show broadcasting out to the world, but it is interactive. There will be a way for a viewer to buy an artist that they love a drink, remotely! The artist can then thank the fan for the drink and give them a shout out during the show! How freaking cool is that? It’s a whole new exciting way to listen and interact with artist! I’m excited to see this grow more and more.
It’s just another way that Jon and friends are giving back and creating opportunities for the indie community. It seems to be a recurring theme that the people I meet via the Rendezvous show are all about giving back. I don’t think that this is a mistake, good people attract good people! I believe that all of us with The Rendezvous Show are genuinely good people. The same can be said of our friends at Tbaims and Talent Army, all good people looking to give new artists opportunities and creating a platform to showcase this amazing work.
Bobbi “Funkee Boy” Tammaro, commonly known as Funkee Boy is a part of these collaborations! I met him at the last show and he was an upstanding gentleman! At the last TBAIMS show there was an offer, the deal was that Funkee Boy would pick his favorite song from the artists performing and write a tune up for them to perform. I don’t know about you guys, but I think it would be pretty super AWESOME to get a collab going with a man like Funkee Boy! Jazz for the win!
Let me shift the focus away from the organizers and talk about the event itself. TBAIMS is an invite only showcase. I say invite only to mean that you can’t just show up and perform, you have to be hand picked by the organizers. The last show was held on June 13th, 2013 at Gibson Guitar Studios. I had the distinct honor of performing for these guys at this event, and it was AWESOME! Take a look at some pictures from this awesome event here. Michelle Kawka, photographer extraordinaire gets the nod for those awesome pics!The next event will be on July 11th, but you can always stay up to date with upcoming events at the TBAIMS website event space here! I should note, that if you are picked to perform at The Gibson Guitar Studios, you have to use a Gibson guitar. They are kind of big on that and understandably so. Don’t worry if you don’t have one, they have tons of guitars there and if I am not mistaken, they will allow you to perform using one of their guitars. But hey, don’t break it, you break it, you own it. LOL. Don’t quote me on any that last part though, you better verify that piece of information before attending.
The show consists of five diverse artists and runs from 6-10pm. There is one hour of networking, and then the artists get to do their thing. The show’s master of ceremonies is Charlii, a charming man with an awesome accent, mate! Charlii has his own large body of commercials, hosting credits, and musical experience under his belt. In fact, I’ll let you guys in on a little known secret, a little birdie told me that quite possibly on July 4th of 2013,ARodomus and Charlii will be dropping an amazing new collaboration called “Standing strong”. But what do I know, that was just a little bird talking to me. Caw, Caw, Caw.
TBAIMS is currently held in NYC, but Jon is looking to expand the show even more! Grow baby, grow! He has his eyes on Miami, Detroit, Nashville, LA, and many more places! The show already has a global presence, as you saw with the spacebar project! Not only that, but TBAIMS is also taking submissions from artists that come from all over the globe. In addition Jon is looking to collaborate with other major music festivals, and he’s working with potential sponsors. I won’t drop any names here, but let’s say that there are some big dogs in talks at the table. Very exciting times for Jon Landers and the TBAIMS family! I think the success of the series makes those first two years of planning totally worth it for Jon. What do you think?
Speaking of family, Jon made it very clear to me that any past performers, or friends of TBAIMS become part of the family. As a former performer, I have already seen this family like ethic and behavior. Just this Friday Jon sent out an email informing us past artist of events that we may be able to perform for. As a past performer, Jon asks that you give a small review of the event for his website. Tell the audience and readers what it was like. It works both ways, if you are part of an amazing event, we’d expect you to let everyone know about it! That’s how we all get exposure and grow! If you have performed for TBAIMS, you better write that snippet yo! When I performed, I didn’t know who was who, I just chilled and spoke to anyone that would be willing to talk. There are no politics or b.s, there are definitely A&R folks in there, but they are quiet about it. They come out to support and listen, if they like you, well good luck! TBAIMS gives you a great opportunity for exposure to these folks. I’ll say again, good luck!
Hmmm. Jon has a lot of things going on, in case you didn’t already realize that. He was talking about a book of stories and poetry. He has many years under his belt and as a writer, you know that he has plenty of material to share. His latest passionate undertaking is The Big Apple Indie Music Series (TBAIMS). He hopes to continue to grow the series, focus, organize, recruit and connect more artists with industry people and other artists. Music and entertainment promoter, has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?
As I spoke with Jon I queried him on his process. As a person that deals with so many different, talented artists, how does he provide feedback? When trying to offer advice, or insight, how does he do it? Does he even do it? Jon explained to me that he doesn’t care for protocol or the ridiculous politics and rules, he believes in honest constructive criticism. Constructive criticism, a heavily underutilized tool in the world today. So he will tell it like it is, as it should always be!
Oh yeah, besides ALLLLL of this that I have mentioned already, Jon has recently become a grandpa! Woohoo! Congratulations to you and your family on the new bundle of joy! Do you still remember how to change diapers pal? Speaking of changing diapers, for those of you haven’t been to the Gibson Guitar Studio, the bathroom is a little weird in the way it locks. Guess who made up a flyer with instructions on how to properly lock the bathroom? If you guessed Jon Landers, then you win!!! By the way, I saw the signs when I went to the bathroom. No lie on that one, in fact I almost locked the door the wrong too!
On that note, what better way to end this article than an ARodomus bathroom faux pas? We at The Rendezvous show wish Jon Landers continued success with TBAIMS, along with our friends at Talent Army Promotions, Spacebar.com, The Examiner.com, Funkeeboy, Michelle Kawka who produced the awesome event pictures and everyone else that came out to perform and support!
This post was originally featured on TRS247
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.