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Attention aspiring music artists

In my opinion there are two main reasons Charlotte hasn't captured a music identity thus far ("Searching For An Identity" by Mike McCray, July 11): the artists and their teams' lack of knowledge/experience in the "business" of music and the fact that many of them, although they no longer consider themselves local artists, retain the "local" mentality.

I've had the fortunate experience of gaining wisdom through my knowledge of the politics of music. My experience as an executive producer guided me to taking two, if not four, of the local artists from this area to new heights in the music industry. They've achieved a significant amount of mainstream radio success but unfortunately for them, (and much worst for us, since they represented the entire city), froze up and succumbed to the very politics that of which I speak.

My personal experiences with this issue happened as early as a few weeks ago. One of my artists and I were in California, and practically before my very eyes and ears a record label executive attempted to persuade my artist in a very indiscreet manner. Fortunate enough for my artist and me, our relationship and her family responsibilities back home freed us from what I consider, classic rhetorical B.S. This artist is by far one of the most intelligent and least persuasive I've ever had the pleasure of working with.

Aspiring artists need to understand the number one unwritten rule in the music industry. Until he or she has achieved some success, credibility, brand or product success, the record label respectively controls everything, perhaps even his or her sneezes. This is in no way a slap in the faces of the record labels, but it should be considered a wake up statement to those it's intended to reach, those aspiring artists.

There are a lot of artists that are only concerned about hearing their songs in their iPods or on MySpace, and in the process, they fail to handle the business of their music and end up in mental pain, perhaps for the rest of their life.

In the interim please allow me to make three suggestions to "The Next Big Thing"

1. Listen more and talk less in meetings.

2. Remain loyal to those who got you to the point of signing a major record label contract. Your management team should consist of those you choose. How much more control do you want to give up? Remember you're only left with 10 percent because the label has 90 percent.

3. Hold on to at least 10 percent of your vision and your sound. Aren't those two of the primary tools that got you there?

I have no doubt that if 10 artists from this market take this advice and multiply their 10 percent of control with their individual record labels, it will add up to 100 percent of what's needed to stamp "the business and politics of the QC sound," not only on the local or national level but worldwide. Be a trendsetter, not a trend follower.

-- Kenny "KQ" Quilla, Charlotte

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