Andrew is the founder of TheNext2Shine.com. An online music community that dedicates itself on showcasing musical talent by speaking directly through an influential tastemaker market segment with an entirely unique approach.
Through revealing interviews with progressive talents, showcasing pieces on emerging trends and cultures, and presentations of products in their raw form, we speak to the influencers of the music business in their own language.
Who are the people that inspired you to follow your dreams?
I've always been inspired by people that venture into the world with only a couple of dollars in their pocket and a dream. It's the people that stand behind their vision everyday and are willing to sacrifice almost everything they have to obtain their dream. It's the people that only have a sliver of hope left, but learn to appreciate it. The nerds, the geeks, the people that spend their days going after what they love. Those are the people that inspire me.
Was their a turning point in your life, an event that led to your current career?
Music has always been a passion of mine. It was something that I really enjoyed being a part of. However, when looking back trying to identify a turning point [in my life], I always seem to remember one song. It was when I really sat down and listened to Corey ''Latif'' Williams' song "I Don't Want To Hurt You", released in 2003. To date, this song still gives me goosebumps. It speaks truth. You don't really find songs like that anymore. Up until then I was usually listening to Gangster Rap 24/7. That was a very drastic change for me and allowed me recognize and respect new musical art forms.
What is the biggest failure you have experienced in your career?
As far as marketing and brand positioning, I think the whole brand, TheNext2Shine.com, has made many mistakes in the past. The brand is something I started back when I was in high school and further developed it when while in college. I didn't have too much of an understanding on the whole marketing concept since I was enrolled as a Computer Science major back then. Looking back, the brand itself lost opportunities to present itself with more of a solidified marketing message. Now everything the brand touches is carefully researched.
What advice would you give other young people about pursuing a career in the face of failure?
You have to really know what you want first of all. You can't just jump into an industry and expect people to come to you, or know who you are. Prove yourself to a person in the industry that respects your vision, and look into getting a mentor to guide you. At the end of the day you need to ask yourself, "How bad do you want this?" When someone presents you with a "No", always try to find a way around it..
Give three main tips for success
Never Give Up Be Persistent Stay Hungry
What does success mean to you and your business?
I ran into this quote by Eric Thomas that is something I truly believe in. He said, "When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful!"
Everyone aspires for success, but what drives you to work so hard?
I was first driven to start the brand in its early stages because I had to prove myself to a girl. Eventually, I turned that energy around and focused on discovering and breaking musical talent by creating a platform for them. Everyone is sick and tired of hearing the same songs on repeat everyday and there really wasn't really an online destination solely focused on this aspect of the industry. Fast forward to today, I bump into artists, songwriters, and producers every day that clearly have the talent and drive, but nobody is paying attention to them. I want to create avenues in which the people I believe in can flourish. I do it for them. I read their stories, listen to their songs, and ask myself "Why?". Why are they not working in the studio with so and so. Why are they not signed? Why does nobody recognize this talent?
Who’s career inspires you the most? If you could collaborate with any artist/entrepreneur/business, who would it be?
Kanye West and Will Smith both come to mind immediately. Both are entertainment megastars that have made a career out of their talents. I gravitate towards Will because of he seems to be very insightful while also staying completely humble. But Kanye is a musical genius. He's always doing extraordinary things that place him outside of the normal "artist" box. I don't necessarily agree with some of the stuff that he does, but almost everything he puts out is on point.
What kind of training and preparation do you go through every day to improve yourself as your business continues?
I read of a lot industry news and try to surround myself with people that have a positive outlook. While reading I try to envision what opportunities might present themselves in the future. Almost everything is digital now. That's really nothing new. What keeps changing is the discovery of music and the technology behind it. First, it was Radio, MTV, and Myspace. Now, it's right underneath our noses with Youtube, Pandora, Spotify, and other playlist services.
With so much going on in your life right now, how do you stay humble in light of your accomplishments? Do you think it is even important to be humble?
I think you have to be a bit selfish at times, but, it is more important if you can get the right people to believe in your vision – then you're golden.
5, 10, 50 years down the line, when you have achieved everything you aspire for today, where do you see yourself?
There's always a slew of fresh new artists trying to make it. That creative wave of new music will never cease to exist. I still see myself going out to these intimate showcases and discovering new talent – that's what keeps me going. That's where you'll find the real music in its raw form.
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