Raw talent needed to make it in music industry

TV shows like Fox’s “American Idol” and Vh1’s “Born to Diva” demonstrate to viewers some of what is required to make it in the music industry.

These shows transform ordinary people like Ruben Studdard into instant celebrities and make breaking into the music scene appear easy.

But for some, being demoralized on national television is not the way to be discovered. To them becoming a star in the music industry requires more than sending in audition tapes and voter polls.

“It takes ambition and it also takes a lot of patience,” said Tonia Liddell, chief executive officer of Nia 513 Management and Entertainment.

Liddell’s company seeks and manages musical talents such as MTV’s “Making the Band 2” quarter-finalist Andraé Riley. The 27-year-old Liddell works with upcoming Rhythm & Blues and hip-hop acts in Atlanta, Chicago and Milwaukee.

Liddell’s experience allows her to understand what artists need to succeed in the music business.

“[Artists] should have a strong passion for what [they] do and learn as much as [they] can about music,” she said.

Mike Leslie, a FAMU alumnus from Los Angeles, has been producing, composing and scouting talent for the last five years. Leslie is taking several music artists under his wing from the FAMU campus and agreed that the music industry is hungry for new talent, but said true ability is usually replaced with contracts and negotiations.

“It takes raw talent to make it in the music business, but nowadays, it seems to be more about marketing and promotion, rather than the artist’s talent,” Leslie said.

Leslie said reality music shows are not good ways to bring talent to the music scene.

“Shows like that give audiences a false sense of what the music industry is about,” he said.

However, Liddell said the programs are useful techniques to put art back into music.

“Those shows are a good way to find talent and a good marketing tool because making it in the industry is not about talent,” Liddell said.

Rossi Roche, 21, also known as Caliba Chrome, is currently rapping and producing his music in Tallahassee agreed with Liddell.

“It takes [a] majority [of] 90 percent business and 10 percent talent, because once you have your talent up to par, then the business comes in,” Roche said.

Many students at FAMU aspire to make it in the music industry.

Vince Wallace, or “Sylent,” said he possesses the qualities to become a star.

Wallace, a 21-year-old broadcast journalism student from Jacksonville, has been writing music and rapping for as long as he can remember.

“Do all the research you can about the music industry,” Wallace said.

“All the information you need is in books.”

He said music industry hopefuls must stay committed.

“Without dedication, the industry will tear you down.”

Contact Nyerere Davidson at nyejournal@hotmail.com