Greetings, Music Creates Us readers! I think it’s perfect that I am contributing here as music has indeed created me. I am the founder of Rocker Stalker (sounds scarier than it really is), a Brooklyn-based blog, and booking and promotions start-up.
Music has always been a huge part of my life. A musician myself, I grew up loving and appreciating every aspect of the art. From the time I was three years old, I was always picky when it came to soundtracks, insisting on oldies, most specifically The Beach Boys, when I had a choice in tunes.
Fast forwarding to middle school/high school, my infatuation with music beyond my years led to a “Classic Rock Appreciation Club,” where we worshiped the legends. Throughout high school I volunteered at KCRW in my hometown, which introduced me to local acts, fusing my love of past, present, and future generations of bands. I was fortunate enough to meet an act in LA called Run Run Run, who truly jumpstarted my entrepreneurial spirit and gained me access to the scene of local bands. I wanted to know why bands who were so great were not getting the exposure they deserved. Doing what I could at seventeen, I interviewed them for my high school newspaper. Because I attended a pretty conservative school, it was edited down to meaningless.
Frustrated that my hard work would never make its intended impression, I took my journalism elsewhere, submitting to magazines and websites all over LA. Shockingly, I received positive feedback and my journalistic endeavors took flight. Through these efforts I was able to discover and meet more bands than I had known existed, interviewing and reviewing artists who, to this day, are doing big things and are still my favorites (Matt Costa, Semi Precious Weapons, and Alberta Cross, to name a few).
In college, I continued writing for magazines (and could finally attend shows without X’s on my hands), pushing with all my might for emerging artists. Starting up a radio show, I expanded my medium for promoting indie bands, airing their music alongside classics on a show I named “Two Faces of Rock.”
Along with my own show, my college internships led me down the path of radio, including stints at Q104.3 in NYC and KRTH 101 in LA. But the most influential station I got involved with was Indie 103.1 in LA. With a philosophy of community and genuine love for local music and bands-on-the-rise, the station only further inspired me to dedicate my life to indies (shout out to Jose Galvan, Joe Escalante, Mark Sovel, and TK!).
I moved to New York in 2009 after a few summer visits and one CMJ Music Marathon experience. New York is a hotbed of up-and-coming bands with no shortage of artists who need a platform on which to be showcased. Landing a gig with The Deli Magazine, I wrote profusely about all the bands I could. I began receiving requests from outside of NYC for features, but because The Deli is locally specific, I felt my options were limited. The only logical solution was to start my own publication and Rocker Stalker was born.
Because I’m never satisfied with doing ONE thing, I believed that beyond journalism, live music was the other key to getting an artist exposed to an audience beyond their own reach. I took a chance reaching out to venues and thankfully, some great bands took a chance on me and allowed me to book them. I had truly found my niche and began pursuing bigger and better opportunities, including SXSW, Northside Festival, and CMJ.
Since its inception, Rocker Stalker has broadened its focus internationally, booking bands from coast to coast and Canada. Next, I am turning my sights to creating other sister branches for PR and management and expanding booking services to include short-run tours. I can’t wait to see where this crazy music industry takes me and who I meet along the way.
My advice to anyone looking to make a stamp on music or on the artists in general is to not give up on your core beliefs or let people bring you down. No one plays nice in a competitive industry, and the only person you can truly depend on is yourself. Your passion for what you do will prevail, and your authenticity will show through at the end of the day and get you further than stepping on others. Two wise men once said, “Be excellent to each other.”