Wordman and other knowledgeable music guys, re the "Axl Rose" guy

I was just looking at the Youtube channel of Juan Rodriguez, the guy I posted a thread about here. He just posted a video lamenting the fact that he has no instrumental or songwriting talent and he seems to feel that unless he can get picked up by a band somewhere he really has nowhere to go. So I’m wondering, based largely on Wordman’s first post in the other thread, what you feel he could or should do to capitalize on his talent? I would then post a comment with a link to this thread on his channel in hopes he’ll see it and take your advice to heart. He seems like a cool guy and I’d like to see him able to capitalize on his talent, but he obviously doesn’t know where to go from here. I’m thinking that if nothing else he could form a cover band and get gigs and build up a following from there. So, what do you think?

P.S. - Juan also just posted a split-screen duet of Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now that he did with a friend of his and I think you’ll enjoy his performance on that song as well.

P.P.S. - Perhaps “lamenting” wasn’t the right word. Philosophising might have been a better way to put it. Anyway, here’s the video where he talks about his concerns and aspirations.

**SA **- I am not going to have time to check out the video today; too many meetings. The short answer for any person trying to achieve anything in any competitive endeavor: set some goals, get organized and network.

  • Set goals - okay, if you can’t write, but want to exploit your talent, you need to figure out what things singers can do that make money. So, as an example: your first goal is to develop a short list of possible options. Obviously the next goal would be to understand the big players within that space, etc…

  • **Get organized **- layout a workplan - a calendar of activities and a way to track all of your networking contacts and your current status in your communications with them.

  • **Network **- look to have informational interviews to ask questions - the bigger and fresher your network, the more likely you will hear about opportunities. Have a demo CD in your hand at all times (or the equivalent these days - a clip on your iPhone?). Work your networking list religiously - set alarms for each contact in 3 day, 3 week or 3 month intervals and follow up with everyone when your alarm for them goes off.

Bottom line: grind it out. When everybody comments that talent is critical but is never enough, they often mention “you need luck” but they don’t mention that the REAL secret is treating your talent like a business and executing your business excellently. For all of the fluffy “I just got discovered” stories you fantasize about, under the surface is YEARS of scraping and sticking to the plan.

Class over.

SA - WordMan’s advice is good in general. Unlike him, I have had time to listen to Immigrant Song and Need You Now, and in my opinion Juan is a barely competent singer. His voice on Immigrant Song is processed to the gills, but you can hear that he is mostly hitting the notes. His phrasing slavishly copies Robert Plant’s, so all I can conclude from that track is that he could probably get hired to sing for a local cover band. The singing on Need You Now is just not good, IMO.

I think he should try to join a cover band that does music he likes.

I’ve listened a little more and thought some more, too. Another thing he could do is to look for bands who do originals who need a singer. He needs to find out what he can do when there is not a singer to copy.

What I’m hearing from this guy is a fair amount of raw talent that could possibly be developed, but nothing really amazing.

This is what I was thinking. The guy sounds good enough aping other singers (although, as you note, Need You Now is a little weak), but I’d like to hear what his own style is, if he has one. I’d like to see him let go and really sing from the heart–there’s still a bit of hesitation and calculation in the performances I see on YouTube.

Sure, he needs some practice and training, but his voice is good enough that any local hard rock/heavy metal acts should give him a serious look. Were I him, I’d just hit the papers and music stores and start looking for bands looking for a singer–at least get some experience fronting a band while I’m out otherwise publicizing via YouTube. Judging by his video reviews and YouTube hits, he’s obviously developed a decent fan base already, especially for a guy who just sings karaoke out of his basement.

But maybe I’m being a little too old school with the “find a band” advice. Maybe auditioning for American Idol is more what someone like him should try these days. He definitely seems like the kind of act those guys would have an interest in.

Thanks for the advice so far, guys. I’m surprised to hear you didn’t care much for Need You Now. I thought it was good but that he was trying to tone it down for the girl.

Anyway, it looks like he’s got the right idea. As he said in the hopes and aspirations video I linked to, he doesn’t play any insturments and all he has to work with instrumentally is karaoke music, which explains why he’s singing in the style of these other singers. He’s looking to be picked up by a band and also to find some collaborators to work with on coming up with new songs, so he seems to have confidence in his ability to sing with his own voice, whatever that may be.

Quite a few people on his Youtube channel are encouraging him to try out for American Idol. I’m thinking that American Idol might lead to a recording contract with people who know what they’re doing who could put him with the right musicians and songwriters to make the most of his talent. And on the other hand, I’m thinking that he could make a pretty good living by forming a good cover band and growing from there. His fan base loves watching and hearing him cover these songs. But he just works in some kind of small shop in Yakima, Washington and does his recordings in his spare time. I don’t know if there’s enough stray talent in Yakima to form a good cover band.

Cool - I wish him luck and if you keep track and anything develops, keep us posted.

As for “stray talent in Yakima” - it’s hard to spit and not hit a decent guitar player ;); easier to find the talent, much harder to execute a plan

Definitely. He’s 25, so he has a few years of eligibility left, but really, they’d jump all over him out of the gate. It would remain to be seen if he could stand up to the rigors of the show and if he could adapt for the different theme nights, but I’d love to see him on there.

Yeah, you have to have a pretty strong entrepreneurial bent to network like that, or to form and run a cover band, and I’m not sure he has that. He strikes me as a pretty laid back kind of guy who basically just wants to sing. It’s possible that I’m more interested in seeing him hit it big than he is. :wink:

Me, too. I’ve been thinking that even if he doesn’t win, he might come to the attention of some people who could make things happen for him.

ETA: Sorry about hosing up your name in the title, WordMan. I seem to have trouble remembering to capitalize that “M”. :slight_smile:

well, to paraphrase Wilde: Better to be name-checked-but-misspelled than never to be name-checked at all…

I have an incredibly talented friend - singer/keyboardist/guitarist/songwriter who is getting ready to launch a cover band to earn a little scratch. If you do it right you can make great money - but as he is getting into it, he is realizing that starting out will still require a ton of busting his hump like he did back in the day in order to get the gigs…same as it ever was.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I know of a very talented and successful painter (not personally though) who sells a lot of his artwork and makes very good money, but he has to spend more time promoting his paintings than he does in actually painting them. It’s just hard to get people to turn loose of the green unless you’re an established star.