Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

It’s All About The Emotion

I went to a seminar this summer that featured two Music Industry experts who have worked in the industry for 30+ years. Both of these guys started out as artists and then worked their way up to become directors of a department called SIN (Sony International). The seminar was all about their department, and how they help the Megastars outside of North America bring their music over to America to try and reach American success. It was really cool, and happens to be the department that I will be interning for in the fall. There was one part of the conversation that really struck me though, and it was a piece of advice to all of the future A&R kids in the room, but I actually found it to be great advice for any business.

Vinny Rich, one of the men who was presenting to us, had worked with labels his whole life and had been a songwriter for different labels back when Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin were the number one album sellers and he got to work with some of the Greats. While he was talking he presented us with a situation that went like this:

Say you walk into a venue and there is a band on stage. All of the members are attractive, they are all incredible musicians and they are putting on a great show, but when you walk out of the venue at the end of the night, you don’t remember a single song or verse or chorus.  You don’t sign that band. The next night, you walk into another venue, and you have an alright group of people, decent musicians but don’t really compare to other band, but they put on a pretty good show, and at the end of that night, you have a song stuck in your head, or a chorus that keeps replaying itself in your head. You might need to work on them a bit, give them some training and develop them as a professional act, but you sign that band. You choose the band who has the song that makes you feel something so strongly that you don’t forget it.

What I took from this is that it’s not always about being the best at something. You can be an incredible musician, but never write a song that moves people. You can be an incredible business man but never develop a product that makes any real effect on the world. What makes anything great is it’s ability to evoke an emotion or connection with people. Great products are products that change the world and make peoples lives easier. Great directors make movies that capture an audience and make them think or feel something. Great musicians write songs that will draw an emotion and will reach an entire generation of people, if not more. Greatness comes when you create something that makes people feel and leaves a lasting impression.

Now, this is not to downplay talent and working hard to be the best at what you do, because everyone should always try to be their best. But being the best does not always mean you know how to effect people in a way that your creation will leave a lasting impression. What one needs to learn is how to be the best at what they do, and also know how to reach people on an emotional level. Emotions are one of the most powerful aspects of the human life, and when someone can tap into that emotion, they leave an impression, and if you can reach enough people, they might be able to make a real difference in some way.

This lesson was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I received this summer. Personally, I want to leave an impression on this world in some way in my career, and for me, maybe that will be to discover a legendary band. But for others, it will be to develop the next great app, or the next great Charity, or any of the other amazing things that Babson students do. Make people feel something, and you’re one step closer to greatness.