In May of 2012, I was bright-eyed, enthusiastic, soon to be a “Master of Music." A life in music, living in New York City, was upon me. A dream I’d had since I first got serious about playing jazz in 10th grade. I had six years of intensive conservatory training (not to mention the accompanying student loans), plenty of gigging and teaching experience (from my time living in both Rochester and NYC), and having the opportunity interact with and play alongside some of the top musicians in the industry. However, at the same time there also seemed to be a persistent sense of negativity amongst musicians. Some say there are “no gigs," people "don’t listen to jazz,” and the scene “isn’t what it used to be.” And while some of those things may be true, I don’t find that to mean that there isn’t ample opportunity to do what we love. Make Music.
So what did I do at that crossroads? Start a record label and put my music out into the world.
In January of 2013 I released my debut album “Exposition” and launched my label Outside in Music (www.outsideinmusic.com). For a new to the scene jazz trombonist, the album did much better than I thought, and the whole process was intensely gratifying and completely terrifying at the same time. It was (and still is) a learning experience. I’m very proud of it and so grateful to the amazing musicians who were willing to participate.
During this process I also realized that I have some useful personal traits. That is, that I am willing to take risks, willing to work as I hard as I have to to make an idea into reality, and I don’t wait around for things to happen “to” me.
Why am I saying all this? Because some people have asked me why I have a record label. It started as an outlet for my personal projects, but I realized that I wanted to help my friends and colleagues to share their work, too. There is so much great music being made without getting the attention it deserves.
I am building a community of artists who want to share their music with the world, and want to do it in a serious way. The success of one artist in our community helps the others. I’ve organized printing, publicity, radio promotion, pre/post production, mixing/mastering, artwork, photography, US and International distribution, and licensing, all on behalf of our team. I am building access to booking resources to help our artists to grow their careers past the album release. This is the beginning of what I am sure will help to enable a sustainable model for our artists to release their creative output.
However, this is not the mythical all-inclusive “record deal” where the label pays for your project. It is a collaboration, another layer of accountability to your art. This is for musicians who are looking to make an investment into their future and take a strong step forward.
In an effort to be transparent, I’ve laid out the expectations of the agreement between Outside in Music and our Artists. You can take a look at it here, and see if this could be a good fit.
"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. “ … Thomas Jefferson
In my life, I know that taking action has enabled just about all of the opportunities that I’ve had. From school, to gigs, to touring, and in business. Waiting around to be the 1 in 1,000,000 who gets picked (for a big gig, a record deal,etc) is a fools errand.
I hope you’ll drop a line to the label at: info [at] outsideinmusic.com
… and that we can work on a project together soon.
Here’s some of the projects we’ve put out to date: