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Pro Advice for Aspiring Musicians

Bill Bennett is President and CEO of Warner Brothers Records Nashville, and former head of Madonna’s Maverick label.

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Bill Bennett, President and CEO of Warner Brothers Records in Nashville, gives advice to musicians who are trying to make it in the music business today. He makes the point that musicians have to be perserverant and passionate about every aspect of their career in order to be successful.

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Bill Bennett Advice for Musicians

If you’re a great musician, just persevere. It took me along time, and I grew up with musicians, I grew up with kids who were the sons and daughters of country people who were musicians. To me, even into my adulthood, I couldn’t make the distinction between a musician and a star. I had friends of mine, I was growing up with, and I would go “why don’t you go make a record?” and they would go “eh I don’t want to do that, I just want to make a living playing the piano.” “Well how are you going to do that if you’re not going to be a star?” “I don’t want to be a star.” It took me a while to sort that. In Nashville, it’s obvious but even when I lived here I didn’t understand that. In this town you can make a great living as a musician and there’s recording studios everywhere. I guess it would be as simple as practice, practice, practice, would be the only answer. It goes back to that focus, and do you have that resolve? “I’m going to do this.” My assistant, before Darcy, is a great singer and we had some problems with follow-through. One night we were at a party and I said, “Would you get up and sing?” She blew people away. I mean she was a great singer and I knew she was a great singer. She’s one of a thousand people that you’re going to meet in Nashville that, well I’m really a picker, or an actor. So finally I sit down with her and I said, “I’m gonna let you go because you’re a singer, you’re not an assistant and it’s tough on you to go from one character to the next. Let’s work out something. If you don’t, you’re gonna turn 40 one day and hit your kids. You gotta go do this.” I swear to you, the next week she got a job singer Opera in Broadway and this town is full of those people. You gotta make a living but sometimes you just gotta let go and if you let go, those things will happen.

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