Skip to content

Chauncey Childs: “Everyone Here Could Come Together With All Their Special Skills to Create Something.”

November 1, 2013

ChaunceyChilds01Text by Niesha Miller. Image by Carolyn Valentin.

Last week, aspiring songwriters, singers, journalists, music producers and more gathered at Bliss Restaurant to have lunch with Chauncey Childs, a noted executive producer who has worked with artists like Jill Scott, Vivian Green, Common and more.

His early work was done with DJ Jazzy Jeff’s A Touch of Jazz studio but he later left to create his own project with a few other people he started out with.

Referring to his knowledge of the music industry as war stories from a history book, he remembered the days when labels maintained multiple positions and actually took the time to help develop artists.

Before meeting with “the future of the music industry” for Jr. Music Executive, Childs insisted the group watch “Downloaded,” a documentary that discussed the rise and fall of Napster. This film would be the perfect example for a talking point on his pseudo-lesson plan to discuss the change of the music industry.

If it’s one thing Childs wanted the students to keep in mind, it was that the industry is constantly changing and these are the days to create your own way in. Look into the future to see what the newest trends will be.

Barely touching his meal, Childs recalled walking through the halls of record label and seeing the job of 20 people being reduced to just two.

And most importantly, he remembered the days the industry made really good money. He compared selling albums to selling VCR tapes.

“You will not make money off selling records,” he laughed. “Income revenue went from $20 million to $50,000.”

Free or not-free are the two ways music is looked at today. Commercial use is how artists make their money. The industry finally accepted that people are willing to get their music the cheapest way possible.

Childs also told students to “leave something on the table at all times.”

Regardless of the decade, in the music industry, deals are often made in trust. Labels don’t always conveniently release money for artists to work on projects and the industries flakey nature doesn’t always mean you will be paid for your services whether you’re a DJ, producer, singer, promoter or songwriter. You will either have to to accept a pay cut or be forced to take one. The message is to bend a little. Give people your trust and they will return to work with you, sometimes with a bigger payoff.

In between the list of things for Childs to discuss, he took questions from students about breaking into the industry, knowing when to work for free and how to take advantage of their individual skills.

What students walked away with was inspiration. Aspire to be your craft, Childs said. The more you aspire, the harder you will work to achieve your goal.

“You are an aspiring songwriter. You are an aspiring singer,” he told students.

And with an oversaturation of creatives in the industry, he insisted people create their own way into the industry in areas people were not dying to work in, like project management, accounting, social media and more.

Childs stayed longer than the 90 minutes he was set to talk to students. He stayed a half hour longer to exchange contact information with students and encouraged them to build a creative guild of their own in the city.

“Everyone here could come together with all their special skills to create something,” he reminded students before leaving.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: