by Kenny Kerner

Zupe had to find out the hard way what the word "unsolicited" meant. When he finally began to take his music and songwriting seriously, he discovered that he was totally lost in a sea of industry executives who wouldn't give him anything more than a friendly rejection via a form letter.

Although he had written a song called "The Light" in 1995 that the Red Cross used in their disaster relief awareness ad campaign, it seemed to mean nothing at all to publishers and music supervisors across the country. That he had achieved a modicum of success on his own was worthless to the industry Movers and Shakers. Zupe had hit a brick wall. Frustration had set in.

Out of sheer desperation, he reached for a TAXI ad that he had seen over and over. He had nowhere else to turn. After becoming a member in 1998, Zupe's second submission was forwarded and hope sprang eternal. To date, our esteemed Passenger has accumulated a neat package of 49 forwards and six deals. Check this out: A song placed in the hit TV series Malcolm in the Middle, an indie film called Mr. Id, three single-song deals with Ren Music and a song placed with country artist Anthony Rivera.

Name: Zupe
Residence: Altoona, PA
Age: 35
Occupation: Performing Musician
+ Composer
Joined Taxi: 1998
Songs Forwarded: 49
Deals: 6
Zupe began playing trumpet and piano when he was about eight years old and by high school was performing with some local rock bands despite being taught big band music by his teachers. "Right about that time I thought I'd start taking music seriously. However, I didn't look at the big picture until I was with another rock band while stationed in Germany with the Air Force. We played the bar scene there. I wrote some songs and then decided to start pitching them. I had no success. I learned the hard way what 'unsolicited' meant. I picked up a couple of those songwriter market books and started to randomly pitch my music to record companies and publishers and wherever I could. And that never worked out well either. I was pretty much doing things on my own and learning the hard way"

In 1998, after re-recording a jingle for the third time and watching his client back out of the deal, Zupe had enough. "I told my wife that I had been looking at these TAXI ads for years and even though I was a little doubtful, I was going to give it a shot for a year and see what happens."

What happened was that Zupe got more than he bargained for. In addition to getting forwarded, he became a better songwriter, thanks in part to the critiques he received. "I found out a lot about myself through the critiques. The best word I can think of is--focused. TAXI taught me to focus--to find my target audience and present my music to a particular audience. And once I started doing that I started getting more successful. Another thing about TAXI is that the screeners really do listen to the music. On one of the jazz songs I submitted, a screener wrote me and told me to listen to the song at the 3:25-mark and I'd hear a chord clash. He was right. It was something that I missed. It was the sustain pedal on the piano that was held too long so I fixed it up. But they are paying attention to the material."

About a year ago, Zupe upgraded his membership to the Dispatch area of TAXI. "TAXI Dispatch is the quick turnaround electronic version of regular TAXI. You get the listings via e-mail and you have a short period of time--sometimes as little as 24 hours--to get your MP3 to the listing. They're done on a yes/no basis so you hear back usually within 24-48 hours. Also, Dispatch deals specifically with placements for TV and Movies. My deal with placing my original song with Malcolm in the Middle happened through TAXI Dispatch. I got an e-mail and next thing I knew I was in touch with the music supervisor of the show to make the deal."

Zupe readily admits that were it not for TAXI he'd still be "treading water and banging my head against the wall". Through constant submissions, he got better at knowing how to send in material and how to more accurately read the various listings. And to show you just how satisfied he is, Zupe is ready to renew his membership the second it expires. Now if that don't spell satisfaction, nothing does! Congratulations, Zupe, for a job well done.









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"I had the drive, and the passion. I just needed help, and you keep supplying it."
— Justin K.,
TAXI Member


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TAXI Member