by Kenny Kerner

Since the inception of the TAXI Meter, I've taken great pride in interviewing one member per issue for the column called Passenger Profile. Each of you, being unique, had a different story to tell about how you struggled, scratched and clawed your way to achieve varying degrees of success through TAXI.

Each month's column took on the same format, beginning with a statistics box and then getting into the actual interview itself. For this issue, I'm not only going to make a rare exception and break that format, but I'm going to let the TAXI member tell his own story. After reading it, I'm sure you'll understand why that was the right decision.

Kenny Kerner

James Day Songwriter
A good friend and fellow songwriter said to me, "If we could have it surgically removed, (the desire to write songs), we would have done it a long time ago!"

A dose of humor is the best medicine for the disappointment and rejection that comes with pursuing a career in this business. I have wanted a career in Pop music since I was four, dancing in my living room to the Jackson 5. Life has taken many unpredictable turns since then, and many times I felt as if fate was trying to tell me, "it doesn't matter how good your songs are, it's just not in the cards for you." But I guess I just wanted it so badly that I had to stay in denial about the odds of my having any success.

Had I not won a two-year membership by winning first place in two categories of the 1998 Billboard Song Contest, I don't know that I ever would have joined TAXI. But when the free membership material arrived, I noticed some listings that I thought my songs would be good for, and sent them in. I was fortunate that some of my material started being forwarded right away, but I certainly was not immune to many returns with what seemed like harsh critiques. Over time, I became less sensitive to them (the harsh critiques) and found that averaging 5 or so critiques was a good way of judging how "pitchable" a song was. Like it or not, these screeners are good representatives of the kind of "ears" my songs would have to get through to get onto a CD, into the record store and on the radio.

Name: James Day

Residence: Boston, Mass

Occupation: Songwriter

Day Job: Housing Advocate for
Homeless people with AIDS

College: American Academy of Dramatic
Arts for Musical theater
North Eastern University
for ASL & Deaf Studies

Significant Events: Danced on nationally
syndicated TV show in the 80s,
Became permanently deaf in
one ear in my early 20s.

Songs Forwarded:   50+

Songs Covered: 5

After getting a number of songs forwarded, I started getting skeptical again about TAXI, since no one was calling me back. I think it took almost a year, but finally I did get a couple calls. Some of them turned into "holds" or "offers," but disappointingly, they did not lead to any cuts. I took a TAXI break.

I got accepted into ASCAP's Advanced Songwriter's Workshop where I met many people in A&R, Publishing, and most importantly, some incredible co-writers. I'd like to thank Marcy Drexler & the membership dept. who have been a great source of support and encouragement. After completing the workshop, ASCAP nominated me for the Songwriter's Hall of Fame/National Academy of Popular Music's Abe Olman Award for song writing excellence, which I received in 2000. This, and the Billboard contest, were clearly the biggest things that had happened in my career, but still, no cuts!

Enter TAXI, take II: I now had a fresh batch of songs written with my new collaborators that I met at the ASCAP Workshop, but very few places to send them. So I started submitting to TAXI listings again. The forwards starting coming again, as did some rave critiques. So many, that I stopped asking for critiques to save the price of the return envelopes.

This year I had to pay for a membership, but by now I was convinced it was a worthwhile investment. Then the phone started to ring, and honestly, over the last three months, it hasn't stopped! The following are just some of the incredible people I met through TAXI who have not only gotten my songs cut, but also have begun to change my life:

Laura Becker at 2KSounds
Laura is the Phil Jackson of Publishing and A&R! She got my song "If I Were You" cut by Brooke Allison on 2K/Virgin records which will be released this summer. Laura is the first publisher who believed that I was good enough to be pitched in the big leagues. She helped build my confidence and steer my work toward real opportunities. Laura has the courage to stand behind her opinions. Her belief in my talent has not wavered with other people's reactions and it is going to be my great pleasure to prove her right!

Joe Quaranto of ETNC/Canada
Joe has also been terrific. He got my song "Hand On Your Heart" cut by the Australian Popstars, Scandal'us, which was just released. We also have activity with several other international projects.

Mary Ivory at MDVD Network
Mary chose my song "3rd Degree" for their new young boy band Fresh, who will be releasing a CD & DVD this summer. She has been great and recently requested a second song of mine as well.

At this point, I think I have four or five definite cuts, another four or five scheduled to be recorded, and a couple more on hold. Amazingly, I think my goal of 10 cuts by the end of the year is within reach!

In short, WE DID IT! TAXI moved mountains for me! They did what no man had done before! They helped get my songs cut! I haven't gotten a chance to meet all the screeners who have forwarded my songs over the past few years, but I'd like to use this opportunity to thank them all. In particular, I want to thank Doug Minnick, who continues to play such an important role in my development and education in the music business. Doug and TAXI put my career in Fast Forward.

It took a lot of hard working, talented people who believed in me to get me over this bridge. I want you all to know that when I walk in the record store on June12th and finally pick up a CD with my song on it, I will be thinking of all of you!


James Day
TAXI Member


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