by Kenny Kerner

Anyone in this business for a long time can tell you that the one thing an artist really needs to sustain a career is a stomach for rejection. Though it's true that you only need to find one powerful person who believes in your music, the search for that person can sometimes seem endless.

TAXI member Page Jackson began that search when he was 14 years old and dabbled in lyric writing. "I remember always trying to write lyrics in high school," Page recalls, "then, when I got into the Marines I was really depressed and got into lyric writing a lot more for some reason."

Despite the fact that the Marines were looking for a few good men, they didn't seem to be looking for lyricists, so, upon leaving the Corps in 1984, Jackson put together a band in Texas called the Tone Poets, and began the long grueling search for someone who believed.

"By 1985, we were shopping our demo tapes really hard. At that point, our only link to anything was Music Connection Magazine. We'd read an article, see someone's name and find out if we could send him a tape." Though the band was able to take one or two baby steps forward, nothing substantial materialized. "After we moved the band out to Los Angeles, a lot of industry people started flirting with us," Page remembers. "They called for demo tapes and promised to come down to see us play live. We signed with a small label but soon, the guys in the band started demanding better record producers and bigger advance money. Eventually, my own band became too difficult to deal with. This went on from 1985-1992 until our record deal was destroyed."

i i
Name: Page Jackson
Age: 34
Residence: Berkeley, California
Occupation: Special Education Teacher
Joined TAXI: 1996
Songs Forwarded:   3-4
Deals Made: All Nations Music
Co-Publishing & Artist
Recording Agreement
Determined to continue his quest for success, Page Jackson formed another band called Mary Carves The Chicken, signed with yet another small record label and released a CD. "One of the things I learned," Page revealed, "was that it's virtually impossible to penetrate the recording industry if you're not already connected or well-off. People will basically turn you down sight unseen. They don't want to hear your tapes and don't even want you sending tapes to them. I had a friend who was a secretary at Atlantic Records and she told me they had bins and bins of tapes over there that they never even listened to. So I got a little frustrated with the process."

Like most new artists facing rejection and unable to get a foot in the industry doors, Page's luck changed when a music attorney told him about an independent A&R company called TAXI. "I think I heard about TAXI through an attorney named Michael Leventhal. He met Michael Laskow (TAXI founder and President), and felt that the company was a cool thing. Based on that recommendation, I got the phone number and joined."

Considering the number of tape submissions he made to comply with record company and publisher listings, only three or four of his tapes were actually forwarded. But here too, it was a case of quality and not quantity. Jackson retells the story: "Billy Meshel, the head of All Nations Music, a Los Angeles-based publishing company, was looking for some material that was really cool but not mainstream. Someone apparently forwarded one of my tapes to him and he felt the songwriting craft was good enough to take a gamble on so he asked to sign me. I signed a co-publishing and artist recording agreement with All Nations Music at the beginning of this year. Billy offered to shop everything I do toward getting a record deal and if we're not successful, ANM will put up the money to record my record."

Finally, some 13 years after beginning his quest, Page Jackson has found someone who believes. And once again, it was thanks to TAXI's industry connections.

Not content to sit on his laurels, Jackson is still out there submitting tapes to TAXI trying to make even more deals for himself. "I've always been pretty aggressive about getting my tapes out there and Billy approves. Billy's real flexible; he's a businessman."

Jackson also knows the value of a well-crafted song, so he continues to take the advice of the TAXI screeners very seriously. "I have to tell you that the TAXI screeners have been very tough. Some of the critiques I received regarding my song structure---like maybe you should add a bridge or try to strengthen your chorus---were all things that helped my songs. They were critiques and suggestions that I actually put to use."

Although Page Jakson's career is now on an upward swing, the artist realizes that he is still far from achieving any degree of fame. "I haven't reached any degree of fame where I should be giving any advice to anyone," he concludes, "but I would say that the music and the songs have to come from your heart. You have to really love it. And of course, you have to think about what you love and not about the popular trend."


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"In this competitive field you need all the help you can get and with TAXI, you've got a friend in the music business."
— Richard Scotti,
TAXI Member

"TAXI offers bands and songwriters, serious chances, wonderful opportunities, and many, many reasons not to give up on your dreams and that is worth everything."
— Justine Kaye,
TAXI Member