Guy Maisonneuve and Rob Khurana.

Guy Maisonneuve and Rob Khurana

by Kenny Kerner

This month's Passenger Profile is just a little different from most. Rob Khurana began playing as a musician when he was about 16 years old and, for the most part, journeyed through his share of local teenage bands performing cover songs.

But that didn't last very long at all. About a year later, Rob began writing original material and turned his thoughts toward building up a home recording studio. "I've always focused on my music as long as I can remember," the Canadian revealed, "to the point where I now have an eight-track studio with a Mac computer, Yamaha O2R mixing console, and lots of outboard gear."

So what's different about this story? Well, here it is: throughout his career as a writer, Rob never really tried interfacing with the industry in an attempt to secure a recording contract. No packages. No press kits. No live showcases. No disappointing form letters of rejection. You see, Rob and his co-writing partner, Guy Maisonneuve, were so bent on becoming solid song craftsmen, that they completely bypassed the shopping stages and focused totally on attempting to write excellent music.

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Name: Rob Khurana
Residence: Ottawa, Canada
Age: 30
Occupation: Composer
Joined TAXI: 1998
Songs Forwarded:   8
Deals/Contracts: 2 CD's with OneMusic
For five straight years, Rob and Guy worked at their craft without ever asking anyone at all for feedback. Pretty strange, dontcha think? Then, about three and a half years ago, the duo realized (by comparing some of their material to that of other local musicians) that they were, in fact, writing some timely music. "At first," Rob added, "we were focusing on regular songs--with lyrics and music, but about a year and a half ago we started working on instrumental music as well. That's the most satisfying for us because there are really no boundaries to it. So we began working on writing music for film and television."

Now into writing music on a full-time basis, the duo faced a more serious problem. What does one do when he has plenty of good material but no outlet for it? "We thought about entering some of the songwriting contests," Rob continued, "just to get some feedback, finally. And that's about the time we started noticing all of those TAXI ads in the magazines. We didn't know of any other Canadians who were members so we just called up and Doug [Minnick] told us that TAXI had some 200-300 Canadian writers that were members. We knew that $300 wasn't a lot of money for the services they offered, so we went for it."

At this point in the column, I would usually begin describing the member's experiences with TAXI, but Rob beat me to the punch. In fact, he began raving about the company's benefits so that I couldn't even sneak a word in anywhere. Because he was so sincere and appreciative of the many things that came along with his annual membership, I've decided to just let Rob tell you for himself:

"We looked at TAXI as a way to build our skills and hone our craft over time. And they taught us that. The critiques are all well-written and well thought out. They really gave us a lot of direction in improving--not only lyrically and musically, but with respect to our instrumental music, as well.

"We've probably submitted about 75 times so far, and we learned something new with every critique we received. I remember the story Ralph Murphy [ASCAP] told at last year's Road Rally--about the 7 a.m. rule--if someone can't figure out the meaning of your song in two minutes on the way to work, then you've got a problem. We learned that we need to get our song's message across to everyone and not be too oblique with it.

"We also knew that we weren't going to move to L.A. and start knocking on doors without having any connections. TAXI is like our agent. We have somebody looking out for our interests.

"The Road Rally itself was the best two and a half days we spent in many years. TAXI really went beyond the call of duty. It astounds me. It's like they have an obsession to help people. Anyone you call at that company will help you out immediately. Believe me, TAXI could charge a lot more for their membership if they wanted."

Wanting to share some of the valuable information he's learned since turning full-time writer, Rob passed along these sage words of wisdom to fledgling songwriters: "I think you need to always be persistent. I learned that at the Road Rally from Randy Bachman. That alone should speak volumes to people. You should always be trying to improve your skills. And take the critiques seriously. These are the same people that will be listening to your music in the industry. If you, yourself don't grow, it's difficult to become a part of the industry."

With that attitude, you can bet Rob Khurana will be around for a long time to come. Still writing. Still learning and always getting better.


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TAXI Member

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