by Kenny Kerner

Most of our Passenger Profiles have focused on how someone's career took an upward turn after becoming a member of TAXI. This time around, we thought we'd throw you a curve. This installment concerns John Scott Mulchaey, a young, intelligent, aggressive Los Angelian who achieved success on his own but then turned to TAXI to increase his opportunities of making industry connections.

Obsessed with music since he was a ten year old child, John began his music business career by taking cover songs and rewriting the lyrics. "I would listen to songs being played on the radio and then completely write new lyrics to them," he told the Meter. "I don't know why I did that, but by the time I was twelve, I was writing my own songs. I eventually hooked up with my main songwriting partner in high school and we still work together today."

Determined to give his music career a real shot, John and his partner moved to Los Angeles about five years ago. The duo spent their time recording songs for themselves and for others and then, in 1997, they formed their own record company, Drama Music, which is distributed by Ryko.

Name: John Scott Mulchaey 
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Age: 29
Occupation: Astronomer
Joined TAXI: September 1998
Songs Forwarded: 15-20
Deals: One is pending
By carefully selecting their roster of artists and coming up with a focused marketing plan, the label has had successes with Eliana (a female singer) and the band, Hypnogaja. "We got the Ryko deal because they thought we did a thorough job with packaging and marketing and with placing music in TV shows and films as a label. They were just impressed with us and the product."

I know exactly what you're thinking right about now: Why would someone who has already been successful on his own, turn to TAXI? "TAXI is actually very valuable to me because I'm in a place where I'm producing lots of material and TAXI is opening even more doors for me. Despite all of our successes, I had never been to a major label until I began my relationship with Dreamworks recently. So that's what TAXI did for me! TAXI was able to open that door for me because nobody else could. I don't have those connections."

But John's praise for TAXI doesn't stop there. "Opening the doors to potential relationships in the industry is only one part of how valuable TAXI really is. Their critiques are great. That's worth the membership money right there. To have someone objective telling me, for example, that the vocal needs to be stronger--that's invaluable. Another benefit of joining TAXI is that I got to meet a lot of other talented TAXI members and through their website referral service, hooked up with a very talented country singer. So all of those things have been great."

Lest you believe that joining TAXI will automatically transform you into a wealthy celebrity, John is quick to caution prospective members: "Sending in your membership money to join doesn't mean that TAXI will make you a superstar. TAXI is one of many tools that you need to use. And for only $300 a year, it's amazingly cheap compared to what you spend on other things. As a matter of fact, last September, I extended my membership for an additional two years."

John's success with TAXI began when he sent in a song last June for a pop, Backstreet Boys/Britney Spears-style listing for a duo that someone at Dreamworks was developing. John filled us in on how the relationship developed: "Our label did much heavier stuff--electronica kind of music. We also did a song with this singer named Eliana, so I just sent in that one song. Two weeks later I received notice telling me the song was forwarded to Dreamworks. Shortly after that, this guy from Dreamworks calls me up and tells me he got my song from TAXI and asked me to send him more songs in that style. He also wanted to know about the singer. I put together a 10-song CD which he listened to.

"Eliana and I met with him at his office and based on the meeting, we put together five new songs for him to hear. The great thing is that he spent over an hour listening and giving us tips and word of this meeting has spread through the industry. Now, other big labels are interested in her just because Dreamworks is interested. We now have an ongoing relationship where I update him on our progress every week or two. In terms of Eliana, the female artist, we're (me and my partner) writing and producing her entire project. She's like a pop dance diva and needs the attention and financing of a major label. So even though she's on Drama Music, our label, we are going to shop her to a major."

Mulchaey was eager to shout the praises of TAXI but cautioned members about mistakes they could make after joining the indie A&R company: "I had a very high percentage of forwards and I think the reason is that I'm very selective in what I submit. I really read the listings carefully and if my song is in the ballpark, I send it in. Usually, I'm pretty dead-on. I don't waste my time making a hundred CDs a month because screeners aren't going to forward to them if they don't fit the listing. If someone takes the time to write out a description of what they're looking for, then that is exactly what they're looking for!

"Also, all of my submissions are master quality recordings. People hear the songs and they're hearing the way the song is going to be. For a little more money and a little more time, you can submit a master tape or CD. By doing a master recording you also open up the potential of using the songs in films and TV. And a lot of the listings are in that genre. Besides, we hate the word demo! We don't do demos."

Whether you choose the demo route or master quality route, carefully reading the TAXI listings is sound advice that everyone should adhere to. It could increase your opportunities like it did John's.


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"I can't thank you guys enough for everything you do."
— Peter Elakis,
TAXI Member

"With help from you guys, the music is pouring out and I'm having such fun! Thanks!"
— Willie McCulloch,
TAXI Member

"I received a giant BMI check from TV airplay that I probably wouldn't have earned without TAXI."
— Julie Ann Bailey,
TAXI Member

"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