by Kenny Kerner

Pete Swanson has been involved in music since the age of ten when he first heard a record by Elton John. Though Pete is a keyboardist who also plays bass, he readily admits to "playing computer the best." Like everyone else, Pete had his share of local bands but soon came to the realization that he didn't want to be loading out equipment at three in the morning. He gave it an honest to goodness shot, always thinking that he was pursuing his music career on a serious note. But when it got time to decide between a college career and continuing to chase the gold ring, Pete opted for an education.

Then a strange thing happened. Pretty soon, Pete understood how much a part his music played in his everyday life. "I knew music was a passion that would never go away," he explained, "so I just kept writing. I always kept some keyboards around all throughout college and early in my career as a mediator. Then, in 1992, I came to the realization that I needed to test myself and my music by trying to make a business out of it. I took out a business loan and really beefed up the home studio that I had."

Pete Swanson was about to take one giant step toward becoming a professional in the music business. Was he scared? You bet. Did that turn him off? No way! Here's what happened: "I was determined to challenge myself to pay back the business loan through generating work in my spare time over a three year period. What I discovered was that I was able to do that. So I then decided to push it further along by making it a full-time business. My goal was to earn enough money in the studio as I earned at my day job." At this time, that goal is well within reach.

i i
Name: Peter Swanson
Residence: Fairfax, Virginia
Age: 37
Occupation: Mediator
Joined TAXI: 1997
Songs Forwarded:  23
Deals/Contracts: 3

So, from his basement recording studio, Pete solicits work, much of which has come because of his membership with TAXI and the many forwards his tapes have received. Swanson recently made a deal to do custom work with video helper, a New York-based music library that works with all of the TV networks. Like most musicians and studio owners, Pete first became aware of TAXI thorough the company's ads in music magazines and was skeptical about a company that looked too good to be true. "I joined TAXI and, after a period of time when a few of my songs were forwarded, I realized that they were telling the truth. It is exactly what it says--a TAXI that gets you to your business appointments."

It may have taken Pete Swanson a little longer, but he finally realized that "to get anywhere in the music business, the key was developing relationships. The politics of this business is no different in Washington, D. C., than it is in Los Angeles or Nashville. So I went out and paid a visit to the folks at TAXI. I was so impressed with what they had done and the integrity with which they approached their work, that I thought I'd visit them on my trip to L.A. I was incredibly impressed with the entire operation and the people attached to it."

Swanson figures that he has a 50% rate of tapes submitted to tapes being forwarded. Indeed an excellent average. And he also makes good use of the critiques he receives should his songs be sent back. "I find the critiques very valuable--especially when they show me something about my songs that I haven't thought of. Most of the time, they tell me what my intuition was already telling me if I had just listened to it in the first place."

One of the most valuable lessons Pete learned from TAXI is that maintaining a relationship through personal visits and contact is vital toward sustaining any kind of career in this business. Swanson concludes on a very positive note: "For me, TAXI is my connection to the industry. They deliver you to the industry because you couldn't do it yourself. And, they give you hope of one day being able to work on your music full-time. You need to take it seriously when people tell you this is a business. Treat it that way. Raw talent doesn't win out that many times compared to a savvy business sense in helping to get the talent exposed. The final thing I want to say is that nothing gives me more satisfaction in the world than coming home to a message telling me that someone liked my song or wants to hear more music from me. And that wouldn't have happened without TAXI."


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