By Kenny Kerner

Like so many other TAXI members I've interviewed over the many years I've been writing the Meter, Karlus Trapp was also frustrated in his pursuit for success in the music business. So much so that he gave up any hopes of ever being a performer and landing a recording deal.

Karlus began playing guitar at the age of 12 but it wasn't until he was in college that he realized music was his life. "I played in local bands since back in high school and we made the usual CBGBs-Bitter End-Kenny's Castaways gigs in New York, but most often the bands broke up for various reasons. But in college, I realized that if there was just one thing I could do for the rest of my life it would be to play guitar. I just loved playing guitar and it had nothing to do with making a living."

Karlus studied jazz guitar on his own and took various theory classes before leaving college. "I majored in journalism and then I switched to music but I never got a degree in music. Some of the theory and arranging courses I took in college really pushed me into the direction of being serious about my songwriting."

Needing to earn a living, Karlus worked for the New York City Parks Department for about eight years. This enabled him to pay his bills and gave him the time he needed to concentrate on becoming a prolific writer. "The job actually gave me enough time to write. In fact, one of the songs I wrote while working for the Parks Department was used in a Japanese television commercial. That was the first time I actually got paid for writing a song."

With his songwriting taking a priority and his attempts to get signed as a performer dwindling, Karlus was about to throw in the towel. "After a number of years of looking for and expecting success and not getting it, I was frustrated. I made the rounds and knocked on doors but nothing happened. I stopped thinking about making it in this industry."

Falling back on his love of guitar playing and his newly found inspiration in songwriting, Karlus began networking at local New York seminars and ran into some people who believed in his music and gave him renewed hope. "I still believed in my songs and now that I gave up on becoming a performer, decided to go out and expose my songs to as many people as possible and get some professional feedback. People like Ann Ruckert (head of the Songwriters Guild of America), Bob Cuttarella who co-produced my CD with me and Skip Adams, the head of Global Graffitti. These people really believed in my songs and the possibility of them being successful."

Feeling pretty confident as a songwriter, Karlus hooked up with TAXI in 1999-2000 and although he has only a handful of forwards to date, he's certainly made the most of them. "I heard about TAXI through a friend and joined. After a while I landed a deal with Global Graffitti and they got some of my material into shows like General Hospital, The Haunted and Dawson's Creek. Also, the feedback that their screeners give is extremely valuable, positive and always constructive."

Karlus made it across the country to the TAXI Road Rally for the very first time and got to perform with the TAXI Rally Cats and also at the open mic event. "Being at the Road Rally allowed me to network even more. I made inroads toward a potential deal with a European label that I'm discussing and met someone with a major distribution company in New York. I've also written some songs with people I met at the Rally. The entire weekend was a blast!"

Karlus is a TAXI member who learned early on that there are various ways of becoming successful in this industry if you keep the doors open. He also is a member who truly appreciates his association with TAXI: "Whenever you call TAXI, the people are so helpful. They're always willing to get you whatever it is you want or need. My experiences here are completely positive. I recommend TAXI to anyone who is a serious songwriter. But, you have to be prepared for the truth, because the TAXI screeners will give you the truth and not everybody is ready for that."

Well, apparently Karlus Trapp was—and so far, it's paid off big time!

See How TAXI Works

"Thanks for creating and maintaining this great organization!"
— Angie Peckham,
TAXI Member

"I think I'm lucky that I've found out about TAXI so early in my career."
— Djamel,
TAXI Member

"I recently got my first deal as a result of a submission to TAXI! I'm very excited to see that this actually works!"
— George Leverett,
TAXI Member

"You stand behind and assist your members with their songs' best interests at heart."
— Rob Belanger,
TAXI Member