By Kenny Kerner

This month's passenger profile is a long-distance interview from Aberdeen, United Kingdom. Ah, the power and speed of e-mail! As you can see, Alan has had many forwards and plenty of deals through TAXI. I asked him to fill us in on some background and tell us how some of the deals came about.

What made you first get into music? Was your family musical? What do you play?

AR: Listening to music was integral with my upbringing at home. There was always a spectrum of music played either by my dad or my older brothers. The range tended to be from Jethro Tull through James Taylor and from the Sex Pistols to Abba. I still can't define what I like! We weren't a musical instrument playing family at all; it was really through friends at school that I got interested in guitar.

Were you in the usual junior high and high school bands?

AR: I did a bit of acting and singing at school. But then I realized I couldn't sing (my producer ears started at that point) so decided to try my hand at guitar. It was while playing in bands at University, in the worst possible venues, that I really learned the instrument.

At what point did you start taking music seriously?

AR: That's easy—it was when I broke my leg dancing in a production of Grease! I was housebound for several weeks and got into songwriting and multi-track recording with computers. I realized that making music to a reasonable standard was possible on my own and I didn't need to rely on a series of individuals to get things happening. I do realize now though, that if you want to go from a reasonable standard to fantastic, you generally do need to rely on a series of individuals.

When did you realize you could make a career out of it?

AR: I think when I started hearing my material on radio and seeing great reactions from the audience at gigs it became tangible that something was possible. I then got asked to do a few compositions and productions for radio. It was from there that I joined TAXI and started pushing the band I was playing in at the time to record companies, and subsequently material to film and television.

What was it that made you become a member of TAXI?

AR: For TAXI to be respected, it needed to have a reputation for providing quality product to both members and clients. The companies TAXI works with also need to have the same kind of reputation. There are so many sharks out there that actually offer so much less than what TAXI members get. TAXI tells us what's happening upfront.

How has TAXI helped you with your career? Have you learned anything from it?

AR: Definitely. I initially joined TAXI to try push my band to record companies. Although I got a number of forwards, not once did I get a call back. TAXI Dispatch was a revelation. Not only was it available totally on-line, but when I started getting calls, I realized my songwriting and production were good. The opportunities available in Film and Television were considerably greater than that of record deals, and to be perfectly honest, far less work and potentially less hazardous. I'm aiming down the Film and Television route at the moment, but this is a stepping stone to where I want to go, which is writing and producing for artists.

Did you attend the Road Rally? Was it a valuable experience? How?

AR: I went to my first Road Rally in 2004. It's a great idea because it gets you out of the solitude and safe haven of the recording studio and into the reality of the business. I met people at the Rally from all over the world. With modern recording techniques and information interchange it's possible to write or record with people all over the world. As a result of the Rally I've started working with fellow TAXI member Amanda Wood from Vancouver and am writing a song with a lyricist in Nashville.

I am always on the look out for vocalists, musicians, producers, writers etc., that can compliment me. Music is starting to move back to real musicians playing real instruments and all the members at TAXI have a talent to offer, otherwise they wouldn't sign up—so contact me!

Could you discuss any deals that were made through TAXI?

AR: I have had a number of deals through TAXI contacts. Some of them I have signed, others I haven't. There really is a wide range of Publishing Agreements on offer, and they really do need to be looked at carefully to see if they are right for the songs or the composer. The ones I have signed are starting to pay dividends with placements, so I think this next year is going to be a good one.

Do you recommend TAXI to others? If so, why?

AR: I wrote a song about TAXI called "Elephant Show," which is on my Broadjam Web page. The chorus is, "It's not quite right, go do it again." It can be hard to take criticism sometimes, but criticism from those people who know better (and there's a lot that just talk a good game!), is essential for success. We may choose to ignore that criticism as it pertains to a particular song, but the comment will be there in the back of our minds, and we can apply that knowledge to the next song. So yes, I do recommend TAXI, but it's a tool that we have to use correctly. TAXI can provide opportunities that we wouldn't normally be privy to, but it also acts as a reality check!

The crazy thing is, "Elephant Show" has been picked up by a publisher. It's funny how the inspiration and sentiment required for songwriting can come from the most obscure experiences. Thanks for annoying me TAXI!

Do you have any closing comments about your success so far in the industry.

AR: It's been a long hard slog, but I've been listening and learning. Music Business is two words. Music needs to be creative, have an angle, and be the sum of great parts, but to be viable as a product, the business element has to be applied. It took me a long time to work out what the market was that I was aiming at. I then realized my market was not going to be coming to see me gig in some lousy bar in a town that no one from the music industry cares about. My market was sitting at home watching TV being completely unaware that I wanted them to listen, I have to go to them.

We have to be truthful to ourselves. A Producer friend of mine once said to me, "Picasso never wandered into an art dealer with a sketch, saying 'Honestly, it'll be great when I do it bigger and use some paint on it!'". The record companies are really marketing companies nowadays and Film and Television want finished product. If it's not quite right, go do it again!

Well said, Alan. And judging from the deals you made through TAXI, you've done it again—and it's working. By the way—what the hell is slog???

See How TAXI Works

"You guys rock. This service is the best!"
— Carla Ford,
TAXI Member

"I signed a two-song deal with a major Music Library for film and TV."
— Bob Kroeger,
TAXI Member

"I got a call back from Capitol Records — Thanks!"
— Pete Masitti,
TAXI Member

"I signed a two-song deal with a major Music Library for film and TV."
— Bob Kroeger,
TAXI Member

"I'll be a member for life."
— John De Rosa,
TAXI Member

"Taxi costs a fraction of a songplugging company."
— Jimmy Clark,
TAXI Member

"It's refreshing to find an organization such as yours."
— Tom Wasinger,
TAXI Member

"I've tried others, but they're nowhere near as good as TAXI."
— Firoz Sanullah,
TAXI Member