First Major Label Cut Is
Also the First Single

Daniel Holter had to leave L.A. to get his song cut there

By Rachel Laskow

First Major Label Single
TAXI Member Daniel Holter's recent deal is everything but "unfabulous." His song, "I Wanna Be" is the first single on Nickelodeon TV star Emma Roberts's debut album Unfabulous and More.

Holter recently left L.A. and moved to Milwaukee to improve his quality of life. And while he's been quite successful at doing commercial music, he hated the thought of giving up his pursuit of writing for other artists.

Holter saw TAXI as the most viable route to get his music heard in L.A., even though he was now based in the heart of America's dairy land. His instincts proved to be right.

"I was just thrilled to have the song be considered, to have a place on the CD at all. I don't think I knew what a big deal it was at first, to be perfectly honest. I'm only saying that because people have told me it's a big deal... I mean, we haven't seen a dime yet, you know? But every one involved says that for our song to be the first single they launch Emma's career with, I guess that's quite an honor. I feel very fortunate," Holter said.

Holter got the deal by submitting to a TAXI listing: "It was ridiculously easy. We saw a listing that looked like a perfect fit, we went online, clicked a few things, and that was that."

In fact, Holter and his team at Burst Collective had been working on some songs they hoped to pitch for Hilary Duff's last project, but it ended up not going anywhere. So, they kept writing and submitting songs through TAXI. They knew "I Wanna Be" was forwarded, but it was a couple of months before they received a phone call. Then one day out of the blue, Marshall Altman at Columbia Records left them a message saying he was the A&R person for the new Emma Roberts CD. Altman said they wanted to cut a version of their song and asked Holter to send him the tracks.

"They ended up using some of our programming and guitar work, and recorded their own tracks on top of our road map. We were in L.A. during some of the tracking dates, stopped by the vocal sessions, and met producer, Brian Malouf. He had called me asking for the number of our demo singer because they wanted someone for background vocals on the song... that was awesome to give our friend, singer Keely Hawkes, a recommendation and a session hookup," Holter said.

From Altman's perspective, this whole chain of events seemed almost matter of course.

"I've been using TAXI as a resource for years," remarked Columbia's Altman, "so it didn't surprise me that I could find these incredible writers and this great song. TAXI has proved that there really are some talented writers and artists out there that aren't on the industry's radar yet."

In fact, Holter said he couldn't have landed the deal without TAXI. "Landing a cut like this, on a Major Label debut album with an artist that already has a huge following, is something I don't think I could have figured out on my own. There are just too many closed doors to writers from Milwaukee, without a lawyer calling on labels, without a manager, or without a publishing deal. TAXI got our song in front of the right people. For five bucks! That's crazy," he said.

"Our members have had two cuts that any top songwriter would love to get in the recent past – this Emma Roberts cut and the Jesse McCartney single, "Beautiful Soul," which was a huge hit, remarked TAXI CEO Michael Laskow. "It proves what I've been telling people for 13 years – if you write a great song, we'll get it to the right people."

For now, Holter is staying busy with a thousand different things, and he's only slightly exaggerating. He does artist development, writing, recording, producing, and mixing every week, as well as continuing to build their custom music business, licensing music for TV, film, and advertising, and developing future product lines. For more of an overview of what he is up to, visit

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