Miss Vikki — Your
Beacon to Success

Passenger Profile: Vikki Flawith

By Michael Laskow
taxi member success miss vikki
When I came up with the idea for TAXI a little more than 15 years ago, I could so easily see how the advent of inexpensive home recording gear would change everything in the near future.

Musicians, who previously couldn't afford to go to expensive studios to record their music, could now afford to record as many songs as they could write. They could keep going back to "the woodshed" and improve their songs and demos without worrying about the cost.

Much more music, but the moat around the music industry remained. I decided to build a bridge over it, and created TAXI.

My closest friends would tell you that I'm not prone to hearing things that go, "Woooooooo" in my head, or believing in things that are... well, let's say, ethereal.

Yet, somehow, during the very early days of TAXI's existence, I kept seeing a very clear vision of an "imaginary songwriter" in my mind's eye. I just knew that somewhere out there, far away from L.A., New York, and Nashville was somebody who would have his or her life changed by my idea.

Great music can come from anywhere.

There have been thousands of those songwriters and artists who have ultimately had their lives changed by TAXI over the last decade and a half. Some of them have landed really big deals and gone on to make millions.

Many more have landed smaller deals, but have become "wealthy" in a different way—sitting on the couch with their family and friends huddled warmly around them as they heard their music used in a TV show.

"Priceless," as they say.

For me, choosing one member's deal or story over another would be akin to saying that you love one of your kids more than the others.

There so many great stories—Gary Sredzinski getting one Film or TV placement after placement with his accordion music, Elliott Park co-writing, "I Loved Her First," and having it go to #1, Matt Hirt building an entire Film & TV career, almost entirely through TAXI contacts, Crossfade going platinum... the list is nearly endless, and I'll admit to having just wiped a tear from the corner of my eye while writing this. Good thing it's Saturday, and I'm all by my lonesome in my office. ;-)

The reason I came in to the office today was singular. I needed some peace and quiet so I can tell you the story of TAXI member Vikki Flawith.

Like a lighthouse rising up from a fog shrouded outcropping, Vikki stands alone. She is that "imaginary songwriter" who's been residing in my mind's eye all these years.

Vikki is not exactly a spring chicken. Certainly not the 20-something, idealized Rock Star that the major labels are looking for. I'm guessing that much like a surprising number of my beloved TAXI members, she's a full-fledged grown up heading for the AARP mailing list in the not-too-distant future.

Vikki has been a TAXI member for several years. She sings and teaches voice in Victoria, B.C., Canada. I think it's a safe bet to say that her entire being is wrapped around her creativity.

I've never perceived Vikki to be somebody who relishes the business side of the music business. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that she might have weaved a little macramé back in the '70s, if you know what I mean.

I don't mean that to be at all derogatory. She's a lovely woman, both inside and out.

I've just always thought of her as a stereotypical songwriter—the kind that writes from the heart and isn't all that caught up in being "commercial."

It didn't surprise me when I saw Vikki join the ranks of "newbies" on our forum (http://forums.taxi.com/) who often use the soapbox to lobby for support or sympathy by proclaiming that 'TAXI doesn't forward songs it's on the fence about,' 'They should listen more than once,' or 'That screener must not have had enough coffee before listening to my song or they surely would have known that it's a hit.'

But there was one noticeable difference with Vikki!

As soon as the more experienced, more senior and more successful TAXI members on the forum began to tell her how her songs could improve, Vikki started listening. Maybe those TAXI screeners aren't the "enemy," and they actually know what they're talking about!

Vikki wore her musical heart on her sleeves, and was frequently brave enough to roll them up and expose an open vein. She let the knowledge pour in, and it worked its way to both the left and the right sides of her brain.

Still, she kept getting "return" after return from TAXI, and frankly, a weaker, less committed person would have given up.

But not Miss Vikki. She was the "Little Engine That Could."

She listened and learned for three years. She began to get more and more positive comments from the TAXI A&R staff, as well as her friends in the TAXI online community. But, still no forwards.

Then, on Friday, April 4, 2007, I clicked a link on the TAXI forum with one hand while eating lunch with my other, and this is the first thing I saw:

"Today, I got my very first Instrumental forward — on that listing for carousel/circus music, for my piece, 'March of the Clowns.' What's even cooler is that the publisher screened the submissions!
Made my day!!!"

Personally, I think the "Made my day" part was an understatement. This was such a victory for Vikki (known on the forum as 'Hummingbird') that all of us who "lurk" and participate on the boards were cheering loudly.

A few months later, on June 25, I saw this post while cleaning up a Subway tomato slice that had squeezed its way out of my sandwich and onto my computer keyboard:

"And now I am pleased to say that I have the signed, two-year exclusive agreement with the publisher, in my hot little hands. My first instrumental deal, from my first instrumental forward, an instrumental that was created & submitted in March, using my new custom-built audio computer, which I got at the end of February, after wishing for a very long time." — Vikki Flawith, Canadian Singer/Songwriter & Voice Teacher

Vikki can now add the word, "published" before the title, "songwriter."

Rather than telling you how that made me feel, I'd like to quote a forum post from Dave Walton, a long-time member who has also had a great deal of success using TAXI;

"WOW! I couldn't wish for anything better for anyone. :-) There's so much about this... persistence, an open mind to take constructive criticism and turn that into better music, professional attitude, honestly it doesn't end.

A thousand people would have either given up or concluded that TAXI doesn't work or some other thing. One person does the work ahead of them and guess what... a deal.

Really, is anyone surprised??? This was going to happen, just a matter of time. This is a perfect example of what it takes to get a deal and it's obviously a lot more than 'send in a song and wait for the big slam.'

I couldn't be happier or more proud of a forum member. It's just the first of many more. "


Now you know why Vikki Flawith is that "imaginary songwriter" that I've held so dearly and seen so clearly in my mind's eye all these years. She embodies everything I hoped for the day I birthed this company.

I can practically write the script for what new TAXI members will post on our Forum shortly after they introduce themselves; "I don't understand why TAXI doesn't take risks. I think the screener didn't listen carefully enough to my song. The music business is just looking for cookie-cutter hits, not creativity. The screener hated me!"

I've heard them all, but I've only seen a small percentage who have taken a deep breath, a step back, and then used all the resources that TAXI and its incredible community of songwriters and artists offer.

Those who do take advantage of all those resources are frequently among the thousands of TAXI members who have found success over the years. Or did success find them?

Thanks for being a beacon for them Vikki. I just closed my eyes for a few seconds, and I could clearly see thousands of people following your light.

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See How TAXI Works

"Thanks to you, I've recently signed a deal with a publisher in New York."
— Rene Gely,
TAXI Member

"Business is business, but TAXI has a heart. I wanted to send my praise to you for creating this "family" of members."
— Tom Johnson,
TAXI Member

"As writer/artists from another country, we see TAXI as the single best opportunity we have for direct exposure to the US music industry."
— Reid Power,
TAXI Member

"We appreciate all that you do and try to do to help us struggling songwriters!"
— Pat Harris,
TAXI Member

"The TAXI Staff is an incredible support system and they are always on your side. Aside from writing songs, joining TAXI is the most productive thing a songwriter can do."
— Jose Gomez,
TAXI Member

"TAXI not only helps me craft better songs, but it hones my people and business skills, as well. And that's worth a lot more than the price of admission."
— Zupe,
TAXI Member

"Nothing bad can come from belonging to this unbelievable organization that has definitely allowed my songs to be stronger than ever."
— Justine Kaye,
TAXI Member

"Thanks for your constant support of my work — I'm running out of compliments for you guys!"
— James Day,
TAXI Member