Ever listened to the radio and heard a song for the first time – one that didn't really reach out and grab you. But then the radio station kept playing the song until it grew on you. Before you knew it, you were singing the words, humming the tune and had purchased it (hopefully) on Itunes, or at a record store if you could find one.
Such is the power of radio.
For true commercial success, radio is an almost "must have." For this week's On Our Way To Wealthy column, we sought out DJ 007 of K97 to get a handle on the importance of radio and of the club in introducing a song to the market.
Carlee McCullough: Tell me about yourself?
DJ 007: My name is DJ 007. I'm originally from Houston, Texas. I've been in the business for about 20 years.
CM: How did you get involved in radio?
DJ 007: I've always been attracted to the art of deejaying since I was 9 years old. I actively started deejaying around 12 or 13 years old. But around 17, I had the opportunity to intern at the radio station and became a mixer at 19.
CM: How important is radio play to break a song?
DJ 007: It's crucial. But so much more has to be done even before you get it to the radio.
CM: What is the process for an up-and-coming artist to get a record played on the radio?
DJ 007: The artist has to not only have a good record but must be extremely active. They have to have a strong buzz in the clubs and be amazingly hot on the Internet.
CM: How important is the club deejay to creating a star or breaking a record?
DJ 007: The club DJ is super important because that is your bridge to radio.
CM: How do you feel about the state of Memphis music and the music business?
DJ 007: Memphis music is a very precious commodity. The world loves the sound from this city. Just look at Yo Gotti, the resurrection of Juicy J, Lil Lody and Drumma Boy on the production end. We have a lot of talent. But we really don't have the necessary people in place to make the most of this talent. We have some assets here that a lot of cities don't have, such as: two radio stations that support local artists, a major distributor and a major promotions company as well.
CM: What can Memphis do to become the music town that it once was?
DJ 007: Really all we can do is keep breeding the talent. Currently artists have to get to Atlanta, L.A., New York or Miami to really make anything happen. That's just the reality.
It is not necessarily that we're doing anything wrong. But artists really cannot maximize their situation just staying in Memphis or any other city for that matter.
CM: Memphis wants and needs that next generation of stars and hits. How do we get it or create it?
DJ 007: We have to have innovative people in the forefront. We need people that understand both ends of the spectrum. I know radio inside and out. I also know how to manage talent. We have to do things that reward the creative and innovative people in this city. When we see artists doing all of the right things and understand the politics of this business, we need to help them elevate their platforms.
CM: What new trends are you seeing in the business?
DJ 007: Social networking has totally changed the game. Artists have to engage with fans and supporters on a very regular basis now. Artists can't win if they are not on top of social networking platforms such as: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
CM: What do you recommend for an independent artist or songwriter looking to get into the business?
DJ 007: If an artist is serious about this business, then they need to get to where people are just as serious. Go to Atlanta and network. Go to the open "mic" nights, showcases, panels, conventions, etc. Being in the right environment at the right time is half of the battle.
CM: Who should we keep our eyes and ears on as the next big thing for Memphis?
DJ 007: I have to go with the homie "2Deep," the southern president out of Orange Mound. His style is very refreshing. His music and personality stands out above the rest. He has his own lane. His videos are top notch, production is impeccable and he has an amazing story to tell.
CM: Parting words?
DJ 007: For the artists: Nobody owes you anything. Just because you're talented that means nothing. You have to invest in yourself and your brand. This game is not easy and it isn't cheap. If you don't have all of the tools, you need to be hella creative or fall back and get what you need. Then come back to it. That's just the reality of this biz.
(Contact info for DJ 007: twitter.com/dj007thegreat, instagram.com/dj007thegreat. Check him out every Sunday night at 8 p.m. on K-97fm for "Independent's Day.")