In the music industry, knowing what it takes to appeal to professionals who can foster growth and advancement – both creatively and professionally – is an never-ending task for most bands and artists. If your goal is to work with top-notch producers, or get noticed by A&R reps from record labels, learning what they’re looking for is critically important information – and it’s not always easy to come by. Feedback from knowledgeable, experienced industry folks is always in high demand, especially for emerging artists who greatly benefit from constructive criticism and encouragement from music veterans during the developmental stage of their career.
Since one of Muzooka’s most pivotal features is connecting industry professionals with undiscovered artists, we thought it might be a good idea to sit down with one of these seasoned pros and find out what exactly makes Muzooka such a unique and powerful breeding ground for this kind of feedback and connection.
Enter Tony Mardini. Straight from the Miami music scene, Tony comes to Muzooka with 15 years of experience as a studio engineer and all-around bastion of insight when it comes to all things music. And now he’s nominated for a Latin Grammy. We recently chatted with him about, well, all kinds of stuff.
Muzooka (M): Tell us a little about your background.
Tony Mardini (TM): It’s funny – I originally wanted to be a rapper. But that didn’t happen. So I ended up graduating from Full Sail University in 1998, where I studied engineering. Being from Miami, my big goal was the work with Gloria Estefan.
TM: Right. Gloria and Emilio Estefan are pretty much the top of the music scene in Miami, of course. And so I happened to land an internship at their studio after I graduated.
M: That’s gotta be one hell of a place to cut your teeth.
TM: It was. It lead to an engineering gig, but there was more to learn than that…I really got to see all aspects of how a record is made, including budgets and all that. Emilio really became a mentor to me and I learned a lot during my time working with him.
M: So how is it that you came to be involved with Muzooka?
TM: I’m friends with (co-founder) Chester, so I’ve really gotten to see it grow from the beginning; new people signing on, new updates, etc. It was always an exciting project and a really great idea, in my opinion.
M: Why is that, for you?
TM: If you’re a producer or an A&R person, going through countless YouTube videos and song downloads is exhausting. And besides, by the time someone is “discovered” in that way, they’re usually already known. It’s really hard to find a way to source truly undiscovered talent. You need to have a platform where industry people can go discover artists on their own, and keep it on the down low. You can make these connections in a low-key way, without everyone else knowing what you’re doing, so you can incubate projects and nurture artist development more effectively.
M: And you think Muzooka does a good job of that?
TM: Absolutely. Something like Spotify is for artists who are already out, who are already established to some degree. And there’s no real room for feedback either. You’ve got people paying $450 to go to music conferences to get that kind of information from people in the industry, and even that is just some panel or Q&A. This is personalized feedback. That’s what is so exciting about Muzooka – industry people can interact directly with artists, and give their thoughts about tracks. So you’ve got artists coming to Muzooka because they know it’s a good place to not just share music with listeners, but to hear from producers, and you’ve got producers coming in to find new talent. It creates a domino effect.
M: So have you found any artists on Muzooka that you’re really into?
TM: There’s a band called Ripe. They’re really great.