It's 2018, finally, and after spending some much needed time with family, friends (and Riley of course!), I'm looking forward to the fresh start another new year brings.
As I start to get ready for a recording session after running my third marathon in Disney this weekend, I wanted to take a minute to update our fam on some TVC things I'm pretty excited about.
I've been a producer at The Vocal Company for over 7 years now, and as a producer my main focus at work was about progressing in creative aspects. I worked hard to become an established producer in a world dominated by my male peers, I started a vocal band that headlines festivals around the world - but what I most enjoyed was creating with groups who worked with me to push boundaries, and who didn't want to do the same things as everybody else.
This year, my goal is to start trying new things. I want to vacation in Greece, try new ways to stay active, produce my own, original music. But the biggest thing I'm doing is starting a new job. I'm happy to announce that I'm expanding my role, and in 2018, I will be the new CEO of The Vocal Company.
I know the first response to that is going to be - but what about Dave?
Dave is, of course, still going to be the co-owner of TVC, and, as always, will be right by my side cheering me on in this new adventure. I'll be doing the same for him: I'm so excited to be supporting my super smart, math major husband as he explores new, academic interests. He's not going away forever, and will always keep music as an awesome hobby. It was just time for him to reshift his life a little bit. I feel lucky to still have the guidance of our founder Nick Lyons, who will continue working hard on creating his dramatic and punchy mixes with me, and serving as the rock he always has here at TVC since the beginning.
While this is a new side to explore for me, taking a more hands-on role with TVC feels as natural to me as music always has. Ever since I was little, I was that hard-core choir kid that begged her parents to go arts high school, and looked up vocal music programs when I was only 13. I've never wanted to do anything else, and to get the chance to lead a company that helps me pursue my passion is an absolute honor.
Not only do I get to work in music, but I also get to work with other humans who never cease to inspire me. I love the music we make, but the strength of The Vocal Company has always been its people. We have done a really great job at finding and harvesting some of the most creative and brilliant minds that have come out of a cappella, and I'm really proud to have these people on our team. They aren't just brilliant arrangers and producers, they are the top in their field for everything they do, because of their passion. We have people like Jacob and Alex with a love for visuals that push forward the world of a cappella music videos, expert live sound engineers and fiercely loyal family like Jill, business and marketing experts like AJ and Max who keep us on brand, and artists like Archie who never stop performing. I love our company for its diversity. We have people from all walks of life: every color, gender, sexuality, personality, and Hogwarts House - if you're passionate, you're welcome. Having a female as CEO isn't exactly common in the music world, but in this family, it feels like a perfect fit.
2017 was a tough year, but it was one that helped us learn a lot of lessons. My resolutions for TVC are all centered around getting us back to a place of stability.
Sometimes, in a company of superdoers, we have a tendency to take on a little bit too much. As any perfectionist does, we want every new thing we do to be as great as the last, and we'll work and work until we get it right. The reality though is that we're still humans, and we can only do so much. Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, in a way, and that results in biting off more than we can chew.
In the past few years, we were focusing on growing. We wanted to reach as many people as we could, as fast as we could. We had an awesome team, and we started to get really good at turning things like whole, creative albums around in a 4-6 month period. Back when I first started, and on some of my favorite projects, a full album timeline was measured in years, not months. Some of our best work has been two years in the making. With these newer, shorter timelines, if anything goes slightly awry, timelines get changed, and it feels like expectations aren't met.
We were able to pull it off for a while, but we were sacrificing quality, and moving away from the focused attention and communication we were used to. That was never our goal. We want to put out the best material, not quick material.
In 2018, I'm looking at the past, and the present, with a new perspective. I love how big our #TVCFam has grown, but I want to be able to give them the attention they deserve. I want to go back to the time when I really understood a group's limits, and exactly what we needed to do to push them. I want to make new and cool things with people who understand our vision. I've worked on a lot of documentative, year-book type projects, but recently I've seen a shift to more conceptive work and groups that are really trying to go to the next level. I want to go back to focusing in on the groups that are doing *that.*
The a cappella world is a little different than when I started, and it's grown to have so many different paths and options. There are many talents in our community, and everyone is putting out products that are great. If your group is thinking about working with us, I want you to listen to our products in particular and speak honestly about what you like, and what you don't like. I don't want you to just work with us because we work with groups you love. I want you to see what we did to the track you're obsessed with so you know you want us to change and push your group in the same way.
I want you to say "I want the sound of Jacob Tourjeman, I love how he arranges for trios and how he produced drums for Mixed Mode."
I want you to see Archie's passion and work with S#arp Attitude and say that you want someone to push your group and challenge you to break boundaries like she does.
I want you to listen to my mix and want to weave the same emotional story that Lionheart does, or arrange with Elliott because of how he brought that story to life.
The pro to the size of our family is that you have a wide variety of talents to choose from, and we want you to collaborate with us, and pair with the producer whose talent matches your vision. I see it as us providing a color palette to you, as the artist. We want to help you choose the colors and brushstrokes that speak to you.
In summary, I want people to stop emulating, and start innovating. I want more original content. That doesn't necessarily mean original songs, though that would be awesome too. I just want people to think of new ways to do things, instead of looking to other great groups and trying to become a carbon copy. No matter what you try, you’re still doing something that’s already been done. I think our focus on competition is the culprit. Everyone is so focused on what does best, and what can win: At the end of the day, an amazing performance is an amazing performance. This year I want to dig deep, and find out what makes you great.
I'm looking forward to the year ahead, and what it means for our family, our community, and our music.
Happy New Year :)