I know, that's not how you spell intense, but there is a story behind that. I used to manage a boy band from Canada called INTENCE. I went to a small college in New York called Five Towns College and majored in music business. During my schooling, I held an internship at Sony Music and it was my dream to make it big in the music industry.
As luck would have it, my uncle and the uncle of one of the members of INTENCE were neighbors in Naples, Florida and during a visit to Naples was given a CD of the band. It was a 2 song demo; an original song called "I Gave It All" and a cover of Boston's "More Than A Feeling". I got chills the first time I heard it. I knew I had to work with this band.
Within a few weeks of hearing the demo, I flew up to Windsor, Ontario to meet the guys and see how we can work together. After a few days, we agreed that myself and my friend Kim Herod, who has since passed away, were going to manage the band. Keep in mind, this was before the world of Facebook, YouTube and Vine. We are talking MySpace-era before digital took over.
As manager, I decided to incur most of the expenses of managing the band. Kim and the guys helped me out when they were able to, but the bulk fell on me. The first thing we did was connect with a hot record producer in Toronto who gave us a 'discounted rate' of $1,000/song. Our 4-song EP ended up costing $4,000. Then of course we needed to print physical CDs, remember those? Another $1,000. Once we had the CDs, we had to mail them to record labels and agents. The money just kept on adding up.
One summer we had the amazing opportunity to open for a band called Blue at their sold-out Wembley Arena shows in London, England. It was an offer we couldn't pass up. But there was a catch. In the UK music industry, bands had to 'buy-on' to the tour...another $2,000 plus travel expenses.
Then came my brilliant idea to take them on a six city U.S. tour with other pop groups. Well, that was a complete and utter disaster. When all was said and done, I personally spent close to $18,000 trying to break the band. That isn't counting the interest I paid over 12 years as I tried to pay off my credit cards. Even though it was a financial catastrophe, I wouldn't change it for the world. The moments we created, and lessons I learned will last a lifetime. I think of the guys almost every day!
Looking back, there were many things I would have done differently. I would have done more research when it came to traveling and 'the tour'. I would have been more aggressive with record labels when pitching the band. I would have asked for a bit more creative input when it came to recording the EP and a few other things.
I don't want us to dwell on the past, but instead, learn from the past. The experience certainly helped guide other successful business ventures, most notably UNITE Magazine, an LGBT lifestyle magazine which I published in Nashville and Indianapolis for a few years.
This lesson certainly isn't a lesson in being frugal, but it is a lesson in talking chances. Ordinary people do ordinary things. Extraordinary people do extraordinary things!
If you have a dream, go for it. Give it a shot. You don't want to look back a decade from now and regret not trying. It is better to try and fail then to not try at all. I just hope you take your time and research the business behind your dream so you don't make the same financial mistakes I made.