Climbing The Mountain Of The Music Industry

I’m going to go back several years, summer 2006. I had just left my country Colombia after the reggueton movement took over radio stations to pursue the big dream of actually getting my music heard, like any musician I dreamed of being a rock star and recording tracks with the geniuses that have worked with major superstars, but the reality of that happening in real life seemed a million miles away.

As beautiful as Colombia is, it’s always been the kind of place more benevolent with local genres of music like ballenato and what we call “música carrilera”, and as a Latin Pop artist its very hard to get gigs to play originals, so I got a plane ticket to Miami to begin the struggle of opening doors. After a few months and working at all jobs I could find, bus boy, bar back, bar tender, waiter, construction, and all the tip jobs you can imagine, I landed a small gig as a runner in a Telemundo event, where they had me drive and pick up artists for venues, and do basically what no one else was willing to do. In one of the receptions and in the hustle off doing things for my current director I asked who was the most important person in that meeting, so everyone said, “its that gentleman sitting at the head of that table over there…”. Not knowing who he was because I only had a few minutes I came up to him and said, “I would really like for you to hear my music”. He looked at me strangely –obviously because I was dressed like an employee and a little out of place- but he was nice enough to answer “of course give me a call” and gave me his card…

So I began calling and yes, only three months after I tried every other day I got him to pick up the phone for the first time, by then he had already forgotten who I was so I reminded him of the daring Colombian who came up to him at the Telemundo table, which he remembered, he said to please call him back in a week. A week passed and I called back as he said, and he replied call me back tomorrow. I obviously called back to when he finally agreed to meet a week after that on Monday.

I was living in Aventura at the time and he scheduled the first meeting that Monday at 11:30 Am, I did not have a car, so bus was my main option, and the meeting was in south beach, when you do not know how to catch the right bus It meant for me 3 hours… so I got there at 11:30 and he did not show up, so I called again and he said we would have to move the meeting for the next Tuesday at 11:30. So again I waited for the next week and took the same bus ride and reached the appointment at 11:30 am. He didn’t show up again and when I called he said he could meet at the same place but at 5:30 pm. So putting on a scale going back home or waiting six hours I decided to wait.

5:30 came and we finally met and after we shook hands he said, “Tell me who you are and give me your material I only have 5 minutes” I handed him my demos and he said Call me tomorrow at 5 o`clock. By now you know how I roll so I did, and his answer was “Danielito I loved your music”. This person was Jairo Martinez the person in charge of promoting Shakira worldwide not to mention other acts like Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony…

Daniel Zapata y Jairo Martinez

Fast forward 9 years, 2 albums, Concerts, number one singles, and recording with some of the best producers like Rudy Perez, and a million other musical experiences along the way, the hard times make the good ones all worth while and they are things I would never change when I think about my life and career as a musician.
To some extent almost anyone can make music, I don’t mean to sell the creative process short., needless to say, it’s essential. To the listener it’s everything. But to make anything we strive for we must persevere.
So to the nights of hard work, the endless hours at the studio, the corrections one and a thousand times of a song lyric, to the fights and hugs with your band members, and all the late night beers after reaching exhaustion, and to all those dreams we continue to reach for that make the process of being an artist a trip to remember but perhaps even more importantly than all of that, it’s YOU, the listener, that makes all of it matter.
I look forward to many more experiences, always worth while along this musical journey. Here’s to hopping that you are part of that trip.
If you’d like to hear one of the most recent milestones of that journey, click hear to listen to my most recent album, In My Dreams’.
Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.

-Daniel Zapata