Photo Credit: Shan Dan
About Danielle Fidelity:
Since the age of 16, Danielle Fidelity has been diligently progressing through the ranks of the music industry. The drive to make a difference in the scene is matched only by her willingness to make herself available to those in need of direction. With her finger firmly affixed on the pulse of the music scene, she has no doubt become the “go to” when it comes to what it takes to become successful. Every move she makes is a deliberate attempt to impose her will on a sometimes sketchy and fickle industry. In this ever changing business, she has managed to stay focused on what really matters above all else…the music.
We (HHM) were pleased to get the opportunity to get to “sit down” with Danielle and delve a little deeper to get a better idea of what it’s like to walk in Danielle Fidelity shoes….er I mean boots.
Photo Credit: Shan Dan
HHM – If you had to sum yourself up in a sentence or two….as sort of a last will and testament, how do you think that would go?
Wow, hard. My bio on Twitter for a while was “Self-proclaimed F-list internet celebrity and incredible at everything I do.” So something along the lines of that or, “The get shit done girl.”
HHM – When did you realize that you wanted to pursue this career choice in the music industry?
That’s a fun one. I actually realized that I wanted to “do this for the rest of my life” at a Green Day, New Found Glory, and Sugarcult concert. I can honestly say I’m not a Green Day fan, at all, but the passion they had during every single song in their set and how they got the crowd involved made me realize that there isn’t another industry that exists that can do what music does for people.
HHM – What’s a typical day at the office like for DFid?
There is never a “typical day” at our office. In addition to co-running Hollywood Waste, I also do marketing for The Century Family umbrella companies, including: Century Media Records, Superball Music, Inside Out Music, People Like You Records, Ain’t No Grave Records (ANGR), Street Smart Mangement, and of course… Hollywood Waste. Each of us wear many different hats, work with MANY different artists, and work on different projects every day.
HHM – What was your first position in the music industry?
I started out at 16 as an intern at We The People Records, first home of The Starting Line.
HHM – What is it about the Music industry that made you basically devote your whole life towards it?
I’ve been “in the music industry” for seven years now. I started out as a teenager interning at a record label and helping out artists through my own social networks. I even tried to change my personal MySpace account to a music page at one point so I could promote bands I was into/friends with. To make a (really) long story short, I saw how cutthroat the industry was at a young age and wanted to take it on. I didn’t (nor do I now) want to change it. I do, however, want to do something fresh and get as many people involved as possible. I want to create a family of people who not only love the music (even if it’s just for the haircuts), but love the people involved in it. I want to take a “shady” business and turn it into something completely transparent and give back wherever we possibly can.
HHM – Was there ever one person that you could say made you want to choose this life and career choice?
Easiest question, by far. His name was Chris Baillie. He never actually worked in the music industry, but he definitely pushed me to do it for myself. He was the most respectful person I’ve ever met in my life and anyone who knew him will agree. He passed away in 2010 and I still think about him, and everything he’s taught me, all the time. People like Geoff Rickly, TOMS Shoes, and Invisible Children were also people/companies who were inspired by him. We need more people like him in the world.
HHM – It’s got to be like a dream come true, being involved in a start up label like Hollywood Waste and being such a key player in all of it.
It absolutely is. The creative input and influence I have inspires me daily to expand (both as a person and a company) and keep moving forward. Coming from the age of the internet, I think Hollywood Waste is in an incredible position to bring something fresh and exciting to the industry, while still sticking with our roots and keeping it about the music.
HHM – How much influence/input did you have with the Hollywood Waste spin off of Century Media?
Zero, to be completely honest. Kyle and I have talked about having a company/label of our own for a few years now, but the entire project is his brainchild. [haha] I should let you read the proposal. I was literally written into it and there aren’t enough words to thank him and Century Media for bringing me into the family.
HHM – You are on a very personal level with all of your bands at Hollywood Waste. How does it feel waking up everyday knowing that you are basically working with friends?
I love it. I wake up grateful every single day. I actually think it’s easier to get things done being on such a personal level with each of them. They [hopefully] trust my opinion more than just “someone who works at their label”. I encourage all of our bands (including The Century Family bands) to keep an open line of communication and reach out whenever they need to… that’s one thing I think is unique about our structure, is how open and honest we are with our bands.
HHM – On average, how often are you approached by bands that want you to listen to their music?
Hourly. Whether it’s via Facebook, Twitter, or email… it literally happens all day. We’ve actually found some great bands this way… it just gets overwhelming.
HHM – You’re very accessible on social networks, how do you find any reprieve from that never ending onslaught?
I’ve made it a point to be as transparent as possible on social networks, AKA it’s not something I turn on and off. I try to respond to as many people as possible. I wish I could do it all day, because I love helping people and kids seem to come to me for advice now, I just don’t have enough time in the day. Fun fact though… when I do have time to myself, I spend it playing video/computer games. Sims 3 has been my recent addiction.
HHM – What would do think your best piece of advice would be for a band trying to get noticed by a label?Have a product ready and show you CAN and WILL do it DIY, but are ready to get to the next level. Every band thinks they need a label right away… not true at all. Get some touring history, build up an online fan base, but most importantly, show that you’re willing to push your band on your own after being signed as much as you would before going to a label was even an option. A label cannot believe in the band more than the band believes in themselves and I think some bands fail to realize that. If you’re not willing to promote at/after shows and talk to your fans, even if it’s a simple “thank you”, your band will struggle. Do it because you have a passion for it, not because it’ll get you laid.
HHM – Do you have a hard time defining that line when it comes to your personal friends’ bands?
Sometimes. I try to be as honest as possible in all situations, all the time… but, as anyone in the music industry knows, sometimes you just can’t say “dude, not really into it, sorry,” to your friends.
HHM – The industry today is definitely not as generous as far passing out recording contracts, what factors do you think have gotten it to this point?
Referring back to one of my previous answers, bands nowadays seem to think that once they’re signed, they’re done working. Everyone seems to want to be in a band now, which has lead to their being a ridiculous amount of 19-year-olds, covered in tattoos, thinking they’re “cool” because they’re in a band. Though some of our bands look like the current typical “band” look, they are also extremely talented musicians and are doing what they love, instead of doing it to get laid. [I may get hate for that answer, but again, I’m honest and someone needed to say it.]
HHM – Do you have a formulated outline of what you look for in a band to determine if they are ready for the next step? Or is it just a case of what feels right to you?It’s always a case-by-case basis. Some bands have a solid touring history and know what they’re looking for and some have everything down except touring under their belt.
HHM – What usually stands out the most for you to take your time out to actually investigate a band past listening to their music? The initial pitch, the music, their look?Hollywood Waste, overall, is a very visual project. With that said, we definitely take the look of the band into consideration. Not necessarily if they are attractive or not, but if they look like they should all be in a band together and fit the demographic we’re geared towards. Let’s face it, I love older, punk-influenced bands, but our 17-year-old fan base isn’t going to buy a record or go see a band they wouldn’t follow on Twitter. MARKETING is key. Determine goals, create a plan, and execute.
HHM – What are some of your main sources for scouting out bands?
We have in-house A&R. We also spend a lot of our “off-time” looking through Facebook, and yes, even MySpace, for upcoming bands. Hollywood Waste also works with a handful of key managers in our “scene”, so we always check up on what they have going on.
HHM – Do you feel a certain obligation to find “The Next Big Thing” as far as bands go?
I feel like a few of our bands are “the next big thing”, both announced and not announced, yet. We’ve had some incredible talks with key-players in the music industry who love what we have going on and to put ourselves on the map, I think, we need to find “that” band who is doing something completely new and exciting.
HHM – Are you currently working on any projects that you feel might fit that description?It Boys! Though many feel they are a “boy band”, I have no doubt in my mind those guys will be “the next big thing”. I work for their label and I still feel like a teenage girl when I listen to their new music! Definitely keep an eye out for them…
HHM – Outside of the bands you work with on a daily basis, what are some of your favorite bands?A few of my all-time are Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Alkaline Trio, and Dead Poetic. One of our labels [Superball Music] actually just signed Matt Skiba’s new project, Matt Skiba and the Sekrets. Working with one of your favorite musicians and having to come up with plans to market their new music, on its own, is enough to feel grateful for every morning.
HHM -There’s always an ongoing argument, the “scene is dead/dying”. Personally, I have noticed a drastic decline in kids going out to shows over the years. Does the same hold true on the label side of things? Unit sales, web traffic etc?
I absolutely don’t think it’s dying. Just like every other genre and trend before it, it’s evolving into something just a bit different. New haircuts, new clothes, new and old influences combined to mix it up and take the next step. The same definitely holds true on the label side. Well, on the indie label side anyway. We’re constantly thinking of new ways to market our artists and keep things fresh. We all know music sales are at an all time low, but I feel like most labels aren’t able or sometimes even willing, to adapt. Music piracy isn’t anywhere near being stopped, so for now it’s the responsibility of the people behind the scenes to figure out ways to develop their artists while still making enough money to stay afloat and expand their business.
HHM -Do you notice in any new trends? New genres taking hold that might have some substance in the coming years?
There are definitely new trends taking hold, some of which take influence from past genres. One example being electro/pop: Blood On The Dance Floor, Jeffree Star, and Millionaires. Though I’m not completely sure how long that one will last, given the age group of its fans, I definitely don’t think it’s reached its pinnacle yet. Another I’ve seen take form is a new genre of goth/rock: New Years Day, Motionless in White, and Get Scared. Though many bands before them have also taken influence from “goth” styles (Aiden in particular), I see a new breed of over-the-top goth/rock bands starting something fresh and unique. Another undeniable genre coming back into play is 80’s metal: Black Veil Brides. Sunset Strip “glam” is coming back, preferably sans the heavy drug usage and groupie onslaughts. Lastly, as we all know, dubstep is officially mainstream. I have a feeling this one will stick around a while given how many radio artists have incorporated it into their music… and need I mention Sonny Moore (er, Skrillex) being up for a Grammy?
HHM -Megaupload was shut down yesterday. More sites likely to follow the same fate. Where do you stand on the whole SOPA/PIPA debate? Coming from a label stand point you have got to be at least somewhat for the protection of copyrighted material.
The entire SOPA/PIPA thing was (is) completely one-sided. I stress all the time how I still value music and still pay for it, but both of those acts touched on way more than just their original intents. Piracy needs to be stopped, but not while violating the First Amendment to cater to entertainment empire suits who A. are not familiar with the power of social media and very obviously B. need to make that extra dollar at all costs. Sharing content containing copyrighted material with the intent to simply be artistic, spread the word of the artist(s) being used, or simply comical, I’m all for. Downloading full albums and other media for free when you know you shouldn’t, is not okay. This generation has been taught that it’s okay to “steal” music simply because it’s available. I could write essays on the debate of music piracy, but we’ll save that for another time. Simply put, I’m 100% not for SOPA/PIPA.
HHM -What’s next for Danielle Fidelity or are you pretty content on where you are at this stage in your life?
I’m always looking to grow as a person and push myself to excel. I’m actually quite content with where I am in my life right now, at 23. I can’t wait to see Hollywood Waste grow over the next two years and do things people never thought we could. We have a great team behind us, I have no doubt we’ll do great things.
HHM -Are there any other fields that you are interested in working in? Anything else you’d like to take a stab at?
Haha, my 10-year goal is to actually open a bakery. I LOVE baking/creating unique treats. Sadly, I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like to, but it will happen!
HHM -In closing I suppose, is there any news you can share with us concerning Yourself, Hollywood Waste and/or Century Media?
Both Hollywood Waste and Century Media have A LOT in the works over the next year. Hollywood Waste will be announcing new bands soon, as well as signing more. We’re expanding the site daily and bringing in new partners. Most people don’t know, but Century (The Century Family) is actually an umbrella of companies (Century Media, Hollywood Waste, Superball Music, Inside Out Music, People Like You Records, Ain’t No Grave Records, and Street Smart Management). As far as myself, I’m working on getting a jewelry company started up. I’ve been selling handmade inverted cross necklaces for a little while now, and with the overwhelming demand for them, I’ve teamed up with a company to start mass-producing them, in addition to other styles. I’ll have more news on that and other surprises soon! 😉
-Dave – Hellhound Music
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