Memories! I’m sitting in the room as Tom Jones is on the phone with my grandfather, Cyril Simons, who years before had signed him, the two of them discussing Sex Bomb, Tom’s soon to be smash hit. Cyril was the head of Universal back then. Backtrack about 25 years, and my Dad is setting up Paul McCartney’s publishing consortium for his solo career and… Well, intoxicating stuff. I lived in a house full of music surrounded by the business of the music industry. No surprise then that I was bitten by the bug and ended up a singer-songwriter.
It would be reasonable to assume I would be given a pretty good head start with some heavy duty contacts to get the ball rolling and wham bam I’m a superstar.
Only kidding — I wish! As it turned out my contacts were either too busy, uninterested or simply wanted me to pay my dues. Fair enough. So like every other musician I set off to make it happen myself.
Arriving in London from Australia back in 2013, and quickly exhausting my contacts, I cold called other musos and hit up every industry person I could, “Hey, I’ve got a bunch of songs and want to start gigging.” If you have done the hustle you know how tough it can be, not to mention intimidating, with a load of dead ends, bum steers and wasted hours on the tube. A whole different ball game if you’re a happening artist with a buzz and selling serious units. Otherwise, you’re starting from scratch, no matter what town you live in. But back to reality…
I eventually formed a band and in the process got to understand a very simple fact: us musicians have a problem.
We don’t have an easy way to connect with other musos and get to see and hear the stuff that matters — how they sound, what’s their vibe, where they live, what’s their ambition. Trying to solve that problem was what led to Vampr. Online professional networks aren’t new but musicians’ needs are beyond the typical resume and photo bio. There had to be a better way of fast tracking the discovery and connection process (ie. let me hear your latest demo, see what albums you dig, watch your new video, chat.) Vampr was conceived.
Two years on and Vampr is on the app store. It’s been a crazy ride. Musicians, thankfully, have strong opinions about absolutely everything, especially technology and art. So how an app looks, what it does and how it does it is important. Our hope is that we have made something that most artists would enjoy and get real value from.
We appreciate that Vampr can only work if we have a vibrant and meaningful community of creative souls for each user to connect with. So our challenge is to fast track engagement. All you musicians and music lovers out there, we would love you to download Vampr and check it out. And of course let us know what’s working and what’s not. We are looking forward to a really exciting year and if we can solve the problem of finding meaningful contacts for our musical friends, particularly if some of them can go on and enjoy a career out of a network they created using Vampr, then we’ve succeeded.
And for those still wondering how my personal musical journey panned out, the story is still unfolding, but I formed a band by the name of Buchanan, released two albums between 2013 and 2016 and have been fortunate enough to have had a couple high rotation singles on Triple J, hit 1 million plus streams on Spotify, half a million on YouTube and 200,000 on SoundCloud — so things are looking up. Not to mention Keith Urban just asked me to support him on tour this December — mental!
It might not be Kanye territory but I’m proud of what I have achieved.
Download Vampr for free on iPhone at https://appsto.re/us/PucX_.i