Photo is taken at La Loupiotte on Vermont
Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Conseil.
Patrick, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I left my native small town in France at age 18 and moved to London with a one way ticket and 100 pounds in my pocket. I always loved British music (Bowie – Roxy Music) and I wanted to experience the new wave movement from up close plus I wanted to become fluent in English. Little did I know I would be hired by a record label only one week after my arrival. At A&M Records, I started in the Mailroom and was sometimes in charge of record deliveries to BBC and Capital radio. Driving on the left side was a challenge I was given no time to adapt to. I was handling fan mail for bands like the Police and Squeeze. How exciting to be able to meet so many of my favorite artists, build a massive vinyl collection and see so many great bands for free! A year in, I was given an assistant position in the Artists and Repertoire department and offered a small expense account to go talent scouting at night. I loved 80’s music Depeche Mode, OMD, Eurythmics, the Cure, Joe Jackson etc. I was a regular at Steve Strange’s fabulous Camden Palace among other hot spots and rock venues of the time. I played hard but I worked hard and was determined to make a career in the Music Business. Soon enough I was promoted to A&R Manager.
Like every other young creative starting in the business, I was turned down by my bosses on some of the artists I brought in, a couple of them became huge stars (Sade). I was allowed to sign my first artist to the label at age 21. I remember receiving a 45 in the mail. ‘Der Kommissar’ by Falco. It was such a unique record. An Austrian Rap/ Pop artist? I had not heard anything quite like it before, and I also loved his image. It was not an English language song so why on earth did I want to sign it so bad they said. I fought hard and it was agreed I could go to Vienna, meet with the artist and his team. We ended up signing Falco for three albums for the world outside Germany/ Austria. ‘Der Kommissar’ was a worldwide hit and I felt validated and encouraged. By the time Falco’s genius ‘Rock me Amadeus’ reached #1 in the US, I had moved to NYC and that success certainly opened doors for me. The downtown Manhattan scene was so exciting. The music was great and so were the clubs and the art scene. I got to meet so many legends of that time. I was managing downtown NYC band ‘The Pop Tarts’ and got them signed to the music publishing division of Columbia Pictures .They made a record for London records. Ultimately they decided to stop recording and focus on managing Ru Paul’s career, making movies and building what is today their ‘ World of Wonder’ empire. My other artist Zette also made a great album for a German label and was signed by Warner Chappell Publishing out of Germany as well but we failed to get traction in the US. I decided to end my management days.
As we entered the 90s, I decided I wanted to make a career in music publishing. I was hired by Warner/Chappell Music and remained the publishing giant’s Vice President of Creative & International for 12 years. During my tenure at the company, I helped secure US releases for foreign artists Billie Ray Martin, Amber, Captain Hollywood, La Bouche and Dido, secured recordings for songwriters with numerous artists ranging from Cher, Laura Pausini, Kylie Minogue, and N Sync, signed superstar DJ Roger Sanchez, and Moby among others. I was blown away by Moby’s live performance and his vision. I had no doubt he would be successful .Moby’s album Play ended up being a certified platinum album in twenty countries and received unprecedented licensing in television, movies and commercials. It still sounds awesome 21 years later. I also scored a top 10 hits with Jennifer Paige (”Crush”) and Republica (”Ready to Go”) among others. The industry was doing great in the 90s. I was loving my job, traveling a lot and treasured the fact that my love of Pop music and Dance music was also my job.
In 2000 Time Warner merged with AOL and everything felt different. It had never felt that corporate to me before that time even though the company was already huge. It was time for a change, I had been overworked, was exhausted and uninspired, I was getting over NY and no longer wanted to work for major companies. I took half a year off and I relocated to Miami Beach in 2002. I wanted a fresh start .I was asked to run creative for an indie Latin music publisher and had a blast doing it, securing cuts with Luis Fonsi, Ricky Martin, Ednita Nazario, Reik, and Jennifer Lopez. The Latin music scene was new for me and it was exciting. I could see its growth potential outside its original demographic. It was a great experience. I made as many connections as I could and considering I’m not even fluent in Spanish, I was able to get things done. Universal Music France called me to help A&R the first Spanish language album for French superstar Florent Pagny who was also living there at the time. The album went to #1 and was certified triple-platinum in France. Then the crash of 2008 happened. The company closed down, and I and had to reinvent myself once again. I moved to my log home in the woods in Milford PA, a two-hour drive to NYC. Two new publishing companies were starting up in NYC and both needed help working with their songwriters. I was hired as a consultant by both Reservoir Media and Round Hill music and was able to rebuild. For five years, I split the year between the east and west coasts with frequent trips to Nashville. I wanted to spend more time in LA and when Round Hill offered me the position of Sr. VP of creative. I moved to LA permanently and I have loved it ever since. At Round Hill, I was able to sign great talent. With producer Morgan Taylor Reid we had hits with Joseph, Marshmello, American Authors and Matoma. With Rune Westberg we had cuts with an array of international artists such as Deepend, Axelle Red, Prince Royce, Rachel Platten, and indie band Part Time Friends whose single was a Citroen car commercial in France. My other signings included UK based singer-songwriter Richard Walters and LA-based Canadian Pop Star Shawn Hook who scored top 40 hits and has a hot new single out now. I was also instrumental in bringing LA based Rock artist Cobi to Round Hill. These three artists are amazing live performers.
Three years ago, I decided to focus on building my own publishing company Pure Pop Music. I started working with LA based writer producer Rune Westberg once again. We built a great catalogue of new songs and in 2018 Rune signed to Pure Pop Music in a joint venture with Brentwood based music publisher Angry Mob Music. Since then we have had songs released with artists such as Too Close to Touch, Caroline Kole, LA based blues artist Beth Hart. Songs with soulful artist Desi Valentine have been used in ‘The Rookie’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. I have also started consulting for Angry Mob helping with a handful of their writers. Additionally, I’m a creative consultant for Studio City based PEN Music Group. I enjoy my work with both companies tremendously. I am having a lot of fun working with people I like. Both companies have great teams and are building quality rosters of artists and songwriters.
My goal this year is to keep adding great compositions to the Pure Pop Music catalogue. I recently signed a very talented LA based songwriter/artist named Baywud and picked up an exciting single called ”Shine” by east coast band ‘Ito and the Moonlight Hippies’.
The industry has gone thru tremendous changes the last decade but I still believe in the power of the song no matter the genre and I once again I feel inspired. If and when the feeling goes. I’ll stop.
Has it been a smooth road?
No. It has been a wild rollercoaster ride. When I decided to make the move to NY, it was yet another dream and I was determined to make it happen like I did when I moved to London from my native France fresh out of High School.There were many struggles but I was young and I had energy and big dreams and I managed it. I had a business visa and flew back and forth the first couple of years. I was attached to a #1 song in the U.S so it made it easier to get meetings with powerful industry people. I was running around town taking meetings with as many record labels, bookers, publishers I could in an effort to get my artists signed. Being that we were smack in the middle of the AIDS crisis was not helping the situation when trying to secure recording contracts for my openly LGBTQ artists in particular. It was not a smooth road. I was not gonna let it stop me and kept pushing for what I believe could be successful but it was a struggle.Finally I did manage to find people who weren’t scared to back us up. Deals were made and I was able to make a little commission off these deals.It was not enough to make ends meet and I still had to do little jobs on the side. Overall it was much harder than I let it be known outside of a tight group of friends.The great thing about NYC in those days was that if you were doing something creative and you were perceived as being one of the cool kids, you would not be charged to get into clubs and music venues and would often get drinks tickets too.One could have a great time on a few bucks back then. The rent in the East Village was affordable too.
Being gay in the industry, I was never part of ”the boys club”, I felt like a bit of an outsider, not unlike many women probably felt at that time. It was rare to see a woman at the head of a label back then. Very few top executives were openly out in the late 80s and none were heading big companies. Openly gay men held positions in dance promotion or publicity departments, a few in A&R and in the mid 90’s majors labels started opening gay marketing departments. In any case, hard work and an ear for talent helped me climb the ladder. Warner Chappell had created an international position for me and with their help I secured a work visa for four years. After that I would have to get the green card or I would not be able to stay longer than an additional couple of years. I was not prepared for how hard and stressful it was gonna be even with a major sponsor and a steady job. I had been here legally and had been paying taxes but suddenly had no idea if I would be able to stay in the US or not. I had to go thru numerous medical tests, at the time that included HIV testing and the legal fees weren’t cheap. Eventually, I did get my green card and five years after that I became a citizen.
As soon as I started coming to LA frequently on business in the 90s, I felt I would eventually live here. It was always in the cards. My decision for being on the east coast back then was its shortest distance to Europe, my family being there and my doing so much work with Europe. My artist were based in NY, I loved my job at Warner and I felt that’s where it was at, at the time. One of the biggest shifts in the industry in the past ten years was that the songwriting community was relocating to LA in droves. NY was getting too expensive for too many creative people and the vibe just wasn’t there anymore. I was personally less inspired by the city and found myself inspired by LA much more and continue to be so.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a music publisher. I discover, sign and connect songwriters. I work with them on a daily basis. Sometimes they are recording artists as well, sometimes they only write songs for and with artists. Some may be stronger with music or production while some are stronger with melody and lyrics. The idea is to get as strong a song as possible in the end so that song can have a life, be recorded, released and promoted or find its way into a TV show, a movie soundtrack or an advertising campaign. I arrange an average of 24 writing co-writing sessions a month. I reach out to managers, labels and other publishers to discuss who on their rosters we can match up. It’s so satisfying when the result of a collaboration you arrange results in an inspiring beautiful song . One that comes to mind is the song ‘Rainbow’ by the group SHEL. I had the act write with producer ‘Verskotzi’ .They wrote me a beauty that day. The song was released with a gorgeous accompanying video . Check it out. I work with a dozen writers and producers currently . Most writing sessions happen in LA though I also arrange writing trips for our writers. This past year alone some have worked in Nashville, Berlin, Copenhagen, Sydney and Toronto. I often arrange sessions for foreign artists who come to Los Angeles to write for their projects. Earlier this year I had sessions with artists from Australia,Canada and Belgium. Unfortunately as of last month everything changed. I had to cancel a string of sessions for artists from France, Germany and the UK not permitted to fly into the USA due to the Coronavirus situation and soon after all US sessions were also cancelled, a few we are doing via Skype or Zoom.
Over the years, I have been best known as a people connector and for my work in Pop, in all its sub-genres, from singer-songwriters to dance. I have always had a love for dance music even when it was less on the radar of record labels, pre EDM boom. International has always been my forte, that has always set me apart and continues to do so. Since the early days in my career, I have always thought globally. I care deeply for the art of songwriting still care a great deal for the underdog. I have been doing this for so long I feel I have a lot of knowledge to share and hope I can help up and comers avoid making mistakes.
Not only do I help writers develop creatively , I do my best to teach them about the various facets of music publishing, the creative part is the fun part but basic knowledge of legal and copyright aspects is so important. Income from streaming is low for songwriters and organizations such as NMPA, AIMP and SONA are fighting hard for fairer rates for writers and publishers. The majority of mid-level songwriters find it hard to make a living currently. Things need to change.
Currently, my choice for Pure Pop and its writers has been to work with boutique type companies who can give the writers enough time to develop and who are in it for the music as well as financial success. PEN music group does the administration for Pure Pop in North America and the UK and I have a strong network of sub-publishers in other countries, all successful ‘Mom and Pop’ type companies. There are various crucial facets to a music publishing company. Publishers are responsible for administering, registering , protecting and licensing musical compositions .They are responsible for collection of income. The creative part consists of identifying and developing the talent, help get songs recorded and synched into films TV or ads. PEN Music and Angry Mob Music both have synch teams who are trusted by music supervisors at various networks, studios and advertising agencies.
I am releasing a new Baywud single ” Hold on to me ”on April 2nd. I feel very strongly about this song. It’s a gorgeous single and I think it will do well. The song is about friendship and having someone to count on during hard times and believing it will be okay in the end. Baywud ‘s debut EP will be released late summer.
I also decided to venture into management once again 2 years ago. I manage House music duo ”Schmarx & Savvy” They are enjoying current success with their own release ‘ House Party’ but also with the single ‘Tokyo’ by 3lau feat Xira. My other client is LA-based chanteuse Addie Hamilton whose new EP is in production. We expect a single to be released in June. Addie is also featured on the forthcoming ‘ String Theory ‘ album due out this fall. Her music has been used in various TV shows including Riverdale, Katy Keene, The Good Place and Shameless to name a few. I met Addie when she moved in the same building my partner and I live in, in Los Feliz. We hit it off right away. It’s exciting when you meet a young artist who knows exactly who they are. I share her vision and I’m expecting big things to happen for her this year. She is a solid songwriter and a great person to work with. At this point in my career, I chose only work with people I like and enjoy spending time with.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Technology is changing the way music is being promoted and consumed at a rapid rate. New platforms will keep coming up and rely on music content. Now we need to make sure creators and songwriters in particular are getting paid fairly. It is not the case currently when it comes to income songwriters and publishers receive from digital platforms but I am optimistic it will get better.
A.I. will keep growing and unfortunately at the same time will replace numerous jobs and music beds usually created by composers.
I think more artists will do residencies in various cities, not just Vegas, as opposed to the traditional touring and more urban artists will join in the concept. I imagine offers of a pay for V.R experience will evolve for people to experience concerts in their home. Its obviously not the same experience but considering the price of tickets nowadays it may end up being a worthwhile alternative for many fans.
More flavor of the moment artists and fewer lasting artists. It seems the way to get serious traction is to release more music and more frequently even if quite often quality suffers. The attention span is decreasing, songs are getting shorter. I think we are heading for a world with less lasting superstars.
Specific genres are a thing of the past. More merging of music styles and origins which is a good thing. I’m talking about making good innovative, inclusive music, not referring to various current features that make no artistic sense and are obviously created for market share and financial goals.
The role of record labels will keep changing as artists and managers are looking for more control. It depends what the artist aspires to. Labels spend big money on marketing and promotion and I believe some artists still benefit from being on big labels while some of the deals offered by labels no longer make as much sense to a lot of artists.
There will be an increase in streaming coming from emerging markets as rural areas in South America, Asia, Africa, and India come on board.
Unfortunately all of the above may be challenged based on how long the current pandemic lasts. These are scary and confusing times and the music industry like every other sector will have to adjust and it will take time to recover from loss of income and loss of people.
Music can help us cope. We need it now more than ever .What we listen to in the months ahead will reflect what comforts us most. I think we will see changes in lyrics and messages in songs. Right now we can all use messages of hope and happiness and universal love. Songs that bring comfort and healing.
I would also like to mention that ‘ Music Cares’ has established covid-19 relief fund to help artists, musician and professionals.
Addie Hamilton, Andrew Fiscus