The music industry cycle, supporting new artists


I met Croky at a speed dating style Grammy University (Grammy U) event put on by the Recording Academy. I showed up late because I went to the wrong place, classic and cringy if you know me. That evening there were roughly seven board members from the Recording Academy and about 30 students. We did a round of speed dating style meet and greets where students would rotate every 5 minutes, asking each board member questions about the music industry, their experience, and where to start.

I remember meeting Croky at the event, but not really meeting him until later on when we were paired up for the Grammy U Mentor Program. Fun fact, Croky's every day name is John Croce, not the same lineage as the famous Jim Croce, but very talented all the same. It turns out, John was actually an audio recording student in the middle of classes at UW, but he glowed when he talked about songwriting and was interested in chatting about the process and bringing those songs to life through writing and performing. He was just trying to learn it all.

As part of the mentorship program, at the end of six months, the mentee is part of a Grammy U showcase, produced by all of the students. It was a really cool idea because the students were interested in careers that spanned the industry, so you had a mentee setting up the stage and preparing the sound board, you had another student who had developed the show poster and was engaging various media outlets around town to promote the show, and you also had performers include Croky.

After our first hang session getting to know him, his songs and his developing voice, I set our next session for an open mic at Skylark Cafe in West Seattle (there's a great sound engineer there named Mitch Midkiff). The thinking was that if was going to perform at this showcase in a few months, he'd need play in front of stranger and get some practice in front of a live mic. That night, Croce kind of blew me away. Albeit shy and unsure, his songs spoke for him and it was clear he had put in the work and had the raw talent. The room seemed shocked and pleasantly impressed by the stranger on stage cover a song by someone named Sza.

Croky at Skylark Cafe

Croky at Skylark Cafe

That night I remembered why I love mentoring. The selfish reason, it gives me a chance to learn - as I'm often rediscovering or going deeper by teaching then I would otherwise by listening. The unselfish reason, I get a chance to do something that isn't for or about me. I've had some great people helping me along the way, whether it was on the business side or honing my craft. The least I can do is return the favor.

So what happened with Croky? Fast forward a bit beyond the open mic, Croky ended up winning the Grammy U showcase and now we are at present day.

Croky's next adventure, opening for me at the Triple Door this Friday.

Croky, Grammy U Showcase in June 2019

Croky, Grammy U Showcase in June 2019

Kris OrlowskiComment