Voice and Performance Coach
Singing and Speaking Voice
Agents & Opportunities FEATURE ARTICLE
With United Talent Agency closing their Toronto office, which purchased one of Canada’s largest and busiest agencies, The Agency Group, people are expressing concern about what lies ahead.
For those of you who do not know, the role of an agent is similar to that of a recruiter or human resources department. They are the people who know about the job opportunities and “find the talent” to fill those jobs, or they “create opportunities” for someone they represent.
There are casinos, ballrooms, theatres, arenas, amphitheatres, clubs, fairs, festivals, performing arts centres and corporate events to be filled with talent.
Above everything else, it takes a belief in yourself that if you do the right things, people will want to connect with you. Often the ball gets rolling without you even knowing about it.
As a Vocal Coach who has been around the block more than a few times, let me assure you, companies come and go but great agents carry on long after the lights are turned off. Music is a business. Nobody makes money if the venues do not have artists. Agents are out there and they are constantly looking for the right people.
Many of my most interesting opportunities have come from people behind the scenes watching my work and bringing me into projects that were already in progress. Finding an agent is important but being ready when an agent finds you, in my opinion, is even more important.
So there I was, a Vocal Coach working independently and having a great time, when out of the blue I was contacted by The Agency Group to coach one of their artists. I had no idea how they found me or why they picked me but the band was working on a strict deadline so I knew I needed to do whatever it took to get the job done.
As someone working on my own, taking all the business risks and accepting all the responsibilities that go along with that, being given a chance to work with an artist whose agent won “Booking Agent of the Year Award” five times for booking more live performances than any other agent, the COO of The Agency Group, didn’t go unnoticed by me. I have learned so much from his team over the years. I am truly grateful.
Let me explain. Entrepreneurs build their business and their brand. The biggest wish for most, is that the business thrives, allowing them to do something they love, making a contribution to those around them. There are little to no benchmarks or signs telling you the way you run your business is taking you in the right direction or if it is a sinking ship. I suspect singers/musicians feel the same way at times.
Life was breezy and simple. I planned on being that nice little singing teacher who had students do a nice little warm up, vocal scales, sing some songs, and then point them back home. It was going to be so pleasant. Little did I know at the time what was ahead for me!
Life threw me a sign. Because I was so busy working, I didn’t even recognize it at the time. I received an email saying I was highly recommended by the management of the Sam Roberts Band. I didn’t know this at the time, but that was The Agency Group opening a door for me. Do you take notice of the signs telling you that you are on the right path or are you getting signs that something needs to change in order to move forward?
Then, another sign came my way. This time, I didn’t miss it. I know it was life’s way of telling me that I was exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
One day in 2010, I received a message saying “this is a massive long shot but I thought I’d try anyways. I am the drummer for Nickelback and we are in town for a day or two (playing the ACC on Thursday)”. That, as you may know is Daniel Adair. He went on to tell me that, in addition to drumming, he sings all the high harmonies in the band and asked if I had any time for him.
I did not have an agent. They have the agent and the connections. My part was continuing with my professional development and allowing that to stand out on my behalf.
The point I am trying to make is that all good hard working people arrive at the path that is the one they should be on, whether you find the agent or the agent finds you. Make goals but hold onto them lightly. As you train, you change for the better and become stronger, more impactful. The road your current goals have you on may be the wrong one or too small for you.
Believe in yourself first and foremost. Surround yourself with people who help you become better. It’s a team and the agent is an important part of that team. So are you. Don’t give up. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to.
I know for myself, I owe a debt of gratitude to many agents and agencies.
Be true to yourself and the path will be laid with bricks, like mine was, by people who know how to take you where you want to go. It is not the entire puzzle .... it is a piece of the puzzle. Over time you will find all the puzzle pieces and they will fit together perfectly.
Until next time, I’m Vocal Coach Donna Flynn. Keep on singin’
Vocal Coach & SVS, Author, Singer, Speaker
Singing & Speaking Voice