“You’re Not As Good As You Think And There’s Always Someone Better” 5 Industry Insider Tips With DJ/Producer Joe Bermudez
“Don’t get comfortable. There’s always someone younger and hungrier than you are and when you start to enjoy some success it’s easy to fall into a routine and forget that drive.”
I had the pleasure to interview DJ/Producer Joe Bermudez
What is your “backstory”?
My first job in the industry happened by accident/pure luck. I had just been kicked out of my mother’s house, and couldn’t afford my new apartment, where cloth-covered speakers functioned as my dining room table. After a long day of fruitless job-hunting, I spotted what was basically a barn with a radio antenna. It happened to be WKZS-FM 99.9 in Auburn, ME. I didn’t have any experience in that field and drove past it thinking how they would never hire me in a million years. A mile down the road I said “what do I have to lose,” turned the car around, marched up to the receptionist and told her,”I’m about to be homeless. I need a job, and I’ll do whatever you need me to do.” Lucky for me they saw something and decided to give me a shot which ultimately changed my life
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Currently I’m working on more original material and trying to figure out what’s going to be the follow up single to Crazy Enough. I’m always tinkering with new top lines and already have a bunch that are ready to record. I simply need to find the right singers for them. The hardest part for me is finding the right person that can bring to life the same story/emotion that I have in my head
Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve been pretty lucky to interact with a lot of famous people over the years. From being an opening act for Madonna and the Chainsmokers to remixing songs for Britney Spears and Selena Gomez to having everyone from Ed Sheeran and Zedd stop by the radio station to chat with me it’s become the norm. I think the biggest take away from being around them is how much they all appreciate their success. 99% of people doing music will never make it so they are all very thankful for the position they are in. In my mind they are so successful that doors should magically open for them, but nonetheless they are still up at 6a grinding which motivates me to work that much harder
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Scientists. They are the real rock stars. They are the ones finding cures for deadly diseases. They are the ones finding ways for us to travel the stars. They are the reasons we now have an iPhone X. They have a special ability to step back and see the bigger picture. People like Albert Einstein and Srinivasa Ramanujan. I really respect and admire their forward thinking
Who do you aspire to be like one day?
There isn’t just one person. Everyone has a special quality about them and I like learning from the good in all of them
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I work closely with an organization called the Samaritans. They help prevent suicide in the greater Boston area. Over the years I’ve organized several benefit concerts that have helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and bring awareness to a really important issue.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Be patient. Just because you’ve been working on something for a couple months in the studio doesn’t mean it deserves to be heard. Take your time and fine tune your craft. You only get one first impression so use it wisely. What you think it hot today you’ll look back on in 6 months and be like “what was I thinking?”
Music is subjective so don’t take criticism personally. No matter how good your song is there is always someone out there who won’t like it and that’s ok. Not even Adele or the Beatles could win over everyone. As long as you’re happy with the final product that’s all that matters
You’re not as good as you think and there’s always someone better. Don’t get comfortable. There’s always someone younger and hungrier than you are and when you start to enjoy some success it’s easy to fall into a routine and forget that drive
Be yourself and don’t chase trends. Just because everyone else is doing dubstep polka music doesn’t mean you should too. If you’re chasing trends you’ve already lost. Chances are by the time you finish your song and release it people will have already moved onto something else. Be yourself and let them chase you instead
It’s ok to say “no”. This is probably the hardest thing to learn. We don’t want to let anyone down or miss any opportunities, but sometimes it’s just not the right time/fit. People will respect you as long as you are honest with them. And chances are if they came to you for something in the first place that they’re going to try again down the road
I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
Quincy Jones. He’s amazingly talented. Thriller is still one of the best albums to date so I know I could learn so much from him. Plus he always keeps it real in interviews. Figure that no BS attitude would make for some interesting conversation over pancakes