Music Industry: It Takes More Than Talent


Every year, millions of musicians hope to achieve their dreams of breaking into the music industry and make it to the top of the charts. Many artists are driven by money while others want fame. Brandon “Bean” Bryant, a 22-year-old Georgia State student, is driven by both. But making it in the industry is not an easy task.

Growing Up

As a child Bryant was taught to reach for the stars.

“Growing up, he always wanted to be the best,” said Bryant’s mother, Dorothy Hilliard. “Sometimes I worried about him, because he would literally go through anybody in his way.”

Though Bryant has a strong personality and an unbeatable drive for success, he got the name “Bean” for being such a small person.

“Don’t let my size fool you; I usually get what I want,” said Bryant. His confidence has been his greatest asset, but has also led to the disappointment that has been his music career.

The Start of Something New

At 18, Bryant knew he had a talent.

“I would sing in the shower and the car,” said Bryant. “I know everybody sounds good in the shower and the car – but I sounded better.”

Bryant knew he had something different when his roommate, James Gray, recorded him singing when he thought he was home alone. Gray, 21, kept the recording and played it for everyone to hear.

But Bryant, who’s a popular student at Georgia State and a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, didn’t need confirmation from anyone that he had talent. On his 19th birthday he decided that he would fully pursue his dream of fame and fortune. His first attempt to be noticed was a talent show with producer Troy Taylor in attendance.

“I felt like I did really well,” said Bryant. Taylor, producer of singer Trey Songz, took notice of Bryant.

The Reality of Disappointment

“After the show, I made my way through the crowd to speak to Troy,” said Bryant. “I thought my first attempt was the one that would land me that gig.”

After meeting Taylor, Bryant’s confidence grew infinitely. What he did not realize is the fact that the business is more about who you know than what you can do. Bryant shook hands with several people, whom he thought could help him get “a foot in the door.” In reality, these people led him down the wrong path.

“Some people told me I would get 10 grand a show, but the only thing I took home was somewhere around $200,” said Bryant. “When you have to pay $150 to be in the show in the first place, you don’t take home much money.”

Bryant has been involved in over 200 shows and says he spent more than $50,000 in travel expenses, studio time and equipment. After spending much money and devoting all of his time, Bryant does find it hard not to be discouraged.

“The worst thing you can do is try to get into the industry to get rich,” said Bryant. “I lost more money than I could gain.”

Bryant believes that the chances of getting into the industry are 1-to-1,000,000. Many hopefuls spend more than 10 years shaking hands and beating the pavement in chase of the dream.

“I never once felt like my son would fail,” said Hilliard. “I knew that he thought he could make things happen overnight.”

Bryant, who acknowledges that he set the bar high for himself, says he would have had nothing but disappointment had he not entered the industry for his love of music – a love that still endures. And although he has experienced many failed attempts at fame, he remains confident that he won’t be overlooked much longer.



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