By, Wendy Day
I’ve burned a lot of bridges in the music industry, but I’ve never done so emotionally or without careful forethought. Apparently some folks are overly emotional and can’t control their outbursts or just don’t think before they burn bridges haphazardly. I mention this only to turn it into a teaching moment (and to educate an underling a bit).
On Memorial Day, @CoachTek randomly tweeted me saying “next time you wanna talk about me say it to my face…you FUCKING SNAKE BITCH!!!” I was busy working with a client, so I didn’t see the tweet for a couple of days. My first reaction was to wonder why Coach K was dissing me since he’s the only person I’ve ever heard called “Coach” in the music business. When I clicked on the bio of @CoachTek, I discovered that it was DJ Tekniks, surprisingly, who at some point must have changed his name from @DJTekniks to @CoachTek. He is one of thousands of people I follow on Twitter, but not someone whose tweets hit my timeline very often—the last time I had noticed him was over a year ago when he decided to quit smoking publicly on Twitter. We’ve never done business together, I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve spoken in my 20 year career, and we don’t travel in the same circles.
I’ve never worked with, or made money with, Tekniks. He seemed like a cool dude, but I never really got to know him. We have different agendas—my goal is to educate artists and help them succeed via long term careers without taking ownership or a percentage, and his appears to me to be about building a career for himself outside of DJing and a niche in the music industry while helping a few artists build careers, as he builds his own career by working with them (Hopefully. Time will tell.). He’s doing what one is supposed to do in the music industry to build a career for oneself. He’s just not someone who hits my radar normally, although I respect the buzz he has helped build this past year with 2Chainz, and if he was involved with Travis Porter (first week sales 14,268; second week 5,496), I respect what he did in the Spring of 2010 when they were indie, but I believe that was (CEO) Charley that was steering their fame at the time. I actually like Tekniks, although I’ve only met him once in my life. We sat down for 90 minutes in the Lobby of a hotel after a panel discussion in Orlando (August 2011) that a mutual friend orchestrated (Tekniks was the only no show on the panel even though he was across the street in the hotel at the time).
Tekniks owes me nothing but I figured he was someone that would call me if he had a problem with me or something I said that offended him. In the music industry, we call that ‘wearing big boy pants.’ Being an adult is key to building (or destroying) relationships. Since I was the subject of his Twitter tantrum, I have no problem addressing this issue rationally. Unfortunately, as with most emotional outbursts, there’s no explanation why he’d use such venom towards me, especially coming from someone so new and unproven to management. Avoiding calls to discuss his problem tells me he had no interest in resolving any issues, he just wanted to hit me publicly and run.
Now, the weird thing about Tekniks being pissed off at me, is that I never even think about him, no less speak about him. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty ‘in your face’ with my opinions and criticisms of people. I have no problem speaking my mind with folks, as I’d done with Tekniks in that one random meeting. I know for a fact Tekniks manages 2Chainz, and I believe he manages Travis Porter, although they seem to always be shouting out Charlie Jabney as their manager. When Travis Porter were looking for a deal the second time (Nov of 2010), I reached out to Charlie for an investor who wanted to put money into their project so they wouldn’t have to sign to a major label. Apparently, neither Charlie, nor TP’s attorney took the offer seriously, in fact, their attorney never returned the calls or emails from the investor’s attorney. I thought they were absolutely crazy, and when I met Tekniks in the hotel lobby that night in August, this was the first thing I mentioned to him (eight months had passed at that point, and their record deal obviously wasn’t going as well as they had expected, but exactly as I had predicted). Since he didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, I gave him a brief summation of what transpired regarding the investor. He seemed to have no interest, so I didn’t dwell on the subject. But I stated what I thought was fucked up and obviously didn’t have any problems speaking my mind to him in person. I guess he forgot about that. I’m not grinding an ax on Tekniks, and have yet to speak negatively about his inexperience as a manager or how he’s dealt with labels regarding Travis Porter the first time they were shopping a deal. In fact, I even defended him on a panel of A&Rs at the SUMC in Myrtle Beach last Fall when they used him as an example of ineptitude and what NOT to do in a negotiation. I guess he missed that.
Tekniks followed his first tweet with “That was outta my character but fuck that bitch.” Well, apparently it WASN’T out of his character because he did it. I tried being the adult and handling it head on, but he has ignored my attempts to resolve his hurt feelings so I decided to let this be a teaching moment. Since he fired shots at me, I have no problem returning the volley, just wish I knew why I’m at odds with someone whom I barely know and thought I respected.
So for those of you out there who care about preserving relationships and not creating enemies in the music industry, when upset by a situation that offends you, call the person directly and ask questions. Find out IF they said what you think they said, in what context, and why. If you are unable to reach that person directly, go through someone who knows them well and ask them to facilitate a conversation. Even if it hurts your feelings, you might learn something that can help you grow. The worst that can happen is you find out what someone really thinks about you, and you move on with your life and career. But you gain respect (and courage). All this little emotional bullshit and airing hurt feelings publicly doesn’t much matter at the end of the day. As Riley from the Boondocks would say “It’s gay!” What matters is that you do a great job and everyone around you eats and succeeds. Twitter bitching is for cowards. That’s not how I choose to live my life.