Artistpreneur Spotlight – JoRob, Singer | Songwriter | Producer
Joseph Waldron, A.K.A. JoRob, was born in Washington D.C., but as a child he moved he moved between Virginia & Maryland with his younger brother & older sister after his father was robbed and brutally murdered. Being the oldest male in his family, JoRob was forced to become the man of the household. JoRob had to find ways to make ends meet; so he started singing. Not only did singing help bring money to JoRob’s family; it helped him suppress the pain he felt from the loss of his father. JoRob would go to all the recording studios in his area looking for artist who needed a talented singer to feature on their songs. Using the pain that lay deep within his soul, JoRob would grace each track with his urban resonance; turning each song into a musical work of art. JoRob has a unique sound that captures the mid 90’s & modern R&B sounds of today. JoRob is constantly re-inventing himself to reach perfection. “There is always room for improvement. When you settle, that’s when you, as an artist, will fail.”
1.) Hello JoRob, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a singer, songwriter and producer from the Washington D.C. area. I have been creating music just about all my life. I love the entertainment industry in general. I love to push myself and create different types of music that move people emotionally.
2.) What made you want to become a singer?
There are a few things that really pushed me to become a singer. Growing up in a single parent household I had to deal with a lot of hard times. I notice that music was the only thing that really kept me together. I could lock myself in the room or hang out in a park and listen to music for hours at a time. Music was my “sanity/sanctuary.” I also loved to write poetry as a young child, so writing was the only way I could express myself & let off steam. Being the man of a household at a young age I had to be strong and I couldn’t “wear my heart on my sleeve,” I always had to keep it together.
When I got to high school, people kind of found out that I could sing. I would walk down the hallways of my school singing my favorite songs. The crazy thing is I honestly didn’t realize I was singing until someone called me out on it.
After word got out about my voice, I had a few people approach me about singing for the school choir. A lot of people didn’t realize how shy I was when it came to singing; all of my life singing was something I only did by myself & now they wanted me to sing in front of hundreds of people. I can honestly say I was terrified of singing. I think after my first 3 shows I realized that singing music would be the thing to change my life. I began to use my talents to make money & help my family. I started singing for people and they would pay me. I recorded a few songs I did and sold them. The whole time I’m doing this I would ask myself why people like my music. I think a lot of artist may have had the same questions when they started out because you have to get used to hearing yourself.
3.) What made you want to branch out and become more of an entrepreneur instead of just being a singer?
I was always an entrepreneur, it’s in my blood. Before my father was killed he owned a few businesses in the Washington D.C. area. Seeing my pops & listening to the stories of my father from people who knew him really motivated me.
When my father was killed I had to step up. I was the 8 year old kid knocking on your door asking if you needed someone to shovel snow, do yard work & walk your dog. I was always out trying to make money because I knew my mother could not do it all by herself. My mother went from running businesses with my father to working 2 jobs to make ends meet. I was the kid that put money in my mother’s purse because I wanted to help.
As I got older I started making records and doing shows. I found myself spending a lot of money and getting nothing out of it. There have been countless times that I really got screwed out of my money by shady promoters. I really started to get sick of it so I had to take a step back and really analyze what was going on. I took a few months to jot down what I really wanted to get out of this music business & research how other people made money as an artist. I can honestly say I found nothing at all! I remember sitting there asking myself how is this possible but then I got an idea. Why not research how record labels make their money. After I started my research I found just about everything I needed to know; why model my business after an artist standpoint when I should be modeling my artistry after a business standpoint?
4.) What are some things that most people don’t know about being in the music industry?
There are so many things about the industry that artists have no clue about. There are a ton of artists that could be making a good living off of what they do as a music artist but they don’t want to take the time to research what they do. Now, I won’t put all the blame on the artist because the “Powers That Be” have deliberately confused artists to monopolize the industry. Within the passed 10 years I think artists have been getting smarter with how they market their music as an independent but it’s still difficult to really make it as an independent artist. But now you have to look deeper into the music industry. I feel there was never really any money in the industry for the signed artist. Look at all the 360 deals given out, artists get one hit then they hit the rock bottom. First problem is people don’t realize that this business isn’t in business to make you rich. The second thing is record labels don’t give advances like they used to. Any money given to you is a loan that you have to pay back with interest. If you get a deal you are paying for everything including your music video, car, house, DJ, and the guy that cleans up after your show. All of this is coming out of the loan your record label gave you. A lot of people don’t realize that if you get a deal they can sit on your album for year and end up shelfing it. Most artists will never get to record their album in a major studio or even go to the major studio. Let’s say you do get to record an album and they want to put it out. Most people think they will get a bunch of money from their album sales but that’s not the case. Let me give you an example; as an independent artist you purchase exclusive rights to a beat & record your album at a studio & put it out paid in full. The only people you really had to pay were the producers for the beats, the studio (engineer included as “work for hire”) to record & the album distributer all royalty free with maybe a small service charge.
Now let’s look at the majors;
You have to pay the producer, studio and engineers to record you, another fee for the mastering, as well as the record label while paying everyone royalties. Now you need to pay your lawyer, managers, record label, any kind of licensing, and you give away your publishing to your record label. These are just a few of the people you have to pay (now you wonder why some artists go broke before they drop an album) This can describe your typical artists deal & quite frankly Urban Music is low on the totem pole when it comes to making music so we go in at a loss. We are the flashiest genre of music but make the least amount of money yet, all entertainment industry’s make their decision from what Hip-hop does. Every race & demographic loves HipHop/R&B but yet HipHop/R&B artists get the worst deals.
Now let look at the artists who have become a branded business.
People like Jay Z, Diddy, Dre, Usher, Rick Ross & Snoop just to name a few. These artists got smart and started modeling their business after the major labels. They realized they could not live forever singing/rapping & not owning anything at all. They realized that residual income is the best income you can have; it’s money you get while doing nothing.
These artists own their own record labels; have major endorsement deals, businesses outside of the music industry & major investments. They have literally diversified their portfolio. When you are an artist under a label you own nothing unless you came to the table with an offer they couldn’t refuse.
5.) Where do you see yourself professionally (or creatively) in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years I see myself crossing over into different genres of music such as Rock, Pop, Hip Hop and doing records in different languages. I love to push myself and do things outside-the-box. I see myself having more record placements on TV, movies and video games. I also see myself doing a lot more writing for other artists as well as producing. I’ve been building on my craft for a while and strategically putting things in place. My name JoRob is an LLC under entertainment marketing. I also have my publishing company WaldronMusicGroup & Production Company JoRobProductions.
6.) Social media is obviously an extremely important element in today’s world, especially when it comes to business, branding, marketing, etc. With that being said, do you think an artist will be able to survive in today’s music industry if they’re not social media savvy?
The industry has change a lot in the past 5 years and it will keep changing. We are in a social media/digital era. People don’t buy albums anymore. Everyone is downloading your music & most of the time it’s free. You can get anything free on the World Wide Web. Because of this major change in the industry, independent artists can now make more money if they stay on top of their game. The flood gates have opened and now the industry is becoming oversaturated with a bunch of crappy content. Anyone can record an album and put it on iTunes. With this being said, your “social media game” has to powerful.
I believe no artist will make it without a social media push. Just look at all the artists who have made it to the majors because of a viral song on Vine or YouTube. Major labels had no choice but to throw them money. The general population is lazy & they want things fast. If you don’t have your social media game tight people won’t see you. People don’t want to go out searching for music they want it to be right in front of them just like the record labels.
7.) What were some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered as a musician in today’s world putting your work out there?
One of my biggest challenges as an artist is finding people and businesses I can trust. This is one reason I really had to go “left field.” I had a really hard time finding a good recording studio, engineers, videographers, places that would allow me to shoot music videos and radio stations who didn’t want to get paid for radio play so I taught myself how to do it all and do it all at a professional level. Every chance I get I’m reading about how to better myself and how to make my business profitable. There was a point in my career when I couldn’t even pay someone to do their job right. I was spending money and not getting the products I asked for. I eventually opened EC&J Studios where I had everything I needed to make it as an artist. Another challenge was finding out how to make money so I can do more projects. I started reading up on entertainment law and trying to do what the majors do. I registered with companies like BMI, Sound Exchange. I became a part of the Grammy committee & I started to reach out to music licensing companies. Doing all of these things allowed me to get my music in places that most people don’t know about and make residual income. The messed up thing about all of this is I knew people who claimed to be my friend and support me that had the information I needed or had a connection I could use but they didn’t want to help me. To this day I know people that I have helped in the past or supported them that will probably never support me as much as I have supported them. The game is really messed up. I have had a few artists that I have supported by going to shows helping pay for events that had the audacity to tell me I never supported them but yet they never came to my shows, purchased an album from me or even like a post on Facebook.
8.) What are you most excited about at the moment? In addition to that, is there anything that we should look forward to from you in the future?
Right now I am really excited about some of the new connections and deals I have made. I was able to get a deal with ABC and I am working with 2 new placement companies that have a decorated resume of people they work with in the majors as well as placements on major movies and TV networks. I am currently gearing my focus toward the production side of the industry. I plan on dropping 40 to 50 new beats (JoRob Productions) by the end of the year. I just purchased a bunch of new high-end production equipment and tools so I can’t wait to see how they change what I do.
9.) What can you tell all the people out there who want to get into the music industry (or want to pursue their goals and dreams, period)?
The music industry is full of fakes and snakes. It is imperative that you research everything that you do and get as many different opinions as you can. You will notice that most of the people you thought supported you really didn’t. Most of your older friends won’t be your friends anymore and your family will probably not support you like you want them too. You have to have tough skin and not let anyone break you down. Surround yourself with people who are like you and/or better than you at what you do because it will only make you better at your craft. You will get a million people to reject you but you will get that one person that won’t and that one person will probably be your meal ticket. Keep doing what you love and building on your craft.
And always remember that 99.9% of the people you talk to know nothing about the music industry so don’t let them discourage you.
10.) Any last words or final thoughts?
I just want to thank everyone for their support because I could not do it without you. As an R&B artist I have realized that true R&B music is almost extinct. I will do my best to keep putting out great content but I really need people to tell a friend to tell a friend about me & what I do. If you have Pandora, please add me to your playlist. If you are looking for great music, please go to sites like iTunes & Amazon to download my albums. I am on all digital platforms. My latest album is called “No Strings Attached” and I promise you that this is the only album you can listen to from start to finish without skipping track
I am on all social media platforms so please follow me and say what’s up.