So I showed up early to meet a friend for lunch at one of my favorite places in Nashville. I was sitting at the table ordering my drink when I noticed three of the biggest names in the music business arriving for lunch. A mighty power lunch was about to convene, which is not uncommon in Nashville. Before they took their seat one of the men, a label President who will remain anonymous, came up to my table to say hello. We don’t know each other extremely well, so it was quite unexpected. The other two industry professionals, who I did know from the business, waved from the table they had just secured.
I know several individuals who work for this particular record label head and they speak very highly of him. I mentioned to a couple of them about my lunch encounter and they were not the least bit surprised. Each of them said he is a classy and genuine guy who has little ego and pretense. That’s saying a lot for anyone in the upper stratum of record labels.
I frequently see another label head out and about who I know fairly well. Anytime that we notice one another he has never once took it upon himself to come over and say hello. It is either a distant wave or I make the conciliatory move. Now if I were one of the other three gentlemen from the previous scenario I mentioned I’m sure he would knock down wait staff to say hello…..or would he? I’m not offended, bitter, and don’t feel like I am owed anything. Quite the contrary. I sort of expect status and ego to prevail over relationships in the music business because that’s the way it generally likes to work. There are a lot of incredibly friendly people in Music City and I’m glad to call some of them my friends, but rarely does a top prominent figure take the time to move across a room to shake hands with someone he recognizes, but doesn’t know very well. And might I add has nothing particular to gain from.
I feel like the first label head represents true leadership, character, and realness and it is no wonder his team admires and respects him so much. I would welcome the opportunity to work with him someday. The second label head is no doubt a leader, but the kind who rules out of ego and control. He’s a brilliant businessman, but it is difficult for me to completely respect him.
So there you have the contrast of two label leaders of stature and power. One doesn’t care much about those things and the other cares a little too much.
I’m reminded that no matter what my position is in the music industry I want to reflect the character and qualities of the first individual. How about you?