Interview with a Rockstar | Terry McDermott

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Real rockstar Terry McDermott was born in Scotland but now calls New Orleans home. He’s had success as an original singer/songwriter and was runner-up on Season 3 of ‘The Voice’ in the USA. Take a moment to learn a little bit about Terry in our latest Interview with a Rockstar!

What was your most memorable ‘rockstar’ moment?

Adam Levine introduced me to Joe Pesci just before I performed to a television audience of about 12 million people. I’m a huge fan so it just added to this wonderfully surreal feeling of ‘yeah.....I guess this is happening’. Great stuff. Playing live on Vietnamese TV in Saigon was another fantastic experience. Nobody spoke English in the studio but they were singing along with the words. Walking off stage at The Viper Room in LA and having A&R men from all the major labels stick their card in my face was pretty rockstar too.

Why do you think music is such a powerful driver of emotion?

Everybody craves authenticity, something real. Music ties us altogether in that respect. It’s a shared connection that directly taps in to what’s going in inside you and everyone needs that storytelling to feel like ‘I’m not the only person on earth going through this.

What have you been able to translate from the music industry into being successful in business?

I started out in a major label band from Scotland and I think that began a real apprenticeship in understanding the mechanics of the industry I work in. Working with top producers and beginning to understand the how and why made a real difference to the way I approached things. The Voice came much later but the lessons continued. Leaving The Voice and releasing my own single which went to number one in the iTunes chart was a fantastic learning experience and let me apply all the things I’d learned in the past; the process of writing it, having the video shot, negotiating a release date and marketing plan, initiating a radio campaign and tour, prepping artwork. Generally taking responsibility for elements of making and releasing music that is usually the remit of a department within your record company. All things that must be addressed with equal care and demand a certain order for delivery. It was very satisfying to put all the tools into practice and see the rewards.

A band has multiple members and, as in the corporate world, it’s important to work as a team. What do you believe is the ingredient for having a successful team?

Communication is utterly vital. You can learn the hard way in bands that a lack of communication can act like a cancer. It can create problems and frustrations that needn’t exist and that can often prove costly. Having the strength of mind to express concerns fairly and openly in the right way helps bring the team together and stops issues before they start. Humility is an essential element as well.

You are no doubt very passionate about music and having passion for your work is one contributing factor to being successful. What other ingredients do you believe are key to being successful in your chosen career?

I grew up in the industry with guys that all shared one vital ingredient; A very strong work ethic. We expected nothing for free and where happy to get our hands dirty as frequently as we could. Someone once told me the difference between success and failure with talented people is so often the application and I believe it’s true. You have to be willing to work longer and harder than the other guy.