10 Questions with ... John Strazza
March 25, 2014
1. How did you first get into promotion?
I wanted to learn how to be a DJ and mix records and my brother tended bar at a club in Westchester. He put me with a guy by the name of Paddy Rascona (who is currently Warner Bros. NE regional), who was the jock at that club and he taught me to mix records and helped me purchase my first set of turntables. Later I ended up interning for Paddy at CBS Records in Rego Park Queens back when they had sales branches. When the internship ended I was offered a job there at the branch.
2. What's the biggest difference in how promotion is done today then when you first started?
Today there is so much information and data when making a choice on a song for a station. I feel that stations establish a formula for how they put songs on and there is way less "gut-programming".
3. Best piece of advice you could give to someone trying to break into the music business today?
Don't do it! (Just kidding)
I think people look at our business and are intrigued by it, but if there is actually a way to be around it, whether it is through an internship or a temp pool, it is helpful to make an educated choice on if you want to be in promotion, sales, digital marketing, etc. There are so many facets to it that if you have a chance to see how it works, it helps you make the best choice on which division you would excel at vs. just saying, "I want to be in the music business."
4. How do you utilize the clubs and the mix shows in the promotion of your music?
I worked in the Club and Mix Show department early on in my career and I do believe that certain songs still start at the club and mix show level and build from there to regular rotation. There are usually one to two songs that break annually out of the clubs to full-time rotation during the summer and there are also one to two songs that break from the holidays when stations move to all-mix programming. It's still a viable way to get songs heard and see how they sound before there is a commitment to regular rotation.
5. Virtually every song today has a remix; is there a right amount of remixes that are needed on songs?
I'm not sure there is a particular number of mixes but there is a noticeable difference when you have a remix package that has a little something for everyone. There are clubs that play a little bit of everything and still clubs and mix shows that search for a certain sound and that's when having a few different options will be to your advantage.
6. You were a club DJ, what were the three biggest songs you ever played?
- It Takes Two - Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
- Gonna Make You Sweat - C&C Music Factory
- Show Me Love - Robyn S.
My personal favorite song to play was "This time Baby" - Jackie Moore
7. If you could go see one DJ spin today (past or present) who would it be?
Larry Lavan at the Paradise Garage ... it was just prior to me getting into running around NYC clubs and everyone speaks about the music he put together in addition to the sound system that was in that club. I'm sorry I missed it!!
8. What's the most rewarding promotion campaign that you've been involved with in the past two years?
Miguel graduating from an Urban and Rhythmic artist to a household name was very, very gratifying. Another is ASAP Rocky. This was another gratifying campaign that built and built until a song by the name of "Fuckin Problems" became a pretty mainstream song! Kid Ink is this year's breakthrough artist for us at the moment ... it is still incredibly exciting to break artists with my team.
9. If you could team up any two artists on RCA to record a song together who would they be?
Hmmmm ... that is a tough one, Usher and Pitbull (oh shit, we did that), Christina Aguilera and Pitbull (oh shit, we did that), Chris Brown and Usher (awww shit, that's on its way)!
10. What's your favorite city to visit on a road trip?
Las Vegas, Miami and all of Texas ... can't pick one!! :-)
I'm in N.Y. for only one day and I want to go to a great restaurant for dinner, where should I go and why?
Lavo - Because it is a general rule that you don't eat meatballs outside the house, but their Kobe beef meatballs are some of the best I've ever tasted ... also the Oreo zeppolies on the desert menu is pretty much a MUST!!