10 Questions with ... Daniel Pearson
February 19, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
With nearly 20 years of experience under his belt, Daniel Pearson's start in the music business came very early on. He put the needle on the record for the first time at age 12 and immediately fell in love with the turntables. With his unrelenting work ethic and musical ear he partnered with a close childhood friend to form Odyssey, a successful Long Island-based DJ entertainment company. In addition to private events, he worked the nightclub circuit in New York City as a club DJ and had the good fortune of being discovered by the PD of heritage station WLIR/Long Island.
He then added on-air disc jockey for Jarad Broadcasting to his resume while studying Film and Radio at Adelphi University. Needing an internship as a requirement to graduate, Daniel with his characteristic earnest approach landed a coveted position with Columbia Records Sony Music in the Radio Promotion Department.
He quickly became an asset to the department and was offered a full-time position after graduating in Spring 2003. During his time there he was a key participant in promotional campaigns for Jessica Simpson, John Mayer, Destiny's Child, and Switchfoot, among others.
Pearson's long label resume also includes Universal Motown, Virgin Records, TVT Records, Glassnote, and most recently S-Curve, where he teamed up with longtime friend and partner Brad Davidson to break We The Kings and Andy Grammer. He also had the honor of working for MTV Networks one summer where he oversaw all radio-related aspects of the Video Music Awards.
Think Say Records launched in May 2012 and along with Brad Davidson, Ben Singer, and Josh Tangney, he's focused now on breaking their debut artist Chris Wallace. "It's such a wonderful privilege to work with people every day that you believe in and care about and I'm excited to see what the future holds for us," Pearson said.
1) What led you to a career in "reckidz," as they say in New York?
I was working overnights at the heritage station WLIR on Long Island and sister station WDRE and was always very interested in how the music got from the recording studio to my hands, and what made a song a "hit." I was fortunate enough to land an internship at Columbia Records while I was studying Film and Radio at Adelphi University, and after my first week, I was hooked. It was such an amazing place to learn and grow and a wonderful opportunity for me early on.
2) What is your favorite part of the job?
Changing people's lives. The artists I've worked with -- especially over the last few years -- have been incredibly hard working and passionate about their music and just needed the right people to believe in them as much as they believed in themselves. There is nothing I love more than an underdog story. Andy Grammer, for example, who went from playing on the street in Santa Monica to having Platinum and Gold Singles and being one of the biggest male artist to break at Hot AC in over 15 years! Another example is Chris Wallace. He literally went from living in a van to currently having one of the biggest hits in the country with "Remember When." The relationships you form with these types of artists stay with you forever and I'm proud to be a part of those types of teams.
3) Brag on the artists that you work with. What's going on in their worlds right now?
Chris Wallace is the debut artist signed to our new company, Think Say Records. His current hit, "Remember When," is top 25* at Pop and growing every day. The song is on over 100 multi-format radio stations; the video was recently added to VH1; he performed on Jimmy Kimmel last month; and is gearing up for Live With Kelly & Michael Feb 20th! He's also performing the National Anthem at the Nuggets vs. Lakers game in Denver Feb 25th in front of 20k people. Sales are starting to explode as we charge towards Top 20, and iTunes named his album the "Best Breakthrough Pop Album of 2012!" We couldn't be happier with the launch, and truly appreciate all of the support from so many good people.
4) What's been your most rewarding project to work?
The Andy Grammer Project. Brad Davidson and I put together a plan and then brought Andy to meet the most important radio programmers and decision-makers in the country. It was the first time he had ever stepped foot into a radio station. Two years later, Andy's had three hits off of his debut album and is one of the biggest success stories the music industry has seen in years. Meeting Andy and his manager Ben Singer have had such a positive effect on my life and career, and the people involved are what make it that rewarding.
5) What's the longest road trip you've ever been on, and where did it take you?
The Secondhand Serenade Promo Tour, when I launched the campaign for "Fall For You." The road trip started in Salt Lake City and lasted an entire year, crossing the country multiple times. It took us from Seattle, Washington to Savannah, GA and everywhere in between. The result was a big multi-format hit, and relationships and stories that will last a lifetime.
6) What's the worst excuse you ever heard from a programmer?
"I dropped your record because it wasn't researching." That would be a completely acceptable statement if the station was more than 22 lifetime spins in, 21 of those being in the overnight. It's tough to get a read with those numbers in my opinion.
7) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
I loved Z100, WKTU, and WBLI in high school! They played the best music. 'BLI was my local station, though, and the one I got most clearly at home. I remember driving around in my car when I first got my license and blasting 106.1. It's a humbling experience to be able to work that same station now on my own music. The good people there always make me feel so welcome when I'm back home.
8) Looking back, which years hold the best musical memories for you and who were your favorite acts at that time?
My first cassette tape that my Mom bought me was Billy Joel's "Cold Spring Harbor." Growing up on Long Island and learning to play the piano while I was in school, I really loved and identified with a lot of his music. I had the pleasure of meeting Billy years later during my time at Columbia Records. That was one the coolest moments of my life.
9) Do you have a favorite hobby?
I'm a collector. I love collecting old toys, records, sports memorabilia, maps, license plates ... anything from my travels or related to history.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
People respect honesty, integrity, and a strong work ethic above all else.
What ringtone or ringback do you have on your cel?
Chris Wallace "Remember When." I always have the current artist or projects that I'm working on my phone. You'd be amazed how many times people hear it and ask about the song. It's become a tradition at this point, but also a useful promotion tool. Feel free to call me and give a listen!