10 Questions with ... Danny "C" Coniglio
September 9, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started as a Dj, Interned @ Mercury records. 1st gig was doing Dance promotion at Maxi Records. Rose through the ranks at Arista Records, then to Priority/Capitol, then to TVT, then to having my own company and really focused on working with artists directly. My first account, one day after leaving a label was a group called LMFAO. Three singles later, they signed with Interscope and had some of the biggest records in the world. In addition to working with already established artists, I was also very fortunate to work with brand new artists such as LMFAO and Austin Mahone It was incredible to see Austin's evolution by taking him station by station, city by city and getting into my 1st high-speed car chase with screaming fans in tow. I was fortunate to be a part of the building of Drop City Yacht Club as well as a host of others..
1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I thought I wanted to be a doctor until my college chemistry mid-term, then all hopes were shattered. I come from a family of law enforcement, so then I turned towards being an ATF agent and follow in my Dad's footsteps. If it weren't for a Federal hiring freeze in the early 90's, my life would be a lot different now!
2. Did you start in music with a record label?
I started as a DJ. I am a DJ 1st and foremost. I felt I couldn't talk music with other DJ's and mixers unless I did what they did. From there I interned at Mercury Records and caught the bug. It never left!
3. Looking at relationships at radio, who do you think you've worked with the longest?
I came into the game doing club and mixshow promotion, working those DJ's. As I moved up, so have they.. I can remember working Ebro when he was a mixer at 1 am on Friday nights on KSFM, or bringing artists to KMEL mixer meetings and working Glenn Aure, Franzen, Big Von and the Pirate DJ's.. .Jazzy Jim, R Dub, Homie Marco and Cindy Hill I have been working with a long time, as well. I still call D Wayne at KOHT, DJ PAYBACK!! It's good to see that the people I was working early on rose through the programming ranks as I graduated through the label ranks. I have also been working people like Tap Money, Gee Spinn, Beata and Jill Strada for years! These are all people I have great respect for.
4. How did you connect with Pitbull and Mr. 305 Inc?
When I did Rhythm promotion at TVT, I was introduced to a young rapper from Miami named Pitbull. He had a record called "Culo". I saw a quality in him and a drive that I knew he was going to be a star. I saw his hunger and passion, and quickly aligned myself with him. I told him to stay close and pick up everything he can. The dynamic at TVT was a bit unconventional, so I was able to establish strong relationships with the artists directly, including Pit. He was a good listener and asked questions if he didn't know how something worked. He would sit outside our offices when he came to NY and picked up on how we would talk to DJ's and programmers. Through his networking, he established relationships with the DJ's and radio, directly. Many of those relationships are still intact today.
5. Pit's obviously very talented but what else makes him special as an artist?
I have been with Pit for 12 years now and his passion is as strong as when he started. He doesn't give up, and no matter how big the records get, or the performance are, he still feels there are bigger fish to catch and bigger goals and objectives to conquer. He doesn't have an ego that is detrimental to him, it's actually his asset. You actually want to go out of your way for him because he appreciates it! He treats people with respect, and to this day, will say "thank you" or "great job" in a response email or conversation with him. He has no problem telling us to do the same. He talks to the bartender or a waiter in a restaurant the same way he talks to his family, with courtesy and respect. You honestly won't talk to anyone who says anything negative about Pitbull.
He also put together a great team around him. Charles Chavez has been his manager from nearly the beginning of his "radio career" and Mike Calderon has been with Pit from the very beginning. I used to work Charles when he was in radio, and I used to sell Pitbull merch at shows with Mike in the early years. I am proud to be with Pit and this special team for as long as I have. I consider him one of the premiere artists on the planet, an artist that up and coming artists can really learn from. Most importantly, I consider him a friend. I have been around a lot of artists and I can tell you, they can learn something from Pitbull.
6. What still excites you about the music business?
I can say that I wake up every day really thinking of how I can make a difference.. Seeing the successes of a Macklemore or recently, Magic, reaffirms to me that we can still make a difference based on our relationships and great music and don't need to be tied to a label at inception. I'm not afraid to take risks, or climb the mountain no one else wants to climb. I have to feel like I left nothing on the table for the artists that I work, and now potentially sign. These are the things that still excite me. Turning a "No" into a "Yes'", being a part of making future stars and knowing that it is based on dedication and hard work makes me want the day to end so I can do it again tomorrow.
I still get goose-bumps when I have to blast out a new Pitbull record. My hands literally shake when I'm putting the eBblast together because I cant get it out fast enough! The first blast that I send out usually has a few typos because I'm so excited. It's fun to me to see first alerts on the records that we just blasted out and seeing the initial reactions of people to these songs. I still believe that going on the road with an artist makes a difference, a BIG difference. I saw it first hand with Pitbull and Lil Jon, and more recently with LMFAO, Austin Mahone and Drop City Yacht Club. All of these things still get me excited to be in this business.
7. If you weren't in music, what do you think you'd be doing professionally?
I would be the 3rd guy on American Pickers or Pawn stars. Objects from history and the stories they tell really fascinate me. I am also into architectural salvage. I really enjoy taking 100 year old doors from a villa in Spain and trying to figure out how to use them in my house somewhere.
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Get spins...only playing. Lately, its finding talent. Pit has afforded me the opportunity to sign and develop talent to Mr. 305.
Not music related, I enjoy a great cigar with friends, or jumping on the trampoline with the family, and sometimes do both simultaneously. It causes quite the safety concern!
9. If you were leaving New York as a home base, where do you think you'd move?
Nowhere, I don't think I could ever move. I have very strong roots to NY. That's not to say I wouldn't have a satellite office in the Caribbean, but I need the speed that is NY..
10. One quick sentence on the explosion of DJs as artists ?
Pete, you cant ask a promo guy to answer a question with one sentence..
The DJ was always the star at clubs and parties. I came up in a time where partygoers would circle around the table where the DJ and turntables were and chant your name when you were scratching a record or played a song they wanted to hear. It really took mainstream and corporate America, as well as radio, a long time to really wrap their head around the fact that the artist DIDN'T have to sing to be the star. Too many DJ's were getting paid $100.00/night, so they weren't looked at as stars, just "the help". I'm glad that they evolved.
If you had to eat one type of meal everyday for a month, what would it be?
Since I'm down 80 lbs that's not the question I want to be asked.... But without a doubt, it would be Italian, all day every day!! After all, I do have a vowel at the end of my name
Who were some of your music business mentors?
I have to say that Clive Davis was my first iconic mentor. What a person to learn the music business from. Clive's methodology was very focused on the dynamic of the song. I learned to appreciate a song and what constitutes a hit is from working with him. It is because of Clive that I listen to records differently. It was the most incredible experience to work at Arista Records. He was an amazing teacher to learn the music business from, as Arista was my first "corporate job". Because of that, every place I have, and will work; he has inadvertently set the bar so high that I strive to create a similar model for success. I have always felt since my time at Arista Records, that my work ethic must be at that level to continue to try and stay ahead of the pack.
Richard Palmese is someone I also consider a mentor. Under his administration, I was able to evolve from the "dance guy" into doing Radio promotion. He is someone I credit for allowing me to grow.
Tom Maffei was the person who believed enough in me to give me my first shot at doing radio at Arista, then brought me over to Priority Records to run the Rhythm Department. I learned a llot from Tom. He was an executive that wanted me to take his job and succeed. He wasn't a person who put me down or kept me in a box, but rather empowered me to do things to broaden my career. I am eternally grateful to Tom for being like that with me because that's the way I ran the departments I was involved in. I took those attributes I learned at the major label level and then utilized them on the independent level when I was brought in to run the Rhythm Dept at TVT. This is where I met and worked with Lil Jon, Pitbull and the Ying Yang Twins. TVT was the #1 Billboard Independent Label the 5 years I was there. We had an amazing team that ran independently, but had major label ideologies.
Conversely, I can also say that I learned A LOT from executives I worked with of what NOT to do, of how NOT to run a dept./company and what NOT to stand for.
I can say that I took the positive things I learned from amazing mentors as well as negative things and folded it into a career that is focused on the development of new artists, empowering the people around me and ultimately going to bed at night saying "I did the right thing".