"Music is an integral part of the 8O8 story. Tommy, what does music mean to you?"
So said the words of the drinks legend, Harry Drnec, the man who brought Bud light to the market and who's genius helped to build RedBull, putting the energy drink on the map and revolutionising the soft drinks market in the process. Harry is a family friend and when my uncle found out I was insanely embarking on a whisky brand that would revolutionise the category, he suggested I contact Harry for advice.
8O8 whisky is all about music. It's concepts and community underpin the very essence of what the 8O8 brand signifies. Harry had got straight to the soul and USP of the brand and wanted to understand my relationship with music to help define where the brand should go.
What does music mean to me? It was a question that equally fascinated and baffled me at the same time!
In all my years I had never really thought about it. You kind of just chip along don't you? It's a passion. At first you're engaged, intrigued and then you can't stop and before long you're making a difference enough for someone to ask your opinion and ask you to help them and amazingly enough pay you and then, you really, really can't stop.
But there must be more then just passion...?
It's easy to give the rather glib answer that's it's cos you love it. I love music, in fact my production company of 20 years, ItsALuvThang, named after the The Whispers Disco classic of the same name, was named for exactly that reason. I can't see why anyone else would do anything with passion if there wasn't a feeling of love right at the heart of it. And of course we all know that love follows passion.
But, as with the word 'love' itself, what does it mean to love music?
I realised I had to go deep...
After much deliberation, I realised that what music meant to me and what music gives to me, is a sense of community, a feeling that yes we are all genius' at something but together we can achieve real greatness.
I feel most at ease when I'm with music In fact I'm writing this in a Barcelona hotel, having just spoken about my diverse career as the guest speaker at the Future Music Forum. Feeling the love and respect from my fellow music peers and the exciting next generation, amplifies just that point.
Creatives are a family. A family that understands, empathises and respects one another. Music knows no boundaries, nothing of race, colour or creed, sexual orientation, language, or age. There is no judgement in music. One mans Ed Sheeran is another womens Marvin Gaye.
Music brings people together.
But there's also this sense of magic. Wheres does music come from? John Lennon said that musical ideas are all around us, you just have to pick them out the air.
Writing and performing music for over 25 years has given me that feeling of magic, unity, and empathy for all and installed in me a strong selection of diverse skills and tricks of the trade to help me be cre8ive, stay cre8ive and not be a fa8ke. (my fascination with the number 8 is ramping up!)
I thought that being a DJ, music producer, songwriter, artist, live show producer and whisky maker, wearing all these hats, so to speak, underpinned a restless need for stimulation but actually it has given me a unique approach, vision and bedrock of valuable knowledge on many different levels.
I have been able to integrate and mix together each of those roles to great effect. Songwriting helped me be a better producer, Being a DJ helped me to be a better artist and learning how to market and build an artist has been invaluable to buildin a brand such as 8O8.
To some up the philosophy, I coined the phrase 'Harmony Through Mixology' The philosophy of mixing stuff up that shouldn't be mixed, to cre8 something unique and valuable.
I realised that I had inadvertently programmed myself to encourage this diversity and so I set about to deconstruct all this experience and knowledge and cre8 an educational program that I could pass on to others.
The world is changing rapidly, with machines and A.I. widely reported to be advancing to the stages where most clerical, menial and managerial roles will become redundant. What will be left is simple human creativity and a desire and need in all of us to co-oper8 and collabor8.
I believe in these turbulent times such programs are greatly needed, not just to help fellow cre8tives but the wider world.
My program covers cre8tivity, how to harness, control and respect it and collaboration, building teams, working within those teams and getting the best out of everyone.
There are no winners, or losers, just players. Enjoy the game
This is the basis for my Harmony Through Mixology program.
If you're interested in finding out more, please sign up to my mailing list through the contact page