Growth: Dan Miller
Exploring the growth of ideas, aspirations, and the mentality toward success.
I AM… (Who/what are you? How do you see yourself in one sentence?)
I am an artist
Passion / Profession - (main passion and what pays the bills)
One of my goals in life is to find my passion and inspire others. I have identified my passion-in music, and I am trying to take it as far as I can. I’ve always wanted to be more than a consumer of music. Freshsessions is my contribution to the music community.
Q: Freshsessions is…
A: Freshsessions is an online marketplace that provides access for anyone in need of studio services to music professionals who can provide those services. The product was built and designed to lower the barriers of entry to recording studios, but morphed into a product that lowers the barriers of entry to all people that can offer studio services, including remote audio engineers, commercial studio owners, home studio owners, etc.
Q: How did the idea originate and what did you do to get things started?
A: My senior year of college I launched a t-shirt line with some friends, and we recorded a mixtape to cross promote the t-shirt line. The experience of recording that mixtape was addictive. And I was hooked. After college I moved to Brooklyn and was looking for a studio to continue to record and the process was absolutely horrible. So bad, in fact, that I never ended up getting into the studio. That experience was the impetus of Freshsessions.
At the time of this realization, I was working for TheLadders.com in New York City and understood there was a knowledge gap between what I currently knew, and what I (thought I) needed to know to launch a company. I took a staycation and spent all week creating my own MBA curriculum. I had a bunch of friends that were in MBA programs, so I asked them what they were reading, and about the tools they were using in their classes. At the same time, I began connecting with studios to see if this would be something they would be interested in using. For me, that was the most important step in building the confidence I would need to build my company.
Q: Professionally, your experience lies mainly in Tech, but there is also a deep musical side to you? Tell us more about your musical background.
A: When I was in 5th grade I saw, then President-elect, Bill Clinton play the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall show. From that point, I wanted to play the alto sax, so I played sax from 5th grade to 8th grade. In high school I stopped playing, but did have my own radio show, learned to play the piano, and was certainly caught in the occasional freestyle cypher.
The summer between my junior and senior year in college I built a studio with the same friends I launched the clothing line with. That summer I was in the studio constantly, messing around more or less, but my friends seemed to like it. Rapping that summer was my first introduction to creating recorded music and, for someone who likes to create, it was truly an amazing experience/feeling. I wasn’t rapping to get a deal or because it was a job, I legitimately just enjoyed creating songs and seeing my friends be entertained by them. That was a really cool feeling.
Q: Technology has played a huge part in the music industry the past few years. What impact do you feel it’s had in the way artists produce and distribute their sounds, and how do you see Freshsessions enhancing that experience?
A: In aggregate, the increase of music tech companies has further enabled artists to produce music in an isolated box, which is ok and works for some artists, but the environment in a studio is an infectious one. This environment often leads to the production of really dope, enthralling music. This is where Freshsessions comes in. Lowering the barriers of entry to this resource to facilitate more offline collaboration is how we will ultimately enhance the production experience.
Q: Recently you decided to become a Lyft driver on the side to help keep things rolling financially. Can you shed some light on the sacrifices or decisions you’ve made to make your idea become real?
A: Just because I decided to launch a startup doesn't mean the world is going to stop or capitulate to my circumstances. I am blessed to be able to work on a product that solves a real problem for people. After I fully understood that, I made the decision to make sure this idea became a reality. It has not been easy, but consistent positive reinforcement from my network, along with a healthy dose of grit, makes things like working a part-time job to continue to work on my dream manageable.
Q:You were recently recognized by Business Insider as one of the most important African-Americans in technology. How does that feel?
A: Being recognized by Business Insider was a real honor that certainly felt surreal. There is still much work to do. Being recognized by Business Insider serves as an affirmation that I am on the right path but now that myself, and my company are getting press, there are higher expectations to do well.
Q: What is your superpower? (How do you feel that superpower/quality has helped you grow personally and professionally?)
A: I’d say my superpower is my ability to relate and connect with people from all walks of life. For one reason or another, people feel comfortable around me and talking to me, so it’s easy for me gain access to who they really are.
Q: The weekly “Fresh Friday” playlists you put out on Soundcloud are very well rounded as it pertains to genres. What genres encapsulate your love for music most?
A: Currently, I’d have to say rap is the genre that most encapsulates my love for music. That hasn’t always been the case though. Being a musician exposed me to many different types of music. Some of my favorite artists that I have listened to consistently over the last 10 years include Radiohead, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Interpol, Kaskade, Miles Davis, Chris Botti, Lil Wayne, Jeezy, Kanye, T.I., Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z, Mount Kimbie, and The Arctic Monkeys. I really like artists that push their respective genres forward. Some of my favorite new(ish) artists include TravisScott, SZA, Little Dragon, A$AP Mob, Oddisee, Mac Miller, Hot Chip, Earl Sweatshirt, and Grizzly Bear.
Q: When an artist or producer discusses Freshsessions, what feelings about the service would you want to hear most?
A: I’d love for users to feel empowered in their sessions because they’ve found the perfect place to rehearse or record. This product is about lowering the barriers to offline music collaboration. We want to recognized and remembered as facilitators of music production. Music that otherwise, would have never been created.
Q: Any tips for someone out there thinking about getting started with an idea?
A: Start now! It doesn’t matter how small your actions are at the beginning, what matters is that you act.
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