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An industry responsibility

Coda agent Mike Malak outlines why he established KID Talks in order to encourage the next generation of music business professionals

04 Jul 2018

Mike Malak, Coda Agency

KID Talks is an initiative that I founded three years ago, with the goal of helping young people to get into the music industry, boosting their self-confidence and providing the tools for them to get started.

We’ve all been there – being young with a passion for music and wanting to be involved in the industry. Each individual embarks on their own journey to kick-start their career in music but the road is never straightforward. It requires a huge amount of hard work, perseverance, and faith that someone will eventually open that door.

Prior to joining Coda Agency, there were key individuals who helped my journey. Polo Molina, manager of the Black Eyed Peas, allowed me to be part of the team at 17 when he had no logical reason to do so; Dante Santiago, A&R for the Black Eyed Peas, pushed and encouraged me; and Ian Fletcher, another talented manager, trusted me to book his act LMFAO when they were set for global stardom. These people are all family to me to this day, highlighting the real value of spotting a young person’s desire and encouraging them to go further; it is their pivotal advice and faith that I am extremely thankful for.

Having worked in music for over ten years, including time at Warner Bros Records and with Steve Aoki’s management, I fast discovered the days are challenging. However, through the consistent support I receive from the partners at Coda combined with hard work, I am now in a position of representing world-class talent of all genres, whilst spearheading the urban music roster and being Coda’s agent of the year.

I ensure that I don’t forget that several key individuals were pivotal in my career and provided me with a platform. Through this, it’s clear to see that it is our duty to keep our eyes and ears open for young people who have the desire and work ethic but simply need the tools, stimulation and self-belief to reach and surpass their aspirations.

I find myself grateful for being able to work in such an open-minded environment, where many years ago Coda partner Alex Hardee provided me with the opportunity to become an agent. Much of Coda’s success lies in it being a business about people whilst nurturing the team and giving them the platform to flourish and grow. The result being Coda is an agency of people who remain loyal and help propel the company further.

We’ve all been there: being young with a passion for music and wanting to be involved in the industry

It is this support that allows me to remember that a few words or minutes of your time can bring a large amount of value to a young individual who may be needing the motivation or the tools to start building their dream career today.

The industry is challenging and volatile – it’s about having a strong mentality to block out the noise whilst allowing yourself to build, and having faith that what you create will attract those you wish to collaborate with.

I continue to work and develop new projects, with some exciting ventures coming this year, but this is only possible through a core belief that no matter how early or late in your career, you must continue to branch out, grow and push the boundaries if you are to be successful in the music industry.

So remember that those young ones you inspire today are the next leaders. With the power of social media to amplify work and social circles faster than ever before, young people are leading the way forward. If it is not in the spirit of ‘giving back’ that you do it, it may well be in your own interest to have these people on your side in the coming years! They already are the future.

KID will be running more sessions with the Roundhouse over the next year, and some sessions over at IMS Ibiza this summer. We also aim to document as many of the sessions as possible in order to give young people all over the world a chance to access it. Any partners that are interested in getting involved locally or internationally are welcome to do so. The programme is extremely flexible and we encourage more artists and industry talent to get involved. It’s invaluable to share knowledge and experience, however, no journey is ever the same: what’s consistent is the mentality, if you want to get to the top and surpass your ambitions.

 


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