Loren Israel was a punk rocker long before he was an A&R executive at Capitol Records and long before he started building indie bands into powerhouse acts from the ground up.
And the truth of his success lies with his ferocity and passion for music that grew even after his days as an artist ended. It’s the same ferocity that led him to study the industry after following a musician’s path. And then going on to work with bands that we all know as majorly successful staples like Jimmy Eat World, Plain White T’s and Less Than Jake, just to name few.
And before Israel fast-tracked his success with a degree and years spent in the trenches of his local music scene, he was in a band. He toured with names like Soul Asylum and Bad Religion before laying down his guitar and following his calling to help other artists do the same.
“I toured and got a record deal, publishing deal,” Israel told American Songwriter about his musician roots.” But after living the musician’s lifestyle for a decade, he returned to school. And though this path was successful, he missed the rawness and energy of hands-on music.
“I went back to school and got a degree, but I missed music,” he said. “I couldn’t stay away from it. I was doing a lot of charity work. And I promoted a lot of shows in and around my area. I helped a lot of bands, honestly, I think I just couldn’t get away from music.”
His massive amount of energy and time dedicated to his local music scene was what ultimately contributed and led to his path a Capitol Records A&R and working with indie or emerging talents like Plain White T’s and Jimmy Eat world among many others. And now he is de-mystifying the industry and launching his own consulting service to share the same DIY approaches he used to build those once indie bands up into successful acts.
“I have always worked with emerging talent,” Israel said. “I grew up as a punk rocker, I always had that DIY ethos. And when I started working in Capitol Records, I knew that I needed to learn how to communicate to artists. And the best way to learn how to communicate to artists is to actually produce records. I wanted to make a connection between A and R, which is the artists or the voice. I’ve been working with emerging talent or indie talent for 30 years and it’s the best part of my day. It’s the best part of the overall envelope of things I do.”
Not only a A&R rep, and producer, Israel is also a kind of mentor. With the launch of his consulting service he is welcoming artists that have his same passion and work ethic to come learn everything he has spent the last 30 years living about songwriting, marketing, mixing and production. And while some people will argue the most core of these principles, songwriting is unteachable, Israel would argue it is like any other discipline and can be attained with skill-honing and dedication. And he makes the path to that easily digestible for any artist he works with.
“If you want to have a career, you know, a real career, you have to have a certain discipline that across the board,” he explained. “You must be a prolific writer. You must understand the discipline of writing songs that you can look back on in 10 years and be proud of- songs that speak to a large number of people and understand that success is a measured thing. And you’ve got to be your own marketeer.”
In this age of music and even more so with the pandemic’s impression on the music industry, marketing has grown into even more of a necessity for thriving and emerging bands to follow a path of success. Streaming and social media presence have grown into a staple aspect of the indie or emerging artists ethos and it has to be implemented tirelessly, which is often where some artists can go wrong.
“You’ll find the greatest artists are more marketers than they are artists,” Israel said. “And I think that it’s easy for us as musicians to want to be a bit laissez-faire with our marketing and promotion of ourselves. But it’s very necessary.”
Israel encompasses each of these aspects in more detail through his consulting service. But he always starts with one core exercise. And it’s one that shows just how attainable being a great songwriter can be and breaks it down into essential components.
“I try to help my artists learn the craft of songwriting by analyzing songs that are successful, and then bringing those concepts, those elements into their own songs,” Israel said. “So I teach them that the before they have merchandise, before they tour, before a publishing deal, before anything, they have to have a song that makes the whole world sing.”
Many of Israel’s artist have gone on to be hugely successful following these same ideas, with chart topping hits like Plain White T’s, “Hey There Delilah,” Neon Trees’ “Animal” and “Everybody Talks”, both triple platinum singles. And in addition to working with Israel, they all had “an indominable spirit, a desire to learn and an ability to say yes to challenges,” which are core personality traits Israel explains were important to their success. If you are an aspiring, emerging, or indie artist and want to be successful and make music a career and not just a hobby, then Israel wants to work with you too. And all you need bring is an indominable spirit and he will de-mystify the rest, while teaching all the ins and outs of the business that he has curated over his 30 years of expertise.
You can learn more about Israel’s detailed success and the new consulting services he is offering to every musician wanting to touch the masses, here.