I had the opportunity to speak with a talented trombonist who believes in hard work. After finishing college in 2003 he later started his own business, Inner City All Stars. Calvin Sexton has proven to be a man of passion when it comes to music. They have had the opportunity to perform in places such as Japan, New York, and Florida. The band is a mixture of brass and percussion instruments that play different styles of music. They have performed in many different venues from the Apollo to ABC’s 33/40 Talk to Alabama. Even though they may have a booking agent, Calvin still works as the manager for the group, and continues to search for different opportunities for the band.
I had the pleasure of talking with him a little about the business side of his activities. He continues to look for different performing opportunities for the band in hopes to optimize their exposure. According to Calvin, finding a manager is not as easy as many artists believe it to be. An artist must optimize their exposure in order to be seen, so the artist ends up investing a lot of time and money at the start of their career. The more positive exposure a group receives the better chance they will have of a manger or producer approaching them. He believes in searching for the next opportunity and not just waiting for someone else to bring it to you. With these thoughts in mind he is able to keep focus on the main goal when he deals with contracts and negotiations. To better assist him he researches the companies that he may be working with in order to establish a better understanding of all that they can offer him as well as to assure they are able to fill their end of the agreement.
Through his research he has been able to find opportunities for the band to work with artist such as Eryka Badu, and Gladys Knight. His tactics in negotiating are, to him simple and basic, yet they provide him with the skills needed to ensure the best deals for his business. He believes in researching a venue before signing with them. He takes the time to research the venues, possible attendance and pays attention to the budget. When looking to signing a contract he has an initial offer sheet that he sends, which gives the basics information of what is expected, which in turn gives the venue time to look over the initial arrangement before contacting him to negotiate a contract. Through some of the basic techniques and skills from experience he is able to negotiate contracts that not only provide the needed exposure but it also creates a positive working relationship for future opportunities. He believes that when negotiating both parties should be able to gain something from the contract. This is a mind set that I am sure has aided in much of his success.