By Daniel Warren Hill
I had the pleasure of coming across the story of Bonsai and how their platform provided an opportunity for building a relationship between (then) indie artist Namix and music legend Richard Gottehrer resulting in a record deal. I’m excited to share how creating and maintaining authentic relationships adds value to one another and can have some surprising and exciting outcomes:
Web and app-based platforms emerge daily with promises to revolutionize the internet and the way we interact with one another. My introduction to one-on-one meeting platform Bonsai was an article written by Peter McDermontt of Irish Echo that highlights how the platform encourages and develops meaningful relationships between users on the platform. It is intriguing to be reading a story sharing that promising result, and I was inspired to see whether I too could forge meaning and add value even though I was completely inexperienced with using the platform. Within minutes of reading the article, I had an account and a meeting request sent to Bonsai CEO Patrick Sullivan, who incidentally shares the name of a high-school friend of mine. I’ve since spoken with COO, Jake Rosenfeld, and Head of Product, Andres Palmiter, who are all united on democratizing social interaction, and every interaction I’ve had has been exactly what I hoped my experience would be.
The platform itself is currently experiencing success by facilitating 1:1 interactions between veteran industry giants, popular creators, established recording artists, and their mentees, fans, and community members. The platform is firmly situated to allow people like me the opportunity to begin to engage new audiences as I take my own personal experiences within the independent creative community and try to add value to others experiencing their own journey.
One recent interaction occurred between University of Michigan graduate, Naman Gupta, and music legend Richard Gottehrer who you are most likely familiar with as either (or both) a contributing writer to hits like “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “I Want Candy,” or as the founder of music distribution company, The Orchard, which revolutionized digital releases and would later be bought by Sony. Gottehrer had spoken at Gupta’s college and Bonsai was referenced as an invitation to be able to stay in touch, which Gupta did, not initially around music as you might expect, but around studying for a career in entrepreneurship and law. Gottehrer had intended to be an attorney and studied law for a year at Brooklyn Law School so their conversations frequently turned toward career advice and what kinds of classes to consider. Gupta does happen to be a producer, DJ, and artist appearing publicly as Namix, so inevitably there were conversations around music and Gottehrer invited Gupta to share some tracks with him and he would provide feedback.
The result of these repeated exchanges was developing the rapport and meaningful connection that Bonsai intended. The time both Gottehrer and Gupta invested in discovering and sharing all their common interests would eventually lead to Gupta/Namix being invited to Gottehrer’s personal label, Instant Records, distributed, of course, via The Orchard, where Gottehrer still resides as Chief Creative Officer. While celebrating the opportunity for building relationships and adding value to one another was one of the first tenants of the internet, it is often used as more of an infinite billboard than as a place of learning and growth. “Bonsai provides an education and engagement process. It’s a business and it does good,” says Gottehrer. “People need relationships to move forward and I love to see barriers broken down.”
The barrier isn’t just a matter of access, but also a matter of invitation. Believe me when I say that not everyone you take the time to personally reach out to and communicate with will respond to you positively simply because you have access. The people who make themselves available via Bonsai are sincerely interested in intimately and authentically interacting with others in our new digital world.
While Naman Gupta (Namix) is still very early in his relationship with his team at Instant Records, he “imagines it will be very different” from his experiences as a DIY artist. “I’m excited not to have everything in my own hands,” he says. Totally understandable when you consider that he is pursuing his law degree in the DMV even as his first single with the label, “Lost (feat. KWITNY)” is launching on all major music streaming platforms. Learn more about Namix in Alchemical Records’ coverage of “Lost”, along with the accompanying music video.
Daniel Warren Hill is an American musician, writer, and motivational speaker. He is best known as the frontman for Washington DC area Alternative Rock band YellowTieGuy, as co-founder of Capitol Groove Collective, and increasing the exposure of artists on a global scale through his work with Alchemical Records.
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