SOCAN is proud to welcome our newest member to our A&R team. In the newly-created role of Senior A&R Executive, Erica Grayson will be based out of our brand-new Los Angeles office, in Culver City.
Grayson is a Brooklyn-born, Los Angeles-based, music-industry veteran, having worked or consulted with companies like Sony, Interscope, A&M, OVO, Motown, Atlantic, and others in and outside of the U.S. With a passion for diversity and multi-culturalism, she’s lent her time and voice to curating events and speaking engagements around the imperative of inclusion in music and creator communities. Grayson has served on the L.A. Chapter Board of NARAS (the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which presents the Grammy Awards), and has been recognized by ASCAP Women in Music. She has held Vice-Presidential positions in A&R, Publishing, and Film & TV. Through her entrepreneurship for the last several years, Erica has gained unique insight into how the business has evolved – and most importantly, the value of businesses engaging with culture in authentic ways as their key to success.
As the Senior A&R Executive at SOCAN, Grayson will be working with the rest of our A&R team in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montréal, and play an integral role in driving SOCAN’s A&R strategy. She’ll be supporting SOCAN members living in L.A., and the many more who travel there. Considering herself an “intrapreneur,” she hopes to use her experience and strong relationships to build various creative programs and platforms to better service Canadian songwriters, screen composers, and music publishers – and as a result, to increase SOCAN’s profile in the U.S. market.
To introduce Erica to you, we decided to ask her a few questions.
Until now, what was your favourite job in the music industry, and why?
I’ve had so many enriching experiences in this business. I love artist development and A&R, but building a management and consulting business was probably my favourite, because I was able to use all of my experience in one place to support music creators.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of, so far?
I’d have to say that I’m most proud of not being afraid to seek out business mentors throughout my career. No matter how successful I’ve been, or what positon I’ve held, I always want to be better, and learn what I can, so I’m not afraid to ask for help or advice.
Why did you decide to come to SOCAN, and why now?
I’ve come to learn that SOCAN offers a rare and unique home for creatives to grow, in a safe place. Mike McCarty and Rodney Murphy created this role for me, to put to use all of my A&R experience and skills to amplify what SOCAN is already doing for songwriters, screen composers, and their publishers. Canadian artists and screen composers are achieving unprecedented global success these days, and I’m excited to play a role in helping support those SOCAN members, and to nurture the next generation of members, so that this current success is not an anomaly. This is a huge opportunity for me.
One specific area that I want to focus on is utilizing my relationships to build a better bridge with the film & TV community here in L.A. SOCAN has a tremendous roster of screen composers who live in and travel to L.A., and I want to add as much value to their business as possible. I want to create greater access to the creative community here in the States that will hopefully create more business opportunities for them. And I intend to build some programming to help service SOCAN membership in this market.
Why is it important for SOCAN to have U.S. representation?
SOCAN is an incredible organization, one that’s growing rapidly. I think it’s obvious and wise to have representation here in L.A., because for many SOCAN members, “All roads lead to Los Angeles.” We have more than 900 members living here already, with hundreds more visiting to further their craft development and business over the course of the year. Our L.A. House, and new office in Culver City – which includes a “writing room” – are here to support this.
Where do you see the future of Canadian music creators going in the next five years?
It doesn’t take Nostradamus to see that the future is bright for Canadian music creators. Look at how they’ve dominated the global market and charts in recent years. This is a trend that’s not going away, in my opinion.
Where does your passion for artist discovery and development come from?
It’s the purest part of the process. I think I will always be that kid that wants to know everything about something that I love so much. And what a huge honour it is to also have any part in their journey… Really doesn’t get any better than that for me.
If you had to choose, who’s your favourite songwriter, and why?
Ha, that’s a trick! I would never choose. I love hip-hop, R&B, pop, afrobeat, Latin music. I love songs, and beats, and compositions, and lyrics that make you feel things.
At Interscope, you worked directly with superstar producer and Apple head honcho Jimmy Iovine. What’s the best Jimmy story that you’re able to share?
Working with Jimmy was a real gift. I don’t know about sharing stories, I’m no snitch, LOL! Seriously, I think for me, what I appreciated most about working with him was that Jimmy valued winning. So you always knew where you stood with him. It wasn’t about who he liked better or didn’t, it wasn’t about the politics. You were either delivering, or you weren’t. As the only woman on the A&R team at that time, it leveled the playing field for me.