In this second episode Oscar Hernandez talks about the facts of life in the music industry business.
Editor’s note: Carlos Garcia interviewed Oscar Hernandez for podcast part two of this three part podcast series. Find podcast 2 below. We wish to thank Tomas Algarin a respected latin music historian, educator, writer, radio producer, stage performer/concert Emcee and also a steadfast Latin Business Today collaborator who helped facilitate this spotlight on Oscar Hernanez. Enjoy!
For those who missed Part 1 and want to start there, here is the link: [Podcast 1] Oscar Hernandez, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Grammy Winning Bandleader
In this part of the conversation with Oscar Hernandez, we talk about the facts of life in the music business – many people have lots of talent, but many don’t ever figure out how to manage their talent, their careers or their lives. Oscar has seen many wonderfully talented people fall apart, and he talks about what kept him together.
Oscar Hernandez and Paul Simon
Oscar really does see his orchestra as a business – he tries to be fair, to be plain spoken and clear about what he wants and doesn’t want. But he has learned some painful lessons along the way but the key word there is learn. He believes it is important to stay positive even as conflicts mount.
Oscar Hernandez and Herbie Hancock
He speaks about having to be a manager, having to interact with many different types of people doing many different types of work – from lighting to sound, from musicians to agents, from promoters to publicists. As well as dealing with accounting and legal issues – he has learned how to manage the money side as well as the contractual side of things, so there are some lawyerly skills needed as well.
Oscar Hernandez with Chick Corea
Oscar admits that he is a musician first, so developing business skills took a lot of effort, and he knows there are still some things he isn’t good at. For example, he prefers that his agent negotiate the deals. The idea of delegating things you aren’t super-good at is a good one.
Oscar Hernandez and The Spanish Harlem Orchestra
One tricky element is the culture among musicians – he considers the members of his orchestra as friends rather than simply employees or colleagues. I imagine this promotes the trust and camaraderie needed for the music these guys play which is an intriguing blend of precision and spontaneity.
Please find podcast 2 below. Part 3 to follow.