We had the good fortune of connecting with Adam Mason and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adam, how do you think about risk?
Risk-taking is important for growth. Without it one stays stagnant, there is no forward motion. We don’t know what lies ahead. We must take the seeds of abstract thought and plant and harvest them into a dream for our future with clear ideas. We set our goals, envision the action and outcome, and proceed forth. It’s a gamble sometimes but we try and mitigate the risk and limit the variables with planning. We need adaptability and ingenuity when things don’t go as planned. We need to have conviction in our original vision and stay committed even as the journey unfolds and the path turns every which way and has us lost and searching for guidance. The initial vision has to be strong enough to see us through dark times and remain steadfast as we go. Starting my own business was surely a risk and a huge leap of faith. I did not want to settle. My fear of the unknown and the potential for failure was not outweighed by my fear of getting stuck, of settling for something less than what I knew I was worth. I had to let go of anything that felt secure in hopes of finding something that gave me more satisfaction and would allow progression. I had to part with some old relationships and forge new ones, or strengthen relationships that were already solid and take those people with me for my journey under this new flag. I had to reinvent my career identity with a new brand, a new name. It was scary but also liberating to have a clean slate with more wisdom upon which to draw. A “2.0” of sorts. I think there is some necessary naivety in taking on major life changes which incorporate a lot of risk. If we could see in advance, as in hindsight, all of the struggle and hard work day to day that would come we might not want to go for it in the first place. It would feel too exhausting and daunting from the start. You have to be whimsical enough to not see those realities and just get lost in the fairy tale to truly dive in and get going. The almost naive conviction in what we are doing and the long process which does not occur suddenly but unfolds over many months and years, giving us time to digest the workload slowly – piece by piece, helps us keep our motivation and not feel overwhelmed by the monumental task we may actually have taken upon ourselves. The excitement that we might actually be onto something and have what it takes to see it succeed, and this spark breathing life into further ambition and motivation, is what sees us gaining kinetic energy and really building something spectacular. I have taken many risks in my business beyond just starting my own company. I am always in pursuit of development of the brand and inspiration for both our employees (musicians) and clients. I am very competitive in how we distinguish ourselves within our industry – in our case live-music arts and entertainment. I want to be bigger, stronger, more vibrant, and more innovative than anyone else around me. Distinction is key in such an oversaturated market. I use business development as a vessel for my creativity. This also means spending funds that could have otherwise been saved with the hope that they will become a great investment in growing the brand and branching into new territory. Sometimes it is all worth it and things really pay off. Sometimes they don’t. How do you know if you don’t try? I like to always be creating, moving forward, staying one step ahead, and simply seeing my ideas come to life for my own personal enjoyment whether they are fruitful or not. This if nothing else is just a benefit of having taken that initial risk in starting my own company. I get to make those calls. That alone is a great reward, to put into action my thoughts and fail if I must. I am happy to have tried and invested the time and energy. The process is always one of great learning and I certainly don’t feel stagnant. One recent example of risk-taking is my relocation to the greater Los Angeles area. I am networking and building a base for our brand expansion on the West Coast. I am eager to have 45 Riots performing events in Southern California on a regular basis. Managing my business in NYC remotely while developing business here in LA and running our record label all at the same time is a joyful pursuit that I hope will soon bear fruit. I enjoy activities in my personal life which reflect a similar facing of fears and risk-taking as in my career. These activities in fact have inspired me in many ways to build my own business with confidence. I think they taught me a lot about myself and illustrated how much more untapped potential I had at my disposal with clear focus and resolve. So many of the same principles carry through my varied pursuits. You can take the fundamental psychology of skydiving, motorcycle track racing, snowboarding, trekking through tropical rainforests, or martial arts, and just change some of the technical vocabulary but basically follow the same truths of how your body, mind, and soul should singularly operate. I learned a lot about managing fear, problem solving, mitigating risk while putting myself in extreme situations, slowing down time in my mind, being present, seeing things through, and discovered much about my own learning process, attitude, and ego. It has been a process of real growth between my active lifestyle and building my business over the last decade which has shown that the risks were truly worth the reward, and that for me is the bottom line.
What should our readers know about your business?
45 Riots is a live-music entertainment company headquartered in NYC and now expanding to Southern California. We provide music ensembles hand-crafted from our greater collective of talented musicians, all of whom have been playing together onstage for years in varied formats with great synergy and rapport, and perform for high-end private and corporate events, nightclub concerts, and as a backing band in support of original artists onstage or in the recording studio. We also are an independent record label with a Billboard Adult R&B Top 30 hit single and more to come. We earned our stripes and honed our sound and style in the nightclubs of New York City and especially Greenwich Village, playing night after night until the wee hours of the morning for very discerning audiences. Our musicians are original artists in their own right with chart-topping albums and they tour regularly with renowned artists spanning myriad musical genres. I am most proud of the musical sincerity we bring to the events industry. We have an immense diversity of repertoire and style, our own unique arrangements and mash-ups that give us an original band identity though cover music is our vehicle, and the improvisation and expressiveness of the musicians onstage gives black-tie audiences a truly personalized concert-style performance with all the grit and raw energy of a late-night Gotham City jam session. I also am proud of the support we lend the arts community. We take revenue from the private events we perform and reinvest it into creative music and media projects and building our record label. We want to use events as a platform to promote the real artistry of our talented roster of musicians and show the distinction of our brand. We appeal to clients who are true music-lovers and concert-goers looking for something different than the average events band. They come to 45 Riots because of our inspired performances and creative productions. The genuine respect of art is very palpable to those who seek us out. Our creative pursuits only serve to legitimize our brand for event clients and the event clients help to finance our creative pursuits. I always wanted to be a Robin Hood of sorts when I started this company and we have done everything we could to see that goal met and continued. Supporting the real musicians of NYC with our brand, not only with employment but with our record label and production resources, is a critically important mission of 45 Riots.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m an outdoor enthusiast and Southern California truly delivers. If I had a friend visiting from out of town I’d want to explore all of the dynamic range of landscapes and terrain found within this one region, from deserts to beaches to snow-clad mountaintops, winding canyons, pine forests, etc. The beauty and diversity of the land is my favorite thing about living here, and all of the endless activities one can pursue year-round.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to shoutout the amazingly talented musicians and employees on our team, 45 Riots. Without their belief in me, our brand, and our musical family, we would not have been able to achieve even the slightest successes we’ve enjoyed as we built our name in the industry. The loyalty, dedication, and friendship of what are some of the best musicians in the world helped make 45 Riots one of the top live-music entertainment companies in NYC and beyond.