We had the good fortune of connecting with George Holliday and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi George, how do you think about risk?
I feel like risk is the only way to innovate and stand out from the crowd. The music industry drowns most creatives purely on the amount of competition, so without innovation I fear a lot of artists/creatives miss out on opportunity. But I don’t think that’s unique to the music industry, I feel every business sector is a crowded market and Risk is the only way to cut through. Most people will play the safe cards but, although many will make a good career from doing so, I feel that to be an innovator in your area, risk is the only way to create a new space for yourself. On a personal level, my biggest risk was investing in a library bus (bare with me). I built a studio into the bus so I could travel and pursue that passion of mine whilst still working. At the time I was completely unsure of what the ‘business’ exactly would look like, but I knew it would be a great story for people to hear and that would allow me to cut through the ‘noise’ I mentioned earlier. The risk wasn’t just financial, but I had to leave a stable (at the time) career of 8 years in performing. Luckily it’s worked out great and not only do I have a successful business from the risk, I have a new lifestyle that keeps me excited for everyday I wake up here at Made On The Road.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a songwriter and producer now working with my own small team of talented creatives making music for artists and myself. Has it been easy? NO WAY! It never is. I always think up new ideas and try push my own boundaries and to be honest it’s exhausting doing so, my brain is always in overdrive – I’m sure reading this you can relate to that feeling! I guess the first thing I’d like to answer is ‘how did you get to where you are today professionally’ because I feel like I’m not anywhere, I feel like I’m on my way to an unknown destination and love that but it makes it difficult to know how I got to here I guess. The main thing I can put it down to is a lot of networking (which actually just feels like speaking amongst friends and peers) and not being afraid to ask “who should I speak to” or “I’m looking for X person to help get this moving”. Through asking those questions I’ve realised that actually the people you dream of speaking and working with (in my case legendary musicians and major record labels) are literally just a couple of contacts away.
The biggest challenges I’d say are 1) keeping motivated to work through all the peaks and troughs in the industry, and 2) working out that you have peaks and troughs! There’s never a ‘safe’ ground where nothing goes wrong and you’re at the top of your game. I guess that was quite hard to realise at first but it’s making me enjoy the now a lot more.
Once I realised these things, I set out to do my own project rather than writing for other artists, and I wrote an album travelling around Europe meeting over 60 musicians (strangers) to see what we could come up with. I simply plotted their locations on a map and drew a 6 month epic road trip. I think that story has been the thing to propel me into working with such great creatives, artists and labels today.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A favourite spot of mine is Copenhagen – so much culture, great food and the energy of the people is very welcoming and relaxed. If you love casual weekends of food and drink, this is the place to go!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to shoutout two guys on my team – Carl Bahner and Nicholas Di Lorenzo for not only smashing music with me, but giving me the motivation and support I need to make everything happen day to day. I would also like to shout out Dave Erasmus for being such a good friend, adventurer and mentor to me for life. I don’t see him enough but when we do it feels like we discover and explore so many new aspects of life together with different purpose each time. Big love to these guys!