We had the good fortune of connecting with Jess Furman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jess, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risk is a true matter of perspective. I’ve always preferred to be as much in the driver’s seat of my own life and career as possible. Some people think it’s less risky to apply to a “secure” job right out of college and try to play by all the rules to build towards a retirement. To me, that’s always felt too risky. Who’s rules? What would that security cost me? The only thing we all have in equal shares is hours in a day. We’re not guaranteed to live to 65 and be healthy enough to travel. I’ve never put off my dreams. I’ve always set a goal, then put all the hard work behind making sure I had the skills, industry knowledge and network or community around me to achieve my goals. The risk? No clear path. That’s scary for a lot of people. The reward? A life that at times can feel like a roller coaster – but a ride of your own choosing.
What should our readers know about your business?
I own and founded the award-winning custom music house, Sound Revolver — which is presently part of the Big Noise Music Group, for which I am the SVP of all Sync Licensing Strategy. What was exciting for me about joining up with Big Noise a few years ago was that we shared a vision and love for music, media and entertainment and wanted to truly create a space for creatives to thrive. As a creative myself, I was given the opportunity to not only continue my work on creative projects (such as songwriting/scoring for TV shows, films, ads etc), but to also expand creative opportunities for our roster and my rolodex of amazing music freelancers. As competitive as entertainment can be, I firmly believe that when you elevate your creative community and provide opportunities for them to succeed, everyone wins.
Starting out as a performing music artist, but also having a knack for business – I got to where I am today by not only being determined and focused, but by also having a good sense of humor and adaptability. There is no clear path to success other than preparing yourself as best you can and being willing to pick yourself back up and brush it off when you inevitably hit a roadblock. Failure is the best teacher if you are willing to learn from it. No body learned to walk without first stumbling. Sometimes we forget these things when we are running and trip over something. The only true failure is not being willing to aim for success because you are too afraid to fail. But the true secret lies in the humility of staying “teachable” – always seeking and sharing knowledge. It also keeps it fun along the way.
What I am most excited about these days is continuing to grow within a community of creatives and entrepreneurs where we do away with some of the age-old “pay your dues” or “ghost-writing” mentality. I was on the SONA (Songwriters of North America) Board for a few years where we fought for songwriter rights (and income) that has been galvanized by the greed of the tech industry. I also co-founded and helped to launch The Songwriter Grant Fund with SONA, in an effort to get financial resources to embattled songwriters during the height of the pandemic shutdown. I don’t believe in using a position of power to take advantage of others, and I am passionate about contributing to my community.
These days, aside from my roles at Big Noise Music Group and Sound Revolver, I have stepped down from a few boards and am focused on my new non-profit, Motion Creative — where we aim to provide resources to give a voice to underserved populations to be able to share their stories. Art is a powerful megaphone for change. I am also excited to share insight and inspiration to current and would-be entrepreneurs as the co-host of the new podcast, “The Unlikely Journey” which can be found on all podcast outlets (Spotify, Apple etc).
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.
My favorite spots in LA to share with visitors and friends are the Venice Canals, Farmer’s Markets, Runyon Canyon hikes — Chinatown and Olivera Street downtown. Grand Central Market is an amazing place as well to check out budding restauranteur’s small pop-ups.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am grateful for an incredible community of friends, who are just as committed as I am to constantly learning and supporting each other’s out-of-the-box visions. We are consistently sharing ideas, methods, literature — courses. They inspire me to think bigger and provide the humor and foundation needed to survive the ups and down that naturally occur when you reach out of your comfort zone towards making your dream a reality.