TOUR TALK: Paul Finamore, left, Amit Dodani, Fabienne Leys, Noreen Hamid, Larry Wade, Cathleen Cher and panel moderator David O’Connor are pictured during panel discussion. (James Zoltak/VN Staff)

Don’t hit the road too soon, one panelist says

BEVERLY HILLS — Watching game film is something most good athletes do, but it’s also something the best touring artists do as well, according to a panelist who spoke during a summit on touring that coincided with year two of Mastercard and the OnesToWatch program’s Mastercard Artist Accelerator.

“Stay ready to be ready,” Paul Finamore, a longtime fixture in tour and production management, said at the April 25 event in Beverly Hills. He suggested watching performances and making notes and like any good sports team, practice, as in rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more.

Another bit of advice from Finamore seemed almost counterintuitive.

“Don’t be in a rush to hit the road,” said Finamore. “Plant some seeds in these markets before you get there.”

He noted that a basic Sprinter tour costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and without proper cultivation of markets and audience, it could be a bust.

Fabienne Lays, who has worked a host of  artists, producers and songwriters, said “You also need a supportive team with you when you do go out on tour.”

Creative producer, publicity director, and artist/talent consultant Noreen Hamid offered three tips.

One was to pay attention and even cater to hometown press. Another was to introduce artists to the media after a show and the third was to play showcases and things like acoustic sets in small or nontraditional venues. For one thing it builds “industry stans,” she said.

“That builds strong connections,” Hamid said.

Larry Wade, founder of Decible Entertainment Group, helped develop Lizzo’s career. He said he first heard her in 2015 , open for Sleater-Kinney of all things, and was impressed with how the audience reacted to her.

Now she is a sensation, he said.

“Her show is pretty much the same, just bigger and badder,” Wade said.

Amit Dodani, the co-founder and CEO of KOGO, an artist community and creative incubator for under-represented talent, said bands should focus on their local or regional market first.

“There are three million people in the San Fernando Valley,” he said of the massive area of Los Angeles that lies past the Hollywood Hills. That’s more than Chicago.”

Cathleen Cher, who has founded several companies, including a creative management and agency, is head of live at Jaded, suggested young artists find peer mentors who can offer sympathetic advice based on similar experiences.

The panel was followed by a Q&A with Este Haim, bassist of her band of sisters of Haim fame.

In sometimes irreverent detail, Haim detailed turning down record deals, because she and her sisters were savvy enough to know a bad deal when they saw one. How did they know what a bad deal looked like?

They spent a lot of time doing research, she said, that consisted primarily of watching “Behind the Music.”