WISDOM: A PORTRAIT SERIES
L I Z Z Y P L A P I N G E R
Singer and Co-Founder
MS MR + Neon Gold Records
New York City
I. At school I booked bands and big shows; I had a radio show during those four years and worked as finance director for the station one year, and music director another. In my sophomore year of college, my best friend Derek Davies and I decided to realize our teen dream of starting our own record label. I cannot express how magnificent the year we first started the label was: to be our own boss, it gave us a foundation to reach into all corners of this industry. We embraced everything in a very DIY manner and used the tools of the internet to build and establish ourselves from the very beginning. I’ve always felt like wisdom was a term reserved for the elders in the industry but with the way the world is changing it’s leaning on the wisdom, practices and foresight of the youth. You are more wise and equal than you know. Don’t wait for someone to pass the baton to you. Make your own.
II. A discussion about mentoring is really the perfect next step to this discussion. While I truly believe that kids are more wise than they know, it doesn’t mean they’re above learning from the people who came before us and have survived through all the changes in this industry. No one is too good for advice and even if you don’t necessarily agree up front, always hear someone out who is feeling generous enough to offer it to you. It’s also important to know when to ask for help or guidance and who from. Some things you can learn from a far - looking at the trajectory of someone you admire and the kinds of steps they took to be where they are. I cannot tell you how often I do this, but there is something crucial to attaching yourself to someone in real time who is a few steps ahead and has the foresight to help guide you in your own path. Don’t look at a mentor like a guidance counselor. No one has all the answers, they just have another perspective, it’s up to you to choose what to do with that information.
III. I’ve never really seen music in a competitive light where one artist has to succeed by outshining another - one of the beautiful things about art is that it can coexist and hold one another up in interesting and new ways. Do we really only need to recognize only one album as the definitive best of the year? I’d love to create an awards show that recognizes more of the online bands, new categories that acknowledge new mediums. It wouldn’t need to be televised; it could live online in its own space, like the YouTube awards, and would need to combine a number of outlets to help support and piece it together. I think Vice would be an exceptionally good partner for this.
IV. We need to talk more about the music itself and less about the celebrity behind it.
V. I am for artists and songwriters being properly compensated and recognized for their work.