Musician Darin Brown Shares His Secrets for Success | School of Hustle Ep 59


Today’s guest turned
his true passion in life into a competitive career. Darin Brown is making
his way as a musician in New York City while touring the world with some of today’s biggest artists. This is School of Hustle, the show where we find
advice and inspiration from people who are making their own way. I’m Shannon, the VP of
Social here at GoDaddy, and I live and breathe
the hustle of business. Today we’re filming from
the hustle of it all at the WeWork Times
Square in New York City. Everybody, let’s give Darin
a huge welcome to the show. (group applauding) – Thank you. – Thank you for being here. – Thank you so much for
having me. This is amazing, so great, appreciate it. – Well, I have to start out
by sharing with everybody a little bit about how I met you. Oh my goodness, when I met Darin, I was at Mimi’s over on Second Ave. – 52nd and Second Avenue. – And Darin was playing the piano, and I come in having a
great night in New York City with some friends, and
you were at the piano, and there is chaos. What is going through your mind in that kind of an environment when people are literally
shouting out requests, asking for music? How do you handle that? – It can be overwhelming, for sure. The chaos, it’s pure
insanity, but it’s fun. I’m thinking, “Okay, what
song am I gonna do next, what’s happening over here,
are the people listening,” but the bottom line for me is, “Is everyone having a good time?” That’s really what’s
going through my head, and just enjoying it and not letting the crazy take over too much. – And there’s a huge difference, I’m sure, between entertaining my friends and me and the crazy crowd at Mimi’s, and being on stage at
Madison Square Garden, which is one of the bigger
arenas in the country, and you’ve done both. – Yes, it’s definitely just
a little bit different, and I had an experience
performing with Enrique Iglesias, and I was out with him
for a couple of years playing at the most amazing places, and there is nothing like
performing for thousands of people or a couple of times, hundreds
of thousands of people, and just feeling that
energy, feeling that crowd, even though they weren’t
cheering for me, per se, but just being part of
that whole experience, the energy. It was amazing. – And in New York, especially, anywhere, being a musician is
competitive. Nashville, L.A., but New York does have an
element of competition to it, and you’re competing. You’re passionate about music and you’re on stage with Enrique Iglesias. I mean, how do you think about
your craft and your hustle to be some of the best of
the best in what you do? – Well, I gotta say the hustle started at a young age for me because I never had to
pump gas or flip burgers like all my friends when I
was in junior high school. I did my first gig when I was 15, and it was the local
Moose Lodge, no big deal. And then the following year when I was 16, I said “Okay, I want to keep this going. This was amazing. I made $75 last year just doing
one gig. This is so great.” So I called every restaurant
in the area, at least 50, until I got someone to give me a chance to come on down and do an audition, and then that turned
into my first steady gig, and then it just snowballed from there. It is scary at times
because you don’t have something to necessarily have
the foundation of, oh yeah, you’re gonna get your W2 and you’re gonna have a
job that’s always there, but I think nothing in life is guaranteed, so I prefer just to make
my own way. I really do. – I love that you said make your own way, because that’s what you’re doing and it’s such a common phrase
for us at GoDaddy as well, and I actually want to unpack a bit more into how you foster your love
for music and your hustle, but I don’t think all of our
viewers would be happy with me if I didn’t actually invite
you to play something so we can get a sense
of what you sound like. – I’d love to.
– Would you be willing to play a song for us? – Absolutely, let’s do it. Okay, we’re bringing
the piano bar right here to School of Hustle. This song is called It’s
Bad Until it’s Good, and it’s a positive message. Sometimes you go through a
breakup and you think, “God, I’m never gonna fall in love again,” but this is just that message
that it’s always out there. Don’t give up. ♪ You’re looking for a new love ♪ ♪ ‘Cause the last one fell apart ♪ ♪ Forget the broken china ♪ ♪ Fix up that broken heart ♪ ♪ Love affair’s a double dare ♪ ♪ A long shot at its best ♪ ♪ If you think you want to quit on love ♪ ♪ Allow me to suggest ♪ ♪ It may sound all too simple ♪ ♪ I never understood ♪ ♪ Until you find the right one ♪ ♪ It’s bad until it’s good ♪ ♪ I still don’t know the reason ♪ ♪ Explain it if I could ♪ ♪ Until you find the right one ♪ ♪ It’s bad until it’s good ♪ ♪ You talk about your troubles ♪ ♪ From all your loves before ♪ ♪ They start with hearts and flowers ♪ ♪ And end with slamming doors ♪ ♪ 100 pounds of heartache ♪ ♪ For every ounce of trust ♪ ♪ You toss and turn ’til daybreak ♪ ♪ As dreams fade into dust ♪ ♪ It may sound all too simple ♪ ♪ I just never understood ♪ ♪ There ain’t no taking shortcuts ♪ ♪ ‘Cause it’s bad until it’s good ♪ ♪ There ain’t no rhyme or reason ♪ ♪ I just never understood ♪ ♪ That there ain’t no taking shortcuts ♪ ♪ ‘Cause it’s bad until it’s good ♪ You got it.
– I’m catching on now. ♪ You’ll know deep inside yourself ♪ ♪ While you couldn’t
fall in love like this ♪ ♪ With anybody else ♪ I’m gonna take a little solo now. (upbeat music) ♪ A good thing about tomorrow ♪ ♪ Is that it’s not yesterday ♪ ♪ If you need a new beginning ♪ ♪ Oh, what’s wrong with today ♪ ♪ You don’t know who,
you don’t know ’til ♪ ♪ She’s right in front of you ♪ ♪ And it just stands to reason ♪ ♪ That she’s looking for you too ♪ ♪ Oh, it may sound all too simple ♪ ♪ I just never understood ♪ ♪ That there ain’t no taking shortcuts ♪ ♪ ‘Cause it’s bad until it’s good ♪ ♪ No further explanation,
it should be understood ♪ ♪ That there ain’t no taking shortcuts ♪ ♪ ‘Cause it’s bad until it’s good. ♪ ♪ It’s bad until it’s good ♪ ♪ It’s bad until it’s good ♪ ♪ It’s bad, until it’s good ♪ ♪ Oh yeah ♪ (group applauding) Thank you. – That was very much me at Mimi’s, too. I can’t help myself. – Of course, that’s
what music makes you do. That’s why I love it. – Well, I want to get
back into your story. I want to go back a bit,
because from what I understand, your father and your grandfather made a tremendous impact on you as a musician at a young age. – They did. – Tell me about their influence on you. – I think the biggest
thing with both of them was that neither one of
them, including my mom too, they never said you can’t be a musician. You have to go be a doctor or a lawyer or something like that. I never had that pressure that
what I was doing was wrong. They saw that I had talent, so I guess they felt it was a safe bet, but I never felt any
pressure to do anything than follow my dream, follow my music and it was quite influential. One of the first memories I
have is sitting down at a piano. I had to be three or four, ’cause it literally is my first
memory that I can think of, and I just saw the hands moving. He’s a self-taught pianist,
played boogie-woogie, never took a lesson, but
his fingers are flying, so I was in love, that was it. That was completely it, and
then with my grandfather, he was also just always singing, and singing the Great American Songbook, so that’s where my love for all of the old songs came into play, so it’s like that influence
I’m feeling even now because all of my new music
is going in that direction. I’m trying to keep the idea of
the American Songbook alive, but infuse it with new
songs, so it’s a dream. I’m going for it though,
so that’s one of the songs that we’re putting out there. – I felt like it had sort
of an old songbook feel, maybe like an old crooner. I could sense that, that makes sense. – Yeah, exactly, but trying
to give it a modern twist. – Yeah, exactly. Well, your training is a mix between traditional, classical training and being self-taught
like your father, right? How did you go about
developing your craft? – Well, I did start with classical when I was seven years old, and then I did go all
the way through college, Manhattan School of Music,
with a jazz piano degree, but I think the most
important thing for me was always just sitting down at the piano and it wasn’t really practicing. It never felt like practicing. I did all the scales. I did that stuff and I usually did that
the night before my lesson just so I could go and,
all right, I have that, but then the rest of the
time I would just play and try to mimic what my dad was doing, ’cause he would just sit down and play. There were notes up there, but he wasn’t really looking at them. He was just doing what came to his mind, so it was this balance of classical, which is very particular. You’re reading the notes and you do lend some of
yourself to it as well, but improvisation with the
jazz, it is very in the moment. – And vocals are a separate skill set, so how do you go about,
one, playing the way you do, but then being able to sing? – The singing I think came later for me, and it wasn’t until
somewhere after college where I was like, “Oh, I actually should be
pursuing this as well.” I had written songs and
I was always singing, but I never felt that I was at the point where I could share it, so singing is completely
self-taught for me, and I’ve gotten some
pointers along the way, but it really just comes from my soul, from my heart, and I love it. – And how do you go about
making money in New York as a musician? What is your process to get
gigs and to always be busy? – It is difficult. It’s really difficult, because
there’s not many other places that are as competitive as New York, so you really do have to hustle. You can’t let anything
slip through the cracks. You have to return phone
calls, all the basic stuff, emails, be on time, and I think
there’s also another factor, just be kind, be good to people. Nobody wants to work with
somebody who’s a jerk. It’s simple things, and then
you do have to have the talent. All of those other things,
that’s just the starting point and then you have to be able to deliver. – How has the trends
today toward technology and live streaming music, music services, versus going to the mall and buying a CD, does technology in that new
trend toward music acquisition do anything to influence your
career and your work, or no? – It’s certainly something
I’m thinking about now because I am in the middle
of releasing some new songs and last year I was like, “Oh,
I’m gonna release an album,” and I was like, “Wait, nobody
really does that anymore.” It’s all about the single or
maybe a few songs at a time, and maybe I’ll print a CD for myself, but there will not be
a mass printing of CDs ’cause no one’s buying it like that, but I think it’s okay. There’s a good side and a bad side, but ultimately I like
that now it’s just direct, right to the fans, right to
the people who want to hear you and there’s no middle person. I’m trying to find the positive
of this ever-evolving world. – What do you love most about what you do? – I feel very fortunate ’cause I’m able just to connect
with people and just have, almost like there’s one-on-one, even if it’s in a chaotic setting, of just some people will say
“Oh, the way you sang that song” or “When you did that
song, it made me think and made me cry, it made me happy.”
Just being able to evoke an emotion. I’m very grateful
that I can do that, and sometimes it’s not necessarily me. I just sometimes feel like
a conduit for something, but that’s when it really feels special because it is about having those moments where somebody says, “Wow,
you really touched me.” – I want to shift gears right now, and I so much enjoy hearing
your music and your story, and now I want to play my
favorite game called Hustle Time. – Oh, boy. – May I have 60 seconds on the clock? Okay, you ready? – [Woman] Three, two, one. – Apple or Android?
– Apple. – If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?
– Peace in the world, no one to be hungry, and
for everyone to be happy. – Snapchat has a long life, or is a lost cause?
– Lost cause. – Large dogs or lapdogs?
– Lapdog. – Chardonnay: yeah or nay?
– Yeah. – Fireplace or fire pit?
– Fireplace. – What’s the first app
you open in the morning? – Messenger. – Song that is currently
stuck in your head? – The song I just played. – Aliens: fact or fiction?
– Fiction. – If you lose access forever, do you pick search
engines or social media? – Search engines. – One thing you want on
a desert island with you? – A radio. – Favorite pastime: music or movies?
– Music. – Music or podcasts?
– Music. – Three things in your closet right now. – These new boots I just got, this nice jacket I almost wore, and this silver black tie. – Dream dinner guest? – Say again?
– [Woman] Time’s up. – Wait, dream dinner guest? – Oh, dream dinner guest? – Yeah, dream dinner
guest. We’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it and count it. Who is it?
– Billy Joel. – Exactly, the Piano Man. Have you met him? – I have, a couple of times. – I counted the cards, and we got 15. (group cheering) Nicely done, nicely done. Favorite part of your day? – It’s really more the
favorite part of my night. It begins at night. That’s
when I get the most creative. – Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? – Any advice you get,
take with a grain of salt. – Worst piece of advice? – Probably the same. – How do you use your
career to inspire others? – I hope that I show
that hard work pays off and you can find your dreams. I just feel like I’m halfway
there, but you gotta go for it. – Ever felt like walking away? – Yes. – One thing you still need to learn? – To not be such a perfectionist. – What do you want
people to learn from you? – Follow your dreams and you
can do it, you really can. – What’s next for you? – New music coming out, some
other stuff like I played, more things and just gonna
be out there performing, releasing songs, have a video
coming out, a holiday song. It’s gonna be exciting. – Who inspires you? – I’ve been lucky enough
to be surrounded by people that really inspire me, but I gotta say right now
the love of my life, Melanie. She’s my fiancé and we support each other. She’s also a singer and a musician, and we get to make music together. – Who challenges you? – My fiancé, yeah, same person. You need someone in your life who’s gonna tell it to you straight, and if you’re wearing the
wrong shoes, you have to know. – That’s right. Well, this last piece of
advice is for our favorite pug, the famous Noodle. Noodle admires the fact
that you have made a career out of doing what you love. He aspires to do the same thing one day, but he’s concerned about
not being able to find consistent work after making the switch. How do you manage to stay
busy in show business and move into a performance
space leaving a career that’s more grounded that you’re used to? – The first thing is to know, hi Noodle, that it’s not gonna happen overnight. You’re gonna have to work hard. There’s gonna be late hours,
there’s gonna be some nights where you’re gonna feel
like you have to give up, but that’s the moment where
you have to dig in harder, and then when that moment comes, you just gotta be ready for it. A buddy of mine, Doug McCormack,
who I wrote that song with, he has this quote and I love it. It says, “When opportunity knocks, don’t make it pick the lock.” – Interesting. – Be ready for that moment because you never know
when it’s gonna happen, and just be yourself,
just be your cute self, and wear deodorant. – You hear that, Noodle? You’re on your way to much success. – I will collect those
royalties whenever they come in. I will be collecting those royalties. – Well, as we close School of Hustle, we always like to end
with a final thought, so I’m going to read three quotes and ask you to pick the quote that resonates the most with you and why. Number one: The man who
has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others. Number two: It is never too late to be what you might have been. Number three: Don’t worry about failure. You only have to be right once. – They’re all so good and all so true, but confidence, that first
one, that’s really it for me. I didn’t have it when I was young and just starting out, I
was very quiet and shy. When I got behind the microphone,
a little bit came out, but it really took a while
to get that confidence, and then once I found that
and just found myself, then amazing things have been happening and I guess it’s part of
just believing in yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. – Thank you for that. Let everybody know how they can find you and listen to more of your music. – Okay, there’s a couple of places. DarinBrown.com, and
that’s spelled D-A-R-I-N, like Bobby Darin, so there’s
even a musical side there, and Instagram, that seems
to be the place these days, @DarinBrownMusic. – Well, make sure to follow Darin, and make sure to also follow GoDaddy because every week we are
bringing amazing stories and advice and inspiration
from fabulous entrepreneurs and you don’t want to miss out. So follow GoDaddy across
social at YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
and thank you again. I loved the music and the inspiration. Thank you all for watching and we will see you all again soon. Bye. (group applauding) (upbeat music)