Behind the Scene with Last Tango


Submitted by Sandy Graham

To be successful in the music industry, there is so much to do to make it so. Besides the fact that you need to have amazing product, you also need to hire the right people to promote your music. With a slogan that says 'breaking artists - making names' Last Tango Productions  is just that company.Yvonne Valnea, founder and whiz kid behind Last Tango is actually born and bred here. "I was born at St. Michael's Hospital in downtown TO. I have spent most of my life here, except for a few years when I went to live in Italy. I am happy here, I have raised my son here, I work here. TO is my home."

When asked how Valnea felt about the current way music is delivered and promoted to radio she said " I actually think it has evolved to be something quite amazing. I find music directors are more accessible now. It is all about building a relationship with them. Once they begin to trust your judgement (and product) it is a new version of the old way of promoting music. In the old days promo reps would go across the country, visiting stations, mom & pop stores, record stores. Now the social media is so up to date and so quick to deliver, you can promote yourself the same way, only online."

"When  were younger we'd love to discover bands from the UK and other countries (I hold myself solely responsible for bringing the Bay City Rollers to North America, lol!). My cousin in London had their posters hanging on her walls, played their music non-stop and sent me band pictures in the mail which I spread around the playground.   As I got older I had DJ friends who went to Europe and brought back the latest, coolest underground new music. But that doesn't mean we didn't also listen to the radio.  So music sharing comes in various forms still, but instead of getting pictures cut out of the U.K. version of Tiger Beat magazine in my mailbox, it gets passed around on-line through social networking.  Or I walk into a store and hear something on someone's personal playlist and ask what they're playing and go out and find it on iTunes.  That kind of 'word of mouth' will always help music take off and things haven't changed as much as we think."

Yvonne Valena & Ron WoodYvonne Valnea & Ron Wood"But in order to stay relevant I think radio has to bring back some of those DJs that used to search out new music.  We used to have live to air shows on Friday and Saturday nights showcasing new music.  That's music sharing too.  The vehicle may change but whether it's terrestrial radio or FB or Tom Harrison's or John Sakamoto's music columns, or your friend at school, it's all music sharing.   But radio becomes less relevant to me and the younger age group, when it takes 8 months for someone like Ellie Goulding or Broken Bells to hit mainstream. I've had 'Lights' on my iPod for so long it's old to me now and I'm ready to hear something new by the time radio finally jumps on it. My teenage son used to listen to the radio but because he  hears so many of the same old songs over and over again, he finds other ways to discover music. But I still believe radio and social networking and all ways of sharing are relevant and can support each other."

"Music sharing is all about having a trusted source.  There's just too much crap out there to sift through.  I don't buy the idea that all internet radio is good because it means everyone can get airplay.  Not everyone should have airplay and no one is going to learn how to make good music if there's no bar for them to measure themselves by and work towards. If someone wants to know how to improve their music I still say "listen to what's on the radio".

Yvonne Valena & Gene SimmonsYvonne Valnea & Gene Simmons"The best thing about the music industry today, instead of music directors turning their badges around at say, a Canadian Music Week conference, we are all on FB now sharing family photos and sending out laughs for the day.  It's a more level playing field for everyone. And I see musicians and music directors and music journalists interacting.  That's a wonderful place for the industry to be. I encourage that with my artists. Be interesting and show you are a hardworking artist, let the industry get to know you instead of hiring your team and sitting back and waiting for someone to make you famous."

"Radio is not full of Simon Cowells who are going to hear your potential and give you a lucky break just because. That’s not their job. They want to see all the other work you do so get the music review quotes working for you too. Get your music out to the press and get them talking about you; a great review from an established music reviewer helps add to the ‘buzz’ you are trying to create for yourself, and it’s just one more thing to blog/post about yourself. The key areas to promote your music have not changed: Commercial radio, non-commercial radio and press/publicity. On top of performing and social networking and internet marketing. They all work together and are all part of a big wheel that has to keep turning. And if you focus on any one thing and nothing else, it’s like dog paddling to get to the other side instead of breast strokes. And a big artist can take some time out and disappear for awhile, and everyone gets excited when they come out with something new. If an indie artist takes a break, a few months later no one remembers them and its like starting all over again.

When asked what advice she would give a new up and coming act, " Ask questions! Don't be afraid to get answers to what you need to know. And listen. There are lots of great industry folks out there who will give you free advice and mentoring. Listen to them and learn. It is important to have all the right things in place. Having great product isn't enough. You need the team, and you need to know how to promote yourself. Develop relationships. Make deals. Stay in touch with your fans. Listen and learn."

Editors Note: Last Tango offers full service promotions across the country including national publicity, commercial and non-commercial radio tracking, tour support and more. Highly respected in the music industry with numerous nominations and invitations as juror and industry panelist, Last Tango offers affordable yet outstanding exposure for artists and projects at all levels in all genres.