By: Brad Fougere
A defined target, constant networking and sacrifice are the keys to making the stars align.
That was the message hall of fame songwriter Desmond Child gave intro to music industry arts students via video conference on March 18 at Algonquin.
“Whatever you get into, if you have done your work that’s all behind you. Your confidence is the time you’ve put in,” said Child. “When you have confidence you can forget about yourself. Only being in the here and now can you tap into genius.”
He has written and co-written thousands of songs through four decades in music. Child is also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame having penned hits with Bon Jovi, KISS, Ricky Martin and others.
Child credited his success with growing up in Miami Beach, going to an art high school and living in poverty. He cites hardship as requisite in those who will become great as they have to fight for what they get. Growing up with an alcoholic parent provided a sense of drive for him.
Child said it is vital to know the voice of the performer when working on songs for them. As co-writer of Living on a Prayer, a hit for Bon Jovi in the ‘80s, he did what he could to keep every word, every line as close to the road warrior archetype Jon Bon Jovi was going for, he said.
“That song stands the test of time because it was written properly,” Child said of his meticulous writing process, which spans three to four days and involves multiple rewrites.
The music industry class has had many top calibre music industry speakers over the years. Producers Phil Ramone and Bob Ezrin, songwriter Jann Arden, Universal Canada CEO Randy Lennox, even Eminem manager Paul Rosenburg have all spoken via video conference.
Child, however, seemed to impress.
“That was the most successful person we’ve talked to,” said Alex Cappon who plans to get into stage and lighting design upon completion of the one-year certificate program.
“The opportunity to speak to an artist like that is priceless,” said Lou Di Millo, program coordinator who arranged the session.
Di Millo is an active performing musician who also formed the program. When his son was of college age and looking for a music industry program the only place to go was Fanshawe in London.
While working as a graphic designer and performing musician, Di Millo spent two years developing the general arts and science certificate program before launching it.
The younger Di Millo completed the program in its second year.