(Note: Learn how to score free tickets to the show at the bottom of this post!)
If you were a 90s child, you were most likely a Hanson fan too. Their debut single “MMMBop” hit number one in 27 countries, well before any of its members were even close to 30. While it’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 10 years since the song’s release, this mega-talented trio of brothers continues to enjoy success in music and beyond. On Tuesday, October 6th it is only fitting that they headline the Forbes Under 30 Music Festival along with Lindsey Stirling, Shawn Mendes, and A$AP Rocky at Philadelphia’s Festival Pier. Rock On Philly got the chance to chat with Taylor Hanson about this honor, current projects, and more.
Rock On Philly: What do you love most about the Forbes Under 30 Summit?
Taylor Hanson: I love what Forbes is curating with all these different innovators in all these different fields. What I love about it most is the cultivation of connections between people doing great things, despite what field they’re in. Forbes is using their status to bring people together that are shaping the future. It’s a great thing and it’s an honor to be apart of it. We’re so excited to be performing as well as to be participating on panels this year.
ROP: What do you think the music industry could learn from startup culture?
TH: The music industry has really suffered for so long. They’re akin to being a group of wealthy kids that never had to really do it from scratch because there was this establishment. A lot of artists forgot how to see their own value. With startup culture, you have a whole generation of people that maybe at another time in history would have started a band, but are now using their creativity to innovate in other ways- design, film, technology… Innovation has to happen in the music industry. We can’t hold onto where we’ve been. The music industry has always been the last to come to the table of innovation. Not that we’ve got it figured out by any means, but with Hanson over the last 10 years, we’ve embraced that startup spirit.
ROP: Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs out there?
TH: Entrepreneurship is such a broad term and includes so many possibilities. Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to be your own boss? The people that have the most success are people who really embody what they do. There’s an ethos these entrepreneurs carry with them. There’s this core element that carries through all of their endeavors. Knowing what your core values are is one of the most critical things. Even as an artist, everything falls away, but you’re left with a song or your name on something. The fans don’t connect with your manager or if you have a company, your project manager, they connect with you. Everything you do is going to be a reflection of you. So figuring out what your core values are and staying true to those values is crucial for young entrepreneurs.
ROP: How do you stay balanced?
TH: For one, we have amazing families. We’re all married to incredible women and having that home life is very important and reminds you about what you’re working so hard for. It’s also about being able to sleep well with the decisions you make. Sometimes that may mean passing on a great opportunity that doesn’t feel right for you, even if it is trending. That also means trusting your gut on things that may seem really risky but you feel like it’s something you need to pursue. At the end of the day, it’s important to keep a culture of putting things out that you’re genuinely proud of.
ROP: So I read that you guys started your own label. What’s that been like?
TH: We started a label to rethink what it means to be a label. We’ve been inside the big companies and thought, this is good, but it’s not working for us entirely. The label is a small part in how we reach people. The album you release is only one small part about what you do and how you connect to your fans. Focusing on music is the core value. The ideal model for us is a label being a facilitator for the music being made from a marketing standpoint. Artist ownership of copyright is where the future needs to go. There should be shorter term partnerships between labels and artists. Otherwise, artists are stuck with a label that may or may not evolve with them. Artists should also have control of the communication and direct sale with their core fans. There needs to be more flexibility with these relationships moving forward.
ROP: How do you keep your identity as an artist intact when you’re pursuing business ventures?
TH: With great effort! Being creative everyday, regardless of what’s going on, is a really important element. There’s a lot of discipline that comes into play. Sometimes that means just keeping your mind active as a creative person. Making sure the artist is always present despite the new demands that may come from running a business. Also, on the business side, leaving time and making time to be engaged in the more restricted space of the business world. I hate the word “balanced” but I think it’s about having a mutual respect for both sides. You can’t let one atrophy and need to embrace that you’re always going to be busy.
ROP: What are you working on right now?
TH: One of the most fun things is this adventure into craft beer which started two years ago. When we started off, we very quickly realized we needed to go all the way and treat it as it should be treated. This is going to take years to develop to be great. We set out to build something long lasting. We love the culture of craft beer and it’s great to have roots in Tulsa. We’ve developed great relationships with other local brewers and we even started a Beer and Music Festival in 2014, called The Hop Jam. Who would have thought, beer and music? (laughs) We’re exponentially growing. Last year over 40,000 people attended and had an insane lineup of artists and brewers.
If you’d like to see Hanson perform the Forbes Under 30 Music Festival, Rock On Philly will be giving out 100 tickets to fans at our show tomorrow night as well as through our street team this weekend. You can also score tickets by registering with Global Citizen and pledge to take action against extreme poverty.