Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Daniel Buckman, who created Bellosound to offer stylish, eclectic, and unique audio experiences that turn any event into a memorable one. We caught up with him to chat about his global ambitions, what inspired his business, and where he sees himself in five years…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am the Founder and President of BELLOSOUND. BELLOSOUND is a premier music agency that offers a range of customized services to corporate and private clients around the world, including:
– LIVE DJ and Band Performance
– Event Production
– Audio Consulting for Home and Business
– Customized Music Programming
– Digital Music Management and Delivery
– Custom Music Compilations and Song Licensing
– Talent Management and Development for all of the above
Our approach to music styling and audio design is unique, eclectic, and totally focused on creating an outstanding customer experience.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I founded BELLOSOUND in 2006, recognizing a genuine need and unique opportunity in the music industry. My first gig out of business school was in artist management at The Management Trust (The Tragically Hip, The Watchmen, Big Wreck, Headstones), and then I moved to Jive Records, then BMG Music, and then finally to SONY MUSIC CANADA, where I rose to Promotions Manager.
I met some of the most talented and influential artists in the world, made some great contacts, and got a firm understanding of the music industry. I always recognized music as a powerful tool to create mood and connect people, and as a key element in a business’ success.
My move to become an entrepreneur and to start BELLOSOUND was a natural next step.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Everyday is different working with BELLOSOUND. We get the opportunity to play a major role in all types of celebrations, special occasions, store openings, product launches, charity fundraisers, weddings, and to connect with the crowds in clubs, restaurants and lounges. The non-stop action keeps my team and I engaged.
The challenging part is that the business has been growing steadily, and I am playing many roles at once.
There is a lot of pressure to select the right music for the right moment, and to stay on top of the music of today, as well as to be very familiar with the music of the past. I take very good care of maintaining, refreshing, and backing up a very extensive and eclectic music collection.
When well executed, the right music can make a place, or moment in time unforgettable.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
My planned vacations end up becoming scheduled DJ tours.
I have plans to travel the world with BELLOSOUND over the next few years. It takes good planning to ensure you’re scheduling enough time for yourself, and with the important people in your life.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see BELLOSOUND being a reputable global talent and music design agency. I see myself still running the business and acting as music director for several major hospitality companies and luxury brands around the world.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
In November of 2014, I lost my best friend and business partner, Peter Ralphs.
Peter was my mentor. He was cool, kind, and extremely intelligent. He was also an expert in music. He played a major role in my personal development as an entrepreneur and in the growth of BELLOSOUND, especially when it came to high-level business strategy.
Pete gave very good advice and always offered a solution for any problem, whether it was personal or business related.
When I am in a tough situation I am always asking myself, “what would Pete do?” I often read his old emails, review his client meeting notes, and talk openly about him to just about anybody. That’s how I keep Pete by my side every day.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success to me is about having built a company that is unique, sustainable and that truly offers a valuable service. It’s about standing by my work and by my word. It’s about having the ability to raise my standards in just about everything that I do.
Earning and saving money are goals of mine, but being able to invest money back in to something I believe in is what’s really rewarding.
As I become more successful, I see myself also investing in my home space and designing a creative studio for the BELLOSOUND team to work in.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
One milestone I will never forget is when I incorporated the company in November 2009.
I was celebrating my birthday with some friends at the Reservoir Lounge. My father showed up to the party with the Articles of Incorporation for BELLOSOUND Inc. his hands. The swing band started to play, and the music and momentum had begun.
The next morning, I drove to New York City and spent a few days alone just walking the city. I knew then I was going to be my own boss and that there was no turning back.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Give yourself some spin.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
One of my favourite spots to dine is Nota Bene on Queen Street. The name is a Latin phrase meaning “take notice.” I have always appreciated taking notice of the little things that make up a positive experience in an environment. The vibe in the restaurant is sophisticated yet casual. The food is delicious, and the gin cocktail menu is impressive.
Later in the night, I like to stop in to d|bar at Four Seasons Toronto. BELLOSOUND is performing live there 6 nights a week. There is always a great vibe in the room. It’s a rare place in Toronto where you can experience a unique and eclectic DJ performance, enhanced by great food, stiff drinks, and 5-star service.
The Reservoir Lounge is still a genuine spot in the city to have a martini and hear a hip live jazz band roar.
If I just want a sandwich, I’ll stroll down to The Camel in Rosedale.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I sincerely enjoy dinners at home with my girlfriend, Heiarii. We love to cook, play records, watch classic films, and drink French wine (and repeat).
I also can’t get enough of my cat, Bowie. He’s one of the most special things in my life. We carry on full conversations together. My love for Bowie is unconditional.
Now that summer is here, I enjoy taking rides on my Vespa. It’s an efficient way to get around and to get a different perspective of the great city of Toronto.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I have had the pleasure of travelling to Tahiti, French Polynesia twice in my life, and it’s truly a paradise on earth.
The South Pacific Islands offer breath taking scenery and crystal blue waters (the unreal photos you see of the lagoons in Bora Bora are not fake!)
The Tahitian people are beautiful, proud, and well cultured, especially when it comes to their appreciation and celebration of music and dance.
BELLOSOUND has built strong brand awareness in Tahiti, having completed two successful DJ tours on the islands. I had the pleasure of playing some of the hottest spots in Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea. I am planning another major tour in 2015-2016 that will incorporate a cross-promotional platform. Who’s in?
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
When I was a boy, it was “Peter Gunn” by Art of Noise / Henry Mancini. I loved that guitar lick, and my Dad and I would always jam that song in our homemade basement studio.
You can always find me busting out to “Sure Shot” by the Beastie Boys, “cause you can’t, you won’t, and you don’t stop!” I am a big fan, and I miss those bad boys very much.
This past year, one BELLOSOUND theme song has been “Music Rises Up” (Claptone Remix) by Kyodai featuring Stee Downes. The lyrics go, “Music rises up, it’s the moment, it’s a feeling, you can’t hide. Music rises up, it’s protection, it’s perfection, it’s my life.” We licensed this tracks on our latest compilation and on our website and new promo video. It suits the BELLOSOUND vibe very much.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I’d be the owner and operator of a fly-in fishing lodge in Northern Ontario, with my Dad as my partner.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
BELLOSOUND is proud to be sponsor, supporter, and entertainer for a wide range of charities and fundraisers every year, across the country. Raising money and raising awareness for good causes will always be a priority for the company. Guests often spend lots of money to attend these types of Galas, and BELLOSOUND ensures that they are entertained and enagaged.
What to you is notable?
Hard work, respect and dependability. Music and wine. Passion and love.
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