You can have the best chops, the best beats, but it won’t count for much if you don’t get your music into the hands of the right people.

That’s exactly how we want to empower our community here on BandLab with Tracklanta 2020: Virtual Remix. For each contest, we’ve lined up artists, studio pros, industry execs, and more, to mentor the winners. Each session will equip you with the advice and know how to take your music career to next level.

We’d like you to meet the first of our six mentors – entrepreneur Danny Cardenas.

Read more: Getting started on BandLab for Tracklanta 2020: Virtual Remix

Name: Danny Cardenas
Job Title: Entrepreneur
Years in the industry: 15 years

Artists Signed: After The Smoke, Locos Por Juana, El B, Osmani García, Paperwater

Career Credits: A&R’d records with – Talib Kweli, Freddy McGregor, Collie Budz, Dánay Suarez, Luis Vargas, Common Kings, Al Cover, Fuego, J Quiles, Vakero, Maffio, Notch, ChoQuib Town, Ari Lennox, Chad Stokes (disbatch), A$AP Mob, Von Benjamin (Midnite), LatenightJiggy, Happy Colors, Stephen Marley, Zoey Dollars, Twelvlen, Deniro Ferrard, I Am Chino (producer), Kontraks.

Career Highlights:

  • Joint venture with Warner Bros (2013) NYC
  • Launch of Black Wax, creative hub/recording studio in NYC (2014) NYC
  • Grammy nomination for urban album of the year with El B (2016) MIAMI
  • Opening of La Garage Wynwood, Latin night club (2016) Wynwood Miami
  • Launch of Woodside, restaurant/ lounge (2018) Downtown Miami
  • Launch of ITG Miami, media production compound, art gallery & music venue  (2019)
  • Launch of ITG Records (2020)

How did you get your first break into the Industry?

I kinda reverse osmosis-ed my way into the game! The ultimate goal is to have fans and do shows. So, I put my DJ money and some of my student loan money together and put on a concert. From there, I kept building solid relationships with other managers, artists and agents.

Tell us about the biggest artist you’ve worked with and how that happened and the journey.

The biggest artist record wise would be Osmani Garcia. The “El Taxi” song broke all types of records on YouTube amongst the other DSP’s. It’s crazy for a moment in time, where you just kept hearing that song everywhere you went.

Something close to my heart was bring Rocky and the whole MOB to Florida for their first show out of NYC. It pushed all their careers forward in such a dope way. It was Tallahassee at that.

In your experience, what does it take for an artist to take their career to the next level?

Not giving up and really being here for the right reason. If you’re pushing product out over and over again, especially in the current market we live in, you’ll be fine.

I live by a code of sort. I’m always thinking of my younger self. What did Danny need when he was 2 years deep and how can I be that for the next generation.

What do you look for in a demo or a new artist? What kind of artist do you enjoy working with?

I look for something true. You can’t judge an artist for his/her personal expressions, you have to embrace that. At the same time that’s what separates the good from the bad in a way. The good artist is the one that’s being truthful. The bad one is the one just copying the wave and not adding to it.

What are you hoping for from the BandLab contest submissions and being involved in the contest? Are you open to working with new talent?

I’m hoping to give an ear to the next generation of artist – to help give some pieces of information that I would’ve appreciated to receive when I was coming up in the game. I live by a code of sort. I’m always thinking of my younger self. What did Danny need when he was 2 years deep and how can I be that for the next generation.

Of course! I just launched my Label in L.A. we have a lot of great records coming out. A couple possible signings and we are always with our ears to the streets and open to do good business.

Enter Tracklanta 2020

Danny is a mentor for the #TracklantaFlow contest. If you want to be in the running to be mentored by Danny, enter #TracklantaFlow here.