Among the most passionate people about music are those who work in the music industry: at labels, as press relation people, as concert promoters, as booking agents, as managers, as music critics, and so on. RREVERB proposes to its readers a series of interviews with passionate music artisans.
Today, we meet…

PEDRO BARBOSA

RR: What’s your name, what’s your role in the company you are presently working at, and since when are you working there? Where are you from and where do you live now?

Pedro: My name is Pedro Barbosa and I recently founded a consulting company called E-Bola Musik. I was born in Bogota, Colombia and I reside in Montreal, Canada for now 40 years. I arrived here when I was seven, yes I’m getting old!

pedro barbosa 2008

(Photo Sophie Samson)

When have you started to work in the music business?

I started in the music business at the retail level about 20 years or so, when HMV just establishing themselves in Canada.

At what age have you started to love music?

I was in third grade when music really captured my attention. I remember getting the Grease album as a gift and seeing the movie, I also discovered funk, progressive rock and what marked me the most was Aerosmith’s live Bootleg album and Black Sabbath.

When you were 20, what was your dream (in the music world)?

Of course to be in a band! I was in 2 bands.

Have you ever been a musician? Tell us about your career.

I was in 2 bands. In high school it was SHAFT and then we became Vengeance. But I wasn’t a good enough musician…

ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS

Do you live from it?

My business model is all about building teams, educating the artists and management about their business, producing records, videos…and developing talent. It’s a new frontier out there and the market is worldwide. Thinking out of the box and building relationships is where it’s at.

Is it still possible to make a living with music today? What do you need to do to make ends meet?

It’s rough because not everyone understands how the business works and most artists live in a dream world and don’t have the team to help them or investors to help them build their own path. I work with people that are driven and that have the talent and at least a minimum budget to work with. Honestly i think I could make 4 times more in a corporate setting but I love music and I truly care about the artists.

Who did you meet in your musical path that was key to your development / success?

I met so many people and musicians. The list is too long, but some of the people I below here marked me for many different reasons, some I only met for a brief moment, some I worked for, but I just felt their passion. Keith Harris (Stevie Wonder’s manager), Ozzy Osbourne, Willie Nelson, Charles Aznavour, David Bowie, Donald K. Donald (Donald Tarlton), The Cat Empire and their manager Correne Wilkie, René Angelil, Diana Krall. I met people from all walk of live within the business, managers, retailers, producers, musicians. They all tough me something, sometimes good, sometimes less good.

pedro barbosa cranberries

with The Cranberries

 

What do you like about your current position?

I’m my own boss and I work with great teams and great artists.

What would you change about the music business today?

The old guard and new guard bullshit, the dream world artists live in. Collaboration is what it’s all about, but often it’s all ego crap. Barriers did not exist when I started out. Today everything seems segmented. A lot of artists don’t have the business knowledge or the historical background about those who influenced the hero’s of today. The fans should also learn how to listen again. They all have these beads in their fucking ears and don’t even know what stereo or mono means.

Which great personal goal have you not achieved yet?

To have a huge worldwide breakthrough artist. But do I really need that??

Vinyl, cassette, CD or digital?

Vinyl, streaming/digital and above all live music.

ON ARTISTS AND MUSIC

What are your preferred music genres? Was it always the case through your life?

I’m not crazy about dance and today’s pop sound. I have no boundaries but I’m a Metal expert, i love jazz, I listened to everything since day one and I just keep eating it up. Everything has been done, but not all re-invented

On a desert island you bring those 5 albums (no more!)

Black Sabbath –Black Sabbath
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
Steely Dan – Aja
Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy
Metallica – Kill’em All

Playlist!

 

Who is the friendliest artist/music celebrity you’ve met?

It’s a tie between Ozzy Osbourne, Charles Aznavour and Willie Nelson

pedro barbosa ozzy osbourne

Some artists weren’t friendly nor easy to work with. Without naming them, can you pinpoint why or the circumstances of a negative experience? Is ego always the problem?

Always ego, some veterans but most of the time it’s about young stupid arrogant local one time hit acts.

Which brilliant artist should have made it big, but didn’t (yet)?

Wow there are so many! Hardest question! I worked with this guy called Jesse MacCormack here in Montreal. He’s a little nuts but a genius, thing are developing for him right now. I hope he gets his shit together and breaks, such talent!

 

Who would you like to meet? What would you tell/ask them?

Quincy Jones, I’d just ask him to tell me stories… The current pope, I’m not super religious but I’d love to just chat music with him.

Thank you Pedro!

 

Reach Pedro Barbosa on Facebook here.

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.