There are so many things that I love about my job, but the one thing that brings me the most satisfaction is, without a doubt, hearing the success stories of the artists that I've worked with. So, what better way to bring that joy to this blog than to share their stories with you? I'm excited to present our Featured Artist In Action -- a recurring Q&A series that will put the spotlight on current and former Capes Coaching clients who are making it happen out there, and who you should definitely keep on your radar.
To kick things off, we've got Dan Avidan, a multi-talented musician, comedian, writer, you-name-it, who's enjoying some much-deserved success with Ninja Sex Party, the musical comedy duo that he created with Brian Wecht, and whose videos have turned them into an internet sensation. From the moment that everyone at Capes Coaching saw the first Ninja Sex Party video, we knew that it was only a matter of time before people would be buzzing about Dan. Even better, he's one of those people that you just want to cheer for because he's humble, has an infectious energy, and is genuine to the core. I couldn't be happier that his career is really taking off -- so let's find out how he's been doing it.
1) When you first started working with Capes Coaching, what were your goals?
I think my original goal was just to figure out what my goal actually was. I knew I wanted to start a comedy band along the lines of Flight of the Conchords, but I didn't know what to do once the group had been created. I had just turned 30, and after spending 10 years in bands that went nowhere due to lack of planning and focus, I was determined for things to be different this time around.
2) What have you accomplished since then?
The past two and a half years have been the most exciting of my life, career-wise. I started a comedy band called "Ninja Sex Party" which has been doing really well. We signed with a great management company, and have played sold out shows and festivals in 10 cities across the US and Canada. Our music videos have been viewed over 2 million times online, and have been showcased on the front pages of YouTube, Funny or Die, and the Huffington Post.
3) What has been your biggest career challenge and how did you overcome it?
For me the hardest thing was always looking at comedians and musicians that were already hugely successful and thinking that what they had achieved was beyond my reach. It was painful to start a new project with modest goals when I was watching people every night on TV who were so far ahead of me. I think the key to overcoming it was focusing on myself, and tuning everything else out.
It's like building a house. First you have to lay a brick on the ground...then another brick next to it...then another. Then you look over at your neighbor's yard, and he's putting the finishing touches on his mansion. How do you not look down at your three bricks and feel hopeless? You really have to remind yourself that five years ago, he started out just like you did. He succeeded because he concentrated on his goals and consistently kept his eyes on the next step. You have to do the same. Slow hard work is the only way to create something meaningful.
4) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
That I have to work just as hard as everyone else. I spent a lot of years just sitting back, thinking that fame and fortune would come to me because I was somehow special. When I first started pursuing music after college, I swore I'd never end up one of those 30-year-old guys who sits around smoking pot and playing guitar in his parents' basement. Then 7 years passed, and I found myself perilously close to that exact scenario! It was a real wake up call, and became the catalyst for the work I've done in the past 3 years. Sometimes I wish I could have learned that lesson sooner, but the past is the past.
5) What are you currently working on?
We are releasing our first full-length album next month, which is really exciting...but the big news is that we were recently approached by several TV producers interested in developing a Ninja Sex Party television show. Together with our management team, we have been working tirelessly on the project for the past few months and will be pitching to networks in the fall.
6) Anything else you feel like sharing?
Just that I have a lot of respect for all you fellow artists out there. If you're reading this, chances are that you've already taken the first step toward your goal, which is awesome! The first step is the most important one. It's what separates you from the millions of people who just talk instead of act. It means you have the courage to dedicate your life to something you love.