Bassics Magazine | Summer 1998

Bassics Magazine | Summer 1998

Bassics Magazine | Summer 1998

    Mel Brown is a musician with a mission. Not only is he a well-rounded, solid
player but his background in human resources provided him with valuable
knowledge about making contacts and getting work. The result is the “Mel Brown
Profile,” a multi-media CD ROM. It’s an idea whose time has obviously come, at
least judging by the results.
    Currently performing with Gladys Knight, Brown was living in Colorado and made
the decision in ’93 to chase his dream of being a pro bassist in one of
America’s music meccas and subsequently quit his job. A couple of months later
he noticed that Arsenio Hall was conducting somewhat of a talent show, with
selected entrants being invited to appear on the show and compete for prizes.
He sent a tape of himself performing on the bass and asked not to be in the
contest, but rather if he could sit in with the band. Arsenio obliged, and
Brown fronted the band for a night. The appearance brought about a call from
saxist Nelson Rangell, which led to further gigs and sessions with Michel
Camilo and Chuck Loeb. The projects did well and Brown was on his way.
In 1997 he made the move to L.A. and like many before him, began the
unenviable task of breaking into the scene, no easy task for a relatively
unknown player. Donning his human resources thinking cap, he set about to
overcome the inherent problems of getting people to know you and trust your
playing. How could he shorten the time between meeting someone and getting the
chance to work for them?
Possessing an extensive press kit and some good examples of his playing, the
idea was suggested by a friend to combine the two on a CD-ROM and thus the
“Profile” was born. Not only could the recipient read his résumé while hearing
him play, but with the addition of interactive pictures and videos, a multi-
media experience complete with audio and visual samples could be presented.
And by handing out one CD instead of a pile of pictures, tapes, etc., contacts
could make an educated assessment about him in less than 10 minutes.
Endorsements are another form of the “vote of confidence” all players need,
and the CD offers both personal (including Jimmy Haslip, Victor Wooten and
Wayman Tisdale) plus corporate (Eden, Dean Markley).
While it took seven months to complete, the results have been very impressive.
After distributing about 400 copies, responses have exceeded 95%! And it took
all of 3 weeks to produce a full calendar of gigs. As an example, after being
contacted by Gladys Knight’s musical director Benjamin Wright, he FedEx’d a
copy to him, spent 4 days shedding on about 65 Knight tunes with some charts
from bassist Andrew Ford (who had done the gig in the past), met with Wright
and boom-he’s been doing the gig for about 8 months now. He’s also played with
Frank Gambale, done sessions for the Disney channel and Fox TV, as well as
countless casuals and club dates. And he’ll be holding down the bottom for
Brian Bromberg’s “lead” bass outing as well.
Of course all hype and nothing to back it up won’t get you far. As can be
heard on his Profile, Mel has the goods to back it up, from clean finger-style
grooves to serious slap chops. Plus his strong business acumen is another
highly valuable asset.
The CD Profile has worked so well that Brown has applied for a patent for it.
After viewing it myself, I can’t think of a better marketing tool in the human
resources realm. It’s not cheap, but it works. As this method of promotion
takes hold in the marketplace, the question won’t be whether you can afford to
do it, but whether you can afford not to.
Email Mel at [removed]      -RG

Gibson Amplifier | Summer 1998

Gibson Amplifier | Summer 1998

Gibson Amplifier | Summer 1998

The Amplifier Magazine Article:
The Art of Self Promotion by Katoorah Jayne

This column is dedicated to those artists, musicians, self-created individuals who are in search of ways to promote, express, convey and carry their self-made works to various listening audiences. All of which may include radio, record and publishing companies as well as live venues, but reach beyond the cinder blocks of a musty-filled single-car garage, grandma’s lasagna-painted kitchen, steamy, reverberating showers or tiny bedroom jam sessions.

Imagine yourself if you will, at a concert, nightclub or party. You are there for several reasons, but the most important one is to meet people, establish new contacts and further your career in the music industry. Because a first impression is so vital and sometimes the only one you get to make, you must make a lasting one. This can be difficult to do at the previously mentioned venues, as they are usually buzzing with people, loud music and plenty of distractions.

You shake hands as you try to raise your voice enough to wedge it through the deluge of sound, and impart your business card. You do have a business card, right? After this brief exchange you are hoping to have made an indelible mark on the mind of the contact you just established. Maybe they will retain your fleeting words, maybe they won’t. Perhaps your business card, CD or cassette will be discarded along with the others that have been accumulating dust on a bureau at home. How then, can you stand out and be remembered, even talked about?

Meet Mel Brown, a vibrant, self-promoting bassist who now resides in Pasadena, CA. His business card: a CD-ROM, i.e. The Mel Brown Profile. This interactive business card (the CD itself) is adorned with a colorful caricature of Mel’s face. The CD comes with full installation instructions for Mac or PC along with the program Quicktime ® so that you can view the video segment. Mel feels that this CD-ROM can “replace introductions and promotional materials with a brief multi-media presentation.” It can act as a bio, demo tape, interview and even an audition in the event of geographical distance.

The Main page of this interactive “autobiography” has five sections: video, tunes, impressions, medley, and endorsements. Before that menu appears, however, you first see a computer-generated picture of an old black-and-gold rotary telephone centered on a light wood grain table with tapestry wallpaper accenting the background. Suddenly, the handset is rocking as you hear the ring of the phone. An answering machine kicks on and the caricature of Mel appears, lips moving, “Pa-pow, pow Mel Brown is not in the house, but I know who you be, ’cause I got the caller I.D.” I recognize it as the outgoing message on his home answering machine. It is a playful innovative arrangement of words that draw you in to the world of Mel Brown.

You are then taken to the main menu where you can go to the different sections.

1.Video — View Mel on the Arsineo Hall show, Turner Movie Classics and other commercials.

2. Tunes — Listen to songs he’s written and played bass on.

3. Impressions — Listen to other musician’s opinions about working with Mel, as you see a picture of them (similar to references on a resume).

4. Medley — See pictures of albums he has played on, along with several cuts from each one.

5. Endorsements–ee the logos and names of the endorsements he has obtained: Tobias Bass, Eden Electronics and Dean Markley.

Mel Brown has taken his talents and accomplishments and put them all on a CD-ROM. In less than ten minutes you can find out almost everything you need to know about this incredibly talented bassist, and decide whether or not to hire or give him an audition. Does it work? Is it successful? After relocating to Pasadena from Denver only two months ago, he has landed a permanent position with Gladys Knight. He conveys that his newly acquired bassist position was a direct result of the CD-ROM.

During his first few weeks in California he mailed out 130 discs. He got back 90 replies. One of them put him in touch with Gladys Knight’s musical director. The director was in Las Vegas at the time. He had a laptop computer. That was all Mel needed to know. He sent the CD-ROM to Vegas. The only thing the musical director needed to know: “Can you read music?” The audition ensued a week later. It lasted only 15 minutes. He got the job. Not only has he found a way to thoroughly self promote, but he has also potentially carved out another means to make a living.

Mel is now in the process of applying for a patent and has plans to bring this concept to the forefront of the music industry. He also envisions this as a means of promotion for the acting and modeling industries as well. This is an amazing and inventive tool to self promote, if you have the talent to back it up, you could be unstoppable. In a time where computers are becoming as common as televisions, a CD-ROM business card could eventually be a part of every kind of business.

Because of the outstanding patent application, his CD-ROM is not yet available, but will eventually make its way onto the web sites of the companies who endorse Mel. If you have any questions about this article or have suggestions or comments, please email them to:

Katoorah Jayne is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter who has written and produced 5 CDs, toured nationally with the band Western Vogue, and opened for The Rembrandts, The Bodeans, Joe Walsh, Los Lobos, The Texas Tornadoes, Holly Dunn, Leon Russel and James Cotton, to mention a few. Her music has appeared on several compilation discs alongside Shawn Colvin, Tori Amos, Julian Lennon, Leftover Salmon, Matthew Sweet, The Indigo Girls and others. Check out her website at 

Global Bass Magazine | April 2001

Global Bass Magazine | April 2001

Global Bass Magazine | April 2001

In a continuing series of articles and interviews about the lives and careers of bassists in New York City, Global Bass presents…
MEET MEL BROWN – Profile Disc Pioneer 
By Tony Senatore

Bassist Mel Brown has been causing quite a stir in the music industry lately.  He has done more in the last three years than most musicians accomplish in a lifetime.  As he puts it, “I am active in virtually every situation available to the modern bassist. Tours, club shows, movies, TV, both soundtrack and on-camera acting, jingles, theme songs, corporate dates and endorsing.”
Arsenio Hall played a key role in breaking Mel’s career by inviting him on the show to play before a national television audience.  He rose to the occasion by laying down a funky slap groove, completely winning over Arsenio and the audience.  Mel took this exposure and made it count, landing a tour with music legend Gladys Knight, recordings with Brian McKnight, and cameo appearances in movies like Viva Rock Vegas and The Nutty Professor 2.
How did he do it, you ask?  Well, while the rest of us have been sending out the typical demo discs, Mel has created what he calls his “Profile CD”.   This invention is the most amazing self-promotion marketing tool of our time.  It replaces the typical press kit that musicians have been circulating for decades.  By simply placing his Profile CD into your computer, the user will find out all that he needs to know about what Mel brings to the table in any situation — studio, live performances, and tours. 

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Mel in New York while he was in town with singer Marc Anthony.  He took time out of his hectic schedule to show me the merits of his idea in person.  Once in your computer, the Profile CD breaks down into five categories: Seen, Heard, Respected, Endorsed, and Chronicled.  The section of the disc entitled Seen is key. Upon opening the file, a narrator takes over and tells the user Mel’s story.   Mel is seen at his best — dancing, kidding around, and, of course, jamming on the bass. 
The section entitled Heard comes next.  It chronicles some of Mel’s latest works by allowing the user to listen to some of Mel’s recent CDs.  Most impressive is Mel’s work on CDs for Chuck Loeb and Nelson Rangell.  The Respected section of Mel’s Profile CD is definitely the highlight of the disc.  It features audio testimonials from the likes of Gladys Knight, Marc Anthony, and fellow bassists Victor Wooten, Brian Bromberg, and Jimmy Haslip – three of the finest Bassists to walk the planet.  The Endorsed section follows with descriptions of Mel’s equipment of choice such as Dean Markley strings and Eden amplification, accompanied by a video clip of Mel playing a fine slap bass solo in a piece he calls Mr. Coltrane.   The Profile CD is wrapped up with the Chronicled section which displays all of the press Mel has garnered over the years.
 “I am the first musician in the world to use the Profile CD as a method of self-promotion,” Mel asserts.  “I’ve never seen another disc like mine used for the purpose of self-promotion by a single individual. I honestly believe that my profile in tandem with my website is the tightest self-promoting marketing strategy in the world. I’ve heard a lot of stories about guys that have tried some variations of what I’m doing. More power to them!  The technology is there, let’s use it to get ahead.”  Clearly, of all of Mel’s many accomplishments, his Profile CD is the thing he’s most proud of.
If it isn’t already obvious, Mel Brown takes great pride in his work. When someone hires him, whether it’s for a bar gig or a world tour, he gives his all.  He has great respect for the music and the people who hire him to help them realize their dreams.  He shows up on time, sober, drug-free, and 100 percent prepared for the task at hand.

    Mel is open to sharing his profile CD with the world.  In fact, he believes all aspiring bassists should have one of their own.  Thinking of following in Mel’s footsteps?  He would be glad to send you one (provided that you pay for the postage).  If you are interested in hearing and seeing what all the fuss is about, contact Mel at [removed].  He has a website that at press time was still under construction.  His address on the web is
The days of musicians scrawling their phone numbers on the back of dirty napkins are over. Mel Brown has definitely set a new standard for anyone interested in making the most of their career.

Bass Player Magazine | September 2008

Bass Player Magazine | September 2008

Bass Player Magazine | September 2008

Mel Brown is not just a top-level bassist with everyone from George Benson to Marc Anthony; he’s also on the leading edge when it comes to the business of music and networking. Brown attacks his subject in an enthusiastic, clear, and direct manner. Step one, “Choose the Life,” is the most intense and revealing, with Brown addressing such candid topics as the “myth of making it,” living opposite society, road life, and defining your own success. Brown also includes his enhanced-CD profile in the back cover. Given the shaky state of music biz, Mel’s method is a perfectly timed tool for getting or staying ahead. (CJ)

Chris Jisi

Bass Player Magazine

02S Goes to Fender

Mel Brown took the 02S workshop on the road to Fender’s Bass Bash. Check out what Jay Piccirillo, former Senior Marketing Manager for Fender has to say about Mel and 02S:

If you’re in the music business as a retailer, manufacturer, distributor or something else, 02S can give your employees the background information to understand how musicians earn a living. Use this information to inspire your employees, improve marketing campaigns or just to get to know your musician customers better!

02S Reviews

Real musicians, educators, music contractors, and even musical instrument manufacturers recognize the value of  the information in 02S. Here’s a review from Donovan Bankhead:

And another review from a touring musician:

“The truth is that the sax player has stolen my book and I am going to have to beat him down to get it back (LOL). Man I have been recommending your book to everyone I can it is simply the bible as far as I am concerned when it comes straight talk about life as a sideman and life on the road. Every woman who thinks she is interested in a professional musician needs to read that book…..twice! I have quite a few friends that are music educators and I am hoping to convince them to make that book one that they recommend to serious students. I also appreciated the info on getting a good bass. Thanks again for taking the time to write it and share your knowledge and experience.”

Mike Brown

Bassist for Ringling Brothers Circus

What do you have to lose? What are you waiting for? Pick up your copy today!