Back to Basics: Are You a Diamond in the Rough?

As an A&R Director, when I’m looking for new talent to sign…. What do I look for? 

Well, let me break it down… 


1. Do they have a UNIQUE sound? 

Is their sound “uniquely familiar?” Does it have distinct and signature guitar tones, lead vocals and an overall edge?  

If so, I then ask myself:   Is this unique enough to cut through the masses.. or does it just blend in? More importantly… Does it have lasting power?


2. Can they write catchy-hooky songs?

Does the chorus hook come in before 35 seconds?

Are the guitar riffs distinct? 

Are the songs catchy and memorable? Do they have that “punch to the gut?”

Are the lyrics simple;  yet clever?


All of the above leads to the one question to ask myself, being: Can they write HITS?  


3. Are they a STAR performer? 

Are they theatrical, intoxicating and engaging performers ? How is their stage presence? 

Is the show well put together, have great execution and emerging?  


I ask myself:  Was it worth my time and every cent I paid to see this show? 



4. Do they have that WOW Factor…THAT “look and vibe”?

 Are they a statement in style? Are they trend setters? Do they stand out?

When I meet them for the first time,  do I feel a force from their presence in the room?


If so, I can then say to myself, “Wow.. Now there’s a STAR in the making!” 


5. Do they have “The Good Hustle?’

Do they push everything to the best of their potential everyday – do what they NEED to do, not just what they WANT to do?


I ask myself: Can they have Better Hustle, and be better EVERY DAY?  


6. Are they an Artist in the Business?

Do they understand the business and act on it… or is it “my way or the highway?” 

This ultimately leads to asking myself: Are they good business partners? 



Bottom line on all of the above, the most important question I ask myself …


Are they a diamond in the rough, that with some polish will shine and KEEP shining? 

Or…are they just a rough diamond? 



-Cheryl Benson-Guanci