In the music industry, you usually can’t have it both ways. You find a musician who gets what life is like in the studio and in front of the stage lights, but who finds the business side of things a mystery. Alternatively, you get the industry insider who knows how to close a deal but not how to hold an instrument. Not so with Cameron Mizell. This Brooklyn based freelance musician and online musician’s advocate knows how to straddle the divide.
As a musician, Mizell brings his guitar playing, composing and arranging chops to a host of NYC based outfits. He is most often found working with singer-songwriter Lauren Zettler as multi-instrumentalist and occasional co-writer, arranger, and producer. The two worked together on Zettler’s On Your Back Porch and most recently recorded a holiday album titled Sounds Like Snow under the moniker Be Still. The duo continuously records and tours together. Additionally, Mizell has recently joined the band Little Grey Girlfriend, fronted by vocalist Erika Lloyd, with whom Mizell produced a covers album titled Pour A Little Everything Else. So far, Little Grey Girlfriend has a self-titled EP and full length album to their credit, and after recruiting Mizell, have plans to record a new album in 2010.
Currently, the centerpiece for Mizell’s musical output is his jazz/funk trio. The group serves as his creative playground, a place to continually develop his voice as a musician. Formed in NYC in 2004, the trio originally consisted of Mizell, drummer Mike Fortune and long time Mizell collaborator, pianist/organist Brad Whiteley, who had worked on Mizell’s 2004 self-titled debut release. Mizell, Fortune and Whiteley recorded 2007’s Life is Loud together. Post album release, Fortune moved to upstate New York and the drum chair was quickly filled by Kenneth Salters. Mizell, Whiteley and Salters are regulars on the NYC live circuit.
Before becoming a freelance musician, Mizell had a gig of a different sort – behind a desk at Verve Records. As head of production at Universal Music Group subsidiary Verve Music Group, Mizell got a look at a side of the music industry most musicians never get to see. After starting out as a Digital Production temp, Mizell was soon hired as a full time employee and eventually promoted to Head of Production. In his three years at Verve, Mizell got a look at a side of the music industry most musicians never see–invaluable information that has helped him as an independent musician.
In 2008, Mizell decided to combine his knowledge of the industry with his understanding of life as a musician and put it to good use. Together with Dave Hahn, Mizell founded the website Musician Wages. Musician Wages offers music industry advice specifically geared towards making a living as a musician. The site has become a fast favorite in the music community, and Mizell can often be found there writing about everything from promoting your music on iTunes to tips on home recording.
Mizell’s pace shows no signs of slowing down. Heading into 2010, he will be wrapping up a new album with his trio, begin work on new albums with Lauren Zettler and Little Grey Girlfriend, and continue to expand Musician Wages. He has also been working as a music industry consultant for small labels and independent artists. With his business acumen and musical prowess, expect to see much more of Mizell both on and offstage in 2010.