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What It Takes To Get Into The Music Business

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Tracy Kornet
Tracy is a five-time Emmy Award winning host, reporter, and ...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – What do Beyonce…Barbara Streisand… and One Direction have in common? They’re all artists on Columbia Records, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

One of the label’s top executives likes North Texas so much he’s moving here, splitting his time between Dallas and Manhattan.

“Everything’s good about Dallas. The culture’s great. It’s a great music town, a great sports town, a great people town,” explained Lee Leipsner, senior vice president of promotions at Columbia Records in New York City.

The 46-year-old record executive was 15 and living in Maryland, when his obsession with music and willingness to work for free, convinced a record store owner to hire him. His family now lives in Austin.

Leipsner says North Texans are major music consumers. Acts large and small play year round at our numerous theaters and concert venues. He says he is always on the lookout for talent.

“We scout acts everywhere,” Leipsner explained. “It doesn’t have to be great lighting or staging, just a great band or a great artist singing.”

If you want to get noticed, Lee says you’ve got to play live. “Don’t get discouraged, play your music, get out there, find your tribe, your base, people who are into your music. Word spreads quickly.”

He also says post your music on YouTube and always have a website where fans and record companies can find your music.

When asked who was the nicest out of all of the artists he’s worked with in his 20 years with Columbia, Leipsner answered: “Steven Tyler is the nicest and most gracious. He’s also the most high-maintenance!” he said, jokingly.

“He will never turn down an autograph,” he added. “Never, ever not taken a picture with a fan,” Leipsner said of Tyler.

That humility seems to be a common thread at Columbia. When asked at what point did he feel he finally made it, Leipsner said “I never feel that way. I’m still that kid who worked in a store like this. I still feel like, I’m the lucky one.”