By the time I’m 15 or 16 years old, I knew the entire mechanics of a record company

Kristian Bush is one of Nashville’s most prolific singer-songwriters and is best known for being one half of the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum band Sugarland. Kristian told me that a mashup of early life events created an initial advantage that propelled him into music business momentum:

  • As children, he and his brother were among the very first students enrolled in pilot classes for the Suzuki method music training programs.
  • Inexpensive four-track cassette recording technology became available that allowed him to teach himself how to produce a record.
  • As a teenager, his mom bought him access to a professional music studio as a birthday present.

“By the time I’m 15 or 16 years old, I knew the entire mechanics of a record company,” he said. “I knew how much time it takes to record, how much money it takes, what the physical effort is, and then what the payoff is for each choice that I made.”

“Because of these weird events, I’m walking into high school with the complete ability to make a band and make a record. Since this was the only thing I had going for me in terms of a chance to get a girlfriend, I kept it going. I knew I could get to you through headphones.”

“This accumulated knowledge was unique, and it gave me a huge advantage when I got my first contract on a major label. I had fundamental knowledge that my peers didn’t even have anything close to.”

From “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds” by Mark W. Schaefer