Episode #9: SALES on friendship, knowing your worth and growing as an independent band


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On today’s episode, I sit down with one of my favorite bands: Orlando-based band SALES, comprising of Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih. We talk about how they’ve navigated the music industry as an independent band since 2012 through shared trust, friendship and open communication to work through growing pains and celebrate wins as a duo. 

We talk about the origin of their band name, how hip hop has influenced their business approach and creative process, how it’s important to know your worth and not to compare yourself to others, working through different relationships and more. 

In celebration of the one year anniversary of their latest project forever & ever this week, we also dive into how some of my favorite songs from the album came together.

I first met SALES when I interviewed them for an emerging artist research project around 2014-2015 back during my SoundCloud days. I fell in love with their music immediately--their music feels open yet cozy and intimate and evokes a lot of different emotions. Once I reached out to connect, we hit it off immediately, so it was an honor to have them as guests on the show to hear about their progression from first meeting in Latin class in high school to continuously creating and building their SALES UNIVERSE to being one of, if not the only independent band, to have played Coachella this year.

Shoutout to the whole SALES team - touring drummer/photographer Malcolm Martin and booking manager Joan Lee

Episode liner notes:

3:03: Meeting at high school in Latin class

3:53: Musical beginnings for Jordan and Lauren

6:23: Why they chose the band name SALES

7:00: Jordan’s sales-related side hustle

8:31: Role of Jordan and Lauren’s families in their support and influence

9:52: Being compared to bands that have a label/PR machine support behind them

10:50: “The way we’ve grown is really sustainable”

11:00: Why their fans are meaningful to them

11:33: Not playing by the same rules as others, leaning heavily on their booking manager Joan to make moves and play shows

11:55: Reflecting on performing at Coachella this year

13:13: Maintaining independence over the years as a band

15:30: Thoughts on streaming revenue

17:11: Hip hop as an influence for them being independent and creative process

19:14: different sounds and styles from Lauren and Jordan that contribute to their sound that’s open and intimate

20:00: “chakra ball” as creative process mode

21:41: importance of communication and spending time together

22:40: Shoutout to Malcolm Martin, touring drummer and friend

24:31: Going into “band counseling” as friends, creative and business partners

25:00: The importance of maintaining friendship above business

25:27: I reveal why I’ve cried to “You Look Well” from forever & ever album

25:37: Lauren explains the meaning behind the song - “once you care about someone and you’re intimate, that stuff never goes away but you have to have distance and let it go”

27:26: What forever & ever represented as their next stage in their career

29:30: “Renee” as the first turning point song that gave them the feeling to keep going

30:00: Thoughts on perfectionism

33:58: What Lauren and Jordan do to decompress

35:23: Spirituality: Lauren and I were both born and raised Catholic. Jordan reveals he reads Bible scriptures from time to time

36:41: “As long as my relationship with Jordan is solid, I feel good and prepared for everything else.”

38:02: Lauren and Jordan share their gratitude list