Rizzo to discuss how musicians, producers can ‘tune up’ their financial future

Lisa Eikenburg

The flip side of being a successful musician or producer – building a secure financial future – will be explored by Tom Rizzo Jr., a highly successful West Coast musician, arranger and producer who now helps professional musicians manage their own money, in a presentation for Fredonia’s Music Industry program.

“Independent Musicians, Career and Money Management: Music, Artistry and Money” will be presented on Thursday, April 6, at 7 p.m., in McEwen Hall Room 202. It is free and open to the public.

“The Music Industry program consistently brings to campus industry professionals from whom students learn true life lessons that correspond to their future aspirations in the industry,” said Armand Petri, coordinator of the Music Industry program in the Department of Applied Professional Studies. “Tom Rizzo presents the unique opportunity to learn from a speaker who is not only a successful professional musician, but also heavily involved in the business side of the profession.”

Mr. Rizzo’s talk will focus on how independent music producers and musicians find gigs to make a living and how they can strengthen their finances through proper asset management. Also to be offered will be tips on how to break into the business and develop the discipline necessary to maintain a desired level of success.

Also an entrepreneur, Rizzo developed a money management app specifically designed for musicians. As part of the Fredonia Technology Incubator's Entrepreneurial Seminar Program, he will discuss how to create a mobile app on Thursday, April 6 at 1 p.m. The event at the incubator is free and open to the public, registration is appreciated.

Rizzo will share tips learned from the development of his own mobile application, Drip Financial. He will also emphasize the key features of the app, which he created to help musicians manage their finances. He has years of experience teaching individuals and small businesses how to manage finances. “Musical talent and financial intelligence are related” said Rizzo.

Stuart Shapiro, assistant professor in Applied Professional Studies and a Buffalo attorney, has followed Rizzo’s career, beginning with several enterprises that he’s run in Buffalo and continuing to Rizzo’s relocation to the West Coast. “The Music Industry program continues to stay on the cutting edge by presenting developers of new ideas that affect the evolution of the industry as a whole, and Tom’s money management app for musicians is another example of how things are evolving,” said Mr. Shapiro, whose legal practice includes entertainment law.

In addition to being a renowned jazz guitarist, Rizzo’s talents also extend to composing and arranging. He’s worked in a variety of projects, from motion picture soundtracks to GRAMMY Award-winning songs. Prior to becoming the guitarist in “The Tonight Show” band in the latter stages of the Johnny Carson era, the Buffalo native toured with the Maynard Ferguson Band.

Music producer credits include the sketch comedy series “In Living Color,” “Not Necessarily the News,” The Emmy Awards and “The David Letterman Show.”

Following a question-and-answer session, Rizzo will perform with School of Music string bass and jazz faculty member Kieran Hanlon and the Fredonia Jazz Ensemble. Rizzo’s campus talk is sponsored by the Carnahan Jackson Humanities Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation.

Previous speakers brought to campus by the Music Industry program include Joey Molland, from Badfinger; Denny Laine, The Moody Blues and Wings; Terry Sylvester, The Hollies; Dennis Drew, 10,000 Maniacs; and Robby Takac, from The Goo Goo Dolls. Woodstock Music and Art Fair co-creator Artie Kornfeld and Andy Karp, who signed Kid Rock to Atlantic Records, have also given presentations at Fredonia.

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