When Cathy Heller effortlessly belted out a line from Paparazzi (By Lady Gaga) during a speech at this year’s live Synckeepers event, I immediately wanted to know more about her backstory as a pop singer. The short-lived tale of a talented solo artist who was once signed to the Universal Music Group before being released by the record label during the year 2007. Although her attempt at stardom did not end with the global success that she intended, it has resulted in the creation of a highly successful podcast (Don’t Keep Your Day Job), a sync writing class (6 Figure Songwriting) that is quickly growing in popularity and an annual live event called Synckeepers.
“I had to let my ego go so that I could actually be who I am supposed to be…I guess sometimes we just have to be open and listen because the most amazing things might be sitting there and we’re so stuck on how we think it’s supposed to show up that we miss it,” said Heller, the founder of Catch The Moon Music—as she walked amongst the live audience members at the Harmony Gold Theater with a wireless microphone in her hand.
Today, Heller has reinvented herself in the world of Sync songwriting and song placements. Synckeepers is the evolution of her journey as a solo artist and her accomplishments as a songwriter. It has also become one of the biggest productions by Catch The Moon Music. This two-day event is a yearly seminar where the CEO is joined by a selection of industry panelists on stage for the presentation of a tried and true blueprint for sync writing, sync pitching, legal advice, networking tips and more. It is a formula that has helped Cathy Heller earn over seven figures.
This year’s Synckeepers event featured in-depth presentations from a panel of very accomplished entertainment industry insiders. Many of them shared a vulnerable story about their battle scars as musicians along with their triumphs in sync writing and music business. When I heard Cathy Heller give her testimony in front of an entire auditorium, it was touching and very inspirational. But when her former students began to share their success stories, I found it even more personable. Because unlike her, most of them were freelance artists who had never signed a contract with a major record label before. That part in itself is a very accurate description of the audience members and the overwhelming majority of recording artists who are currently unsigned and struggling to maintain their finances, while pursuing a career in music.
Of all the panelists at Snyckeepers this year, six of them were graduates from Cathy Heller's institute of education. They joined Cathy Heller’s sync writing classes as independent songwriters who were looking for ways to fund their passion for music and now they have all secured major song placements in several commercials and movie trailers. One of her former students (Cass Eager) has already earned song placement in a national commercial for the McDonald’s fast food chain with an original composition called "Let's Go." While "My Way" (by Tamara Bubble) was featured during the official trailer for “A Black Lady Sketch Show” on HBO.
The lectures given by these musicians were quite informative, as several of the live audience members began to chime in with questions for the event’s panelists. But when Scotty Lund shared a tearful testimony with the live audience, a level of seriousness permeated throughout the venue. The music producer talked about successfully surviving his battle with cancer and the resiliency it took to pen a song called “Warrior” while he was going through Chemotherapy.
As the Hollywood film composer recalled his writing process for the original track, he uttered these words into his microphone: “Holy shit, I just wrote this song about myself.” His message to the live audience was emotional and straightforward: There are no excuses. The intent behind Scotty Lund’s words must have been very encouraging for all of the independent musicians in attendance. Because he is living proof that songwriters and recording artists can reach great heights with a strong sense of direction and a solid support system.
The panelist that also embodies that sentiment is John Clinebell. A former student turned Director of Music at Catch The Moon Music. “(Cathy) invited me to be a guest speaker to her 6 Figure Songwriting mentorship program in summer of 2019…it went so well I was soon offered the job of Director of Music at Catch The Moon.” His vision for the annual two-day event, going forward, is to create even more opportunities for up and coming musicians. “We definitely see the Synckeepers event growing over time. One of the things we'd love to do in the future is have breakout rooms so we can run parallel workshops and events to the main panels we do. The whole thing just grows organically, and we'll definitely keep distilling it so it remains a potent and powerful experience even as it scales.”
As a proud music lover from the city of Los Angeles, there are very few things more heartbreaking than seeing the dreams of a once passionate musician fizzle out because they lacked the means and knowledge necessary to earn a living with the music that they have poured their lives into creating. Catch The Moon is playing a significant role in a culture shift for DIY musicians. It was a pleasure to share in this experience firsthand.