Known for his music under the pseudonym Lee Cabrera, the co-founder of online learning platform FaderPro explains how he made the move into business.
Steven Lee, aka Lee Cabrera.
Place of work?
FaderPro.com and behind the DJ booth of numerous international nightclubs.
Co-founder of FaderPro and producer/remixer/DJ.
How long have you had the job?
DJing for eight years. We launched FaderPro in October of this year.
What does a typical day involve?
A typical day begins in the AM with a daily creative meeting with my FaderPro team, with me here in NYC and them at the FaderPro offices in Denver, Colorado. We go over everything from our site and sales, to our upcoming courses and upcoming video shoots for the month. Last week we were shooting in New Jersey with Roger Sanchez for his new course, and the prior week was with Sander Kleinenberg, who was in town for a gig, and then we shot Funkagenda as part of our new partnership with Toolroom.
We just launched our company at ADE in Amsterdam which was extremely successful and included live production demos with Sander Kleinenberg, Roger Sanchez, Man Without a Clue, Weiss, Harry Romero, Marco Lys, Larry Holcombe (Get To Know), Hardsoul and more.
Being a start-up and in the dance music space, things are constantly changing and never the same, which keeps us all on our toes. The workload is never ending and thankfully we are all passionate about both education and of course, music. Everyone on the team is either a DJ or producer or both, which helps keep our company young, fresh and creative.
After a good 10 hour day with FaderPro, I head off to the studio to turn the volume up and make music before jetting off to tour on the weekends. From there, it’s wash, rinse, repeat and we do it all over again!
things are constantly changing and never the same, which keeps us all on our toes
Highs of the job?
The space we work in is music, and if you can’t get high off that, then you need to get your head checked. I get a nice diversity as well with that cool start-up environment and building a team culture with proper structure and management, and then I get to let my hair down and drop beats in some pretty cool countries when I DJ so there is a nice synergy between it all for me personally. I don’t ever stop talking ‘shop’ so it’s just part of my DNA and my teams to be where we’re at. At the end of the day, we all chose this gig and there isn’t a lot of people out there that get that opportunity. To have that feeling is all the incentive we need to remain ‘high’.
Lows of the job?
I’d say I – and we at FaderPro – have a lack of patience and we want everything to happen quickly, but nothing goes that way, right? Having the realistic perspective with a new company, greeting even the lows like we would the highs and allowing our passions to turn into emotions is something we could all be better at.
Who are the people who’ve had the biggest influence on your career and why?
Erick Morillo, Mark Finkelstein and that first job at Strictly Rhythm Records as a teenager has had such a profound effect on me even today, and has sparked just about everything I’ve ever done since then.
I learned how to DJ by watching Erick Morillo. I was able to sit in his DJ booth in NYC and just watch, learn and then become, which is the entire business model for us at FaderPro and our courses. I emulated everything Erick did – his sound, his technical style when he played, the confidence he played with – and made it mine as well. I was even nicknamed Baby Morillo by everyone who knew me, which was hilarious.
Mark Finkelstein was the founder of Strictly Rhythm. He managed me for years after the label closed, taught me everything about the music business and was a father figure in every way for me. He’s still the smartest man I’ve ever met and just shaped my skill set to think outside the box with this business of music. He listened to every idea I ever had as if it was his own and of course gave me my first job at his label, which created the monster that I’ve become in music ever since!
I emulated everything Erick Morillo did – his sound, his technical style when he played, the confidence he played with – and made it mine as well. I was even nicknamed Baby Morillo
How did you get the job?
Well, I co-founded FaderPro, so I hired myself and then I shared the idea with a fellow producer and friend, Vincent di Pasquale. He was involved with a lot of the Lee Cabrera material I wrote, and he mixed my record, ‘Shake It’, which went number one. From there we were in the studio non-stop together. We were fortunate to raise some money for our seed round of investment and it’s been non-stop FaderPro.com ever since!
How can we get your job?
Passion precedes all things. Leadership, the willingness to fail and the tenacity to take those failures and make those wrongs into rights is huge. You need to accept that a pat on the back or a salary or a raise is not going to happen and have a complete understanding that this is a major sacrifice for you as individual. Starting a new business fully knowing it may not work and dealing with that fear, but doing it anyway with a middle finger to the statistics – those are the ingredients to get a ‘job’ like mine.