The Big Break Podcast

Have you ever wondered who is responsible for the songs you hear on the radio? Thousands upon thousands of artists pour their hearts and souls into work that most people will never even know exists. What separates the hits? Every week I sit down with songwriters responsible for some of the biggest songs that sweep the world to find out: how did they get there? What was their journey? My name is Gary Young, and this is The Big Break.

Episode 21:

Mario Lalli

Desert Rock is a sub-genre of rock known for it’s free-form, and trance-like grooves made popular by notable bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, and Kyuss.

How do sub-genre’s get created? What inspires a style? We’ll learn in a minute because our guest this week is Mario Lalli, one of the founders of this popular genre of alternative rock. He joins us to talk about how Desert Rock came to be. A melding of Classic Rock and the skater punk lifestyle of the Southern California Desert, Mario explains how the simple love of the music, and passion built the genre, on this episode of The Big Break.

Episode 20:


The boom and bust of the music industry creates some incredible life lessons. One month you’re on top of the world, the next you’re scrounging for any kind of placement.

This is especially true for our guest this week, Brandyn Burnette.

Brandyn got his first publishing deal at just 19 years old. He traveled all over the world writing and recording with different artists, learning how to collaborate, producing some amazing music. Then things began to turn.

After some internal politics at his label, he was dropped with little music to his name. After some time to adjust, Brandyn pivoted to become independent artist, taking control of his career, and giving birth to EMAN8. Brandyn joins us to tell his story, and the valuable lessons he learned on this episode of The Big Break.

Episode 19:

Schmarx and Savvy

Marc Schneider and Savannah Giersch are the songwriting and producing duo Schmarx and Savvy. After being introduced by a mutual friend, the two began to write music together while living on opposite ends of the country. Some months later the pair reconnected in Nashville and became Schmarx and Savvy.

After getting signed at Round Hill music publishing they started to grow and refine their skills. After some grinding, the duo started getting placements with major artists like 3lau, Zeds Dead, Jordin Sparks, and more.

Today we welcome Marc and Savannah to the podcast to discuss hard work, and embracing your individuality, on this episode of The Big Break.

Episode 18:

Mr. Robotic

Marcas Harris treats his music career like a business.

Music for marcas started as battle-rapping in the lunchroom in high school. After gaining recognition in the battle-rap scene under the name “Bullet”, Marcas began to book shows around his hometown of Chicago. When his performances began to generate some money, and he decided to take his music to the next level. 

He rebranded his unique sound and style under the name Mr. Robotic, and began building the foundation for a business. Today, Mr. Robotic has had hundreds of sync placements in popular shows like The Jersey Shore, Black Lightning, I Feel Bad, and more.

We sit down with Mr. Robotic today to hear about his growth from battle-rapper, to producer and entrepreneur on this episode of The Big Break.

Episode 17:

Beat Billionaire

Shamann Cooke grew up in Richmond, Virginia. As an escape from the drugs and violence in his neighborhood, he began rapping, and cultivating himself as an artist. When he got recognized at a rap battle in New York, Shamann was connected to industry superstars like T.I., Young Dro, Rick Ross, and more.

Today, Shamann goes by Beat Billionaire. He produces many of the hits you hear coming out of Maybach Music Group,  including “Purple Lamborghini” by Rick Ross, which was the featured song in the blockbuster film “Suicide Squad” and got him a Grammy nomination.

Beat Billionaire joins us to talk about how he went from selling drugs in his hometown, to a premiere producer with Roc Nation, on this episode of The Big Break.

Episode 16:

Ben Tankard

Things don’t always go according to plan, and that rings especially true for our guest this week, Ben Tankard.

Ben had just joined the NBA when an injury ended his basketball career before it even had a chance to start. After a few years of working as a dog catcher, Ben started taking his lunch breaks playing piano in a music store. After the shopkeeper asked him to ditch the dog-catching uniform and demo pianos for his customers, he realized music was more than something to pass the lunch break.

Today, Ben is a highly regarded Gospel-Jazz musician, a preacher, and even has his own reality show. He joins us to tell the story of how he went from a local dog-catcher, to the musical pioneer he is today.

Episode 15:

Daniel Capellaro

You know the feeling when everything seems to be falling into place? Things just seem to work out in a way that seems too good to be true?

That’s exactly what it was like for our guest this week, Daniel Capellaro. See, after he learned guitar and started singing, a chance encounter with a record producer in New York got him in the door with major studios all over the country. And, this was when he was just 19 years old.

But, and there’s always a but, Daniel faced a difficult decision. One that ultimately stopped him right in his tracks and putting him back at square one.

It was a tough break, but it came with many lessons, and Daniels perseverance and talent allowed him to reset and flourish as a lyricist and music producer. Today he has songs with superstars like Chris Brown and Pitbull. 

Episode 14:

Andrew Cedar

Our guest this week is producer and songwriter Andrew Cedar. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably heard his songs Flo Rida, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. That includes Grammy Nominated song, “See You Again.”

Andrew grew up taking weekly piano lessons from when he was just 3 years old. With encouragement from a musical family, he earned him a full scholarship to UCLA’s music program. After a few short years studying, he got connected with the talent at Artist Publishing Group, and received a publishing deal before he even graduated.

Andrew joins us today to talk about the steps and methods that propelled his career forward, on this episode of the Big Break.

Episode 13:


Antwan Thompson, better known by his producer name, Amadeus, is a heavy hitter in the music industry. He has credits with an extraordinarily long list of superstars which includes Jennifer Lopez, Trey Songz, Justin Bieber, Tyga and many more.

Growing up in the Bronx in New York, Amadeus started off learning to play the drums with his school band. His natural musical talent was only enhanced by his work ethic and dedication. That talent and dedication got him in the room with legendary producer Buckwild when he was only 15 years old.

Amadeus joins us to share his story, and what steps he took to become the powerhouse producer he is today.

Episode 12:

Damon Sharpe

A lifetime performer, Damon Sharpe started his career as a touring dancer when he was only 15 years old.

His early success as a dancer led to multiple acting jobs, a television show, and even a record deal before it all came crashing down around him, teaching him the first and greatest lesson of his career- work ethic. This ultimately became Damon’s greatest asset, and led to the creation of songs like “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” by Jennifer Lopez and more.

Today, Damon is an international producer working in several different genres of music. He joins us this week to talk about his journey, and the importance of working hard and never taking no for an answer, on The Big Break.

Episode 11:

Andrew Kirk

Andrew Kirk started out in music as the drummer for his church’s band and before he knew it, he was 18 years old and touring around the U.S. with them.

Being barely out of high school and touring the country may sound like he’d made it, but it was only the starting point for him. A few record deals and contracts later, Andrew used Youtube to help relaunch his career as an electronic musician under the name RUNAGROUND.

That found him a lot of success and even provided him the opportunity to write and perform a song for Dalai Lama.

Here’s Andrew to tell his story on this episode of the Big Break.

Episode 10:

Emile Ghantous

Emile Ghantous is a grammy nominated record producer and songwriter. He has credits with artists like Pitbull, JoJo, Charlie Wilson and dozens of other household names.

But, before he was producing songs for big-time artists, he was just a kid buying the latest R&B CDs in his hometown- Peoria, Illinois. Listening to groups like Boyz II Men and New Edition had him hooked on music and he began experimenting with creating beats and making songs with his friends in high school.

Flash forward a few years and Emile is hustling artists back and forth to his friend’s recording studio, spending sleepless nights producing music, and meeting with some of the most influential managers in the industry. All of that dedication eventually paid off when he landed a huge deal to produce an album for an aspiring artist.

Episode 9:

Tami LaTrell

What happens when one of your songs is picked up by a superstar before you’re even 20?

That’s exactly what happened to Tami LaTrell. She is a multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated songwriter with an unbelievable resume of work under her belt. She started out singing and performing with girl-groups in her teens, and when she was just 18 years old, one of her songs was picked up by Whitney Houston. That propelled her through college to an entrepreneurial life as a digital marketer, music industry educator, and songwriter.

She's since worked with R&B superstars Monica and Keyshia Cole, as well as artists like Love and Theft and Chamillionaire. She has a youtube channel with hundreds of thousands of followers, and is currently an executive at “The Labz” - a platform that helps artists manage their rights and protections of their work.

Episode 8:

Jahlil Beats

Jahlil was born into music. From the age of 3 he was learning about music production from his father, and grew up developing his musical skills. After college, Jahlil took advantage of the blossoming world of social media, and online mixtapes to build a network in his local hip hop community. This led him to work with the likes of Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and many other rap icons- ultimately netting him a Grammy in 2019.

Episode 7:

Jane't Sewell

Jane't started her career at a young age. A blend of business and creativity, she dedicated herself to the music industry the moment she realized that she could make money while making music. She took internships with industry heavy-hitters, taught herself how to be an engineer, and spent her nights making music all while maintaining her day job. After a sudden epiphany, Janet quit her day job to follow her dreams in music and never looked back. 

Today, she and her husband run an international record label and are continuing to write hits, and change the game.

Episode 6:


Jamie Sanderson, better known as Sermstyle, grew up in Newcastle in Northern England. He started off as a hip hop producer, but as he networked and grew his following on Twitter he developed a fascination for Pop music and the global influence it has. He would spend hours and hours studying pop songs until eventually his dedication paid off, and he got connected with the Artist Partner Group.

This ultimately lead to the creation of his first smash hit “Timber” by Pitbull featuring Kesha. He’s gone on to put his name on many more world-sweeping songs.

Episode 5:

John Chisum

John Chisum is a lifetime singer, songwriter, and Christian music producer based in Nashville, Tennessee.

As a young man, John moved to Nashville to pursue his dreams of songwriting. There he connected with legendary gospel songwriter Bill Gaither. That meeting presented him with the opportunity to grow as a writer and to learn the ins-and-outs of music publishing. John is a strong believer in mentor’s and learning from the people you surround yourself with. Because of his mentors, he's flourished as a producer. 

Now, John helps develop and coach songwriters through his company Nashville Christian Songwriters. His journey resulted in deep friendships all over the world, and a celebrity status he never would have guessed he'd achieve.

Episode 4:

Eric Dan

Eric Dan is the man behind ID Labs, a Pittsburgh recording studio that oversaw the development of superstars Wiz Khalifa, and Mac Miller. 

Eric dove head-first into music at a young age, trying his hand at various instruments and stage performances, while running multiple jobs as he slowly built his own recording studio. He began specializing in hip-hop, and when a young Wiz Khalifa walked in the door of his studio, he saw the opportunity for a partnership. That relationship propelled his career to several gold and platinum hits, and ID labs to being the premiere recording studio in Pittsburg.

Episode 3:

Frankie Storm

Frankie Storm is the songwriter behind hits like “Don’t Stop The Music” by Rihanna, and “Lightweight” by Demi Lovato. Listen to Frankie tell her story – from being discovered singing in her church choir and breaking into the New York and Philadelphia music scene, to finding the balance between success and stardom while writing hit-after-hit.

Episode 2:

Bruce Waynne - Part 2

Where we left off, Bruce and his partner David Swift had rented a large studio house and were diving into the R&B scene. From there, Bruce learned about loose ends, protecting yourself as an entrepreneur, and as a person. He learned about the world of Youtube and brand recognition, and how to expand the breadth of his work to service more than just listeners. He started making waves in film and television space and now owns one of the largest hip-hop music libraries in the world.

Episode 1:

Bruce Waynne

Bruce Waynne of Midi Mafia joins us to discuss his journey through the music industry. Bruce grew up in the Bronx, slinging mixtapes and CD’s in his local neighborhood, and his experiences creating music helped propel him to heights he couldn’t imagine as a young man.