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CEO Spotlight: Bryan Herrera of Rockwell Talent

We caught up with Bryan Herrera; CEO and Founder of Rockwell Talent to talk about his journey in the nightlife industry and being in business for ten years.

How did you get started in the nightlife/hospitality industry?

The journey started in 2005 when I started throwing house parties in high school. After a couple of very successful parties, I was recognized by a local promotional company that threw parties at different venues around town. By 2006, I was hosting the biggest 18+ club events, and by 2009, I was throwing my own events in Miami Beach and working with Opium Group, which managed the most popular venues Miami Beach had seen at that time.

How did you get into working with DJs?

In 2009, when I decided to transition from promoting other people's events to organizing my own. This shift brought new challenges I hadn’t previously encountered, such as designing event flyers, assembling a reliable staff, and ensuring seamless operations on event nights. This also entailed the task of booking DJs for my events. During this period, I booked one of my high school friends, who did a great job and caught hype from the event. After that, I continued to help him get booked at other parties and worked on his brand. In a short amount of time, he was DJing 5-6 times a week, and this is when I realized I could help more of my friends and started to explore how to monetize this and make it something I could enjoy doing, all while paying the bills. Fourteen years later, it has turned into a career and a journey I am still enjoying and paying my bills from.

Why Rockwell Talent?

The name was thought of by the initial four DJs on the roster and myself in 2013. We wanted the company name to describe what we did and what we felt would be the common ingredient for all of us. After many bad ideas and names, we came up with the theory that all the DJs in the company rocked the room, and they did it well. That's where "ROCKWELL" came from, and the "TALENT" part of the name that follows ROCKWELL is because everyone in the room that day was truly talented and brought a special type of talent to the table.

A decade later, I couldn't think of a more fitting name for our company. From the DJs and musicians to the staff we work with, we all rock at what we do and do it well. Rockwell!

What does Rockwell Talent do exactly?

Rockwell Talent is a full-fledged booking agency, prioritizing the perfect match between venues and talents. These bookings can take various forms, ranging from one-time bookings of specific talents for venues, to complete music programming services where we align the sound with the brand's vision to ensure consistency. Beyond these bookings, we leverage our ten years of industry relationships to assist clients in securing the best talent at the most competitive prices. We take pride in our choice of artists and their ability to rock any room correctly, and we prioritize a smooth, professional, and enjoyable experience for both the client and the talent.

In addition to bookings, we've taken our ten years of marketing and management experience to create RW.CO which focuses on providing services and content the talent needs for the stage in their career that they are in. Whether it involves building a distinctive brand for the talent or implementing a strategic outreach program to reach the right audience, Rockwell can help elevate their careers by providing precisely what they need at any given time.

What do you think is the right work/life balance when running your own business?

Achieving an ideal work-life balance is a process that evolves over time. In the initial stages of entrepreneurship, your life is essentially your work, and you have to be fully committed to the project. This requires an unwavering dedication and a "No other option" mindset. Meaning there is no other option except to get it figured out, and get it done… In the beginning, you also don't have money to pay for staff, so it all falls on you. Those who stick with it and invest the proper amount of energy can move on to the following stages. While I haven't reached anywhere close to the finish line of my journey, I can attest that when you are genuinely passionate about your pursuits and have a support system that shares your vision and journey, work doesn't feel like work, and your life doesn't suffer from being stretched thin between the two. With that being said, it's extremely crucial you don't burn yourself out or surround yourself with the wrong people because negativity can quickly transform into misery.

What in your opinion, is the secret to longevity in the nightlife and entertainment business?

The nightlife industry is one of the trickiest industries out there. Many reasons cause this, but if I had to narrow it down to a few points that stick out, I would go with:

  • Don't burn bridges. The industry is relatively small, and maintaining positive relationships is critical as it constantly evolves… Besides, you never know when you might need those connections.

  • Stay true to your word always: Underpromise and overdeliver.

  • Enjoy the journey, and don't let anyone ruin that for you.

  • Forgive, but don't forget. Assholes will always find a way to stink again.

Did you ever think of giving up in the last 10 years?

Every day. And I mean this in the most serious way possible. Every day is a struggle, but that's what makes the journey so sweet. In my position, decisions never come easy, and there's always somebody you have to keep in mind or consider with every move made. There are ups, but more often than not, there are downs. The key is consistency and pushing through all scenarios, whether good or bad. You had a shitty day? So what, so did other people. Try harder tomorrow… You had a great day? Tomorrow is a new day, and yesterday's victories need to stay there to not overshadow the need for continued effort and dedication.

What excites or inspires you?

The most exciting and inspiring moments for me are when everything falls into place and flows harmoniously. It's like building a 20,000-piece puzzle. The first day, it's all work, with nothing to show for it. The same goes for the next day and the next, but eventually, one day, you realize the puzzle is moving along, and you can finally start seeing the image clearly. As days pass, the pieces fall into place more rapidly, building upon the foundation you've established. In business, it's the same thing. You have a vision or idea you want to bring to life. You start working day in and day out on it, and every day, you feel more lost than the day before. Until one day, it comes together, and you can see the vision clearer and clearer. Soon, you are reflecting on how you got to the finish line and realize that the most important step was laying the first piece down and getting started while not giving up along the way.

What has been your favorite moment from the last ten years of Rockwell Talent?

In the most non-corny way possible, All ten years. Every stage the company has gone through has taught me key life lessons that I take with me. Every relationship we've formed has taught me something about myself and/or the other person. Even during a year like 2020, with the pandemic, taught me more than I could ever imagine. So, in conclusion, I think my favorite moment from the last ten years of Rockwell Talent has been those that I could apply or learn from. Which, in theory, has been the entire journey in its whole.

Instagram: @bryanwithay_

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