Bruce S. Quarto. President & CEO, Quarto Valley Records, Inc. Woodland Hills, USA

Bruce S. Quarto

What do you do when you are “too young to grow old”? If you are Bruce S. Quarto, you take the same passion you had to grow a start-up business into a million dollar company and translate it into a completely new business sector.

Quarto established himself in the business world as an IT manager and business owner. In the early 2000s, after sitting on the board of directors at LERETA, Quarto entered early retirement after the business was sold to a billion dollar company. However, not content with just relaxing, Quarto followed his passion for entertainment and music. What resulted was a chance to produce an album by the band Heaven & Earth. After getting a taste for the music industry – the good side and the bad – Quarto believed he could help change the record business for the better. He established Quarto Valley Records in 2012, and the label’s first record, “Dig” by Heaven & Earth, went on to critical acclaim.

Music isn’t the only thing Quarto has his hand in, and the businessman enjoys a multifaceted career that keeps him loving life every day. From selling his original company for millions to producing bands and owning his own record label, Bruce S. Quarto is doing business on his own terms.

Bruce, please tell us about Quarto Valley Records and its “so special approach” with artists?

Quarto Valley Records is not like other records labels, and I designed it with that intent in mind. Artists are very rare people and ought to be rewarded for what they provide to the world. In my opinion, artists haven’t been treated fairly by big labels and big business in general.

I stick to core values of fairness, empathy, and caring that I learned from my parents, my older brother, working in restaurants as a busboy or waiter, and life in general. QVR is carefully crafted to be more caring, more giving, more rewarding, more successful and more artist-centered. I will always treat both my artists and business dealings with these same core values. I have taken a considerable amount of time and effort to bring on only the best people to my team. They are what makes the label run—my incredible management, public relations, marketing and more. It doesn’t get better than the QVR family.

From tech business to the music record industry, from where and when do the ideas come?

From my early childhood, I have always been a creator, a fixer—an extreme version of MacGyver, if you will. I could easily take apart almost any broken object and fix it. As I grew older, I learned that my talent for fixing things could be applied in many situations—whether it was a computer program, an entire computer system or even the way traditional businesses and operations are carried out.

Basically, I am lazy by nature, so I always try to simplify challenges; and then try to do the least amount of work to get the absolute best results. I welcome challenges, but I do not like things that are wasteful and boring. Recognizing problems in the music business gave me yet another challenge to simplify and overcome.

Tell me about signing the superstar Paul Rodgers, and please tell us more about his project?

Paul Rodgers is one of my all-time favorite vocalists. I was 13-years old when I first heard the band Free through my older brother’s new state-of-the-art 1973 Pioneer Stereo system! I thought he was a total rock god. Signing one of the most iconic rockers of all time, someone I have admired for 44 years, was one of the most gratifying and surreal experiences of my life.

Paul Rodgers is the very first member of Quarto Valley Records Icons! I created this Icon sub-label to embrace only the best iconic artists. The project that we are currently working on is the Free Spirit Tour CD/DVD. It showcases the music of Paul Rodgers’ early career with the band Free. It will be released spring 2018.

Bruce and Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company)

Bruce and Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company)

What is the most challenging part of your work?

When I first started QVR in 2012, I had to learn all the intricacies of the music business. What I found was not what I had envisioned. This industry is very tough and constantly evolving.  I saw a chance to facilitate order amongst a “no rules” game. So, the most challenging part of my work used to be all about learning the music business and how to handle artists. Now with my amazing QVR team, I primarily focus on how I can change this business for the better.

What was your most rewarding professional experience?

Besides building QVR from the ground floor, my most rewarding professional experiences have been partnering with Paul Rodgers and the Free Spirit Tour, producing the film Happy Birthday (2016) with my good friends Casey Tebo and Steven Tyler, and producing two incredible rock albums from the first QVR band, Heaven & Earth. Their new album, Hard To Kill, was released October 6.

How do you find inspiration?

Sometimes it is nothing more than a “wow… that would be neat” thought or dream. I always wonder “why not?” or “if I could do this to that… then I bet I can do that to this!”

Tell us how Quarto Valley Records began and about some of the highlights?

QVR began in 2012 after I was involved in producing an album for a close friend. I became engaged in every facet of the music and was rapidly learning the business. I soon discovered that the record deal they were going to get was total BS! I knew all the blood, sweat and tears that were shed in the making of this phenomenal collection of songs. And to add insult to injury, in this deal, I would most likely not even recoup my initial investment. So, I started my own record company and called it Quarto Valley.  It was at that moment, I decided that my record company was never going to treat artists like indentured servants.

What do you have your sights on next?

I have two other companies that I currently run — a technology firm and a production company. My tech firm is currently developing a product that will be very useful for marketing and promotions for QVR. With my production company, we are looking to capture some incredible live or special events. The entrepreneurial synergy between all three of my companies is not by accident.

Were you ever influenced by other entrepreneurs?

Certainly! I have always held in very high regard inventors and entrepreneurs like Edison, Bell, Marconi, Einstein, Goddard, Gates, Jobs and many others who have given this world such great inventions with valuable and useful purpose.

Can you describe a day in your life?

I jump out of bed (okay, I climb out of bed) not knowing what wonder or what challenges await me. However, I’m fully confident that whatever they may be… God, the Universe and I can handle it!  Well… maybe after a cup of coffee and a smoke! Seriously, I usually drink coffee, eat a pastry and then take care of my animals, my property and personal affairs. Only then do I dare open my laptop. Most days, I usually read and reply to emails throughout the day, then approving invoices and several conference calls. New creations, visions, clarifications and opportunities are literally happening every hour of the day. Last weekend was a complete break in that routine, because I got to go see and hang with my first Icon, Paul Rodgers, up in Tacoma, Washington.

What makes you smile?

Knowing that I can make people smile and make them happy by doing something cool, something good, and often something very unexpected, is extremely gratifying to me.

What scares you?

Beautiful women, lawyers and insincere people. But in all seriousness, I would say not doing my absolute best when that is exactly what I had tried to do!

What is your greatest achievement?

My children are my greatest all-time achievement. My kids have given my life validation. I just hope my offspring become somewhat like me and constantly try to give something back to the world daily.

What is your secret talent?

I LOVE to teach and I am a damn good cook, if I do say so myself! When I was working my way through college, I worked in some fine restaurants and picked up some cool skills. As for the teaching, I used to tutor other, older students in elementary school. It was very fun and I got to leave my normal class to do it!

Which historical figure do you most admire?

Without a doubt, it would have to be Thomas Edison. I love his quote about creating his lightbulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. It just fits so perfectly with my life philosophy that to succeed, you just never give up.

Do you have any hobbies?

It used to be working on cars and go-karts, hunting, fishing, quad and dirt bike riding—but now it is all about seeing my dream come to fruition. Making Quarto Valley Records be as successful and as helpful as it can be is paramount. A lot of people are depending on me now, and I do not take this lightly. Music is where my true passion lies. I play guitar, write and I sing. Music inspires me to be a better and more creative person. I truly believe that music is needed to live a healthy life.

What are you never without?

A zest for life. I realize that life is a very special privilege, especially after recent tragic events. Life is meant to be enjoyed and we should help others enjoy their lives. I am calm and confident in my journey, because I know that focusing on the end will prevent me from enjoying “the now”. However, I am never without the knowledge that all this could be very abruptly taken away, so I try to do my best every single day.

Can you tell me two of your favorite quotes?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

This too shall pass!

How do you define success?

Progress, not perfection. Once you reach a milestone or achieve a goal, reward yourself, but do not rest on your laurels. Rather, seek continual improvement and self-reevaluation. I try to always practice kaizen, which is the Japanese term for continual improvement.

What advice would you give to anyone starting a new business?

If you are going to start a business, make sure that it’s for the right reasons. If this is your passion, then pursue the hell out of it. Do not let anyone tell you that it cannot be done. If you are starting a business for monetary reasons and personal gain, you will inevitably fail. You won’t be truly happy, and you can’t truly succeed, because you have profited while others have lost.

Anything else you would like to add?

Always try to be happy! Whenever I feel sad, broken, remorseful, angry, bitter or even resentful, I try to remember that this is just all part of the master plan. I’ve learned that more will be revealed. I try to be still and let God and the universe handle everything.

For more information on Bruce Quarto and his Quarto Valley Records, go to their website at www.quartovalleyrecords.com

 

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