In our Meet the Family blog series, we are introducing our family of passionate music industry professionals to you. Get to know us, connect with us, join our family, and let us help you make your dreams come true!
Today we are introducing our Chief Marketing Officer and Product Owner Timo Makela, who is the man who turns the company's vision into a concrete product that addresses the needs of music creators worldwide.
Timo is an inspiring marketing and branding professional, an empathetic leader, an entrepreneurial spirit and an accomplished artist. In this interview, Timo gives us insights into his life story, his artist career and the new global Family In Music platform he is developing for independent artists, music professionals and brands.
Read along and find out more about Timo and his role in the company!
Please give us an insight into your childhood and growing up.
I was born in a small town on the west coast of Finland called Jalasjarvi. Failing to land a spot at a university to study audio, I took the second option to study marketing at a University of Applied Sciences in Finland and the University of Prague in the Czech Republic.
Which memories and elements from your childhood played a major role in your life and shaped who you are today?
From my parents, I learned to take responsibility and create my own life. In a good way, they didn’t intervene in my path. I’ve got to give it to my dad to buy me my first guitar!
Was music part of your family life and childhood? Were your parents musical, or did you attend a music school?
My parents love dancing and music and growing up I also learned to love music as it was played most of the time at home. I saw my parents appreciating great music and started appreciating it too.
We had a piano and I realised that I could just come up with my own songs. I turned from a listener to a musician big time at the age of 15. I first bought a guitar, then a bass which I soon sold and returned back to the guitar and that was it. I started writing rock and metal songs and formed a band with my mates.
Timo, you have been a freelance songwriter, music producer and mixing engineer for a variety of artists. What type of artists have you cooperated with and what are some memorable projects?
I started with my own bands and the most noticeable of them is SAKIA. Otherwise, I am working with rising stars and building my momentum as a songwriter and music producer. The artists I work with are amazing pop, hip-hop and R&B talents and I am looking to start a few rock projects as well.
Let’s talk about your band SAKIA. What is your role there and what’s the story of the band, how long has the group been active and what level of success have you reached? What are your influences and genre?
At SAKIA I write songs and play the guitar. In 2004, my mate from a former metal band called me and said: "I’ve been asked to join a band and I won’t go if you don’t go”. Along I went and the rest is history. SAKIA has some 250,000 streams to date. I used to be all about hard rock and metal so in the beginning SAKIA, being a pop-rock band, was a challenge to me creatively.
In addition, you have extensive experience in leadership, service design, art direction, branding, data-driven marketing and communications positions. What have been some of your career highlights?
My day job in technology and marketing has brought money to the table when music income has been uncertain. Highlights happen all the time and they usually have to do with great people or learning new skills.
Timo, you are the CMO of Family in Music, the Product Owner and the CEO’s right hand. How did your journey with Family in Music start?
I have a work history in startups, as well as IT and technology companies. I joined Family in Music as the first employee when I started at Jiffel Music (the parent company) as a studio trainee from a music school. I had earlier taken an online course for music business with Jiffel Music that created Family in Music so I knew the CEO. Due to my professional background, I was able to help with service design, recruitment and brand development in addition to the studio and music work.
Give us an insight into the actual product Family In Music is developing. What value will it bring to music creators worldwide and what should be expected?
Most artists wouldn’t like to choose between either artistic freedom or success.
We are building a platform that empowers artists to create their own success with proper support and tools.
Networking in the music business is somewhat a mystery and often out of reach for those entering the business. This is another issue we are determined to fix.
The most visible aspect of the music business are artists but there is a whole world of professionals behind them. Our service is as much for those people as it is for artists.
Technology has revolutionised the music industry. What you and Family in Music aim at changing in the music industry? What impact do you aim at creating?
We aim to steer the music business towards a place where all artists and music professionals can pursue financial success while retaining artistic independence. There is so much exceptional independent music out there and so many people willing to discover it.
What are your music business superpowers?
Ha! My strongest areas are songwriting and creating melodies. Music production is slowly becoming my superpower as well. Plus, I love to work together with artists.
Please talk about the internationality and diversity of the company. Why it is important to work with international talent?
When we surround ourselves with any kind of diversity, we become more accepting and wise. At FAIM, our team already has diversity geographically but gender-wise we still have work to do as we continue to grow our team.
What is the best advice you’ve been given? And, what message or advice you would like to give to music creators, in general?
As an artist (SAKIA), the best advice I’ve ever gotten was to find a hungry music producer. Many of us have songs but those who succeed have great songs! It is hard to be a great artist without a great music producer.
Also, one of Finland’s greatest guitar players and arrangers once quoted his discussion with a big artist, saying that in the end 'originality is all that matters for a creator'. It's easy to agree in my opinion.
You are a newlywed (congrats!) and a very busy man. How do you balance your personal and professional life?
Thank you! The balance for me means that whatever I do, I fully concentrate on that.
Other than music, what other hobbies you have and how do you relax after a week of hard work? I know you are a cyclist and you love nature. Tell us how do you recharge your batteries.
Nature, I indeed love. Hiking in Lapland especially! I also love cross-training, running and bicycling.
What music you like listening to and what artists/bands you are listening to right now?
I try to educate myself about the history and diversity of music. Lately, I’ve been listening to Snoh Aalegra, Steely Dan, Parliament and Meshell Ndegeocello. I will always be listening to Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. Those just hit the spot!
Timo, what’s your biggest dream?
I love to create things that change the direction of someone’s life for the better. That’s what music did to me. My dream is to write songs that have a positive impact on people’s lives. Also, the most satisfying part of tech/business work to me is to be part of creating something meaningful and of good quality.