Pianist and entertainer Emile Pandolfi got his start playing in the cocktail bar of a private dinner club in Greenville, S.C. He recorded his first album, “By Request,” in 1984 at the request of his friends and fans, who helped him fund a single-day recording session by buying 10 copies each in advance. That album, which sold 1,500 copies in its first year, continues to be Emile’s bestseller, and has now sold over 600,000 copies.
In 1990, Emile’s wife, Judy Pandolfi, formed an S-corporation to sell Emile’s albums, book gigs, and publicize his work. She found a national distributor for Emile’s albums and helped Emile transition from performing dinner music to giving concerts. The Pandolfis also hired vocalist Dana Russell, who performs with Emile and does office work.
MagicMusic Productions has now produced more than 32 albums and sold more than 3.5 million copies. Emile performs concerts across the U.S., and MagicMusic even hosts a “fairytale adventure” cruise up the Danube River in Hungary, where travelers can hear Emile play every night.
After almost three decades in business, MagicMusic has expanded beyond the capacity of a single individual and Judy is ready to turn over the reins to someone else. The Pandolfis met with SCORE mentor David Esch to gather ideas. Emile says, “We have had three meetings with David to familiarize him with our business and goals. He has offered some great advice on where to look for the person we need. As yet, we have not found that person, but having a knowledgeable businessman to exchange ideas and challenges with has put us in the direction of where we need to go.”
Emile advises other small business owners, “You must have a team, even if it is a team of two to start. One person simply cannot have all the skills necessary to create a business.”