Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Bronagh Monahan.
How long have you worked in Management?
I’ve been a digital-first talent manager for six years now, I started out at Gleam Futures representing some of the top YouTube talent in the UK and then after two brilliant years decided to go freelance and pave my own way. My original dream was to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter, I trained as a classical pianist and singer in Belfast and then in Glasgow, but once I moved to London I realised, through a series of lucky breaks and hard work, that I had a knack for scouting out next generation talent on the internet. My company is set up to nurture creatives & artists across all different genres. In music, I represent the amazing 18 year-old singer-songwriter Yaz Caramanli.
Who do you manage now?
I manage a roster of digital-first talent all with an expertise or creative talent in their own right. Yaz Caramanli is my only music client and she’s got massive potential. She started out on YouTube when she was 14 growing really quickly numbers wise (a quarter of a million YouTube subscribers at 14 now at 750,000 and 1.5 million across her other channels). We’ve worked hard to ensure that that really quick exposure didn’t distract from her having a normal teenage life and having the headspace to focus on school. In the past year she’s been in fantastic producer sessions to develop her sound. She also came up with some music formats like YazMix, where she writes original verses to popular songs, one of which got shared by Bebe Rexha. It’s a simple idea but it shows her audience that she can write and is a fantastic way to collaborate with mainstream artists.
Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
Yaz was my first client. We originally met when I was at Gleam and when I went freelance we kept in touch and I was lucky enough to get to work with her again in my own company. Yaz inspired me because she’s an artist and singer like me and is always thinking about the long term goal of having a successful career in music. She has never been fixated on how many followers she has and I think that’s why it hasn’t gone to her head. I’ve always dreamed of finding a talent like Yaz on YouTube who truly is a quadruple threat. She can sing, she can write music, she’s got an amazing look and she gets what young people want to listen to. I’m excited to bring more creative partners on board her journey once we start to release her music, and I know her audience can’t wait to come to see her live when that day comes.
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day for me is when I get deals over the line with partners who get what I do and want to creatively collaborate. Whether that’s a production company or broadcaster looking for new talent, a publisher who believes they’ve got as much kudos on video as they do in the book world, or a music producer/A&R who sees the potential in working with digital first talent and wants to make music, that’s the dream. We’ve got so much to learn from each other.
A bad day is if I have an unhappy client. For me that’s my worst nightmare. It very rarely happens but of course perfection isn’t realistic, things go tits up and someone gets pissed off. But I’m grateful that I’ve got very good relationships and it’s nothing a phone call and some crisis management can’t sort out.
What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
When Yaz put out her song Blood on her YouTube channel at the end of last year I was bursting with pride. It was the first time her audience saw her in a different light and got to hear her perform original music and our first music video that we had worked on together. I also just absolutely love that song and remember it being one of the first that she sent me on voicenote and I thought, hey I’ve landed myself an artist here.
What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
From having conversations with various managers and people at labels it sounds like building a following is one of the biggest challenges for a new artist. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for musicians who naturally come alive on stage, having to totally rethink their strategy of building a fanbase. I know how fortunate Yaz is to have such a big online following at this stage in her career, but it also comes with its own challenges as our aim will be to convert her followers into listeners and ticket buyers. It’s so easy to like a post on Instagram, but where you truly connect with your fans is in that live setting, which I can’t wait to see Yaz in.
What music are you currently listening to?
Looking at my Spotify history it’s a real mix, which I know is what people always say but to give you this past week I’ve been listening to Billie Eilish (amazing documentary on AppleTV, what an icon), Claudia Valentina (very good new artist signed to Tap MGMT of course), Barry Can’t Swim (a producer friend of mine), Celeste (Stop This Flame, Strange are absolute belters) Mark Ronson (Late Night Feelings, a triumph of an album with some of my favourite singers; Yebba, Lykke Li, Miley Cyrus).