Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Audrey Gray.
How long have you worked in Management?
I have worked within artists development and management for over 15 years working over a range of roles/skills, including; booking agent, launch/event production, music marketing, music promotion, PR, workshop panelist, tour & road management and label & music business development. I also run an online A&R subscription service that mentors and project manages independent artists.
Who do you manage now?
My management services take on a variety of activities, ranging from administrative personal assistant to Jake Isaac, touring Integrity signed worship artists Noel Robinson in the Caribbean, booking live events and producing UK debut shows and tour stops for US acts. These same skills have provided opportunities to work with music and entertainment organisations, consulting, sourcing artists, develop events and plan logistics, as a MOBO, aStepFWD and Barbados Gospelfest. More recently, appointed CEO of the Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA), a governing body for the Gospel Music Community in the UK and Ireland.
Artists & Business mentoring and projects https://www.industrydeveloper.com
Artist Services, Events & Tours https://www.artistehub.net
Gospel Music Industry Alliance https://www.gmia.org.uk
Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
Going waaay back, I started by vocal coaching, encouraging students to do more and ending up developing and managing them by default. The ability to hear talent at an early stage during those weekly sessions has really developed and proven to give me great insight into the artist’s development at any stage.
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day looks like getting through emails and meeting a new artist online for a mentoring brainstorming career development session.
A bad day is ending up with back pain because I’ve spent far too long in front of the computer researching travel tour routes and charting project timelines.
What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
Two things…developing, marketing, negotiating, and managing a music tour for an artist I met six month prior. It was highly successful for the artist’s career and it helped me develop a promotional tour template and extend my tour management experience.
Working on a large scale music production, where I was contracted to handle logistics for 50 special guests & performances and ended up managing an additional 150 persons, two days before live ! The team I had hired and the in-house production team were amazing ! An experience like this really helps you appreciate those you work with, troubleshoot and think on your feet, all of which went on to be a key asset for me.
What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
Challenges for managers come in many forms and levels, I would say…
There is a general lack of understanding that a manager’s role is far more than a list of duties and percentages, there’s a value and influence that managers bring to the table that can not be quantified because of the artist/manager relationship. This is not always appreciated or recognised by the artists or industry, which is why organisations like the MMF are important to encouraging and networking support.
Another challenge is making sure artists and managers are on the same page when it comes to workflow, patience has to be part of the agenda, give space for life and wellbeing.
Probably the most common challenge, working within your financial means can be hard! Although these periods can push creative boundaries, I think we all experience this at one stage.
What music are you currently listening to?
My playlist shuffle could hit Kim Burrell, Lianne La Havas, Jake Issac, Bianca Rose, Peter Collins and Micki Miller, some artists I’m checking out are;
Jerub – a great example of an indie sound with soul. A voice you could listen to all day and music production is of high level!
Rae Rae – RnB artists with a bold voice that owns the genre and message she sings about.
Reblah – Rap/Grime plus Afro vibe with a strong word based message, Reblah uses his culture and the genre to deliver bangers!