Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Adetokunbo “T” Oyelola.
How long have you worked in management?
I wear many hats from artist manager to concert promoter, producing TV and radio shows and dipping my toes into the foodie world. I have worked in management for just over 10 years now and it is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career, nothing beats seeing artists self actualise.
Who do you manage now?
I currently represent Saxophonist, Broadcaster and Author YolanDa Brown, RnB and Soul artist Cherri Voncelle, Gospel artist Annastasia Baker and my newest client Musician and composer Rick Leon James.
Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
My first client was actually in the comedy world. I met a guy called Eddie Kadi at Uni and he was just a ray of sunlight around the campus, so I encouraged him to become a stand up comedian. Very quickly he was performing across the university circuit and becoming quite popular. We left Uni and started booking venues to put on our own gigs, his first was at the 600 cap Mermaid Theatre in Blackfriars, it sold out very quickly. From there we grew his audience to 2000 cap venues and after many more sold out events, he became the first black british comedian to headline the O2 Arena. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him and see his profile grow since.
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
There are no bad days… every day we have life is another chance to win, so I always ensure that my team and I look at our work always from a glass half full perspective. We don’t do bad days, only good days!
What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
I feel very blessed to have had many highlights over the years, from artists winning awards, to crossing borders with their music and even getting government appointments to advise on music education. My proudest moment was a few years ago when I had 2 of my clients as the “and finally” slots on the National news on 2 different TV channels on the same evening. We had Eddie Kadi on ITV News and YolanDa Brown on BBC News talking about their individual projects in music and comedy, so surreal.
What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
Evolving with the times and embracing new technologies is definitely a big challenge as the industry continues to change, brexit and the many implications around touring and crossing borders in Europe. Finally I think the Covid pandemic will create and over saturation of new projects based on artists all recording during the lockdown, which will have a domino effect across press opportunities, booking tours, etc. Will the audience have an appetite for it all? Will there be new project fatigue? Will emerging & independent artists struggle even more to push through against artists signed to majors? All unknown… but we must be ready to react and ride whatever wave is in front if us.
What music are you currently listening to?
Kamasi Washington, Nitin Sawhney, H.E.R, Gretchen Parlato, PJ Morton, Giveon, Jazzmeia Horn.