08 April 2020

Diane Wagg manager Spotlight

How long have you worked in Management? 

Either ‘Forever’ or ’30 years’ – I think both answers are correct!

Who do you manage now?

REWS, the awesome female alt rock band signed to Marshall Records. Cortney Dixon, our young multi-talented future star and fab indie/pop songwriter and producer, Diives, from North Wales. Plus, I’m consultant to several acts.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?

An act from Leeds called The Hollow Men who we signed to Arista Records and Warner Chappell. Great writers, talented musicians, creative and proactive which is a prerequisite for acts joining our roster. Soon after came Mike Scott (The Waterboys) and a run of fantastic acts including Republica, Beth Orton, Rialto, Miles Hunt from The Wonderstuff and more who got my early management career underway….

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?

A good day is new music coming in from our artists, brainstorming ideas and plans together, hitting the targets we’re after and those moments when the universe brings unexpected bits of luck.

A bad day is dealing with people who don’t have the enthusiasm and commitment we have. Frustration when you know you have something brilliant if only everyone put the same energy and love into a project. It doesn’t happen often as we swerve those situations.

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?

Every artist’s career and expectations are different so there are loads of winning highlights. The funny thing is that, at the time, you’re often so busy that it’s only when you look back you realise how great a moment was….

Finding and managing Scouting For Girls – every manager has an act that their industry contacts don’t get and it’s such a victory when you find allies who see what you see. The arena shows, No 1’s, Brit and Ivor Novello nominations that followed were a joy!

Lots of little highlights…racing from stage to stage at Glastonbury with three acts all on at the same time – clever …each artist’s first Graham Norton TV show….first US TV show appearances….the hit record that broke in the USA just as a UK band were about to be dropped…Award nominations…playing in front of massive crowds in parts of the world you’ve never visited….

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2020?

Navigating through Covid 19 – the decimation of the Live sector and the terrible knock-on effect for all areas of the business and personal hardship for so many. It’s zapped the international plans of successful acts, kyboshed a critical breakthrough year for acts on their upward trajectory and halted emerging acts whose Live careers were only just beginning. The big challenge is how to keep careers and income streams going online/digitally when everyone in the world is needing to do the same.

Secondly, and impacted by the above, for new acts the volume of music uploaded to streaming services every day makes it a challenge to get in front of music teams and new fans.  Although there’s so much artists and managers can do without the budget for putting teams together, it needs constant strategy evaluation, knowledge updates and critical decision making to bring new acts through.

What music are you currently listening to?

A huge variety – the acts on our roster are different genres, although they overlap in terms of mainstream potential, and we share music we find or love every day. We listen to the music of their peers, new music, old music, music they love, music we love – it all gets thrown in…

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