Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Paul Kennedy.
How long have you worked in Management?
It must be 25 plus years now. I took a break, some years back, but my love for great music brought me back to an industry I love.
Who do you manage now?
Love Harder who are signed with Ultra. Laura White, Grammy Nominated Singer Songwriter. Will Simms, Award Winning Producer, Songwriter. Not So French, who just signed to Three Six Zero / Sony in the US. Grammy Award Winner Ron Fair, Producer, A&R Executive, Songwriter. Krishane, Artist, Songwriter. SP OMG, Rapper, Songwriter. Luca & Giam DJ’s Producers, Songwriters, Michael Push, DJ, Producer, Songwriter. I also publish songs from various writers via Eastside Music Publishing and we have a joint venture with Peer Music. I also have a small label and I consult from time to time to other managers and labels worldwide on various projects. My current roster can be found at www.12one.com
Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
My journey into the music industry is not like most, As I came into it from a Military background as young man. My first client found me really. Doreen formerly a member of Soul 11 Soul while i was running club nights in London and a big 20K sound system in the late 80’s. We just clicked really and she said “think you would make a good manager Paul”. I did not have a clue looking back, but it worked out, and we moved on to get her a solo deal in Europe and made her debut solo single with D Influence productions who i also took on as producers for about 8 years.
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day is spent on the phone, in meetings, working on projects worldwide and most vitally raising invoices for our clients and job sheets that we use to manage the delivery of the many, many records we deliver to major & labels worldwide each year. I also love being in the studio and I have Ex Produced quite a few big records over the years. A bad day is when the people paying the bills don’t understand what level your clients are at, and you get into a long back and forth validating your stance. Budgets at the labels have fallen so much in the last 20 years. Now the income is back at pre streaming levels for the major labels so we as managers must work hard to drive those fees back up. But if honest I don’t have too many terrible days, and i always say its all gravy compared to my last and only other job. I always like to stay positive. But I guess the admin can be quite overwhelming if you don’t stay on top of it.
What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
That is a big question, I think the most fun period for me was running my management company and a small label that we started with D-influence productions then clients. We signed and developed Shola Ama and many other great acts and got them deals via our label. I had a great roster of producers, and I was Shola’s manager for her big big debut album. We won Two Brit Awards and a multiple Mobo awards and so many others worldwide. I also managed most of the producers that did the album, so that was a big project for me, and it was a lot of work but so much fun. Snow Patrol was also huge one, while i worked with Jazz Summers (RIP) and Tim, at Big Life. I was key to Ron Fair signing the band to Interscope for the US that really took it global.
What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
We are no longer just managers, we have to multi task in many complex areas, and this industry is evolving all the time, so keeping up with all, can be a real challenge. But the MMF do a great job keeping its members up to date.
What music are you currently listening to?
I listen to so much music and my early days still play a huge roll. My early days was all about Soul, Reggae and Rare Grove that we played on my sound system, much of it is still on repeat play to this day. As for modern music the likes of Tory Lanes, Pop Smoke, Chris Brown & Anthony Hamilton really do it for me, while in the UK i am big fan of Mahalia, Tems, Mostack, Ramz, Not3s, & Stylo G. I love my own acts music or i would not work on it, and i spend hours and hours going over and over demo’s to pitch to gain placements. I also love the likes of Diplo, Robin M and Balck Coffee, all mixed up with R&B, Classic Hip Hop with some great vocal Dance music all makes me smile.