Manager Spotlight: Mark Robinson

18 July 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Mark Robinson!

How long have you worked in Management?

Around 10 years.

Who do you manage now?

JoanovArc.

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

I was working with a musician that had no management or industry experience, so I used my knowledge and contact base to help him record his first single and get gigs.

What does a day at work look like for you?

I split my time between helping the band, my record business and working as Artist Liaison for a festival.

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

Helping a band achieve all of their stated goals within 2 years.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Understanding the changing market place, brand awareness and development, creating a supply and demand model that works for your artists.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

More than anything, they are ethical which is a major plus. They are here to help, but as with anything you will get out of it what you put into it!

What music are you currently listening to?

Magnum, Chantel McGregor, Kelowna, Druidess, various Melodic and Folk Metal bands.

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Manager Spotlight: Jean-Marc Burnett

11 July 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Jean-Marc Burnett!

How long have you worked in Management?

8 years as a legitimate company and 2-3 years prior.

Who do you manage now?

I manage a roster of around 30 artists at any given time – www.reaction-management.com

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

I was working as a promoter in Glasgow and booked a band called Altered Sky to play the Garage in Glasgow as support to a touring English band. They really impressed me, I suggested they should find a manager and they challenged me to do the job. It all took off from there.

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

A good day is when emails are answered, whether that be for PR or radio plugging, live bookings, chasing payments, if any of these lead to positive things for an artist then it’s a great day. The polar opposite is a bad day, lack of response, ghosting, poor feedback from bands on a tour that I have been involved with, or the worst case scenarios (and I’ve had a few) is when an artist gets attention for all the wrong reasons!

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

Building the roster to where it is now after managing just 1 band around 10 years ago, bringing that number to about 15 and losing half of them when COVID hit, and now in a position where I have to knock back artists to join as I simply don’t have enough time or additional managers.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

For me the number one problem with this whole industry is communication…or lack of it from grassroots right up!

Why would you recommend the MMF?

Although I’ve not had much time to check out the courses provided etc, I know they can be beneficial and reading other managers testimonials proves that!

What music are you currently listening to?

Every day brings a different mood, but I’m currently listening to a Spotify playlist of 80’s & 90’s Rock and Metal.

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Manager Spotlight: Honey Keenan

04 July 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Honey Keenan!

How long have you worked in Management?

3 Years

Who do you manage now?

Leif Coffield

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

I met Leif at a 23rd Precinct networking night in Glasgow in 2018. When I first met him, he was like a coiled spring, bursting with enthusiasm for his passions: making music and telling somewhat funny jokes.

In 2020, he asked me to help him with his social media and marketing for his first-ever release. Then, in 2021, I began fully managing him while completing my dissertation at university.

What really inspired me to take him on was our shared vision of what we want to achieve. We are both invested in each other’s development and want to see one another shine. We truly are each other’s “right-hand man/woman.” Plus, there’s the added bonus that he makes certified pop bangers.

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

A bad day is when you receive multiple rejections in one day, although I like to think that means that I am one step closer to the next ‘success’. 

A good day at work is a day that Leif is playing a show. Despite the nerves, and lots of baby oil (it has become a bit of a pre-show ritual), it always reminds me why I do what I do. I absolutely love the euphoric energy Leif brings to the stage. 

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

It’s hard to pick a specific highlight, but getting connected with The Cat’s Mother network over the past 12 months has been pivotal in my development as a manager. It’s an amazing support network of women in the music industry who are dedicated to helping others, and I am endlessly grateful for the mentorship they have provided me.

More recently, getting Leif connected with AWAL and their incredibly supportive team has been fantastic. Additionally, securing five festival bookings for 2024 without a booking agent has been a major milestone—summer is looking fun!

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

In 2024, managers face a multitude of challenges that require adaptability and continuous learning. One of the primary issues is the rising costs associated with producing, promoting, and performing music. This financial pressure is particularly pronounced in the grassroots music scene, where budgets are often limited, and resources are stretched thin.

Additionally, the digital space is becoming increasingly crowded, making it difficult to stand out. As managers we need to constantly learn and diversify strategies to effectively utilise digital tools and platforms. This need for continuous adaptation can be daunting, especially when combined with the day-to-day demands of managing artists and projects.

Many of these challenges stem from knowledge gaps. Without up-to-date information and strategies, it’s easy to fall behind. Which is why I think having access to resources and having an approachable and supportive network is so crucial. 

Why would you recommend the MMF?

I would recommend the MMF because it has provided me with invaluable access to knowledge, helped me expand my network, and increased my visibility in the music industry in a short amount of time. I truly believe I couldn’t have achieved this without the resources and support provided by the MMF.

What music are you currently listening to?

Tyler ICU, Pa Salieu, Lola Young, Uncle Waffles, Zino, Tommy Richman and Chappell Roan

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Manager Spotlight: Brandon Myers

27 June 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Brandon Myers!

How long have you worked in Management?

I’ve been working as an artist vision partner (manager) for about four years. Started in Chicago with two artists, then expanded the roster when moving to London.

Who do you manage now?

Currently I work with Michael Sebastian, rallycap / Michael Andrew, Paulina, Lukr, & YAZ.

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

While in Chicago, I attended a Sofar show and was blown away by one of the artists. He was in town from Nebraska (central part of the US), and we had a great time chatting throughout the show. He was in town for a handful of days after this show, which we spent some time discussing his project and next plans. That organically grew over a few months after getting on over the weekend. I felt he needed someone on his team to help craft the next album and try some new strategies. The engagement between us was very open and respectful. We saw some small local success early on, which solidified the positive relationship between us.

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

A good day results in my energy levels skyrocketing because of building on relationships, positive results, and great conversations. I enter everyday with a positive mindset, which usually results in very good, productive days. My goal is to find wins in the little things to use those as inspiration for growth. Everyday is a day of learning and developing, no matter the experience.

An actual bad day is very rare in my world, as I try to look at everything as a learning and growth moment. But a truly bad day is when something I work on for a while doesn’t work out, and I have to be the one to break the news to the artist / team.

Always aiming to look holistically with the days into weeks into months. Good and bad days are always balanced, just depends on the action after those days.

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

Setting up my company in London (the UK). After moving from the US, it was a big jump to now having a UK-based company with clients based in the UK, US & Australia. It had been a very positive and supportive experience, something I am most proud of.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

There is one challenge I feel sticks out the most for a manager in 2024 and it’s something I’m very passionate about bringing attention to. That is personal coaching and development. This impacts each personal business directly and can make longing impact in company culture. Investing personally in entrepreneurial coaching allows to stay ahead of the curve and working on skills which need more attention for growth.

The topic of personal development is something I work on each week so I can grow as a leader for my team and my clients. As a leader I am providing a service to all my stakeholders, which is always evolving. To grow and make larger impacts, managers should focus within and consistently invest in themselves, so they can continue to serve their stakeholders better.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

I would recommend this community because it provides a sense of understanding on what it means to be a manager. It is lonely to be an artist manager, so having a community of others who go through similar experiences always helps. I would recommend any young new manager to join and get involved to build their network.

What music are you currently listening to?

Currently I am listening to Kingfishr, Henry Grace, Emsea, and Lyncs, to name a few.

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Manager Spotlight: Charlotte Caleb

20 June 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Charlotte Caleb!

How long have you worked in Management?

12 years.

Who do you manage now?

TĀLĀ, Lil Yamaha, Stone Cold Hustle.

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

The first job I had in management was as an intern where I worked with Tricky. Within 5 months I was brought on as his full time manager so I didn’t really ‘find’ him but I totally bonded with him and it was a fantastic as well as challenging relationship.

The first act I ‘discovered’ myself was Eloise Keeble. I met her when I went to speak at my old school and she gave me this rough demo. Her vocals were so incredibly powerful I had to work with her. Her voice was just so massive. I could instantly imagine her playing huge venues. Every time I saw her perform live it brought me to tears.

I’ve never been stuck on a specific genre so I can never pinpoint what it is about an artist. You just get excited. It’s a feeling.

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

A good day for me at the moment looks like taking half an hour to have breakfast and do some scripting (I’m fully into manifesting). Then I will lead a team call for ellevate. We’re planning an evening mini-conference for early stage artists and industry professionals at the moment so all hands on deck there. Then I will head into TĀLĀ’s studio for a listening session or some meetings. We’re gearing up to release music after a bit of a hiatus which is very exciting. She also has an alias called Lil Yamaha and we have two albums from her coming this year.

TĀLĀ and I have a new lunch spot called Honey and Co near her studio so we’ll do a bit of that.

Then I’ll do some consultancy calls in the afternoon with ellevate clients. I love meeting with new artists and learning what they’re struggling with. Getting that insight and then figuring out strategy to unlock those blockers is really satisfying. Then it will be a bit of creative admin, like drafting newsletters and working with social media managers on content scheduling.

In the evening I’m often hosting online ellevate sessions which involves me interviewing some of the most incredible music industry professionals who I hugely admire. Next month we have MMF Accelerator alumnus Chris Chadwick joining us and I’m really looking forward to it.

I recently started working with a new band called Stone Cold Hustle. They are based in Bristol so I am heading down there every other week and those days are super fun because the road feels so wide open for them right now.

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

The highlight of my management career is the 10 year relationship I’ve had with TĀLĀ. We have had extreme highs and extreme lows and purposefully created a sustainable business for her. We’ve recorded around the world from Cairo to Istanbul, South Korea, Indonesia and the US and I’m so fortunate to have an artist who is a complete partner in everything we do. It’s a really special relationship.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Oooof where to start!?

The first is the lack of resources to develop early stage talent. The labels that would have taken a risk and invested in an early stage act 10 years ago aren’t really doing that any more so now managers are taking on a lot more of that risk, building that business from scratch. I believe independence is incredibly powerful but that requires financial and time investment from the manager.

The other thing is that because of the accessibility of releasing music via streaming and UGC platforms the market is flooded with artists and music at an unprecedented scale. Early stage artists can lack the patience required to build the sustainable brand and audience required to accelerate.

Then when you pile on the legal implications of AI, the closing of live venues and stagnating royalties, reduced institution funding it’s all a bit sticky. This is what has prompted me to build artist management platform, ellevate. We’re looking at how we can provide artist management services to artists in a more flexible, fractional way. So instead of artist managers having to invest everything they have into one act, we can fractionally develop more acts, putting them on a path to a sustainable business.

What did you gain from the Accelerator Programme?

I was one of the lucky managers to join the Accelerator in 2019 which was so incredibly powerful, especially with building my network of other managers. Having other manager friends to share resources, contacts and advice with is incredibly important when this job can be pretty isolated. I built life long friendships with managers there.

It also taught me the importance in building my business for myself, not just the business of my artists. Artists may come and go and I need a secure business that will last and ride the wave of anything that might happen. Having that time and focus really allowed me to do that.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

When I decided to give up a career in law to work in music I didn’t have a clue what that really meant. I signed up for any course and conference I could afford at the time and the first thing I did was an MMF course. I found the notes last week when I was having a clear out. It made me feel like I wasn’t bluffing so hard.

Today I love being part of the MMF extended family. The advocacy is so powerful when we all have such full plates as managers already, so having an organisation that is doing that on our behalf is invaluable.

What music are you currently listening to?

I have a ‘girly-pops’ playlist that I keep adding to. Girls are just killing pop right now. The playlist has Amanda Reifer (She was formally in a band called Cover Drive and her new stuff seems really evolved), BINA., this new rapper called Tills, Soluna (my friend in Portugal manages her), Jae Stephens finally put out more music, Genia and Alemeda. Oh and Sabrina Carpenter and Charli xcx are on there because everything they do is such a bop.

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Manager Spotlight: Jen Anderson

13 June 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Jen Anderson!

How long have you worked in Management?

17 years.

Who do you manage now?

Valtos, HEISK, Evie Waddell.

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

My first client was Unicorn Kid, I found him on Myspace and he was based in Edinburgh and I was in Glasgow. I like to find music that sounds like nothing else and look for ways to bring it to the mainstream. He was 15 years old and making chiptune music in his bedroom. I was working as a promoter for DF Concerts at the time and thought I could book him a couple of shows and develop the live side of things. I still work by the same principles 17 years later, it can often be a bit of a challenge selling music to people they didn’t know existed or they needed in their ears.

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

Receiving more emails than you send – good and bad! This can be brilliant if they bring in new opportunities and terrible if they give you more work than you have time to complete. I still get a buzz from getting an email that is a small or a big win – it makes you feel like you really achieved something that day.

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

My highlights usually come during live shows. Seeing your artists getting a massive room of people going. Whether that was Unicorn Kid getting thousands of young people jumping at Shepherds Bush Empire or Valtos selling out SWG3 Galvanizers and having the whole show filmed by the BBC. Being in a room of people getting so much joy out of something you worked on is an incredible feeling.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Spinning so many plates. You have to be able to do everything until you bring in a team to work with you. I’m the manager and agent for all my acts and often dealing with all releases, promo, marketing and more – this is even more so in a niche genre.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

They are one of the best trade bodies in the music industry. They provide so much guidance and support alongside a super strong and helpful community.

What music are you currently listening to?

Valtos – A’ Chuthag ft. Julie Fowlis.

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Manager Spotlight: Callum Tikly

06 June 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Callum Tikly!

How long have you worked in Management?

4 years.

Who do you manage now?

Sorry (co-mgmt), Trout, Junior Brother, Memory of Speke, Basht, Bottle Rockets.

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

I was their tour manager for 7 years before being asked to join their mgmt team. Extensive touring had created very special bonds, friendships and working relationships as well as a true love of the music and its development over time. The opportunity to have more of a role in how their music got out into the world and to continue working with a wonderful group of people was one I welcomed with open arms and excitement!

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

A good day is a music release day and seeing the fruition of everybody’s work and talent being set free into the world. Without meaning to be too much of a contrarian I wouldn’t say I have many ‘bad’ days, however I have many challenging ones… Lost passports and distributor release errors spring to mind!

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

My first highlight was negotiating a very artist friendly publishing deal without the backing of a company and without much direct experience. I must also mention joining Only Helix. Having worked by myself for 2 years at the start of my mgmt career it was amazing to be welcomed into such a unique, friendly and progressive working environment.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

For me, many of the challenges are the same as they’ve ever been but in a very different looking context. Without expressing too much naivety and an acknowledgment that there are indeed lots of new challenges, I think that the key challenge remains believing in the work you are doing and the music and the musicians that your are drawn to. It’s about persuading people to deviate from the norm, to take a risk on something new and progressive and to keep shifting the narrative away from conformity and simulation.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

I think it’s important to be part of a community. There are different ways of interacting with the MMF community and it’s various different conversations and knowledge bases. For me it offers a regular round up of key issues affecting the music industry from a managers perspective, it engages me with policy conversations and it often opens my eyes to new funding opportunities and other helpful support available to managers.

What music are you currently listening to?

My highest play count is private soundcloud links to demos of my artists – I am really drawn to demos. Outside of that my favourite recent releases have been Big Thief, Fontaines DC and in the last week I’ve been diving back into Sampha’s album Lahai and Wolf Alice’s Blue Weekend.

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Manager Spotlight: Martha Cleary

30 May 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Martha Cleary!

How long have you worked in Management?

I first started managing musicians in 2019, while working at independent record label Tru Thoughts. Working as their campaign manager, I found that I slipped easily into the role of filling the gap between artist and projects.

Who do you manage now?

In the UK I manage Lancaster-based jazz/folk singer, songwriter and musician Bryony Jarman-Pinto and neo-soul singer songwriter and jazz/electronic producer Steven Bamidele based in London. Both are signed to Brighton-based label Tru Thoughts. I also manage producer, composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Sly5thAve, famed for his orchestral jazz renditions of hip hop classics and his work with the likes of Dr Dre, Questlove and Prince. Based in New York, I work with singer-songwriter Miranda Joan who has recently released her album ‘Overstimulated’ and is currently on tour with The Killers providing backing vocals.

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

I met Sly5thAve, Steven and Bryony all while working at Tru Thoughts, but Miranda Joan was the first artist I met organically and was inspired to work with independently. We were put in touch by the wonderful bassist/producer CARRTOONS who I had met in Brighton a month before and who was co-producing Miranda’s album in summer 2022. She had mentioned to him that she wanted a teammate, ideally a woman, to help her navigate being an independent musician. She emailed me with a link to her ode to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (I Love You, Dwayne), I was blown away by her voice and we had a call where she told me she was in her “f*** it era” and was determined to do whatever was necessary to get her music heard. I loved her sound, her energy and her commitment and we went from there. Two years later, we are still a two woman team and growing/accomplishing new things together constantly.

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

A good work day looks like a completed to-do list and a clear inbox.
A bad work day looks like begging for extra hours in a day/days in a week.

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

When I decided I was going to leave Tru Thoughts and become a manager full time, Sly5thAve and I discussed me managing him at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, where he was performing with Ghost Note. We made a pact that he would return to Ronnie Scott’s and sell out the venue with a sold out show. Less than 18 months later, we achieved this as part of his ‘Liberation’ tour. That was a huge moment for me as a manager, and him as an artist.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Touring is a huge challenge, both financially and logistically, especially as none of my artists have booking agents so that falls under my responsibilities. Also, as many artists will confirm, the pressure for artists to be across everything (socials, releasing music, playing live, registering everything, collaborating, featuring, remixing, sync etc) is a challenge for managers too. The conflict of having a duty of care to your artists, while wanting to encourage them to do as much as possible to increase the opportunities open to them, is a tricky balance to find.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

Being a manager can sometimes feel lonely, but the MMF immediately gives you a community of people who understand what you do and what’s required of you day to day. I also find the regular newsletters so helpful as they summarise all the things you feel like you NEED to know and all the events/conferences you should be going to.

What have you gained from the Accelerator Programme so far?

A month in to the accelerator programme and I can already say I’ve gained a close network of managers and a HUGE amount of knowledge that I didn’t have before. I would absolutely encourage all managers who qualify to apply for the programme.

What music are you currently listening to?

Recently, I’ve had CARRTOONS – Spaceships, Hinds – Boom Boom Back, Julia Zivic – I Will Hold You Up To The Light and Charli XCX – 360 on repeat. I’ve also really been enjoying the new St Vincent and Yaya Bey albums. Away from management, I also freelance as a radio plugger and host two radio shows on 1BTN and Totally Wired Radio, so I’m always on the lookout for new artists to check out.

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Manager Spotlight: Maarten Puddy

23 May 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Maarten Puddy!

How long have you worked in Management?

Since 2016.

Who do you manage now?

Baltra, Ciel, Coffintexts, Guava & SHADED.

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

I found them when looking for music, they were an incredible producer and I was really bought into their quirkiness.

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

A good day is feeling like I am on top of my work and bringing in opportunities for my clients as well as maximising what we have for them. A bad day is feeling like situations have not gone to plan or opportunities have been lost.

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

Releasing the debut LPs for two of my acts, enabling their first live shows and having them achieve their artist visions for the releases.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

The aspect of marketing artists with social media algorithms on a downward spiral and the impact of Radio, Streaming playlists and press being not what they were.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

Highly recommend! Management can feel like you’re on an island and the MMF have made me feel part of a community.

What music are you currently listening to?

FaltyDL’s new album, it’s amazing!

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Manager Spotlight: Sandy Dworniak

16 May 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Sandy Dworniak!

How long have you worked in Management?

25 years.

Who do you manage now?

Two rosters of clients – This Much Talent / Twisted Talent.

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

I was made redundant from a management company and took Nellee Hooper / Craig Armstrong / Jim Abbiss with me.

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

Every day is a good day meets a bad day.

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

Managing Jim Abbiss from the very start of his career to now, with highlights such as albums with Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Tom Walker etc.. Music supervising the soundtrack and score for Romeo and Juliet, developing successful producers and artists from the start of their careers.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Severe lack of funding for developing artists.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

The MMF is an active community of like minded individuals who nurture, support and educate each other and work towards improving the rights of artists, producers and their managers. This is much needed in a business that cares very little about that support. There is also a lot of strength in numbers so important that managers stick together.

What music are you currently listening to?

Gia Ford.

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Manager Spotlight: Tania Lee

09 May 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Tania Lee!

How long have you worked in Management?

Since 1993 UMC has had the honour of representing some of the most prominent figures in the Jungle / D&B scene, including many of its original innovators. Our roster continues to celebrate these pioneers while also embracing and nurturing new talent across various music genres.

Who do you manage now?

We perform management duties for a large section of our current Agency roster, and fully manage 6 artists.

D&B MC’s
Illmatika – Ragga Twins – Killa Kela – Indigo Reign (Lady MC) – Moose – Y-Zer – MCMC – MC Iffy – MC Enamie – MC Det – Voice MC

D&B, Jungle, Breaks & House DJ’s
Ray Keith – Krome & Time – Mampi Swift – Standard Procedure – Danny Wheeler – Kenny Ken – DJ Ron – DJ Rap – Jumpin Jack Frost – V Dubz – Nicky Blackmarket – Marcus Visionary – DJ Millz – Ray Keith – Donovan Bad Boy – Juvie – Dope Ammo – DJ Archie – Krucial – RTC (Ragga Twins Crew) – K Coleman – Lara Fraser – GTA (V Dubz, Iffy & Enamie)

Live Artists
Jaki Graham – The British Collective – Shola Ama – Donovan Blackwood – Eban Brown – East17 – London Garage Orchestra – Robbie Craig – Gemma Fox – 2Badda – Don E – KingFlame Soundsystem

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

UMC’s first client was actually my partner at the time, so no real inspiration required. It was just a natural progression as I was managing his independent label at the time. I am always inspired by talented women. Many have a fire that is always inspiring.

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

A good day is getting to the bottom of a very long to do list! Securing something special for one of my artists, or seeing a project reach conclusion with the planned results or better. A bad day is usually having too many fires to fight.

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

Successfully booking and managing a tour across the US and Canada featuring 8 artists, along with securing a performance slot at the prestigious Coachella festival for one amazing artist, undoubtedly rank as significant accomplishments. These milestones, among numerous others are significant highlights.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

In the current landscape, managers face many formidable challenges. Adapting to evolving legislation and navigating the complexities of touring in a post-COVID world have emerged as particularly complex tasks for our team at UMC. Ensuring the well-being of our artists during these times has taken precedence, becoming our foremost concern amidst these challenges.

Furthermore, the continuous need to generate and maintain digital content for our artists, both for daily engagement and specific projects, poses a significant challenge. This encompasses not only the scarcity of time but also the necessity for innovative and compelling content that distinguishes our artists.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

The MMF has been an invaluable resource for UMC, providing up to date information, exceptional resources, and beneficial partnerships. Additionally, the training opportunities offered are immensely beneficial, catering to both seasoned and emerging managers, enhancing their capabilities and industry knowledge.

What music are you currently listening to?

Lots of Neo Soul and Afrobeat at the moment. There really are some incredible artists at the moment.

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18/07/2024

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Manager Spotlight: Adrian Norman

02 May 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Adrian Norman!

How long have you worked in Management?

5 years.

Who do you manage now?

Thomas Irwin, ROZZZQWEEN, Max Ryan, Luxe, James Carn.

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

It was a friend, I have always loved music and am passionate about seeing talent succeed.

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

A good day is when I can deliver positive news to an artist, like signing a track or getting a gig at a venue we want them to perform in. A bad day, well, there can quite often be more of these. I’d say the ones that stick out are when we’ve been working really hard on something and the other party has dragged it out, only for it to all fall through, it happens way too much and can be very demoralising.

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

I think every year is getting better and better, I think it’s so important to enjoy the journey, and recognise and celebrate milestones. The highlights to date have been seeing each artist perform at some impressive events, there’s nothing quite like seeing music performed live, what a feeling.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Keeping abreast of trends and technologies, and being aware of the artists and industries needs. For me, being a manager is a partnership.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

It is a collaborative, knowledgeable and accessible community.

What music are you currently listening to?

When I get the time, ha, it can be a techno, afro house, chill, trance, singer-songwriter or indie rock playlist. I have eclectic taste.

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18/07/2024

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Manager Spotlight: Vanessa Sinclair

25 April 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Vanessa Sinclair!

How long have you worked in Management?

10 years.

Who do you manage now?

Mr Macee, El Sam, Abz winter, Claire Angel.

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

I’ve had several roles within the entertainment/music industry, one of those roles is a promoter. Being a promoter I built up relationships with artists through booking them for shows. There are a few things that draw me towards working with artists. These are good communication, trust, honesty, respect, the willingness to work hard as an individual and as part of a team to reach their goals and of course I need to love their music, so I’d say seeing these traits in my first artist is what inspired me to work with them.

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

No day is the same as a manager, which is one of the things I love the most, however let me look at a few scenarios. A typical paperwork day, that’s simple, a good day is getting through the big list of tasks I have to do on a daily basis. Video shoot days, everything going to plan, gig day weather, that be in the UK or outside of the UK. Everything running smoothly, travel arrangements, accommodation, no equipment issues, sound is great and timings run to as close to the days schedule as possible.

Bad day – spending a whole day back and forth on email, chasing clients or promoters, waiting for responses. Video shoots and gig days, most of the time you are relying on other people so if one person lets you down, things can go very wrong, plans have to be changed just like that, which can have a bad effect on the whole day and the mood of everyone involved.

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

Honestly over the years there have been a few, the main highlight for me as a manager is witnessing the artists I work with set goals and actually achieve them. Especially when I know how hard we have worked to get to that point. To name a few recent ones I’d say.

Seeing Mr Macee venture into acting, getting some great roles/opportunities, I’m excited to see what’s next in this area for him.

Seeing El Sam own the stage and smash his performance on the main stage at Birmingham Pride.

Claire Angel being the only female independent reggae artist from the UK to feature on an album created by well known Jamaican producer King Jammy, also featuring some of Jamaica’s reggae icons such as Sean Paul and Shaggy. Also seeing her headline her first European reggae festival.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Protecting your artists’ mental health while trying to break them in an industry that is forever changing and putting more and more pressures on artists and their teams. There is so much more that managers are having to learn and take on. We have to wear so many hats and have multiple skills. It’s great to have a wide skill set, but I know some of the roles I have to take on I wish I could pass on.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

Being a part of the MMF, you gain support from like-minded individuals, networking opportunities. There are opportunities to gain and keep your knowledge up to date, via the educational elements they offer, additionally they provide you with useful resources you will need as a manager.

What did you gain from the Accelerator Programme?

I’ve gained so much, first of all I’d say a lot of priceless knowledge and clarification. The workshops/bespoke industry talks and advice really opened my eyes and my mind.

I’ve gained a supportive manager’s community, and built friendships that I would not have had if it weren’t for the programme.

Also due to the financial support I was able to really focus on my business, which enabled me to have an unforgettable year of new experiences and growth.

It’s definitely been an experience that has created lifelong memories that I am grateful for.

What music are you currently listening to?

It’s definitely very varied, I definitely listen to my own artists on repeat, however If anyone looked at my liked list on Spotify they would think, what the hell. I naturally hear a song and like it. I’ll list some of the artists I’m currently listening to so you get a better picture:

Tyla, Raye, Aqyila Anne Marie, Rudimental, Zoe Wees, Cat Burns, Iniko, Lee Vasi, Teejay, Dexta Daps, Tems, Billie Eilish, Iwaata, Kranium, Popcaan, SZA, Sarz, Fireboy DML.

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Manager Spotlight: Nikki Acute

11 April 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Nikki Acute!

How long have you worked in Management?

13 years.

Who do you manage now?

Flowdan, Neffa-T.

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

At the age of 21 (in 2007) I set up a booking agency named Acute Promotions, representing DJs and MCs in Drum & Bass and later, Dubstep. In 2011 a friend, DJ Hatcha asked if I would represent MC Flowdan. I was a huge fan (and still am) of his work, as, aside from his huge influence in Grime, he was also responsible for one of the biggest tracks in Dubstep, Skeng. So after a meeting with him I jumped at the chance of working with him.

After a few months of Agency representation, Flowdan asked me to be his Manager, and help craft his career in underground music. Whilst I didn’t have any management experience, I did have an unbound passion for helping people, developing careers alongside a thirst for knowledge.

It was then that I joined MMF. The resources and connections I gained helped my journey immensely.

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

For me, defining a day as good or bad hinges largely on perspective. Each day brings its own set of challenges, ranging from the straightforward to the tricky. But what truly makes a day fulfilling is when I tap into that creative mindset. It’s about finding the silver lining, even in the most daunting situations. So, a good day is when I’m able to navigate those challenges with creativity and resilience, turning obstacles into opportunities.

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

It’s hard to pick just one highlight from my management career. One unforgettable moment was when Flowdan clinched a Grammy this year – a monumental achievement, marking him as the first British MC to achieve such a feat. It was groundbreaking and a true testament to his talent and hard work.

But you know, there’s another highlight that never fails to leave me in awe: seeing the artists I work with thrive onstage. It’s electric, watching them command crowds, and even more so as those crowds grow in size over time. That consistent sense of growth and connection between artist and audience is something truly special.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Navigating the landscape of artist management in 2024 comes with its fair share of challenges. One significant hurdle is keeping up with the ever-evolving digital landscape and leveraging it effectively to promote and support our artists. With the constant emergence of new platforms and trends, staying ahead of the curve is essential to ensure our artists’ visibility and success.

Another challenge is balancing the demands of the industry with the well-being of our artists. In an era of relentless schedules and pressures, maintaining their mental and physical health is paramount. Finding that delicate equilibrium between pushing boundaries and preserving their artistic integrity is a constant juggle.

Additionally, the music industry itself is undergoing rapid transformation, with shifts in distribution models, revenue streams, and audience preferences. As artist managers, staying adaptable and agile in response to these changes is crucial to ensuring our artists’ longevity and relevance in the industry.

Ultimately, the key challenge lies in providing comprehensive support and guidance to our artists amidst a dynamic and fast-paced environment, all while championing their artistic vision and helping them navigate the complexities of the industry with grace and resilience.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

The resources, support and networking opportunities in MMF are unquantifiable. I have learned, and still do learn, so much from interacting with others on similar journeys to me, a particular highlight was attending the Managers Retreat last year in 2023. Just to be in the same space, sharing stories, ideas and struggles with a great bunch of people who just ‘get it’ was profoundly helpful. I find the role of a manager can sometimes be quite isolated, so to be able to connect with others who understand the role is priceless.

What music are you currently listening to?

I listen to all sorts. Regularly press play on an ambient playlist on spotify, or seek specialist radio sets on Rinse FM or NTS Radio. At this exact moment I’m listening to the CASISDEAD Radio playlist which has put me onto some artists such as Hilts – loving the track ‘Swings’ right now.

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Manager Spotlight: Isus Calmellow

04 April 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Isus Calmellow!

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

I was working with a PR company at the time and he was one of their clients. It seemed like a natural progression in my career to get into artist management based on the skillset and contacts I had. I saw it as a new challenge and something that I could add a lot of value to.

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

A good day is when everything is going to plan. A bad day is when you’re being let down and are having to get stuck in when you should be elsewhere.

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

In the past we’ve worked with clients who had chart success, multimillions of streams/views, toured over the world and played at some of the biggest festivals. At this stage in my career the biggest highlight for me would be taking our current acts we’ve developed to profitability and having their dreams become reality.

What did you gain from the Accelerator Programme?

In an industry where you’ll find yourself keeping your cards close to your chest the Accelerator Programme is something refreshing to be part of. I built a number of relationships that I otherwise wouldn’t have, as well as getting an insight into how over 20 managers at different points in their career manage their companies and clients.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

The job of an artist manager is becoming a lot harder there’s a lot of things that we’re having to do that labels would have done not so long ago. I think marketing an artist is another challenge as the platforms and ways of doing things is ever changing.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

The MMF brings together a group of like minded individuals who are able to be OPENN about all aspects of their business in a safe and confidential space. You’ll meet and have access to people/resources that you may have not had in the past as well as getting an insight into areas of the industry that you may not be so clued up on.

What music are you currently listening to?

Potter Payper, Masego, Fredo Bang, Skrapz.

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Manager Spotlight: Frances Barber Shillito

28 March 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Frances Barber Shillito!

How long have you worked in Management?

4 years.

Who do you manage now?

Alex Culross, Louis Millne, Calvin Logue, Toriah.

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

They came to me. I decided to take them on because I was excited by their brand, their music, their talent and them as a person!

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

Good day = everything running smoothly, lots of yes’s, lots of responses (unusual in this game) and happy artists…I feel like the saying ‘happy wife happy life’ applies very much to happy artists happy life too! Haha. Bad day = hard to come by when you love what you do but a bad day would consist of artists being let down, a plan falling through or a snarky email!

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

Hard to pin point the exact one as there are so many lovely highlights along the way and so many ‘pinch me’ moments. But I guess the standout ones will be when you find yourself in full circle moments: headlining shows you used to attend yourself in days gone by, finding yourself sat at tables and rubbing shoulders/gaining respect from people you once looked up to, that sort of thing!

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

I would say breaking new artists in an ever changing industry that seems to be moving faster and faster as the years go by.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

The MMF provides us managers with a support, a network and guidance to build your career and help take you to the next stages. I was lucky enough to secure a place on the accelerator programme which changed my life! I will be forever grateful

What did you gain from the Accelerator Programme?

A community like no other! Financial support that meant I could work my business full time. Guidance. Companionship. Workshops. Life long memories!

What music are you currently listening to?

Bad Omens, Bring Me The Horizon, Chris Stussy, Tate McRae, Luuk Van Dijk.

I like to keep it varied haha!

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Manager Spotlight: Nina Sebastiane

21 March 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Nina Sebastiane!

How long have you worked in Management?

I stepped back into artist management in 2019, so this particular tour of duty has been 5 years. Back in the early 90’s I managed producers and engineers as a side hustle whilst working at Sony and Polygram and loved it, but other opportunities presented themselves, so I took a sabbatical from the music industry and ended up in TV for 10 years… So in total around 8 years managing music based talent. I think I’ve got at least another 10 years still to go (for good behaviour..).

Who do you manage now?

I manage Lizzie Esau and Steve Grainger. The best thing about managing both these incredible people is that I didn’t even intend to go back into management! But when you connect with such raging talent it sort of stops you in your tracks.

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

In 2019 I sold my 3 businesses and planned a 6 month break to rebuild my brain… The only plan during this time was to paint some second hand furniture and potter in my garden (after 10 intense years of being at the helm, I was fantasising about odd things like jet washing my patio… Sad as it sounds it was extremely therapeutic, would recommend..

Then the phone rang, it was a dear old friend whose daughter was writing song demos and he was hoping some of my old industry contacts might still be valid. I laughed and said I hadn’t even thought about the music business in years, but agreed to listen to some music. The songs were early demos but they piqued my interest and that was the beginning of managing Lizzie.

Some months later Covid struck and we realised that there was no way Lizzie could connect in person with anyone to produce her music… I began guest lecturing with Nottingham Trent University on their Music Production Degree and got a copy of the year 3 students end of year showreel. One song jumped out at me as being cool, original and brilliantly put together – Daft Punk meets Justice. I immediately reached out to find out who the composer/producer was. That was Steve Grainger. I connected Lizzie and Steve virtually and they have been making some absolutely mind-blowingly good music ever since.

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

Ha! A good day is when you feel something sticks.. It could be a call from a radio producer telling you they have just found their new favourite original artist (your act) or that you’ve just been offered a fab synchronisation deal for a major Amazon Prime series… A bad day is when you feel you’re wading through treacle and nobody returns your messages and you get a little deflated… But that passes quickly. I’m like a junkie, waiting for my next hit of success – that might be a great review or a radio play or just a message from one of the team saying how much they appreciate what we are managing to achieve together.

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

Over the years I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible artists, see some beautiful music being created and then released into the world. Being part of the journey for artists like Jamiroquai, All Saints, E17 and Pearl Jam whilst working for major labels was a huge privilege. As a manager however I suppose it’s the little things that you don’t even know at the time are going to be big things… Back in the mid 90’s, I began to manage a young studio engineer called Adrian Bushby, he was just beginning to look for freelance work and I got him his first ever freelance gigs. One gig was with a young girl band who were already being fought over by the major labels. The band ended up becoming The Spice Girls and Adrian went on to engineer and mix some of the most iconic artists of the past 20 years including Placebo, New Order, Foo Fighters and Muse. So I guess the moral of this story is that being the seed germinator for something – even when you don’t realise it at the time is a highlight for me.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Oh Godddd! Where do I start. OK how about the fact that we are not investing anywhere near enough into new music, OR new music venues. That our streaming infrastructure is a non starter for around 95% of all music makers. We need to carefully consider how we can make the industry more equitable for new artists who don’t have deep pockets, otherwise we are going to lose so so much, and we won’t even know about it. How can we charge £180 for a Taylor Swift ticket yet we are losing dozens of smaller gig venues to bankruptcy and dilapidation.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

Being a manager can be a lonely business. You’re not the artist and you’re not the label or the publisher or the distributor with a team of bods in the room. A lot of the time you are generating the leads and driving the project forward from your laptop in a room by yourself. That’s OK and I love being the playmaker and the facilitator of ideas and projects. But having the MMF is like having a team that is there just for you and your best interests. I love the socials and sometimes berate myself for not doing more of them (#New Years resolution 2024). When the email lands in my inbox, I make a point of stopping and checking out what’s going on in the world of managers – it’s good to know there are things out there for me to plug into.

What music are you currently listening to?

Lizzie has a new single out on 3rd April and it’s probably the most epic thing she has ever put out. I can’t stop listening to that atm – I really could not imagine working with artists that don’t make me want to shout out loud with excitement when I get new music land in my inbox. Both Steve and Lizzie achieve this regularly so I’m feeling pretty blessed.

Steve has been working on some really promising new artists including a band from the North East called The Ilfords and a London based artist who goes by the name Seun. As part of my job, I probably listen to around 4-5 hours of new music a week… Presently I’m playing Air Moon Safari a lot as I’m going to see them play at The Coliseum this weekend and that album is 25 years old this year… Cannot quite believe it.

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Manager Spotlight: PJ Somervelle

14 March 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is PJ Somervelle!

How long have you worked in Management?

18 months.

Who do you manage now?

Berry Galazka.

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

I was introduced through a friend of a friend, I was getting my first experience in the music industry. I worked as her assistant for the best part of a year before asking if she wanted me to manage her and see what we could achieve together. Her creativity, passion, unique approach to music. She’s already such a well developed artist and I’d be crazy not to be part of her journey! She’s one of those artists that when she breaks through people will be like ‘where did she come from??’

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

Good day: everything is running smoothly, great relationship building, networking, pitching new ideas. Bad day: tech fails, travel gets delayed! I’ve never really had a bad day doing what I love.

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

Travelling to ESNS 2024 with Berry and watching her perform at the European Festival Awards.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Keeping in mind the long term, developing strong foundations for the artist to feel supported. Breaking new artists is always a challenge, industry changing so rapidly.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

The MMF provides managers with a framework, resources and support to build your career and take you to the next stages. It’s been massively helpful to me for events, online seminars, books, and connecting with other managers for peer support.

What music are you currently listening to?

Berry Galazka (of course), amazing UK R&B artists such as Shaé Universe, Bellah and Mnelia and an amazing artist and rapper from Hull named Chiedu Oraka.

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Manager Spotlight: Hide Whone

07 March 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Hide Whone!

How long have you worked in Management?

I’ve only ever exclusively worked in management. I did 12 years at Riverman Management, working closely day to day with Placebo and Wild Beasts. I had no idea what a manager was when I joined at 18, but I learned a lot from Alex Weston (Placebo manager of 25+ years) and the small in house management team which included finance and Business Affairs. 5 years ago I left to set up Theory Management with co-director, Ant Crook. 17 years later, I’m still learning what management is, it evolves every day.

Who do you manage now?

Bad Sounds, KAWALA and Biig Piig – Ant and I co-manage all our acts together.

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

Bad Sounds was my first client. They sent a cold email looking for a manager, the name was intriguing enough for me to open the email, the Facebook profile pic was enough for me listen to the music and the music exciting enough to go down to Bath to a rehearsal studio to meet them. They played a set and everything about them stood out so far musically and visually from everything else at the time, proud to be outliers – values they still hold true today as we still work together over 8 years later. Their business has evolved and grown by diversifying into new areas and they’re successful songwriters and producers for other artists now too such as Nectar Wood, Arlo Parks, Rose Grey, Lady Blackbird and VC Pines.

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

A good day is a day ticking tasks off from my to do list, putting issues to bed and moving forwards, towards a target or ultimate goal. Management is the long game, strategy and planning; success is the sum of many ‘good’ days… A great day, is a day that takes me somewhere where I totally didn’t expect it to, good or bad. When something goes wrong, take it as an opportunity to learn from it. The most frustration for me comes from a lack of momentum.

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

It’s great to see the results of a plan that comes together. It takes lots of planning with long lead times, venue holds are sometimes 18 months in the future, but live shows are always a highlight for me. It’s the time you see the artist truly connect with their fans, see the whites of their eyes, existing in the same moment. When I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I know that’s a career highlight. To name a few; Wild Beasts playing their finale show at Hammersmith Apollo, Bad Sounds playing an amazing packed festival republic stage show at Reading Festival on the eve of their debut album release, KAWALA headlining Kentish Town Forum right after lockdown lifted, Biig Piig playing the penultimate main stage headline slot at All Together Now festival in her home city Cork in Ireland last year. Ultimately though, success is when an artist is at their very best creatively, and my job as a manager is creating the space, support and confidence for them to be that.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Nobody is an expert in everything. The same for a manager, and for an artist. The business is so wide now, so many different areas, each with their own expertise, different revenue streams, different platforms demanding our attention. You can’t expect the artist to be the best singer, the best songwriter, the best performer, the best social personality, the best content creator. Or for you to be the best negotiator, creative director, networker, strategist, social media manager, travel agent… Focus on the areas that you’re naturally interested in as you will invest more time and energy to develop, don’t force yourself to become an expert in areas that you’re not interested in. But accept input and don’t be afraid to relinquish control.

What music are you currently listening to?

There’s a French artist called Adèle Castillon who was in a band called Videoclub that I love, Pale Jay is insane, a UK band called PREP, US artist Ekkstacy, the Lil Yachty album from earlier this year is amazing, I’m a fan of Kenny Beats, Doja Cat ‘Paint The Town Red’ is one of my fav productions this year, a great flip on an old classic (and all the creative is fire), new acts I like Hot Wax, The Last Dinner Party. The best live show I saw this year was Bonobo at Forwards Festival in Bristol. But I still have my best hip hop tunes of all time playlist that never goes off repeat… gangstarr, tribe, Nas, big L…

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Manager Spotlight: Dylan Jenkins

29 February 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Dylan Jenkins!

How long have you worked in Management?

1-2 years.

Who do you manage now?

HMS Morris, Monet and Ffenest.

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

HMS Morris were my first client. I’d been a fan for years and knew the band. I saw on their socials that they were looking for a manager and having been considering becoming a manager I jumped at the opportunity.

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

A good day at work is when people respond to my emails and show interest in my clients, affirming my belief that the acts I work with are great. A bad day is when the inbox is dry, the offers are little and everybody else has terrible taste and the world is against us (LOL).

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

HMS Morris being invited to SXSW; Monet being selected as one of Forte’s Projects 2024 artists; Ffenest receiving BBC Horizons Launchpad Funding.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

For managers in Wales, I think that low fees and limited opportunities outside of Wales is a big challenge. Being noticed in a hugely saturated industry is difficult anyway, especially if you’re working with non-English speaking artists. Turning a part-time manager position into a full time job seems quite impossible.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

It’s great to be part of a community of managers who are going through a similar experience to myself. The Wales specific group is extra special, as we have unique struggles compared to the rest of the UK. It’s nice to not feel like you’re all on your lonesome.

What music are you currently listening to?

Mellt, Fcukers, Pys Melyn, Jockstrap, Dafydd Owain, Simian Mobile Disco, Erik Tagg.

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Manager Spotlight: Sade Lawson

22 February 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Sade Lawson!

How long have you worked in Management?

6 years.

Who do you manage now?

Lil C.

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

A friend introduced me to them and suggested I manage them as we both shared a love of Dancehall music!

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

Good day – getting through all incoming booking requests/up to date on invoices.
Bad day – chasing clients or promoters/waiting for responses.

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

Working with talented artists and seeing their creative vision come to life! Lil C hosting the Red Bull stage with Spice & releasing the FKA twigs Magdelene album.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

Creating a sustainable artist/brand that generates income to support growing a team independently and being able to do live shows/tour (if you’re not a DJ).

What did you gain from the Accelerator Programme?

I gained insight into areas of the industry I didn’t have a deep understanding of. For example – record deals, publishing deals and dealing with mental health in the music industry. And I made some great contacts that I think will be mutually beneficial during my career.

What music are you currently listening to?

Airborn Gav – Work
Kaleem Taylor – Purple & Orange
Sholz ft Smada, Deto Black & Odeal – Man Down

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Manager Spotlight: Willem Lord

15 February 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Willem Lord!

How long have you worked in Management?

5 years.

Who do you manage now?

ayrtn, Downtown Kayoto, Drew., GEE LEE, Jack Marlow, Jaish, Omar+

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

My first client actually came to me. My company Phantom used to be called Lockoff and we used to run events. Downtown Kayoto sent me a very well written press release for his new track about 5 years ago, I took a listen and thought, okay this guy sounds like Frank Ocean, and the rest is history. 2024 is going to be his year, the unreleased music is immense.

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

To be honest every day as a manager has good and bad moments as your dealing with so many different things in so many sectors. Of course live show days trump all though. Nothing like seeing your artist destroy a set and the crowd being under their spell. A bad day probably just looks like a shoot day in the rain but even that’s rewarding, or when people are long and inefficient to reply to emails.

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

Ooooooh that’s tough. That’s like choosing between children man, each artist has had such amazing moments. ayrtn’s sold out UK tour, the success GEE LEE’s had with his track “Coke & Rum”, Downtown Kayoto’s “Lite” music video blowing up, Drew’s debut headline show with no music released, the Phantom Paris show with GEE LEE, Jack Marlow and Omar+, and lastly the success of Jaish and Jack Marlow’s track East Side (it’s class when a track is created totally by roster artists and performs so well). Those stand out to name just a few.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

If your artists are signed to Universal, Tiktok! No but seriously probably cutting through the noise and not stooping to fast wins. You can get a sound moving on platforms and get a song streaming as a result, and it’s easy to get caught up in that. Before you know it you’ve done no artist development and no one cares about the artist behind those sounds, because you’ve been just shooting for viral moments rather than world-building and cultivating an authentic fanbase which isn’t reliant on the elusive “algorithm”. The amount of artists I see blowing up on reels that think they’re the guy because they get loads of Insta followers overnight, but then you go on their Spotify and their streams are so weak in comparison. That’s shooting yourself in the foot and a small fraction of your audience is going to care about your future releases. It’s all about balance.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

I was taken onto the MMF’s Accelerator Programme for 2023 and it’s one of the best things that’s happened to me in music. It gave me the tools and support I needed to navigate and steer the fast growth I saw last year. Aside from that they have loads of great events and an amazing network, and are a one of a kind organisation.

What did you gain from the Accelerator Programme?

Knowledge of the nitty gritty of the management business side of things such as accountancy, law, insurance and more which I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

Manager friends! Before, I was quite isolated as a manager, operating from my own corner of the industry and I didn’t realise how important it was to connect with other managers on both a professional and social level. It definitely opened my eyes to that.

Big up Paul and everyone else involved.

What music are you currently listening to?

Corny, but I rinse my artist’s unreleased demos. Because in my opinion they make some of the best music in the country. Aside from that to name some artists that come to mind in no particular order: Kamal, Ne-Yo (old Ne-Yo is elite), J Cole, Tems, Jorja Smith, Skepta, Meekz, hear me out but P!NK’s M!ssundaztood album bangs, Unknown T, Namani, Frank Ocean, Fimiguerrero, Overmono, Cench, Dave, Tendai and a load of dance tracks but that tends to be individual tracks rather than discographies.

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Manager Spotlight: Jim Frew

08 February 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Jim Frew!

How long have you worked in Management?

12 years.

Who do you manage now?

Spyres, Uninvited, Misplaced, Bobbi Arlo, Ava In The Dark

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

Spyres came to me via my good friend, producer Chris Marshall who had been nurturing them in the studio. He let me listen to the song ‘Otherside’ which they’d just finished recording and I remember thinking I’ve not heard anything like this for a very long time. It made me get really excited!

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

A good day is when everybody wants to email you and you secure great things for my artists and a day looks like the reverse of that when you’re knocking your head against a brick wall and nobody seems to be interested in anything you’ve got to say.

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

The Accelerator Programme has been a real highlight for me because it has connected me with so many great people. I’ve also become friends with some very talented new managers and gained a lot more knowledge about the music industry which I feel will equip me well for the next stage in my career. The community is essential to keep going and not feel alone in this business.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

I think there are too many social media platforms for artists to make decent traction on, unless it’s paid ads but even then I don’t feel targeted marketing brings out true fans of the music. I look at so called ‘Tik Tok’ stars securing major investment but rarely see it connect with a live audience. On the flip side of that you have artists who are killing live but most of the time never make a dent online. I guess finding a balance and investment is the key and as a manager if you don’t have the investment for your artist to do it full time then finding that balance is very very difficult.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

The MMF community is invaluable and very welcoming. Experienced managers offering their support and advice is essential for any new manager. Most are approachable. They offer courses to educate yourself further keeping your eye on the prize.

What music are you currently listening to?

Loving New Dad at the minute but also still rinsing Turnstile – love that band. So much energy!

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Manager Spotlight: Nina Smith

01 February 2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Nina Smith!

How long have you worked in Management?

7 years (not including the 2 covid years).

Could you share some information about the artists and creative talent currently on your roster?

Tonia, Alfie Sharp, FamilyFriend, 4NOA.

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

I found my first client Alfie Sharp through a non-profit label I was heading up through an organisation called Inspire Youth Arts. I began developing him as an artist when he was 15 years old. His voice and tenacity inspired me to begin working with him. I was drawn to his story and beautiful voice.

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

A good day for me is when I have completed all of my tasks for artist/partnerships, and the clients are happy. A bad day is artists chasing me relentlessly on tasks they can quite easily do themselves.

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

Watching Alfie Sharp perform his new single in a beautiful venue with a 60 piece orchestra. Following a few wobbly years with him considering quitting music, it was beautiful to witness.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2024?

I think market saturation and the lack of development deals from labels due to their gravitation to TikTok influencers.

Why would you recommend the MMF?

I believe the MMF provides a community of strong like minded managers that help bring value to your knowledge. The sharing of educational information to help develop my business has massively helped expand my business. A generous amount of Industry talks and opportunities have been crucial in developing my skillset as a manager.

What did you gain from the Accelerator Programme?

A sense of self worth that I am sitting at the right table.

What music are you currently listening to?

SAULT.

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Management Spotlight: Finesse Foreva

25 January 2024

The management spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible management.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Finesse Foreva!

Graphic with Finesse Foreva logo and their roster

Can you tell us when Finesse Foreva was established? And who are the key members of the team?

Who would have thought that a business plan drawn up after a night of hip hop karaoke, would have been a catalyst for the creation of an ever-growing musical legacy? Finesse Foreva was founded by childhood friends SK, TK and JB (aka JB Made IT), in 2017. The dream at the time was simple.

Could you share some information about the artists and creative talent currently on your roster?

Russ Millions, Ivorian Doll, Skengdo & Am, 808 Gadget, Gotcha, JB MadeIt, Sebz Beatz

What criteria or factors do you consider when making decisions on which artists and talent to sign?

Talent is number one, but work ethic and being a self starter is very important – one thing we embody at FF is work ethic.

Looking ahead to 2024, what do you think are the biggest opportunities for music management companies?

I think the biggest opportunity is diversifying. There are many things as a manager you can diversify into – not just for your artist, but for yourself as a manager and a business owner. Managing artists gives you a lot of leverage into different arenas of industry. Take us for an example. We are now putting on one of the biggest music seminars to happen in South LDN, Croydon!

What market developments or technologies most excite you about the future?

How AI will integrate will be quite interesting. It’s already possible to assist people with making simple contracts and agreements, and cleaning up release plans. When it comes to music use and AI I think it is still a grey area, but I’m sure lawmakers will be able to navigate it.

Finesse Foreva are partnering with the MMF on the upcoming NXT GEN conference and showcase. Can you tell us a little bit more about the event, and why it’s so important?

It’s crazy to think we are now partnering with the MMF! We only heard about them in 2017 when we applied for the Accelerator fund – which we didn’t get – but through hard work and consistency over the years we have proved we are here to not only stay but to innovate and inspire the next generation! We believe that is why Paul and the rest of the team are happy to work with us on creating Music NXT Gen.

The event is dedicated to the next generation of music creators and executives trying to navigate the music industry in the easiest way possible, and there’s no better way to do that than getting the industry all under one roof sharing gems!

The day will consist of panellists with an evening show from performers at the top of their game who are from Croydon & South London.

Why would you recommend membership of the MMF to other managers?

MMF is a great entry for managers to get the right education and build the right networks with other managers and executives that take the business seriously.

What music is the team currently listening to?

We listen to everything. It’s too hard to nail it down, as most genres these days are cross blending.

For more information, check out the Finesse Foreva website here.

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Management Spotlight: This Is Music

30 November 2023

The management spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible management.⁠ This week in the spotlight is This Is Music!

Can you tell us when and how This Is Music was established? And who are the key members of the This Is Music team?

This Is Music was born in 2007, its initial client base built on founder Oli Isaacs’ music law practice including seminal electronic act Simian Mobile Disco and noted producer James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Jessie Ware, Depeche Mode, Blur).

Since then, our boutique management firm has grown to a team of 11 led by Managing Director Lisa Marxen, Oli Isaacs and Luke Williams. We’re lucky to count long standing managers Simon Gold and Sasha Edge as well as new hires Greg Wells, Xenia Evans, Alex Lemieux, James Carr and Amelia Holder.

Could you share some information about the artists and creative talent currently on your roster?

Over 15+ years This Is Music has truly honed a specialist service managing artists and producers in electronic music’s underground to cross-over space.

Our current management clients include Anish Kumar, Bicep, Cameo Blush, James Ford, Jas Shaw, Jayda G, JD. REID, MAFRO, Nala Sinephro, Roosevelt, Ross From Friends, Ruthlss, SHERELLE, Vegyn and 4am Kru.

What criteria or factors do you consider when making decisions on which artists and talents to sign?

We are highly selective but make signing decisions on fairly simple criteria. In the first place we want to make sure we are aligned with the artists on their vision for the business and their values, musical and otherwise. We’re looking for clients who really get what it is that they need to do to evolve and progress, who want to achieve success and who are exceptionally musically talented (whatever their lane).

In your opinion, what are the major challenges that music management companies are facing in 2023?

Managers’ main challenges are really the same as those that artists are facing. A big one is simply maintaining a work life balance. Probably, the biggest challenge for management companies like ours though is that it’s perhaps impossible to scale a boutique management company. The economics don’t work. So we need to make sure each project we do counts and to do that it’s an extreme amount of work often initially for little revenue at the development stage. We need to be able to provide a full range of services across a wide range of activities and this can be challenging in terms of both time and specialist skills.

What market developments or technologies most excite you about the future?

Technology moves fast. Sometimes we jump on it and sometimes we don’t. We’re glad we didn’t leap head first into the NFT world for example. We’re excited about any new tools which help us to create and engage fan communities so that we can super serve our artist’s core fan base without having to rely as heavily on social media platforms. That’s something we definitely want to be doing more of. The best market developments of late have been those that empower artists to operate independently outside of the traditional label system. It’s been great doing a lot of work with label services companies.

Can you provide any insights into the future plans or upcoming projects of This Is Music?

Next year is very much about delivering the new Bicep presents Chroma AV DJ Show and the accompanying releases. Having had such big success with their live touring after the last album we’re doing something different and super exciting in 2024 which will have a global footprint. We’re also super excited to do our first releases with Sherelle who we signed this year and to develop a number of new artists including Ruthlss, who has already attracted a lot of the right kind of attention.

What music is the team currently listening to?

The team has very wide ranging taste, whilst the beating heart of the company is electronic music the office stereo takes in everything from spiritual jazz to dub and drone. Recent favorites have been Cleo Sol’s LP Gold and Mia Koden’s Ilian Tape Mix

For more information, check out the This Is Music website here.

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NQ

25 October 2023

The management spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible management.⁠ This week in the spotlight is NQ!

Can you tell us when and how NQ was established? And who are the key members of the NQ team?

Having been raised in Manchester’s rich musical culture, Michael Adex (CEO) recognised the need for more music infrastructure in the north. With a plethora of artists pouring from Manchester’s venues yet struggling to emerge nationally, Adex pulled together a small team with vision and a plan to change that. Whilst scouting local clubs and rap nights, he discovered a young, fiery Moston rapper called Aitch performing at an open mic night at Stage & Radio.  In 2017, Adex signed on to be his manager with their eyes set on breaking him to the national stage and beyond. The following year, Aitch dropped his breakthrough single ‘Straight Rhymez’, plunging him into stardom. There was no better time to start building the infrastructure that Manchester’s creative scene so desperately needed. In July 2018, Adex founded the then named ‘Northern Quarterz’, a 360 talent management and entertainment company.

Since then, NQ has grown into a significant component of the musical landscape in Manchester. Equally the team has grown with industry native and COO Louis Brown, formerly of Island Records & Metropolis, Via Culpan, Day to Day Manager of Aitch & MIST, and David O’Sullivan, NQ’s Head of A&R who make up key members of NQ’s management team.

Could you share some information about the artists and creative talent currently on your roster?

AITCH

The Moston, Manchester multi-platinum-selling rapper and now BRIT award-winning artist, Aitch cemented his status as one of the most exciting young British artists with the release of his #2 debut album, Close to Home.

Following the release of platinum-selling hit single ‘Baby’, one of the biggest-selling British records of the year, plus a string of top 10 smashes and brilliant collaborations (Ed Sheeran, Anne-Marie, Giggs, AJ Tracey, Tion Wayne), Aitch is at the very top of his game, a Forbes list 30 Under 30 recipient who has added depth and meaning to his loveable rap persona. Northern roots, global influence? Aitch defines it.

The most exhilarating debut to come out of Manchester since Definitely Maybe (released five years before Aitch was born), Close to Home brims full of cocksure swagger and confidence – the undeniable, inspirational and infectious soundtrack to the young life of a Northern star who’s already achieved so much. It’s the sound of a teenage kickboxer from a rough North Manchester estate who became a rapper, blew up, and went around the world, putting his hometown back on the global music map. Berry Gordy used to boast Motown was ‘the sound of young America’. Aitch was nurtured at NQ, a musical powerhouse on a slip road out of Manchester city centre, now undeniably the sound of young Britain. “The whole album is about growing up in Manchester, then leaving, then finally coming home after going around the world,” says Aitch. Close to Home captures a young artist at the top of his game, flexing his wings and ever-growing songwriting skills.

MIST

After a short hiatus, MIST is back — and more focused than he’s ever been. Since his “Rollin’” hit with Burna Boy in 2021, the Birmingham rapper has launched a motor show called Gassed Up on BBC Three and featured on countless tracks with everyone from Nathan Dawe to Bugzy Malone to fellow Brummie spitter Mowgs. Even so, fans have been crying out for a follow-up to his 9-track Diamond In The Dirt EP, which came out in 2018. Now ready with his long-awaited debut album, Redemption, he still feels as if he owes his fans. Redemption is a nod to the transformative time since Diamond…, his newfound faith, the mistakes he made in his younger years and his ongoing journey to becoming a better man.

The MIST who stands before us now, in 2023, is “new and improved”, he says, a MIST 2.0, if you like. “MIST is grown now. I don’t feel like I’ve ever touched on the grown side of me in my music like that. I’ve got two kids: a 12-year-old daughter and a son. Man’s a real dad! I go to parents’ evening and have to talk to teachers about stuff. I’m a family man and I want to show my growth as a person with Redemption.”

Signing with Warner soon after he dropped his 2016 EP, M I S to the T, the rapper has since had a number of Top 40 singles, as well as a Top 5 project in Diamond In The Dirt, with over 500,000,000 total streams to his name. He also has an imprint called SickMade Entertainment — which, up to now, has been a platform solely for his own music and maintaining control over his artistic direction. With Warner, however, he’s found a mutual trust and respect that he says will help him build an empire. “For me, it’s all about opening doors for people who never get the chance,” he says. “I really want to make a platform for Northerners as there’s so much talent up here. I want to make something that can showcase talent without forcing it.”

whYjay

whYjay is the multi-platinum selling record producer instrumental in some of the UK’s chart toppers. You’ve heard his production in certified Platinum bangers ‘Taste (Make It Shake)’ by Aitch, ArrDee’s ‘Flowers’, and Tion Wayne & La Roux’s ‘IFTK’ and infectious tunes like Central Cee’s ‘Doja’ (certified Gold in UK & US). He executive produced Aitch’s debut album ‘Close To Home’ which peaked at Number 2 in the UK album charts, including the top ten single ‘My G’ featuring superstar Ed Sheeran. He also bagged two Silvers from his work on DigDat’s ‘Ei8ht Mile’ and ArrDee & Aitch’s ‘War’.  His undeniable success in UK rap hasn’t stopped him from continuing to grow and expand sonically. whYjay is showcasing his talent across the UK’s most exciting pop prospects like Flo’s ‘Fly Girl’ and Caity Baser’s ‘Pretty Boys’, both charting in Top 40.

LiTek

LiTek is the multi platinum-selling record producer behind some of the UK’s biggest hits like ArrDee’s ‘Flowers’ & Tion Wayne’s ‘IFTK’ which certified Platinum and Central Cee’s ‘Doja’ which certified Gold in the UK & US. LiTek also produced the lion’s share of records on ArrDee’s debut project ‘Pier Pressure’ which is now certified Gold in the UK. LiTek scored a Silver with ‘Je M’appelle’ by West London rhymer Benzz and another two Silvers with Aitch & Arrdee’s ‘War’ and ‘My G’ from Aitch’s debut full-length album Close to Home.

Having swept the UK Rap scene, Litek demonstrates his versatility through his production of the UK’s most exciting rising pop acts. From Flo’s iconic team up with Missy Elliot on ‘Fly Girl’, to Caity Baser’s infectious ‘Pretty Boys’, both charting in Top 40, this is only just a taste of what’s to come for the young prodigy.

What criteria or factors do you consider when making decisions on which artists and talents to sign?

One is obviously the talent, it’s difficult to be discerning in just that regard! There’s so much talent coming from the North. More importantly, we would say hardwork & dedication. If there is talent and growth potential, alongside a willingness to listen and grind, then that is a winning combination to us. We are always seeking to add value — we would never sign somebody that we don’t feel like we can help grow them as an artist and grow their business. Equally, they need to be as committed about their own music as we are.

In your opinion, what are the major challenges that music management companies are facing in 2023?

One challenge is just the amount of data that exists now due to streaming and the internet. It’s great to have access to all the streaming, sales, and fan data, but as a small team working with established artists – how do you actually process and analyse all that data? It almost feels like you need a subdivision of the company dedicated to analysing and tracking trends. While it provides guidance and can evidence what works and what doesn’t, there is also the argument that you will see less bold, innovative decisions from artists and the industry simply because it doesn’t align with what the data suggests.

What market developments or technologies most excite you about the future?

Artists are becoming a lot more self-sufficient, which is great. Due to the proliferation of your Distrokid’s and Ditto’s alongside improvements in home recording tech, that’s shifted the power in the industry towards the artists in a really positive way. You can see this reflected in the record deals offered – more opportunities to licence music rather than have labels own it, profit shares, generally more favourable terms for artists. We’ve even noticed some interesting business models where companies strictly offer advances to artists based on their streaming data. Labels will still be important for artists looking to break internationally, they have a lot of resources and connections, but it’s great to see the power being put back into the hands of artists.

Can you provide any insights into the future plans or upcoming projects of NQ?

We’re excited to launch our first ever annual NQ Challenge Cup – a celebrity football tournament all in the name of funding some charities close to our hearts – NQ Legacy, Down Syndrome Association, Black Minds Matter UK, and Manchester Central Foodbank. We have a fantastic lineup of teams with Aitch, MIST, Tion Wayne, Harry Pinero, Nemzzz, and Drama Call. Keep an eye on our socials for more information about that and to see who will take home the trophy!

Other than that, we have some huge ambitions for 2024 with our artists and as a company. The key phrase being ‘expansion of the NQ empire’. We can’t say much more about that now but keep your eyes peeled!

What music is the team currently listening to?

You can check out our staff curated playlist at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0VS4HFgq8IJGlYqaOvDDNp

For more information on NQ, visit their website here.

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Benjamin Magee

08 August 2023

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ this week in the spotlight is Benjamin Magee!

How long have you worked in Management?

I started working in management in 2019 after a long time freelancing in live events and journalism. I apprenticed under Lyndon Stephens at Champion Sound Music and Quiet Arch Records as a content creator – it wasn’t long before my talents (or lack therein) for that type of work were uncovered, so I quickly made the shift to artist management after a few weeks. My first task was advancing a world tour for a client – an absolute baptism by fire. But I quickly fell in love with the chaos and the hours, and four years later I’m still as in love with the industry (but a little bit more mental).

Who do you manage now?

I’m currently working with a small but strong roster – Joshua Burnside, Lemonade Shoelace and Chalk, with an eye on a few really promising and exciting talents here in Ireland. I like to keep my roster varied in style and genre, it means there is less crossover to worry about and you meet a more varied representation of the industry.

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

My first client was the pop-punk trio CHERYM from Derry. I’d been a huge fan of their debut EP and had written a review about them back when it came out. When I got a chance to work with them I was ecstatic – to date, I still love the energy and enthusiasm they bring to their love performances. There’s no difference between the recorded product to the live show, which helped as we really built their early career on our shows. I still get chills when I listen to the closing harmonies on their track “We’re Just Friends”, they’re such absolutely fantastic writers.

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

I’m not sure i can quantify the difference between the two in all honesty. One of the things I both hate and love about my work as a manager is that no two days are the same – I enjoy the constant challenge and change that this industry demands, it really keeps me on my toes, but at the same time I feel a real hyper-sensitivity to my work that I can never really turn off. So a good day in all honesty is one where I get to bed before midnight! Bad days, if I can really call them that, are more down to breakdowns in communication between myself and my partners, artists, contractors etc – but they’re usually easily resolved.
(Having said that, losing a sync deal at the finish line is something I think all managers can identify with – and it’s an absolute day ruiner every time)

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

If I had to pick one, it would be Friday, December 23rd, 2022. About 13 months beforehand I had just finished off a run of dates with Joshua, his first since the lockdown had opened up. The tour concluded with three sold-out performances in a row at the Ulster Sports Club in Belfast, which was about 750 tickets sold. And while everyone was patting each other on the back, all I could think about was “If we had new music out… we could probably get all these people together, on one night. Maybe even more people… actually, that’s probably a bit too mad.”

Cut back to Christmas 2022, and Joshua walked on stage as the headliner of the legendary Ulster Hall, to a sold-out, 900 capacity crowd. Going from 30 tickets to one of the biggest venues in Ireland in under four years. No label, no agent, just good tunes and hard work. I’d seen so many great acts play there over the years, and it felt really surreal to carve my own show into the walls.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2023?

I’m still grappling with what the consequences of AI will be for the administrative side of the music industry. Whilst I recognise the strengths and advantages of using AI as a time-saving tool, I am wary of any discourse that paints it as a saviour. Ultimately, it’s the humanity in the creative sector that makes truly great careers, moments and art, and I think removing the humans from the cockpit can cheapen and demean what our clients are trying to achieve. You can’t mimick passion, and shortcutting the essential work managers do can only have negative consequences.
I’m also fanatically thinking of workarounds for costs in all aspects of my client’s careers as we head into yet another Tory-caused recession. Everything from marketing to shifting tickets has now become as much a luxury as a necessity for both artists and fans. Walking the tightrope over the next few years will be our biggest challenge since lockdown I fear.

What music are you currently listening to?

I’m a biased man, so my listening trends are definitely shifting in an Irish direction. I’ve totally fallen in love with Lemoncello after having them on tour with us in March 2023. They write like Wet Leg but sing like Laura Marling, and are really incredible performers. I’ve also fallen in love with young acts in Ireland like Tramp and Charlie Hanlon, who both fill me with hope and remind me of just how old I am. And my most recent discoveries are Tara Lily and Jalen Ngonda, who are transforming both my morning commutes and late-night drives from routine into daily highlights

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Estelle Wilkinson

20 April 2023

The Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Eleven Management's Estelle Wilkinson!

How long have you worked in Management?

Since 1992- 30 years … my first role was with Happy Mondays, Asst to Nathan McGeough, we were a two person team, it was alot! I did have an extended break from management after Coldplay from 2006 for 12 years…. Then was tempted back when I met Dan Smith in 2018.

Who do you manage now?

Bastille

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

I was in the ridiculous position of working with Coldplay as assistant to then Manager Phil Harvey, it was just the two of us and when he decided to take a break and do other things I was asked by the band to take over as manager for UK an ROW outside of USA – an incredible leap of faith by them that I’m eternally grateful for. It was a crazy 4 years, and 2 albums later I stopped working with them and Dave Holmes as co manager.

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

The good days are when you are up to date with all projects and everything has moved along a satisfying amount – The best days are with the band doing some thing that you might have worked on for a while be it a special activation or gig and see it coming to fruition. Taking the time to enjoy it and the work you did to get it there is something as a younger manager I didn’t tend to do – too busy doing in the Coldplay days to fully appreciate what it was we were doing. Now I realise those moments are to be cherished and enjoyed as much as you can when they happen. I want the memories – I have forgotten so much of the amazing things I’ve seen or been involved with over the years as I was just too busy doing to take it in but now I try and take a minute to take it all in.

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

The first time you sell out a gig or tour is particularly amazing each time. Headlining Glastonbury twice in the early 00’s with Coldplay was very special, as are playing iconic venues in USA like Radio City, Red Rocks and Hollywood Bowl. Those venues that have so much history and the band become part of that forever. Bastille playing the Pyramid stage a couple years back, and killing it, that was amazing!! Reading and Leeds last year with a ridiculous crowd, I felt so proud of the band – highlights for me seem to be around live I just realised writing this.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2022?

How to make the business side work – In this new era of higher costs from all angles the majority of managers I would say find this the biggest challenge. The breadth of what managers have to do across a campaign is more than it’s ever been and ever growing. With each record release we need to constantly adjust how we operate.

What music are you currently listening to?

I seem to jump between old and new depending on mood and time of day – I am an avid 6 music listener and on the old Depeche Mode has seeped into my social algorithms of late but my favourite new artists to follow are Ren, Palm Skin Productions, Robert, Michael Aldag, Inji.

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Jo Gardner 

30 March 2023

The Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Jo Gardner!

How long have you worked in Management?
I’ve worked in Management since 2019, and previously spent almost ten years as a senior PR manager for electronic producers and artists.
Who do you manage now? 
I manage Pendulum, Knife Party, and we’ve just recently started working with a brand-new act called The Riot.
Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on? 
I started working with Pendulum in a PR role many years ago. Then, in 2019, I moved over to join their old management company, where I worked for about 18 months before they decided to part ways. I chose to stay with the band, and after a little while, Rob Swire (Pendulum/ Knife Party) and I decided to start our own artist management company, Unholy. He’s super inspiring to work with. His skills across music production, A&R and other creative aspects, combined with my knowledge of press, marketing, and strategic planning make for a powerful partnership.
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day is when I get to do something fun and creative, like planning for the year ahead or listening to new music from my artists. I also love the live side of my job, so any chance I can get to plan or attend live events is a good day for me. A bad day is  just a boring day when I’m stuck inside doing emails!
What has been the highlight of your management career to date? 
So far, I’ve got to choose Pendulum at Alexandra Palace this March. I’ve always wanted to get the guys back to playing the massive shows they rightfully deserve, and this one really nailed it. With an act that’s been around as long as they have, you don’t get to claim a lot of “firsts”. But it’s definitely the first time they’ve had production on that scale, the first time playing as much new music, and so much more; it truly goes to show that there are always ways to make things bigger and better.
For a new, independent management company with three people, it felt like such a massive achievement for our small team.
What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2023? 
There’s never been a more difficult time to try and break an act into the industry. The rapid growth of social media has given many artists a platform to express their creativity; however, it also means the market has become oversaturated with an impossible amount of content to consume.
We’re seeing catalogue tracks revived via platforms like TikTok and ~100k new tracks released on Spotify per week, meaning the consumer has an almost unlimited source of music to explore. Managers in 2023 have their work cut out, trying to push their signal through all the noise.
What music are you currently listening to? 
I listen to a varied mixture of artists; I grew up listening to heavy stuff, and I’ll always drift back to bands such as Funeral For A Friend, Falling In Reverse, Caskets, and We Came As Romans. However, working in electronic music for almost a decade means I’ve always got an ear to the ground in that scene and others. I love Icarus, Yotto, Cristoph and anything that lives on Anjunadeep or Pryda. I’m also a massive fan of what Afterlife are releasing at the moment.

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Thor Sutherland

03 March 2023

The Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Thor Sutherland!

 

How long have you worked in Management?

I’ve been managing artists since 2018 when I worked at Anglo MGMT. This came off the back of an internship at the publishing company. I left in June this year to found Way Out.

Who do you manage now?

Glowe, King Kuda, Songer & Yxng Dave.

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

My first artist was Harleighblu. Harleigh performed in Reading one night at the Purple Turtle when I use to rep the shows. Her performance left me blown away, I hadn’t seen anything like it. The vocals were next level and I could see that she had been hustling hard. We caught a vibe. So, when I joined Anglo, it was time to team up.

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

For me, I try to make every day a good day – it’s only a bad day if you make it one. Of course, problems pop up and there are a lot of moving parts but everything has a solution.

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

There have been a lot of great moments but a couple of them are: Yxng Dave was the first artist signed to KSI’s label. It took a while to get it over the line, but we got it there. I won’t forget the call from my guy Fricktion one Sunday afternoon after he had just played the records to Mams Taylor. This led to performances at O2 Arena and Wembley supporting KSI, which was pretty mental. Then recently: selling out Songer’s debut tour in less than a few hours and the having the best 3 weeks on the road. Every show was a shutdown, these are the moments I live for.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2023?

One of the biggest challenges is trying to stay true to the music without getting caught up in data/numbers. I come from a background of music I grew up DJing and throwing parties, it’s my passion. So for me, music always leads my decisions. Everyone just talks about Tiktok numbers which takes away from the creative process in my opinion. I agree that Tiktok is a powerful tool, but it shouldn’t stop great talent from coming through, and it definitely shouldn’t be the first question you get asked about your artist.

What music are you currently listening to?

I listen to a real mixed bag, it depends on what I’m feeling. But right now it’s gotta be Loyle Carner, Strandz, Kendrick Lamar, Jungle, Giggs and Foals.

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Manager Spotlight: Hamish Fingland

17 August 2022

How long have you worked in Management?
6 years

Who do you manage now? 
Lucia & The Best Boys, The Ninth Wave (Last Boy/ Health & Beauty), Walt Disco and producer, BOBBIE.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on? 
7 years ago at Glasgow’s multi-venue Festival, Stag & Dagger, I discovered a new wave of amazing bands coming through like The Lapelles, The Vegan Leather and The Ninth Wave. Coming from an artist background, belonging to Glasgow’s music scene, I loved what this younger generation of bands were doing together and decided to take on the ‘big brother’ role to The Ninth Wave. My time as an artist was up and these new kids on the block were smashing it! I shared experiences, mistakes and showed them an entry point into the wider industry. I always think to myself if my old managers hadn’t shown me a way in where would I be now – no one in my family works in the industry and I had no idea where to start. The big brother role soon grew to being the manager and now we’ve gone through three EPs, two ‘Scottish Album of the Year Award’ nominated records and I look after The Ninth Wave’s upcoming projects, Last Boy and Health & Beauty.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day is being on top of everything, having slept well and listening to new material coming in from my acts. A bad day is filling in forms for foreign withholding tax, finding where tour support disappeared too or delivering bad news.

What has been the highlight of your management career to date? 
Bringing to life Walt Disco’s vision for their album Unlearing with Lucky Number was super creative, we made something special pushing far beyond the norm. Watching Walt Disco grow personally and creatively has been an honour. They work in a personable and humble way and are a gang who they look after each other respectfully. I have to cheat here though, for one more highlight. Signing Lucia’s album deal to Communion, a team who adore her and her music has been a joy. She is a force to be reckoned with and hasn’t stopped for a minute over throughout the pandemic. Over the last two years Lucia blossomed, she has written her best music to date and she and her band The Best Boys played the best shows of their lives alongside Wolf Alice on tour. The first night at The Barrowlands was a highlight which really woke me up to what she has become. She has just started recording her debut album and I feel like what is bubbling there is going to be a massive highlight for me.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2022?
Keeping your mental health and work/ life balance in order whilst staying on top of all the Brexit stuff and learning as you go. Finding the time to know everything yet still forward plan is hard at the moment.

What music are you currently listening to? 
Stevie Nicks, Richard Hell, Bronski Beat, Sebastian Tellier, The Streets, The Notorious B.I.G.

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Manager Spotlight : Steven Odufuye

16 June 2022

How long have you worked in Management?

8 years

Who do you manage now? 

Jords, Kadiata, Mike Brainchild, JAY1 & Savannah Dumetz

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

On my current roster it was Jords, while on tour with ILUVLIVE. I heard his song “Before We Begin” and met him that same afternoon and I was sold. An amazing guy to be around, fantastic morals and phenomenal musician.

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

A good day is when my acts are on time for meetings lol and when they send me new music. I love what i do for a living so everyday is a good day.

I don’t believe in “bad days” I look at those days as days to analyse and see what i could improve on for the following day.

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

This keeps changing as I grow & reflect but at the moment i’d say it would be the fact that my producer, Mike Brainchild has officially completed the album with one of best artists to come out of the UK.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2022?

For me it would be trying to manage all the requests that keep on coming my way. It’s been super busy but I’m extremely grateful nonetheless!

What music are you currently listening to? 

MGK – Mainstream Sellout

Knucks – Alpha Place

Kanye West – Ye

Jack Harlow – Come Home The Kids Miss YouFollow Steven on Instagram at @thelonewolfgroup

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MANAGER SPOTLIGHT: DANNI SKERRITT

13 April 2022

How long have you worked in Management?

Not too long, this will be my fifth year of management, but this is something I always wanted to do so wanted to make sure it was the right time

Who do you manage now?

Now I manage Kapsa. Iora and Ruby Tingle all incredible artists and all so different I think that’s why I can give them all my best

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

My first client Ruby Tingle we meet through an open mic I was running in Manchester and instantly connected through our love for everything dubby and loved how she fuses all aspects of art into her music, it was something i’d not seen before and made me instantly want to work with her and be her friend.

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

Good day at the office is everyone happy, releases on time, replies from people who we are working with. Bad day at the office is emails and phones not being answered and artists not being respected. That kind of thing ha.

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

There have been some really great highlights firstly Kaspa. Getting over 1 million monthly listeners and streams in Spotify that was massive for us. Iora being awarded the Open Fund by PRS this year. Another huge highlight is that Ruby Tingle has a solo show exhibiting her visual art and music at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. Along with Thing having their music available on British Airways for people to listen too is massive

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2022?

Well from my point of view one of the big things due to the state of the world at the moment is managing people’s mental health and realising the we all get affected by things differently and we have to treat everyone as an individual. And I guess leading on from this is keeping everyone motivated not during the good times, but when things are feeling a bit stale. Got to be the biggest cheerleader from your artists

What music are you currently listening to?

At the moment i’m listening to Lara Jones, Overcoats, Kouba as well as Iora, Kaspa and Ruby Tingle as although I manage them i’m a huge fan of their music.

You can follow Danni on Instagram @nosuchthingrecords and the website at nosuchthingrecords.com

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Manager Spotlight: Callum Read and Adam Harris (Touchdown Management)

09 March 2022

Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight are Callum Read and Adam Harris of Touchdown Management!

How long have you worked in Management? 

Adam: I (officially) started managing artists 8 years ago but I had worked with various managers prior to that. Callum and I met around 10 years ago and immediately hit it off. It wasn’t until 2016 that we set up Touchdown together.

Callum: I got into management after being a tour manager from 2014 for various acts (Dream Wife, Hinds, Dr.Dog and many more). I loved having a knack for making my artists feel comfortable and take away as much stress from them as possible in order to perform at their very best. My passion to be artist friendly in my approach to many things, as well as my urge to ‘get s*** done’ was the perfect combination to Adam’s ability to hustle in the industry and we’ve been happily working together since 2016.

Who do you manage now?

Both: We manage The Snuts and a new and very exciting artist called Grace Barr. We are also developing a new act who we are hoping to launch next year.

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

Adam: I was introduced to my first client, a band called Heyrocco from Charleston SC by a producer friend. The band were all aged 18 at the time and the music they were creating was something very special, they were also great performers and incredibly charismatic.

Callum: After 2016 when we formed Touchdown, every tour I did I always left wondering if I’d meet the act I’d end up managing and that’s exactly what happened. It took a while to meet or hear any act I liked enough to give everything to, which I knew I would as a manager, but then In April 2017 I remember being absolutely blown away in a tiny pub in Leith, Edinburgh by four guys (The Snuts) who were absolutely dripping with ambition and had these amazingly powerful and sentimental anthems – later those four boys became the guys Adam and I love like family and continue to do anything for to make them a huge success.

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

Adam: A good day is delivering great results for you and your artists and team, whether that’s closing a deal, selling out venues, entering the charts in a good position or securing your Artist’s creative objectives. A bad day is pretty much the polar opposite of those elements that make up a good day. Because we work so closely with our acts, I think we feel the disappointments as much as they do when they happen and in this business you can never just switch off, there’s always something that needs your attention.

Callum: Management is so turbulent – for me, it’s hard to remember a totally bad day or a totally good day for that matter. Especially when you’ve got acts that are massively ambitious. The first thing we’ll do after something great is of course celebrate and acknowledge it, but often we quickly move onto the next thing and start preparing to focus on that. likewise if there’s some tough situations we’ve had to deal with, it’s all about resolving them, moving on and feeling satisfied with how they’ve been dealt with – sometimes that can be just as satisfying. Luckily for us we have a great team around us who are all so supportive and hard working, particularly worthy of a shout out is The Snuts’ superstar Tour Manager & Social Media Manager (Gary Williamson) who’s been so loyal and so hardworking for all these years. 

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

Adam: I’m fortunate enough to say there have been a fair few, especially with The Snuts. Seeing them develop into the formidable force they have become both live and in the studio. Whilst awards are lovely to receive, nothing beats seeing and hearing thousands of fans sing every word back to the band at a gig….especially when only 24 months prior that artist was playing to 200 fans.

Callum: Likewise to Adam, there’s nothing like seeing The Snuts and the growth of their live business over the last 3 years or so. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing them progress and I remember thinking to myself the first time they headlined a show and sold out King Tuts in 2017, ‘I wont stop working til this band are huge’ and every time we accomplish something as a team, whether it’s a sell out a show, or a charter release, I always remind myself that we’ve come so far and are going in the right direction.

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

Both: If you’d asked us that pre-March of this year it would have been a very different answer. The pandemic has thrown the live industry which is in many ways the life blood of the music business into the worst scenario it has ever faced. It’s devastating seeing Artists, crew and all those who contribute to making live events happen have their livelihoods taken away from them, not to mention seeing once very healthy business’ disappear through no fault of their own.  It’s blatantly clear that socially distanced events are neither financially viable or particularly enjoyable for the fans, so whilst we have absolutely no guidance from the Government about how or when a staggered return to live can take place, we have had to be incredibly creative with how best to maintain momentum, exposure (and revenue). Yes livestreams and socially distanced shows have partially filled the void but in my opinion they aren’t the future. Nothing can replace how an artist connects with their fans through live music. Coming up with new ways to connect with fans and to develop new acts in the absence of live music is without doubt a challenge of mammoth proportions but at the same time it’s the manager’s job to continuously adapt to the ever changing landscape…can’t stop won’t stop!

What music are you currently listening to?

Adam: Mood dependant…today I’ve been alternating between Holly Humberstone & Fela Kuti with a bit of Beastie Boys thrown in for good measure.

Callum: New Bright Eyes album on repeat since last week and nothing else (super fan).

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Manager Spotlight: Nigel Munjoma

18 February 2022

Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Accelerator 2021 manager, Nigel Munjoma. 

How long have you worked in management?

I’ve worked in management for about 5 years now.

Who do you manage now?

I manage Blinkie (producer/artist/songwriter), James Bluck (producer/DJ) and WhoisOrion (Rapper/songwriter)

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

My first client (Blinkie) is actually my older brother. I grew up listening to him making music for years. I always felt that he was super talented and I was inspired by his talent to help him progress his career.

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

A good day at work is when I’m in the flow and in the process of doing a project. Whether it’s doing a video shoot, on tour doing shows or executing plans and strategies that we’ve put together. Those things make it really enjoyable being a manager.

A bad day at work is maybe when things aren’t going as planned or when it feels like not much progress is getting made but there’s always an opportunity to turn it around.

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

I think my career highlight to date was when we released Blinkie’s single “What You Want” independently from our label PXL Records. It gave us the confidence in knowing that we could put out our own records successfully without the backing of a major. It has now become part of our strategy in building and developing our artists using the platform and resources that we have created at PXL Records.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2022?

I think one of the main challenges that we currently have is managing to put together a successful international tour strategy. Unfortunately, we’ve been dealing with a lot of cancellations and rescheduled shows due to the covid pandemic. Finding a way to navigate the restrictions is a big challenge as well as finding a way to still engage with audiences in other territories whilst live shows are on hold.

What music are you currently listening to?
I’ve recently been digging back into some old school hip hop. Jay Z – reasonable doubt, Biggie – ready to die. I also have my go-to running playlist which includes: Frankie Knuckles, Green Velvet and Jamie Jones.

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Manager Spotlight: Lu Whiting

04 February 2022

Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Lu Whiting, Wild Management.

How long have you worked in management?

I have worked in music management for over 20 years. I set my own music management company up ‘Wild Management’ 7 years ago.

Who do you manage now?

Himalayas 

I co-manage Himalayas with Terri Hall (Myself and Terri met whilst working together at 19 Management with Will Young, Spice Girls and Lisa Marie Presley)

Caroline Harrison // Lissy Taylor // Guest Singer // MACY

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

My first client approached me after working together. I was his Tour Manager and my role in his career organically grew into a management position. His music, talent and work ethos won my heart.

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

Every day is a good day. How can you ever have a bad day when you work in the music industry! So many people have career’s they hate or jobs they HAVE to do to earn money. I chose to be a manager and absolutely love what I do. Yes that are days you face challenges, but I always turn a negative into a positive.

A great day is receiving new music or going to watch a show. The feeling you get as manager when you see your artist happy on the stage performing to their fans is the best.

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

My greatest highlight and achievement is setting up a music management company with a strong talent roster, whilst juggling home life and being a busy mum. I’ve realised it’s not a crime to be a working mum! It’s something I’m so proud of and after taking a short break and returning to the industry with my own management company, it was the right thing to do. I have shown my children it’s important to chase your dreams, work hard and turn them into reality. Women have an equal place in the workplace and can be successful business entrepreneurs and leaders.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2022?

There are many challenges a manager faces in the current climate and these change so quickly, especially after the devastation the Covid pandemic has had on the live industry. You need to be able to make the right decisions at the right time. With limited potential artist revenue streams, it is important to choose and plan the right options that will enable your artist to develop and grow, both creatively and financially. Finding ways to build campaigns and adapt to the constant rescheduling, whilst still engaging and reaching the artists fan base.

What music are you currently listening to?

I listen to music all day, all types of genres, the radio is always on. New music I’m listening to….

Himalayas, Caroline Harrison, Lissy Taylor, Guest Singer, MACY, The White Lakes, Neelix, Kid Kapichi, Lorde, Joy Crooks & Baby Queen.

Fleetwood Mac, Daft Punk, Massive Attack & Beastie Boys will never stop being on my playlist!

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Manager Spotlight: Darius Williams

21 January 2022

Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Darius Williams from Slow Dance.

How long have you worked in management?

Since 2018

Who do you manage now?

PVA, Fran Lobo, Khazali

And on our label I’m Saint Jude and Uma‘s project manager.

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

I’ve been working with PVA the longest, and it was actually Marco who I run Slow Dance Recordings with who found the band from their club nights they had started putting on. Maddy (who I currently manage the band with) was their sole day 2 day manager for the first year, then as things got busier I basically got stuck in.

But to answer the question, the parties and vibe around what they were doing felt really different and fresh especially when in the context of punk heavy windmill / south London scene at the time.

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

Great question – yes my weeks are filled with either really great or horrifically bad days, without going in to any particulars. Taking on new partners is always exciting; there’s that pre-deal buzz, delays and complications suck. On a personal level I love hearing new demos, and have never stopped finding that exciting.

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

The Grammys 2024

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

Ensuring long term impact for artists and releases in the current climate and culture of new new new.

What music are you currently listening to?

Sam Akpro, JoJo, Elsas, Jayla Kai

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Manager Spotlight: Demonie Wilson

13 January 2022

Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is MMF Accelerator manager, Demonie Wilson.

How long have you worked in management?

6 YearsWho do you manage now?

Govana // Chi Ching Ching

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

My first client was Chi Ching Ching. I was the manager for my brother’s company called “Unruly Entertainment” . He was the first artiste to be signed by the label. Instantly, I became active in his career.  We had a successful partnership throughout his agreement with Unruly Entertainment that led me to continue working with him after his contract expired.  
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?

A good day for me entails getting everything done in a timely manner. However, a bad day would be concealing meetings, arriving at an appointment late and situations arise that don’t allow me to reply to emails quickly. What has been the highlight of your management career to date?

It’s really hard to select a specific highlight, I have worked with artistes that have got prestigious accolades, sold out concerts in different continents, collaborated with billboard artistes from other genres, nominated for the Grammy’s and have had song certified Gold.
 What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

The biggest challenge for me is similar to others in the music industry.  Which is Covid 19.
It has led to major financial losses, cancellations of events and traveling to other countries have become more difficult.

What music are you currently listening to?
Afrobeat! I have become a huge fan of Afrobeat since I moved to the UK.

 

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Manager Spotlight: Steve Abbott

05 January 2022

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is MMF Accelerator manager, Steve Abbott.

How long have you worked in management?

I started managing my punk band I was a singer in around 1979, as we couldn’t find a decent manger (not much has changed there). From there, I went on to start an independent record label, Big Cat Records, which morphed into a management and record label, as the band I was working with simply couldn’t find decent managers (it was still the days of managers sucking on cigars & phrases like ‘it will be alright son, I’ll look after you’).

One of the first bands we managed was EMF, which brought the experience of a worldwide hit and #1 record in America. It also really opened our eyes to the lack of equity in the fruits of success for an artist / manager compared to ‘the music business’. My business partner Linda Obadiah had the idea to start an organisation for managers to share experience, along with the managers of Simply Red, Dire Straights, the legendary Peter Grant, we formed the MMF in Manchester at the ‘In the City’ conference in the early 1990s.

We actually resigned from the organisation when at the next annual meeting, the other members failed to let a single female or person of colour to the management committee. Now I’ve seen the MMF has drastically changed, I’ve recently rejoined.

Who do you manage now?

We currently manage acts mostly in the Jazz or Classical field, including Jules Buckley, Cassie Kinoshi (seed.), Zara McFarlane, pianist Lang Lang, legendary songwriter Guy Chambers & Cerys Matthews. We have recently taken on two very exciting young artists, Plinio Fernandes, a guitarist from Sao Paolo, Brazil & 22 year old composer from Reykjavik, Gabriel Olafs.

Previous artists we have worked with include EMF, Jeff Buckley, Mercury Rev, Pavement, Augustus Pablo, Mikey Dread, the Claytown Troupe, Carter (USM), Nicola Benedetti & I’ve just finished managing Max Richter after 7 years.

We also recently sold our Good Life Experience Festival.

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

Our first clients really came from people that were friends through hanging out. It was very much ‘friend becomes fifth member of the band/manager’.

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

All of us at Harmonic artists are workaholics, so a good days work is starting around 8am and finishing early evening & saving the sacred two hours on a Saturday afternoon without artists calling to watch the super Luton Town FC.

The bad days are being stuck on Zooms that morph into chat rooms & of course being fired, which has happened to us twice. Which brings me to the recent wisdom I heard from manager Paul Crockford, about the two inevitable experiences of a manager. Number 1 – If the artist fails the manager gets fired. Number 2 – If the artist wildly exceeds expectations, the manager gets fired (rather than be paid).

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

I think its being able to use all the acquired knowledge, both positive & negative to work the non purely business purposes & I’m very proud to be a trustee of a wonderful Black led organisation, Tomorrow’s Warriors, who have just celebrated their 30th birthday & are pretty well responsible for 99% of the great Jazz being made in this country at the moment.

In non-music spheres as a trustee of Poet in the City. Yes, lyricists are poets & yes, poets are musicians in their musical use of language.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

I think the biggest challenge is earning a living. We all know the streaming model is broken & we haven’t really found a solution to live performance through Covid times, but being an optimist, I think the relationship between a manager and artist is ever becoming fairer towards both manager & artist & somehow we will survive, as managers are traditionally fighters. I think now diversity is at the front of so many conversations, I would like to appeal to everybody to really proactively fight to unleash the potential, which will be a huge benefit to our business of the people that have been previously marginalised, through heritage or gender. That’s an obvious thing to say and it sounds very corny, but it took the tragedy of George Floyd to get responses from labels, agents & organisations in the business to what had been a long standing offer to improve their connection to the huge resource of that marginalised talent into our business.

What music are you currently listening to?
I’ve just been music supervising for a Sky Cinema production, ‘A Christmas Number One’, which has great songs, however I’m over Christmas music.

So, very handily, my Spotify top artists of 2021 include Mulatu Astatke, un.procedure, Uno Helmersson, Tony Allen/Hugh Masekela, Camilla George, Jelly Cleaver & as always Stevie Wonder, Son House, Bill Evans & Donnie McClurkin.

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Manager Spotlight: Feedy Frizzi

13 December 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is MMF Accelerator manager, Feedy Frizzi.

How long have you worked in management?

About 10 years

Who do you manage now?

Max Pope and Michael Lovett aka NZCA Lines.

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

I was DJing at the Old Blue Last in 2011 and there was a band called Crushed Beaks playing a club night there. It was love at first sound.

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

A good day is when I’m doing anything creative and/or around people. A bad day is when I’m doing accounting, reading contracts or dealing with unreasonable people. You often get a bit of everything every day.

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

I don’t have one. It’s a mix of everything that makes the whole. I’ve enjoyed the ride so far!

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

Breaking new artists (it’s like playing the lottery).
Making a living as an independent manager (i.e. without being paid a wage).
Keeping body and mind healthy and support others around you to do the same.
Keeping your head above water when things get busy.. you are expected to do/know everything and there is a lot going on!

What music are you currently listening to?

Max Pope’s new album which we finished a couple of weeks ago. It’s a gem and I hope it’ll do well when it comes out next summer.

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Manager Spotlight 100th Special: Keith Harris

06 December 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers, and this week is the 100th spotlight! We are excited to share that one of the MMF founders, previous chair and MMF custodian Keith Harris is in the spotlight this week. 

How long have you worked in management? 

I have been working in management since 1974.

Who do you manage now?

These days I very occasionally do some management work for Stevie Wonder still.

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

My first client were a band some of whom had been school friends. I was inspired to take them on because I thought that they were really talented musicians, and I was desperate to get into the music business and back then that was a suitable entry point for someone with little or no experience, but a few music business contacts.

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

The day that I put Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross on stage with Stevie Wonder at Wembley, was one of several highlights, alongside walking ,with Stevie Wonder, Coretta Scott King, (Martin Luther King’s widow) and Gil Scott Heron, on the 1980 March in Washington in support of the Martin Luther King holiday campaign.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

The big challenges for a manager in 2021 are mainly to do with trying to compete with the sheer volume of material that is being released, and trying to make sure that all revenue avenues for an artist are exploited since streaming only pays well for those artists at the top of the tree.

What music are you currently listening to?

I am currently listening to some of the Artists managed by two of my sons. Pa Salieu,  Berwyn, and Hajhaj and other than their acts Tiken Jah Fakoly, and the Americana Act Lady Nade

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Manager Spotlight: Hannah Joseph

22 November 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Hannah Joseph.

How long have you worked in management?

I started in the industry at 19 in management but I was predominately at labels early on so my main management focus has been over the last 25 years and the last 20 of which have been mainly producer/songwriter/mixer management focused.

Who do you manage now?

Personally via my company Decibelle. I manage Grammy award winning mix engineer Wez Clarke, legendary Grime engineer MSM and songwriter/Ivor’s Chairman Crispin Hunt and I also consult for 365 artists in a management capacity. I have a couple of other business ventures including a new publishing company JV In Loco Parentis Songs and multi media reggae company KlaAsh and I consult for Westminster Uni MA too.

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

I was approached by a client from a company I had worked at previously and it provided me with the opportunity of freelance versatility and some financial security around having young children, which I am forever grateful for and gave me the confidence to later set up completely on my own.

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

A good day entails a mixture of fun, constructive meetings, lots of positivity and happy clients! Those are not every day lol.

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

Highlights have to include Grammy trips and wins with Wez Clarke but I’ve enjoyed lots of really lovely events including A&R trips abroad, many no.1 records with clients (which I will never take for granted!), plus working with numerous amazing artists and colleagues. Every day is different in music and that keeps us all engaged – it’s a great industry to work in.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

Working smart to ensure you have the right balance of income (so it’s sustainable) but also having the time to be creative and entrepreneurial. You can’t just do one thing anymore in my opinion – that applies to both managers and creatives. Managers definitely tend to wear way more hats these days and definitely can’t get complacent.

What music are you currently listening to?

Always a mixture of old and new for me. Excited for the Casisdead project (that MSM has additionally produced and mixed) – it’s a real piece of art inc visually. The new single Rude Boy by Jords is great, plus a track that’s on repeat at the moment is a long term favourite that I was reminded about recently (during a reminiscing 360 meeting), Love is All I Got by Feed Me and Crystal Fighters. It’s always interspersed by my ‘go to’ reggae, house and soul classics like John Holt, Lou Rawls, Masters at Work and definitely a bit of Buju!

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Manager Spotlight: Lauren Roth de Wolf

15 November 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Lauren Roth de Wolf.

How long have you worked in management? 

Ten years… do i get a prize?

Who do you manage now?

Africa Express, Moonchild Sanelly, The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians

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

I got talked into Africa Express backstage at the Barbican over a shared tub of humous. I almost didn’t go to that show, and it’s the main reason I love being in London. You never know what’s around the next corner.

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

A good day is listening to great new music from artists I work with and knowing deep down how well it’s going do. A bad day is visas getting refused or another covid cancellation – the resilience of artists and managers during the pandemic has genuinely been inspiring, especially as performing live is so central to the mental health of musicians and industry professionals.

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

Tough one! The biggest project I’ve done with Africa Express (the train tour) – will always have a very special (and wildly stressful) place in my heart. Moonchild Sanelly fulfilling her dream of collaborating with Beyonce was pretty great too!

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

Boundaries!! Most of the managers I know (apart from the predominantly male, white, older owners of management companies) are doing the job of a manager, business strategist, live agent, rights management service, sync team, artistic director, accountant and record label. It’s an incredible amount of unseen, unpaid work so if it’s not appreciated it can be pretty overwhelming. It’s imperative to set realistic expectations on both sides so that when the magic happens, you can all enjoy it!

What music are you currently listening to?

The amazing ‘Month of Sundays’ project by 2 inch punch, Pink Pantheress, Gorillaz (COMPLETELY unbiased fave = “with love to an ex”), Porridge Radio – our MMF Accelerator group shares music a lot and it’s such a great way to discover new stuff. I also just found an old hard drive of music that I took on a long trip in the naughties… K’naan’s ‘Dusty foot philosopher’ (still one of the best records ever), youngblood brass band, early Akala… the memories!

 

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A weekly summary of events and resources for music managers.

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Manager Spotlight: Maria Torres

08 November 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Maria Torres.

How long have you worked in management? 

I have been working in music management for around 5 years, I managed bands throughout my time at University in Bristol and then obtained a role as a management assistant in London as soon as I graduated. I then started taking on my own roster of artists and became a part of Verdigris Management at the end of 2019. Due to the pandemic, I lost my job in management but decided to continue managing independently and have taken on two artists during lockdown which has been great! I am now based in the South West and manage three artists.

Who do you manage now?

I currently manage three incredible and unique artists: Sinead O’Brien (post-punk poet), Grandmas House (punk female trio) and Keaton Dekker (alt-pop artist).

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

When I was in London, I came across Sinead O’Brien’s music online as she had been supporting multiple artists on the live gig scene in London. I listened to it and straightaway I was hooked, her unique sound and incredible musicianship could be detected from the get-go. I started managing Sinead in February 2019, and it’s been a really exciting journey so far. I am also passionate about managing powerful female fronted artists, and Sinead is constantly inspiring me every day.

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

Every day is extremely different and varied in the world of management and always bound to get both good and bad days. Good days are definitely when things are busy, multiple opportunities come through, release weeks, live shows and receiving incredible demos and new music! There’s a lot to be thankful for in the world of music management and working with such amazing talents.

A bad day is when things can get overwhelming and I am working independently so I don’t have anyone to discuss situations with, that can get hard sometimes. I find taking things day by day helps and I’ve connected with lots of other independent managers on Zoom over lockdown which has been great.

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

This is a very difficult question, but I think that it always has to be at live shows and you can see the audience reacting to the artist’s music in real time. It’s been hard not having these shows over the last 18 months, however, seeing Sinead O’Brien perform two sets at Latitude Festival in July was such an incredible moment. It was the first time she performed her new music to a crowd and the response was dynamic! Really excited to see what the next live shows bring for her.

Also seeing Grandmas House perform their first ever festival was a big highlight, as I had only seen them play socially distanced gigs up until then – so seeing a crowd dance/mosh to their music and performing to a packed out tent was incredible!

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

There are many challenges managers face, I would say that 2021 has brought us a new way of working and adapting to situations quickly and thinking on our feet. These times are difficult but we quickly find solutions as managers, and coming out of the pandemic I think we will have learned a lot which will only work to our advantage at the end of the day.

As mentioned previously, being an Independent Manager during this year is tough due to not having the opportunity to meet up with other managers and bounce ideas off each other. However, the power of Zoom has really helped here and I am thankful to have met so many other great managers online during this time!

What music are you currently listening to?

I am listening to a lot of Dry Cleaning, I think their album is absolutely brilliant, also listening to Wet Leg, Katy J Pearson, Nation of Language and Weird Milk.

 

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Manager Spotlight: Adetokunbo “T” Oyelola

01 November 2021

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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.

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Manager Spotlight: Andy Farrow

25 October 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Andy Farrow.

How long have you worked in management? 

33 years professionally

Who do you manage now?

Opeth, Devin Townsend, Paradise Lost, Katatonia, The Wildhearts, Bloodbath

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

If we are speaking of first professional client it was a thrash metal band called slammer who were local to me. I signed them in 1987 and in 1988 they were signed to Warner’s.

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

A good day is getting chart positions and selling out gigs, a bad day is dealing with the stress of managing artists, who often being creative have what psychologists called a lot of ‘free child‘ in them, so sometimes not always rational in situations.

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

Many, Opeth getting to number 1 in Germany with their sorceress album, Devin Townsend selling out the Royal Albert Hall in 4 days, Opeth selling out Red Rocks and Sydney Opera House, managing Paradise Lost for over 30 years and with their last album obsidian having their best worldwide chart positions ever, and putting The Wildhearts last album in the Uk Charts at number 8.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

With Covid and now the challenges of Brexit the biggest challenge is how to alter a bands income streams model to make up for the fact that live was up to 40% of a bands income and was wiped out.

What music are you currently listening to?

I’m listening to the hope by ferocious dog that I’m releasing on my label graphite. My general music taste is varied but definitely with a punk, alternative metal slant.

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18/07/2024

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Manager Spotlight: Jordan Jay

11 October 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Jordan Jay.

How long have you worked in Management? 

I started Karma Artists management in October of 2012 with my business partner Ross Gautreau.

Who do you manage now?

We manage writer/producers: Red Triangle Productions/ Super-Hi, Tre Jean-Marie, Jimbo Barry, Will Reeves, Jim Eliot, Cutfather, PhD, Jez Ashurst, Paul O Duffy, John Fortis.

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

Our first clients were Red Triangle Productions, Ross & I had worked with them whilst we were working in the A&R Department at Polydor Records and built a great rapport with them. When we left Polydor and started Karma Artists the next day, naturally they were our first call!

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

A good day is hearing a great song from one of our clients and if from a writer without an artists involvement knowing we will be able to place it with a big artist –  an even better day is that song becoming a big international hit! – a bad day is doing our VAT Returns and having to chase companies to pay our clients their producer fees or royalties!

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

Hard to pinpoint one in particular – but in equal measures – a former client of ours Monsieur Adi (Who we built up to be come one of the hottest remixes at the time) being asked to support Beyonce on her European Tour… Red Triangle Scoring their first top 5 hit with KSI, Yungblud and Polo G and recently Tre Jean-Marie being nominated as Producer of The Year in this years upcoming MBW Awards alongside our writers Cutfather, Peter Wallevik and Daniel Davidsen (PhD) receiving a BMI award this week for Co-writing “One Too Many” by Keith Urban and P!nk.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

Covid (obviously) we had to figure out how we could keep things moving for all our clients despite all the obstacles in their ways – fortunately they have all adapted so well and we are lucky and proud of how everyones dealt with it and of course writers & producers being remunerated fairly for their work receiving the correct royalty payments – this goes without saying that progress is being made but there’s still along way to go to ensure further transparency throughout the industry.

What music are you currently listening to?

Griff – her EP shows she’s a very strong songwriter & producer – shes the real deal and is exciting for the UK to produce another potential global artist ….Clinton Kane feels like an exciting singer songwriter and i also cant get enough of the Ckay – Love Nwantiti record!

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Manager Spotlight: Audrey Gray

04 October 2021

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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!

 

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Manager Spotlight: Mike Watson

27 September 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Mike Watson.

How long have you worked in management? 

It will be 15 years in 2022 which is scary. Prior to management I worked as a PR for Hall or Nothing for 10 years. It was a really inspiring place to work. I got to work with lots of great managers and Terri Hall introduced me to loads of people involved in every aspect of the music business. I’d also helped set up a little indie label so I felt I’d learned enough to give MGMT a go.

Who do you manage now?

All We Are, Do Nothing, Folly Group and The Magic Gang

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

I found Cheeky Cheeky And The Nosebleeds on myspace which gives you a good idea of the year it was. I had started messaging them but knew they were still at college, as soon as they had done their A levels, I travelled to Woodbridge to meet them and that was that. Ed Sheeran’s first gig was in a battle of the bands with them, he won.

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

A good day at the moment definitely involves being at a show and seeing people connect with the music in the way they’re meant to. A bad day; visa applications.

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

Asking Robbie Shakespeare how he made Boops.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

Vinyl production deadlines. Dataism.

What music are you currently listening to?

The Aboutface album on AD93, its built around field recordings made during essential travel in the first lockdown, its stunning. Lots of stuff from Manchester, Space Africa, Rat Heart and Mandy, Indiana who were amazing at Psych Fest. Steely Dan. The new St Ettiene album is great, it’s their tenth! The Virtual Dreams compilation on Music From Memory, Septet by John Carroll Kirby, Luke Unabomber’s show on Worldwide FM, Chameleon by Anthony Naples and i’m really excited about the new Helado Negro record.

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Manager Spotlight: Sarah Brooksbank

20 September 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Sarah Brooksbank.

How long have you worked in management? 

15 years.

Who do you manage now? 

Bat For Lashes, Fat White Family, Working Men’s Club and producer/ mixer Ross Orton.

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

I’ve managed Natasha for 8 years, she was the first artist to come with me when I made the decision to set up on my own nearly 6 years ago. She’s an absolute genius and a truly unique singular talent, plus we get on.

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

A good day is new music, it’s a privilege when something new drops into my inbox and I’m the first person to hear it, I don’t take that for granted. When the artists are happy, when things are moving – you’ve got a plan together and you’re ticking things off the list, when the record labels are onside with it all and everyone is feeling positive, getting a song across the line at playlist, a TV or good festival booking.

On a bad day, chasing people or waiting for answers, budgets that you can’t make work, visa applications, trying to justify radio edits, band arguments.

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

There are obvious ‘CV’ moments like Natasha being nominated for the Mercury and winning an Ivor, but the real highlights for me are when you throw everything at a campaign and it pays off, I enjoy the process – getting the Fat White Family album in the top 20 was brilliant, we worked really hard, similarly releasing the Working Mens Club debut album in the middle of a pandemic with no touring and no idea what was really going to happen, and then it really connecting and getting a great reaction (and chart place!) was great. They’re all lovely people with great teams too, so it’s hard work but it’s fun. Trips to places that I wouldn’t usually get to visit are nice too.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

In the short term the uncertainty means double or triple the work, everyone is nervous and a bit burnt out with it all – I’m constantly redoing budgets, re scheduling plans, everything is harder and planning anything international is a headache.
In the longer term as more and more online platforms become legitimate avenues for ‘promotion’ we’re being asked to service them all with free content.

What music are you currently listening to?

Priya Ragu, Tirzah, always PJ Harvey.

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Manager Spotlight: Chris Bellam

13 September 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Chris Bellam.

How long have you worked in management? 

I started underplay in July 2017 after leaving Beggars where I had worked since 2001, having worked with some incredible people.  But got into management bits on the side, probably around 2012, helping out friends and watching other managers whilst working at the group of labels.

Who do you manage now?

APRE, Art School Girlfriend, Circe, Lynks, Piri & Tommy Villiers, Polly Money, Porij and St Jasper.

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

I first started managing Laurel in 2015 when she left her previous management company and I was the radio plugger. I thought the tracks were amazing and we naturally progressed into working together.

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

Good day, one new person supporting one of your acts and understanding the project. Bad day, could be any number of things, usually involving ego or emotions, of myself or others ;-).

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

The freedom to sign acts I love based on their music and persona and to keep a company growing completely independently.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

The same as they have always been, maintaining belief, energy and passion in your artists whilst the landscape continually changes. Its like climbing a ladder that is always changing size and material that sometimes doesn’t want to be a ladder.

What music are you currently listening to?

I constantly listen to radio and multiple playlists across Apple and Spotify and music press, there are so many great artist finds and new music to hand. The artists I work with are also great A&R sources.

New find this week: Talk Bazaar

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Manager Spotlight: Steven Odufuye

06 September 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Steven Odufuye.

How long have you worked in Management? 

I’ve worked in management for 7 years now. I started off as a management assistant/junior manager and took on a few clients during that period but they were my practice hours! In 2018 that’s when things started to snowball.

Who do you manage now?

Jords, a talented musician from Croydon & Mike Brainchild an all-round genius of a producer.

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

I bumped into my first clients at Sarm Studio’s in West London they came with a mutual friend as we were having a listening session and I remember them being so hungry and confident. They pressed play on some of the material they’d been working on, told me their story, we connected and the rest was history. I took them on because I saw something different in them and what they were doing at the time was fresh but most of all I saw two extremely talented guys that deserved a chance.

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

No two days are ever the same. A good day would probably entail everyone (including myself) turning up to meetings on time, my roster sending me new music that I’m excited about and completing every task I’ve set out to do that day. I enjoy most days at work to be honest but if I had to choose what a not so good day would look like it would probably be if a video shoot is delayed due to a technical difficulty or people arriving so late it pushes everything back because it would have an impact on the crew and their fees.

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

The highlight for me would have to be when my clients told me that after all the work we’ve put in they were able to quit their jobs and work on music full time.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

The lack of additional income due to the live circuit being cancelled because of Covid.

What music are you currently listening to?

I really enjoy bodies of work! This is what I have had on repeat;

Tory Lanez – Playboy Live
Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together
Yung Bleu – Moon Boy
Wizkid – Made In Lagos

 

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Manager Spotlight: Melody Perry

31 August 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Melody Perry, San Remo Music.

How long have you worked in Management? 

Unofficially I’ve been doing bits of management and helping friends out since 2018 but in April 2020 I started at San Remo Music assisting across their management roster and have recently taken on my first official solo client!

I’ve also tried to keep active in the management community by founding the MMF Southampton Tribe and organising educational and social events for managers in and around Southampton.

Who do you manage now?

I’ve just taken on producer/writer Cameron Nesbitt who has produced for content creator turned artists James Marriott and Lovejoy and through San Remo I work across producer Pete Robertson, writer Miranda Cooper and mixer Josh Ager.

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

Although I was never managing them officially, my first “client” was a band I met whilst studying music management at uni called BASH! As a super eager first year I was looking to get involved in music in any way I could, they were a pretty hyped band across the music courses so I heard tons about them. Once I met them I absolutely fell in love with the band both as a project and as people and wanted to be able to help them as well as putting some of the skills I learnt from my degree to use.

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

I think a lot of different things can make a day a good day but the best way to describe it is being busy but the kind of busy that feels productive and not stressful. I also think finding new music that you or your clients are excited about, getting great feedback on a pass of a song or meeting someone new that you really click with can help make an average day into a good one! I think the opposite of any of those can definitely result in a bit of a bad day, being overworked, getting bad feedback, not listening to good music or having a less than productive meeting never feel good!

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
Although I have dabbled in management and been assisting for a few years it really feels like my “management career” has started now I officially have my own client so I guess finding someone I’m really excited to work with and taking the step to look after him on my own is my current highlight but i’m very excited to make many more!

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

As a new manager I think the biggest challenge is networking. Music is such a social industry and I think people who already have large networks often forget how impactful they are to business, whether it’s helping to build respect and trust, finding projects to work across or simply gossiping about what music you’re loving at the moment.

As amazing as zoom is, it’s incredibly difficult to build genuine connections with people virtually and I think any managers that have started since the pandemic are really struggling.

What music are you currently listening to?

My music taste is honestly all over the place at the moment but right now i’m listening to a lot of hyperpop and really loving Glaive but if you ask me the same question in a week and a half it’ll probably be a totally different answer!

 

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Manager Spotlight: Mark Robinson

18/07/2024

The manager spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers.⁠ This week in the spotlight is Mark Robinson!

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We’re hiring: Senior Operations Manager

17/07/2024

We are looking for a dynamic and ambitious Senior Operations Manager to join the MMF team.

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MMF Weekly Roundup

12/07/2024

A weekly summary of events and resources for music managers.

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Manager Spotlight: Matthew Clarke

23 August 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Matthew Clarke, KMGMT.

How long have you worked in management?
I would say officially around 5/6 years. However, I started out booking UK tours and events in Manchester at around 14/15 years old and acted manager for a lot of artists back then too… just not sure I knew it at the time!

Who do you manage now?
I manage an artist called Stand Atlantic and head up the label division @KMGMT called Adventure Cat, which is a label ran by our managers here. Our company consists of management for film composers, writers, producers, mixers and artists and the label is our opportunity to support developing acts with short, artist-friendly deals. Most of our label artists do not have management so we naturally play an involved role.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
I signed a US record deal as an artist myself when I was quite young and always knew my heart was in leading and helping others. Especially nowadays, I view the music industry as a playground to be creative strategically and so I was really looking for an artist that would challenge me and force me to do things non-conventionally. When I first found Stand Atlantic, they were a local artist from Sydney, Australia who everybody seemed to have given up on. I didn’t know anything about Australia, but I fell in love with Bonnie, Jonno, Potter and Miki and had a mutual vision that inspired me to learn in the deep end.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day for me is when I see an idea turn into a reality. An ambitious release getting a good review, an obscure support tour connecting with new fans, a creative TikTok going super viral are all good days for me because I love the process of seeing growth and the artist connection being fully realised. A bad day for me is probably seeing things in the music industry happening to me, my artist or my colleagues that I feel takes us a step back as an industry. Anything unethical or self-serving for me really grinds my gears.

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
I am particularly proud of the last album cycle for Stand Atlantic. The COVID pandemic hit right between our lead single and album release which I feared would leave the rollout disjointed. I am really proud of our entire teams’ quick reactions in re-strategising the album campaign as we focused on a more intimate, personal release with the fans, knowing we could no longer promote extensively to the wider public as effectively. As a globally touring rock artist who is used to doing 200+ shows a year, I think COVID crippled most similar artists release success. The album charted on US Billboard Current Albums 100, ARIA Charts and numerous #1-#3 Rock/Metal Album Charts worldwide with 0 touring. During the cycle, the band enjoyed a #1 Most Played song on Australian National Radio, were the print front cover stars of Rock Sound Magazine in the UK and were added to over 50+ editorial playlists across DSPs (including several covers). The band recently crossed 100,000,000 streams worldwide on DSPs, with that album being the most successful so far.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
I think there are fairly obvious challenges we are going to face regarding COVID and BREXIT. However, COVID has really exacerbated managers reluctance to trust data as being tangible and I see this as a really worrying issue for managers in 2021. Especially for genres that rely on touring, data has become even more difficult to relate to meaningful progress and I feel keeping managers on-board with using data as a reliable informer is going to be even more difficult than before.

What music are you listening to?
Top 3 this week: VALLEY, Frank Sinatra and The Hotelier.

 

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18/07/2024

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MMF Weekly Roundup

12/07/2024

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Manager Spotlight: Cath Hurley

16 August 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Cath Hurley, mostdeffo.

How long have you worked in management

I’ve worked in management officially since October 2018. I’ve worked for quite a long time in the music industry before this, and it’s always something I really wanted to do, but never quite had the confidence to take on. It can feel a daunting prospect to be over every element of what is going on with an artist, but I think the gradual build up of my involvement with projects over my career has put me in a good position.

I used to do online pr in London and would often be the first team member working with an artist due to how much growth potential there was for new acts back then with blog and website coverage. I’d most often end up supporting these bands and artists further and often shaped release and sometimes live strategy. I then became a product manager, which I loved but I was always aware that I represented the label rather than the artist and I don’t think it came as a surprise to my bosses that I went into management after I left and moved to Liverpool.

I’ve been in Liverpool for 5 years now and I took a while looking at what was going on up here objectively to see what value I could add. Management felt like a really obvious choice as I got more immersed in what was going on. Management and artist development, basically. I set up mostdeffo to really be a home for acts that I worked with directly and further promising musicians who needed some support, validation and someone to just do a bit of myth-busting.

Who do you manage now?

I have a perfect trio of acts that I adore. I work with a 3-piece garage post-punk  band called Eyesore & The Jinx. We’ve enjoyed wonderful trips such as a fly-by Eurosonic and also that time we went to Russia to play a couple of festivals in and around a city called Ulyanovsk. I work a musician who can bend her head to all sorts called Natalie McCool. She’s a sick guitarist and singer songwriter who has just released a new album and is moving down to London soon to build her craft as a producer. I also work with a very special artist called Beija Flo, who burns very brightly in lots of different of ways as a performer, songwriter, poet, illustrator, photographer, actor, activist and general all-encompassing creative queen.

Alongside this I am a co-manager of a new community music venue called Future Yard in Birkenhead. When I first wrote down the ambitions of what I wanted to turn mostdeffo into (at about 4am whilst on a solo holiday back in 2017), I rather grandiosely wrote about building a supportive community of musicians who felt empowered to carve their own path through the industry. One of the ways of doing that was a plan to bring in loads of amazing people that work in wonderful ways that would be really inspiring and open a lot of eyes very wide. Future Yard is a home for that whole ambition. I oversee our industry skills training programmes (providing routes into working in live music)  along with PROPELLER, which is an artist membership that provides loads of support and knowledge to special artists. It’s mad to be able to bring that kind of infrastructure and build that community in the town I was born in. Working in management is super important to me as it ensures I retain that real life experience of navigating the industry as it constantly evolves.

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

I met Eyesore & The Jinx whilst taking part in an artist development scheme. They’d released their first single and I picked apart the activity around it, quite honestly. In their words I was “brutal”, but they were in a position to take constructive criticism super well and build from it. By chance I saw them supporting Protomartyr the same evening and could see something special in the tracks that they had at that time. They made a lot of sense to me. We met up the following week to have a proper chat and it just so happens I was in the process of making mostdeffo into a business. We started working together shortly after that and started to build a really great collaborative and trusting relationship pretty sharpish.

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

There’s always a lot going on, so even when certain things aren’t quite going the way I want them to go, there’s always something else that’s positive to keep the spirits up.

I guess a bad day is when nothing happens. Any effort that is put in doesn’t result in any responses or actions. A good day is when inspiring conversations take place, along with seeing something developing and growing and imagining future possibilities. It’s important for me to always look forward. If something great lands, then it’s thinking about how to use it as a stepping stone and moving forward. I don’t think you can ever really stay still, can you.

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

I think that’s difficult to pinpoint. The moments that spring to mind are the ones that seem like you’re punching above your weight. Eyesore had a series of US press that happened around their debut EP which felt mad. Getting a KEXP song of the day and a gorgeous feature on Stereogum having never dipped their toes over there felt like a real moment. Hearing Natalie McCool’s haunting vocals playing over an HBO/SKY advert with a harrowed looking Jude Law was a good one. Possibly pulling together a two week exhibition of Beija Flo’s artwork along with a sold out gig at the end which featured her playing three slots in different ways. She basically did both support slots of a her own headline gig. That was a great example of knowing just how far to push her creatively without it getting too overwhelming. I can’t wait to experience future highlights. There are so many moments that make this rewarding.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

The obvious is the recovery from the pandemic, but I’m hugely concerned about the implications that Brexit is having on my artists. Eyesore played Eurosonic and we had more European dates in the diary than we had UK. It all felt super promising and then they all got pulled due to the pandemic and we can’t look at rescheduling them mainly because of the unfeasibility of the financial impact of Brexit. We’re just constantly looking for focuses in other areas. Right now they’re writing, writing, writing so we can record an amazing debut album. Hopefully the EU situation will be clearer by the time we look at their live strategy again, building audiences outside of the UK in order to enable a stable career. I don’t feel this is possible without a European audience for a band like that.

What music are you currently listening to?

I’m like a sponge at the moment. I’m obsessed with Self Esteem and I’m so excited for her new album. The first two singles have blown me away, she’s so special. I also love Pillow Queens, Albertine Sarges, CMAT and I’m excited to hear further stuff from Yard Act, Denise Chaila, Wet Leg and The Lounge Society, to name a few. I could go on and on and on.

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Manager Spotlight: Nick Faber

09 August 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Nick Faber.

How long have you worked in Management?

‘Officially’ only for a couple of years, although I’ve worked closely with artists as a producer for over twenty years, does that count?

Who do you manage now?

Eda Eren, Eva Gadd, Gold Blend and Aaron Graham

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

Chris Ansah (drum and bass producer Chords) was doing some graphic design work in an office I was working in. I noticed he had Logic open on his laptop so I asked what he was up to; he played me the track and it was Eda Eren and I was just blown away, she sounded so different to anything I’d heard, the way she mixes her Turkish heritage with modern dance music in her vocal performance, I said I wanted to work with her. We released the track on my label and the relationship grew from there.

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

A good day – as in any job – is getting a good result, in this case one that the artist benefits from, be it a radio play or a magazine feature or a playlist or a gig offer or whatever. Forward movement. I try to roll with the bad days and, although they smart at the time, I tend not to linger on them.

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

Probably the massive support both Eva Gadd and Gold Blend are getting from BBC Introducing; it’s vindicating when big media get behind artists you personally believe in because it suggests they have commercial viability, which is what artists need to grow their careers right?

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

Aside from the obvious (COVID and the post Brexit touring debacle) I think an artist manager’s challenges are constantly about making the right choices for their artists. There’s clearly more competition than ever before but also more opportunity. We just need to make sure we choose what’s right for our artists to enable them to maximise their chances of success, be it promo and advertising, partnerships, live, technology. There’s a lot to unravel.

What music are you currently listening to?

I had Tres Hombres and Degüello on repeat last week of course, my Discover Weekly is like an old mixtape I never made and I’m loving Dave’s new album.

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Manager Spotlight: Paul Kennedy

28 July 2021

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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.

 

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Manager Spotlight: Ria Gordon

26 July 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Ria Gordon.

How long have you worked in Management?

I have worked in music management for 3 years. 

Who do you manage now?

I manage an artist by the name of Blanco and also a producer by the name of Alexay beats, and also a couple up and coming artists. 

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

I found my first artist through my other management job as I initially got into the music industry via having a modelling agency, through that job the opportunity came up for me to manage Blanco and I couldn’t turn down  such an amazing opportunity, I knew Blanco was special.

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

A good day for me is making sure I’m on top of my to-do list, which can be challenging with the interruption of calls and real life. A bad day would consist of me falling behind or missing deadlines.

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

I have had many great highlights since managing Blanco, I would say the first was signing our first deal with a major label and also having his track shippuden received so well industry wise and being synced in GTA.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

2021 has been challenging with the COVID restrictions, though restrictions seem to be lifting slowly. We are currently preparing for his first headline show in September, so I am hoping that we will be able to go ahead with this. Whilst also looking forward to performing on festivals as he is booked for Wireless, Parklife, Reading and Leeds. Due to the pandemic the live side of the music industry was hit hard and has been non-existent.

What music are you currently listening to? 

Apart from my artists I’m still listening to some of the old school stuff as in Notorious B.I.G , DMX but also I listen to the likes of LIL Durk , Koffee , Pop caan, Stylo-g, Jhus , pop smoke and mooski.

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Manager Spotlight: Cleo Amedume

14 July 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Cleo Amedume.

How long have you worked in Management?

Properly, just about 3 years now as 1/3 of creative management team MUVVA with Mpho Mckenzie and Tekiva Ledwidge. Although I have been what I like to call an opinionated observer of the industry for a lot longer than that!

Who do you manage now?

We manage a singer-songwriter called Chrissi, producer Freemonk and production duo Yarde Boys.

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

We are very passionate about development and we’re on the lookout for an artist that had all the raw materials cut above the noise and deliver great music.

Mpho also runs a live night called fireball sessions, led by the insanely talented MckNasty. Chrissi rocked up with her guitar and MckNasty gave her the opportunity to jam on stage and the rest is very likely to make history!

Chrissi’s music offers a refreshingly real perspective on love and loss and she has such an effervescent personality, we felt blessed to be able to help steer her career.

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

A good day for me consists of a banger in the inbox, one that makes you imagine the visuals, the show set up and the audience reaction to it within the first 30 seconds of listening.

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

It’s hard to think of a single moment as I am so grateful for many of the things I get to do and who I get to do them with.

Rather than a highlight, I’d like to say my most intense moment of gratitude came on set at Chrissi’s first video shoot. Helping someone to fulfil their dreams and facilitate their vision coming to life is fulfilling to me. Watching it all unfold with my partners, the creative team and her amazing A&R Rob Harrison is a moment I’m not likely to forget…. ever.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

I’d say COVID has to be a huge challenge especially in regards to live. It’s so hard to plan anything with the constant changes and uncertainty.

As an ethnically diverse all female management team the remnants of the old boys clubs and or their ideals are always present, lurking around corners, trying to undermine your choices.

Another challenge is finding external partners who are willing to be part of a creatives developmental journey, with a passion for breaking talent and not just capitalising on numbers.

What music are you currently listening to?

Just got the master back for Chrissi’s first single due to be released next month… bit of a shameless plug but I have had it on repeat.

Other than that a well cultivated mixture of ratchet twerk music, Queen and everything in between.

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Manager Spotlight: Kemal Ibrahim

12 July 2021

 

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Kemal Ibrahim.

How long have you worked in Management? 

Before I started my journey as an artist manager,  I was a talent booking agent for 7 years, until the moment came when I had to take the jump. I have been managing my own artist for 4 year now.

Who do you manage now?

I manage two very different artists, Jean-Mikhael who is a Pop, R&B singer songwriter with powerhouse vocals and has an unapologetic stage presence; And Shocka, who is a conscious hip-hop artist, who promotes self love lyrical content and is also a voice for the mental health community, advocating the messages of positivity everyday.  I feel very blessed to have them as my artists.

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

I went down to the Brit School showcase to see what was going on, with no intention of signing an act. About thirty minutes into the show, Jean-Mikhael walks on stage and starts singing. I couldn’t believe this boy’s vocal range. I found myself looking around the venue and watching the audience’s reaction. It was a moment that has never left me. After the show I found my way backstage. I had a chat with JM, scheduled a few meetings and the rest is history.

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

As an artist manager your day is very unpredictable; It can change at any time. Generally, a good day at work is when you are getting responses to all the emails you spend hours on end sending and when you can see movement and growth in your artist’s career; whilst keeping them creative and true to their authentic self. A bad day on the other hand, is when you keep knocking on doors that aren’t opening just yet.  But like they say in the theatre, ‘the one hundred and one audition can be the one that makes you.’ Which basically means I will never stop knocking on doors.

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

I was very lucky to work very closely with DMX, seeing my artist Shocka standing on the red spot on TED Talk and the moment when Jean-Mikhael signed his first deal.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

I think the challenges for 2021 has been the lack of live music events, keeping connected with industry associates as things have changed drastically due job loss and/or individuals moving to begin new job roles in new places. Reconnecting and rebuilding relationships again has also been a challenge and can be a long process. The pandemic has had such a negative impact on the music industry for many of us managers, but at the same time, has left me no choice but to become more innovative with the limited resources available and keep inventing ways to keep the artists engaged.

What music are you currently listening to?

I’m currently listening, Bree Runway- hot hot, Doja Cat- Planet her (Album) Jasmin Sullivan- Haux tales (Album) and obviously my own artist.

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Manager Spotlight: Jamie Ibe

05 July 2021

Manager Spotlight: Jamie Ibe

Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Accelerator Manager Jamie Ibe. 


How long have you worked in Management? 

It’s been a amazing few years now managing and loving the career journey across the music industry. My job is to protect talent and present the talent in a way that people will love them. I love the guiding of careers from a early stage as the artists progress through in their journey.  It’s been exciting, I always love the analogy of music management role is similar to a football match but imagine your playing yourself.

Who do you manage now?

I am currently managing Geovarn, Kadeem Tyrell, Lottie Jade, Richy Rambo and Ben Charles. All super talented individuals across the entertainment industry in different spaces and on different individual journeys across music.

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

My first client was introduced to me by a friend, we then met and spoke music and started plotting out takeover. Speaking on the journey and how we could work together sort of helped us iron out what we n you see to do and the best way we could help each other. Always grateful for the introduction as at the time I get as looking for artists but also very much concentrating on building my company studio so it worked hand in hand.

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

A good day is being a super productive and getting as much done as possible on the go. I love those sorts of days where i eat on the go, go from A to B, on set and end the day exhausted like I did the whole day in the gym. My favourite sorts of day is one where things get done and I really enjoy the hustle running around doing everything.

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

The biggest highlight of my career so far was securing a distribution deal and getting selected for the Accelerator program both achievements have allowed me to progress. Another highlight mention which made me super happy was being selected as one of the Music Week Rising Star.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

The big challenges for managers in 2021 is finding those pockets in which to excel and drive forward in a restricted music market due to the pandemic. Another challenge will be making sure you are keeping your artists motivated as always and finding new business while also retaining business in a tough climate. Sourcing opportunities and making sure a sustained income is viable at all times will continue to be challenging.

What music are you currently listening to?

I’m currently listening to RnB, Trapsoul and Rap in my car and on the go. My artist’s new track Kadeem Tyrell featuring Omar is out now. Amazing for my client to get a track with a soul legend so happy about that. Also most recently had the new lil baby and lil Durk ‘please’ track from their new project on repeat.

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Manager Spotlight: Josh Cohen

28 June 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Accelerator Manager Josh Cohen.

How long have you worked in Management? 

I’ve half jokingly called myself a manager for maybe 5 years, but I think in the last 2-3 I’ve stopped finding it funny.

Who do you manage now?

I manage Porridge RadiocarolineGrove and one more very exciting secret project yet to launch!

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

My management career grew out of my bedroom DIY cassette label Memorials of Distinction. Porridge Radio’s early solo recordings were on my first compilation – I’ve been friends with Dana since my late teens. I egged them on as a full band and helped record their debut album in a shed. When it became clear that other, more serious labels with real money and resources were interested, I decided to try to stay involved somehow, and I figured that meant ‘managing’ them.

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

It’s hard to tell the difference to be honest: sometimes it feels good to have a load of meetings and emails, sometimes it feels bad. I’m sure once COVID is behind us the good days will be defined by much more interesting and glamorous things, but for now it just depends which side of the bed I wake up on.

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

The very quick journey Porridge Radio took from being a beloved janky underground project, to being highly respected, Mercury-nominated artists has been amazing to witness closely. COVID destroying every plan we had, precisely during the week of Every Bad‘s release, meant it’s taken me some time to really appreciate the things that went right.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

Besides the obvious COVID-related stuff, it seems maybe harder than ever to build a new artist’s real audience and real income, and that means it’s harder than ever for management to make money too.

What music are you currently listening to?

Loving the recent Spinny Nights releases from Robbie & Mona and Cix, very obsessed with Frog of Earth recently too. Also listening to Dear Laika, TaliaBle, Shlomo Carlebach, Theodor Black, Wolf Alice,  Naima Bock, Yu Su, and beautiful unreleased stuff from my roster all the time.

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Manager Spotlight: Kelly Okogwu

21 June 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Kelly Okogwu.

How long have you worked in Management?

I have worked in music management for 10 years + and management for about 7 years.

Who do you manage now?

I co-manage Lost Girl on the music side and Jeremiah Emmanuel on the creative side. Lost Girl is a singer songwriter and Jeremiah Emmanuel is an entrepreneur, youth activist and author. He also runs a music and entertainment company called Just Ents which I have consulted for and still do some ad hoc work for.

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

My clients usually come about after building a relationship with them. I think it’s important to build relationships with talent before you take them on as a client and start to manage their affairs. Being a manager involves everything and you have to genuinely care about them and have their best interest at heart.

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

I think having some me time is really important for me. I never knew what me time looked like a few years ago! My wellbeing is really important to me, by nature I tend to put everyone and everything before me. I am passionate about being of service, but I’m also passionate about being holistically well (mind, body and spirit) as you can’t serve others if you haven’t served yourself first.

What has beenthehighlight of your management career to date?

Working with Artists such as Tinie Tempah and Wiz Kid has been my highlight. And working across major collaborations with people like Stormzy, Rita Ora and Calvin Harris.

What do you think arethebig challenges for a manager in 2021?

Covid. Nobody knows where the world is going.

What music are you currently listening to?

Lost Girl and Tems.

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Manager Spotlight: Yasmin Lajoie

14 June 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Yasmin Lajoie.

How long have you worked in Management?
I’ve worked in management nearly five years. Before that I worked in music publishing for 6 years, at EMI, Sony and Warner/Chappell.

Who do you manage now?
I manage God Colony and biLLLy and also work at Empire Artist Management, who represent James Newman and The Manor.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
biLLLy was the first client I signed to my management company Slay Music. He’s such a talented producer and songwriter, but just as importantly he’s a lovely guy. We were friends for years before we started working together.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day is when I’m feeling really productive: Zooms, meetings at labels, maybe lunch at Soho House, and a gig in the evening. I struggle with my mental health and bad days are common, when you feel a bit useless and nothing goes your way. I also hate chasing invoices – financial admin always makes a day worse!

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
I’m not sure if there has been a singular highlight. Every time I hear a finished song on the radio or performed live… that’s amazing.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
This year I’m trying to recover some of the income I lost during lockdown. It’s hard, especially for songwriters. I support the #BrokenRecord campaign which lobbies for more equitable remuneration for artists.

What music are you currently listening to?Griff, Rina Sawayama, Olivia Rodrigo, Arlo
Parks. I love Self Esteem’s single I Do This All The Time and I’m most excited about new Lorde album. It truly is a Hot Girl Summer!

ps I recently received an offer to study at Cambridge University and am raising money for tuition – if you would like to support please head here.

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Manager Spotlight: Neha Hindocha

07 June 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is  Neha Hindocha (Sound Collective)

How long have you worked in Management?
I have been working as a manager for 3 and a half years now. I initially started managing a development artist and then towards the end of 2018 I joined Sound Collective as a manager

Who do you manage now?
I co-manage 10 producers and songwriters with other Sound Collective managers including Royale Avenue, Nick Bradley, Anthony Trueman, Adj Buffone and Michael Angelo. I also co-manage Taneisha Jackson with Massive Management. We have over 30 clients in total on our Sound Collective roster.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
The first client I signed at Sound Collective was Anthony Trueman. A young producer who had already been in some good rooms but needed to take things to the next level. I heard his demos and could hear some real potential. We gave him some initial sessions to see how he got on and there was one song he did wrote with NEVE that made me decide instantly that he needs to join the fam.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
Most days are good and insanely busy but that’s what I love about it. It’s non-stop and every day is different! We do about 10 sessions a day across our roster so at the end of the day we are always getting great music back. An especially good day is getting a cut confirmed or getting a banger back from my producer/writers’ sessions and everyone is buzzing about it. There aren’t many bad days to be honest. There will be those days where multiple sessions are cancelled for one reason or another and I am trying to reshuffle the diary at the last minute but to be honest, it’s not that bad. All in all though I can’t complain, there is fun in the madness!

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
My highlights have definitely been securing publishing deals. We got Nick Bradley’s first deal last year with Karma Songs / Budde Music and currently we are finalising LAWRENT from Royale Avenue’s new publishing deal. All very exciting!

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
We represent mainly producers and songwriters and one of the things we are strongly advocating is getting our songwriters fairly remunerated. It’s very challenging for a songwriter manager to see decent income for their client unless the songs do millions of streams and get ample radio play. Last year we started to charge reasonable writer fees for songs that are cut which for the most part have been accepted by labels and artist management. We have started to see a very gradual shift in culture but overall it is a cause that still needs a lot of work and endorsement for it to become an industry standard.

What music are you currently listening to?
Whilst my producers and writers work across all genres, my personal taste in music definitely leans more towards contemporary/indie R&B and UK rap. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Jasmine Sullivan, Tiana Major9, Odeal and Wretch 32. Also randomly, I love listening to Latin pop, Reggaeton, Bachata and Cuban salsa!

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Manager Spotlight: Griff Harding

01 June 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Griff Harding.

How long have you worked in Management?
I have worked in management for almost 4 years. I started my music career as a radio plugger with Listen Up and then moved into A&R with Cr2 before finding my love for managing acts which I have been doing independently since.

Who do you manage now?
I manage 3 hugely exciting talents – KALM, Fallon & LAZY JOE. All of them are focussed in the dance & pop world with their own solo projects, alongside producing/writing for others.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
KALM was my first client. He had sent over a couple of demos in the inbox for the YouTube channel I run. The tracks were raw but I loved the width to his sound and we got chatting. He had that extra dimension to his production that set him apart from so many others even if it wasn’t polished yet. I was also an A&R at the time and management wasn’t directly on my radar but something I had always wanted to move into. Then after a few months of chatting about records, KALM asked if I’d want to manage him and I haven’t looked back since.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
I absolutely love my job. There’s nothing more exciting and fulfilling than enabling an artist to reach their full potential and I always feel privileged to work with the acts that I do. The excitement on release days is a buzz like no other. It is the journey from taking records at their conception to market and fans. I love it. Also, never underestimate a list. It’s always a good day when you have your ducks lined up. Bad days are few and far between. I always feel it’s important not to dwell on things that are lost but rather what can be gained.

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
I have had many. For me, nothing quite beats hearing a record from one of your acts on the radio whether it be BBC Radio 1, Kiss FM, Capital etc. There is just something so special about that for me especially when your act gets it for the first time. Sometimes you can get wrapped up and forget that we all really are fans inside. Also, we’ve had the pleasure to work with some incredible labels. Fallon with Another Rhythm & Atlantic Records. KALM with Good Company & The Other Songs. LAZY JOE has his solo project launching in Q3 2021 and cuts with the likes of Alok, Disciples & Hayla.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
The last twelve months have definitely given management a different perspective and taught us how to adapt. The lack of live performance has definitely had a big impact. Also, the lack of facetime with clients has been difficult. Nothing beats getting together to brainstorm and plot worldwide domination. There have been some positives though. Due of the lack of time on the road it has given my acts plenty of time to keep developing their sound and we are sitting on a lot of music. Our biggest challenge for the rest of the year is now executing their releases and entering them into the market at the right time with the right placement & support.

What music are you currently listening to?
I only listen to KALM, Fallon & LAZY JOE… no just kidding haha. There is so much good music around at the moment. I feel lockdown has been a real creative space. I’m absolutely loving Jess Bays, Rain Radio, THAT KIND, Sleepwalkrs, Ben Rainey, Jodie Harsh, Violet Skies, Griff (cracking name), Yaman Khadzi, Navos and many more. There’s too many to mention.

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Manager Spotlight: Sheila Baker

24 May 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Sheila Baker.

How long have you worked in Management? 
I have been managing for several years working on releases and campaigns freelance. In 2018 I became a music manager on the books and a consultant specialising in artist development. I am now making a decent profit from opportunities I have secured for my artist.

Who do you manage now?
Multi-disciplinary artist Brother May – singer, songwriter, performer, producer, MC, label boss and co- founder of CURL recordings / CURL Collective alongside Mica Levi and Coby Sey.  Brother May has his own imprint as well as releasing up to 14 official catalogue releases with CURL recordings. He performs live solo as well as performing as a DJ set with CURL and touring internationally as a 3/5 piece band live as CURL.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
I’d been managing a friend during my years in sixth form, learning the ropes whilst taking a Music Management course at the Chocolate Factory. I met my first professional client – Brother May – at an event in which he was performing. He had great stage presence and crowd control in those early days which was very impressive. He also had a very humble attitude and his self belief was admirable. He made me believe I could make music my career. We have been working together for many years since and it’s been such a blessing to help develop such a profound artistic genius.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
I love my job so everyday is a good day – I enjoy the campaigns, live performances and the wonderful people I am able to meet and work with. There are no bad days – there are just lessons to be learnt and wisdom to be gained. If I had to highlight a bad day – it would be those days that seem hardest when I’m trying to gain information to push my artist forward but it seems like certain key figures in the industry (gate keepers) are withholding key information.

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
I have been blessed with some amazing highlights in my career – the release of Brother May’s debut album ‘Aura Type Orange’ was such a great time in my career. It has been 5 years now since the creation of the CURL Collective and I have enjoyed the whole experience. We have released project with the likes of Tirzah, Ben Vince, Kwake Bass, WU-LU, Tony Harewood and Akinola Davies to name but a few. Working within this great industry alongside friends from such amazing companies and individuals within the music and film industry such as Iconoclast and QuJunktions is a highlight. Receiving funding from the MMF Rebuild Fund and the Princes Trust has been exceptional – I’m very excited for the future.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
The pandemic has changed many things especially in regards to live performances. However I am a strong believer that the music industry is recovering rapidly. Personally I have not allowed the pandemic to stop my artist’s progress forward with the release of the Aura Type Orange vinyl, we released the video for ‘Can Do It’ from the album (thank you for all the messages in regards to how this song as helped you get through these times – which is visible on YouTube comments & across my artist’s socials). We continued with the campaigns and released EP ‘Love Is In Demand’ spearheaded by formidable PR company Ten Letter PR and single ‘Bando’ which received key Spotify playlists. I am optimistic for the future as we are gearing up for the release of features my artist has been working on with Moor Mother and Kae Tempest and gearing up for our next project releases. I won’t allow anything to stop my progression, it’s important what I did yesterday – but its even more important what I’ll do today and that what truly matters.

What music are you currently listening to?
At present I am listening to Brother May’s Meeks and May EP – this is available on CURL recording bandcamp now and set for release on 4th June on all digital outlets – the EP is so great very original and fresh with wordplay and writing skills comparable to the best writers in the world. Also Om Om Om by Micachu (Blue Albi LP) ft Brother May – the song is so good and talks about real political issues we face everyday and how to overcome adversity, which is inspiring – I am also listening to other members of the Curl collective – Tirzah – Send Me, Coby Sey – River, Alpha Maid – Spy

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Manager Spotlight: Amber Chen

17 May 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Amber Chen of Atlas Artists.

How long have you worked in Management? 
I’ve worked professionally in management for a year and a half now. But I’ve been managing friends bands here and there since I was 16!

Who do you manage now?
I work across Celeste, Rachel Chinouriri, newfamiliar, Kam-BU and Gabriels.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
My first ever management experience was with a band I went to uni with and I was just eager to gain experience in the industry! I went on a UK tour with them and it was so hectic but gave me a whole new perspective on the live industry. I learned a lot from them even though it didn’t work out in the end. They were a really creative fun band and that’s what inspired me to take them on.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day at work for me is when I’ve got all my ducks in a row for the next week and I know exactly where my artists need to be and when. But saying that the industry is very unpredictable and we can’t always plan for when things come up. Being able to adapt quickly and problem solve is something I’ve had to get really good at!

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
I’m really lucky to have had some great moments so far but one of my career highlights has been working on the ‘Plain Jane’ video with Rachel. It was really wholesome and inspiring to be working with so many young creatives and seeing the vision come to life was really special. Celeste’s ‘Not Your Muse’ album going to number 1 is definitely another one which I feel incredibly grateful to have been a part of. During such a hard time of year too it really lifted us up.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
Covid is definitely still a big challenge for managers in 2021, being able to work around all of this has been difficult. Being able to keep spirits high during a year in which we’ve lost a whole part of the music industry (live music) has been a challenge. However we have learned so much and now that we’ve gone through all of this it makes me feel like we can face any challenge that comes our way!

What music are you currently listening to? I’ve always been a big fan of Brockhampton so their new album ‘Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine’ has been on repeat for me. I’m also loving Deb Never, 070 Shake and Japanese Breakfast.

 

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Manager Spotlight: Cheyenne Walker

10 May 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Cheyenne Walker.

How long have you worked in Management? 

I have been managing for 3 years now.

Who do you manage now?

I started managing Safiyyah in 2019 and muva of Earth in 2020.

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

I met Safiyyah in secondary school and knew she was an amazing singer, from her singing in our lunch breaks always. However it wasn’t till I was in my first year in university studying music business that we started working together. I really wanted to start managing artists but was nervous and Safiyyah felt the same about starting her music career. So we both put our trust into each other to see where things would go and so far things are going really well.

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

A good day at work for me is attending music sessions with my artists and witnessing great music getting created. A bad day at work for me is having invested time into a campaign or performance to only be canceled due to covid. However the chances of this happening again are hopefully slim.

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

Safiyyahs debut EP making it onto Jamz Supernova’s top 5 EP list and Safiyyahs most recent single Free ft Rada produced by Solaariss placing on New Music Fridays playlist. Another great highlight for me was starting working with muva of Earth, I remember shooting one day in a Oxleas Wood in the cold rainy weather with an all female team. It felt so empowering to be working through tough weather conditions and everyone still be so dedicated and resilient.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

I would say the big challenges managers face in 2021 with female rosters is trying to secure festival opportunities. Wireless Festival’s line up is a great example of how male dominated the music industry is, not only for artists but also on the business side. There needs to be more opportunities for female artists.

What music are you currently listening to?

I have been loving, Bina, Nikhil Beats, Dan kye, Sio an amazing artist from Johannesburg, Hiatus Kaiyote and Bellah. Feel free to check out my curated playlists for sweet-than zine on Spotify.

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Manager Spotlight: Ben Price

30 April 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Accelerator Manager Ben Price. 

How long have you worked in Management? 

I’ve been managing artists for around seven years. I was originally working as a tour manager whilst managing a few people on the side, but I’ve been in full-time management for about three years now.

Who do you manage now?

Right now I am looking after Viktoria Modesta, Lachi and Lucy May Walker – quite a varied roster so no one day is ever the same!

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

I took the route many do by originally managing a friend and developing it into a professional situation. I think just having unwavering belief in their ability was the deciding factor. From there with a bit of success it just grew into a situation where I had a few clients.

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

I’m obsessed with being on top of things so a good day is that feeling when you’ve got a grip of everything, and your artists are all busy on creative projects. A bad day is being stuck in Zoom meetings all day! I think everyone’s excited for real meetings again.

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

I actually think it’s been setting up the new business this year and seeing the reaction to establishing a company working deeply in the disability arts scene. It’s opened up so many relationships and been backed by so many key organisations. I am really grateful for the response and there is so much more to come from us this year.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?

I think establishing and maintaining a business model for our artists not based on live income is still the biggest challenge. We’ve all had to pivot pretty quickly and find new income streams. Whether that’s with brand partnerships or NFTs, we’ve always found a way. Also, networking and developing relationships is still a big challenge – online conferences are great, but not the same.

What music are you currently listening to?

My taste is so broad, but right now I am enjoying records by Ethan Gruska, Sorry, Eli Smart, NewDad and Shakey Graves to name a few. I like music that sits in the background nicely while I’m working. I can’t listen to the hits, I’m too easily distracted!

Any project you are working on at the moment you would like to highlight?

Yes! I am currently consulting on the Future of Disability in the Music Industry. I am publishing a report commissioned by Arts Council England in the summer, so I am calling on all music industry workers with disabilities to take my survey.

You can find it here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SMWPTHB

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Manager Spotlight: Angela Mastronardi

26 April 2021

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Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Angela Mastronardi.

How long have you worked in Management?
On and off for nine years. Straight out of university, I landed my first job as a managerial assistant at Lateral Management, looking after Paloma Faith, Taio Cruz and John Martin. Six years later, I received a call from Steve Jervier inviting me to work with him.  He’s such a legend in the industry and it was such an honour to be asked so, of course, I jumped at the chance.

Who do you manage now? 
Banx & Ranx, Sleepwalkrs and NK.F

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on? 
I was introduced to Sleepwalkrs when he was studying at ACM, Metropolis. At the time, I hadn’t developed my management skills and contacts and couldn’t provide the service he needed. I’m so glad that after all these years, he believed in me and we’re now able to work together.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you? 
I rarely have bad days as I believe everything happens for a reason so if things don’t go to plan, I learn from it and strive to improve. A good day for me is sharing the same excitement and energy for a project with my clients.

What has been the highlight of your management career to date? 
Working and cutting records with artists that I’m a massive fan of (including Sia, Sean Paul, Reve and Alessia Cara).

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021? 
I am a people person so the toughest thing for me was not being able to go out and see clients in person. Other management challenges in general are live music, streaming and the pandemic freeze.

What music are you currently listening to?
I love music that I can sing along to, especially, whilst I’m working on emails or running on the treadmill. I’m currently listening to Alessia Cara, Lana Del Rey, Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga, Marina, Alex Hosking, Karol G, Kalm, Hongza and VC Pines (check out the girl power in that list!).

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Manager Spotlight: Willow Dingwall-Fordyce

19 April 2021

Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Willow Dingwall-Fordyce.

How long have you worked in Management?
Believe it or not I haven’t actually been a manager for a full year yet. Working in royalties/licensing at PRS, marketing at Island Records & as an A&R at Global Records I made so many useful contacts and gained so much industry knowledge that I realised that it would be a wasted opportunity not to utilise my wealth of experience with aspiring artists.

Who do you manage now?
Evalina, Nova May & Olive. I also co-manage Taet with Michael Flakes & Conner Westney and am an A&R consultant to Rak-Su under my MGMT company The Misfits Management Club.

Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
Whilst working as an A&R I fell down the rabbit hole of watching youtube covers to find undiscovered talent and came across Nova May’s cover of Britney Spears’s ‘Baby One More Time’ and was absolutely blown away by her gorgeous voice and striking beauty that I knew in that moment that we were destined to work together as I was instantly her biggest fan.

What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
I’m an optimist. There is never a bad day, only a bad mindset. A great day would be any time I get a song back from one of my acts, whether it be a demo, a feature or the final mastered radio edit. Hearing each one fills me an overwhelming sense of pride & excitement.

What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
As a former artist myself, I tend to live vicariously through my acts, so any highlight to them is a highlight to me. As we have SO much incredible music coming out this summer, if you were to ask me the same question this time next year the list of highlights would be endless. But so far this year I’ve had Nova May’s debut track signed to prominent a dance label, have organised some huge upcoming collaborations & features for Rak-Su, have seen Evalina & Taet reach monumental streaming numbers into the millions and have had Olive’s track ‘Toy’ be selected & signed by Universal to be part of their 100% her album in partnership with She Said So.

What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
I am anxious to see how we will adapt back into live music and touring. We have become so reliant on using spotify and social media to promote new music that it will be very interesting to see if live shows are just as important & necessary now to break new acts and cultivate a fanbase.

What music are you currently listening to?
In the run up to summer it’s all about the DJ’s for me: T.Matthias, XORO, DJ SKT, Yola Recoba, Royale Avenue, Bobby Harvey, Tudor, Movada, Lazy Joe, Alexis Knox, AJ Moreno, Just Kiddin, Tom Ferry, CLIK3D & Kisch.