First of all, the picture posted above is from the Singers Room Online Magazine. Pictured above is Gospel Recording Artist, Leon Timbo, with his manager Tyrese.
Before we get into the blog, I must mention, before you read further, ABSOLUTELY, NO ONE, CLAPPED BACK, or fired shots from either side. We are here to educate one another.
Over the past week, I had the pleasure of interviewing four managers of independent christian artists. (I too, am a manager, and will offer my own commentary at the end of this blog). I came up with the idea to do this blog after realizing, many of the artists and professionals who are kind enough to read this blog, are interested in putting their hands on the most up to date information they can receive, from as many bonafide professionals as possible.
We spoke with the following Artist Managers: Ronald Smith a.k.a. DJ RonnieRon, Internet and Terrestrial Radio Personality and DJ with Hip-Hop Praize, Rodney Greene of Greenelyte Entertainment, Manager of Dezzie, Syndicated Radio Personality on Radio One's Philly Praise 103.69 and Praize 100.9 of Charlotte, NC, and Gospel Recording Artist, Ian James, Minister/Artist Manager/Booking Agent/Graphic Designer of Harpazo Graphix, and Jay Williams of Ja-Quon Productions, Manager and Proud Husband of Indie Gospel Recording Artist, Michelle Williams. All have different managing principles that make them unique, but all of their ideas overlap when it comes to the basics. Let's start with the basics before we get into the details of the conversation I had with each of the mangers.
- PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, AND PRAY CONSTANTLY.
- As an artist, you should have something to manage before you start hollering for help.
- Learn as much about the business side of the industry before bringing someone on board.
- Remember this cannot be done with out a team. Who are your players?
- Your success in the business doesn't rest between your fingertips and the posting area of Facebook.
- In a world dominated by Social Media, old-fashioned marketing techniques, still go a a long way.
- Last, but not least - BE REASONABLE AND REALISTIC when setting goals for success in this industry.
Ronald Smith - Hip-Hop Praize
Sit down some where and get your goals in order. Don't put the cart before the horse when organizing your goals. Keep in mind, no one wants to babysit an artist. If after coming to an agreement about a plan of action to achieve discussed goals, you as an artist does not follow through, keep in mind, there are other artists who are marketable and waiting for a real manager with skills to take them on. They may have someone as a stand in now, but as soon as someone appears with a high-powered track record, if they want that success bad enough, they will ask to be added to that manager's roster. This can cause you to be dropped from the roster for being negligent.
Marketing of an artist requires money, and unless you are signed to a major label, there are no advances for wardrobe and travel. Make sure you learn how to budget your money, because traditionally, it does not come from the manager. Management is a business, and there are fees, but artist management is the type of business that is hard to put a price on. Countless hours are invested in artists because "honest" managers believe in you. ronald.smith.376@fac
Rodney Greene - Greenelyte Entertainment
Managing artists is a very time consuming job. Before you say you need management, make sure you have something to manage. If you are not willing, at some point to do a Promo tour, which you finance yourself, then there will be an artist/management disagreement. Every gig cannot be a paying Gig, if you are not known. Respect the importance of Branding. Study the market to find an opening for your craft. Identify your differences, as opposed to comparing yourself to other popular artists in your field. Remember, in the world of social media that you are Branding yourself online, as well as in person. Post pictures and videos often, but most of all make sure you have at least one recent set of professional photos and one professional video. Do not go out in public looking awful, and don't post when you are in panic mode. Your fans don't want to know that you find it hard to believe, the man you dated for 3 years decided to propose to someone else. Facebook meltdowns are not allowed. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian James - Harpazo Graphix
The manager's role is to help keep you organized. If the manager is your booking manager, then he or she will also help to get you bookings. Please have yourself packaged when you approach someone about managing you. Have something that can be used to secure a booking with an organization that has never had the pleasure of experiencing what you have to offer in person. Keep in mind, every time you turn down a gig, especially a paying one, it starts to break down the relationship between you and your manager. On the other end of that, have a Backbone. Don't be a 'Yes' man or woman. It can cause the manager to lose interest in managing you. ADVICE TO MANAGERS - Make sure you create multiple streams of income instead of relying solely on what you project the artist you are managing can bring in. www.facebook.com/Mr.ICanSeeItNow
Jay Williams - Ja-Quon Productions
Make sure, the manager you bring on has a PASSION for managing YOU! With Social Media, there is a lot of hustling that goes into managing. There are a lot of internet managers out there who are managing artists just to have a title. They recognize areas for improvement, but they are not willing to go all the way with you. Maximize every opportunity - "Go hard or go home". After doing a show, if you have folks walking up to you asking who did the production on your track, you know you are a part of a team that can take you places. And please, please, get the thought out of your head of being picked up by a MAJOR record label. There is just as much money out here for the independent artist and even more. Get out there and hit the studio hard, invest in yourself - photographs, video, wardrobe, traveling expenses. The gospel industry is not a microwave industry. Every gig will not be a paying gig, but each one is an opportunity to share your gift with others and network. When it comes to product sales, it's okay to give away something when it comes to your project, but why would you give away the whole thing? Start introducing potential fans to snippets. If they want it bad enough, they will buy it. Start recouping the expenses you invested in your project. And last but not least ADVICE TO MANAGER'S OF THEIR OWN SPOUSES - Don't let your spouse or wife travel without you (if you can help it). This may be the gospel industry, but the same infidelity exists in this arena. If someone tries to push up on your husband or wife, regardless of how much clout they have, introduce yourself to the semi-private meeting and demonstrate, rather than say, your spouse is already taken. Just remember to Pray, Pray Again, and Pray All Over Again. God will see you through. Contact Jay Williams here on Facebook.
Arielle a.k.a. Determinator1 - UGTKONation
I really hate to write and post anything after reading Jay's advice, but I will say this, make sure you have your communication rules for success worked out. If you want a manager, let the manager manage. You should not be having side conversations, that have to be reiterated, so the manager can get in on it the second time around. Some promoters get mad when they discover it will be a 3-way split instead of just 2 ways. Lol!
God Bless each and everyone of you. I will be updating this Blog, with additional links to the managers introduced to you in this blog. As always, towards the end, we ask for several things, so here goes: 1) STOP PLAYING AND JOIN THE BLOG! The numbers of people around the country and world hitting up the site do not match up with the number of people who have joined the site. They are soooooo far off. 2) Do you see that video bar to the right? if not, scroll down a little bit. It says UGTKONation Channel above it for Youtube. Please click it, and subscribe to our channel. The videos are awesome for quick pick me ups, and we are constantly adding more. 3) Reach out to the managers with questions. 4) If you have a video you would like to have broadcast on cable television free of charge, reach out to us via this Facebook page. Once you get here, click on the NOTES section and then read the top note, Worldwide Christian Talent Search. 5) Follow us on Twitter @UGTKONation for inspirational quotes and more. Thank you.
Arielle a.k.a. Determinator1