Teamwork makes the dream work, young artistes advised
It may be a cliché, but industry insiders have again come forward to assure young artistes that teamwork indeed makes the dream work. Speaking under the theme ‘Igniting your career in music’ at a symposium held at the Bob Marley Museum last Wednesday, several music professionals outlined ways young talent can make the transition from amateurs to professionals.
Using Grammy-winning artiste Sean Paul as an example, Headline Entertainment’s Jerome Hamilton outlined the importance of establishing a team from early out in one’s career. He said that the local entertainment sphere is filled with too many artistes who think they can do it by themselves.
“My main act, based on my time in the business, is Sean Paul. Sean was a small artiste in the scheme of things, but he started out with a manager different from an agent, which was very rare at that stage,” he said.
“Sean believed from early that he needed a team where each person was dedicated to a specific role. So we used to get less money than the person who was doing everything in one, but it helped in the end because it created an opportunity for his career to bloom the way it did. Everyone had their purpose, and everyone was dedicated to it.”
Hamilton explained that as aspiring artistes, young talent should understand the roles of various individuals in the industry and why their jobs are synonymous with their success or the lack thereof. “For most artistes, it’s going to be hard to start out with a team, but there are some key persons who you will need to help you in the business, a manager, an agent, and a publicist, just to name a few,” he said.
“In Jamaica, a lot of managers also take on the role of an agent, and an agent is someone who seeks employment opportunities on behalf of the artiste. At this time, when music sales are much lower and it’s harder for artistes to sell gold or platinum albums, artistes bank on live performances, and so the agents are very important. You also need a publicist whose job it is to share what you’re doing in a positive light.”
The publicist also comes in when things go wrong because something is news when it is good and even greater news when it is bad.”
ESTABLISH A TEAM
Talent manager Carlene Samuels, who now plays an active role in the career of dancehall artiste Popcaan, totally agreed with Hamilton. She said that the need to establish a team was one of the main things she impressed upon a young Popcaan.
“A team has to be there that understands exactly what the vision is. You are the person out there getting all the attention, but behind you are the persons who decide what you look like (along with you), what your image is outside of what you wear, what your graphics look like because those things are also a big part of the package as an artiste. You have to treat the whole thing like a career from early,” she said.
However, the experts also acknowledged that financial constraints prevented many artistes from having a team. In that case, the professionals encouraged aspiring artistes to surround themselves with individuals who are willing to learn the intricacies of the business. “If you’re going to want to start with a well-known manager, more than likely they’re not going to be available for you, so start with your friend if your friend is willing to become knowledgeable. Some people are now the biggest artistes and their friend still plays a role in their team,” Samuels said.