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Artist Management – A Conversation with Kyle Stuart

Katy Krassner

July 7, 2022

Kyle Stuart is a very talented junior manager based in New York City. He has worked with A-Level music talent as well as some developing artists. His background in fashion has helped him see that the marketing side of being a musician can be just as creative as the music side. 

THE BEGINNINGS

I guess my journey began when I was 19 years old and moved to New York City in 2016. I grew up in Maryland and went to Tulane University in New Orleans for a year, then came to New York to intern for a small fashion company called ODD. New York in the Lower East Side. That’s kind of how it all got started. 

At the end of my internship, they hired me full-time as their Art & Marketing Assistant. I mainly did a lot of photography for them, both for creative shoots and e-commerce, but I also got to go to all the showrooms and buying appointments for all the designers we worked with which was probably my favorite part.

I got to work with so many brands that I’ve adored for so long like Vivienne Westwood, Y/PROJECT, Iris Van Herpen, and so much more. Those brands frequently integrated music and the combo of that really excited me. During my time there, I met and collaborated with so many different personalities, artists, musicians and more. That kind of catapulted me into the entertainment industry. 

Then I went on to do a lot of Production Assistance work on various projects for various magazines like Posture Mag, Lady Gunn, Glassbook. I basically just ran around the city and did whatever I could to collaborate with as many people as possible. 

MUSIC

Music has always been a huge part of my life, and I think I actually fell in love with music through television. I was very hyper focused on the way a soundtrack could heavily influence a certain scene in a film or show. There was this show that my sister would watch in high school (when I was about 8 years old) called “The O.C” and I would always watch it with her. The soundtrack for the show is honestly insane. It introduced me to so many artists that I look up to like The Killers, LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk and Imogen Heap. The way Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” is used in the season 2 finale of the show is absolutely massive. 

WHY MANAGEMENT?

I definitely knew I eventually wanted to work in management, but before I fully went into it, I was in a more creative headspace. I consider myself a creative person foremost, and although my current role is heavily administrative, there have also been moments where I’ve been able to utilize my creativity, which has been nice. I am also privy to how big decisions are made between label/management/artist, how marketing a music release works, what role digital plays now, how to market a live show; there are so many moving parts, it’s kind of insane. There are many hats to wear in this position, which can definitely be a lot, but it’s also so much fun.

WORKING WITH A DEVELOPING ARTIST

We get a lot of submissions and recommendations for new artists who need management. The very first thing I’d do is scope out the artist to see what they are bringing to the table. Do they have any music out or are they waiting for the right moment to release? What does their creative vision look like? Do they have a good sense of who they are? Are they confident in what they do? 

ONLINE FOCUS

I look to certain Instagram accounts for inspiration. I also get sucked into Tik Tok, just like everyone else. Also, the personalized Discover Weekly playlists on Spotify is my go-to for discovering new music and getting inspo.

I think musicians should put a focus on Tik Tok only if it makes sense for them – both older artists (who may get a song re-discovered) and newer ones too. There’s a bit of a rub in that for me – wherein labels or managers require an artist to have a ‘viral’ moment before they will work with them or allow them to release a song. I think it’s a bit ridiculous. Obviously, getting some viral traction is not indicative of whether or not the artist is good. If the artist has a strong creative vision, and that plan involves Tik Tok, that’s fine, but I don’t think Tik Tok should be used as a tool to restrict artists from releasing music. 

ON TRACK

I would tell any up-and-coming artist to write as much as you can. Keep building up your artistry through mood boards, playlists and anything that inspires you, and use that as a starting point. Keep writing, keep producing, keep singing, but also be able to put together a full 360 package of yourself as an artist – musically, lyrically, sonically, visually, stylistically. You really need to know who you are as an artist.

What are 3 ‘must do’ things you’d tell an artist they must have checked off their list?

  1. You have to have music! Full finished songs or a selection of demos that you’ve recorded that you’re ready to show.
  2. You must have a strong creative vision for yourself. What do you want to do and where do you want to go as an artist? 
  3. Lastly, you must have drive. If you’re in a band, you all have to share the same drive. You can’t have one band member be the force and the others go along for the ride. The band won’t last. If you’re a solo artist, besides being driven, you must surround yourself with people you absolutely trust, who will tell you the truth, always.

 

If you are preparing your marketing plan, or you have music ready to release to tastemakers at radio, music supervision and more, check out this handy video, and then reach out to Play MPE to book a demo!

 

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