As I was watching the docuseries episode Amy Shark shared on socials yesterday, two things struck me:
1. Holy shit, this feels like a meeting I’ve sat in a million times over the journey with almost every artist I’ve worked with.
2. I can’t believe no one has shared a moment like this in such an authentic and exposed way before.
The video was a raw moment between Amy and her manager (and husband) Shane as they go through every track recorded and try to work out what songs should and shouldn’t make the album.
These meetings are always a very strange dynamic for artist managers. Often, the artist manager will see something in the music that the artist doesn’t, so as a manager, there is a balance between trying to let the artist see your point of view, without either getting the artist offside or making them feel like your opinion is the definitive right opinion.
Also manager’s know that a good artist’s creative instinct is right 90% of the time, that’s why you love them, admire them and work with them.
So how do you communicate your insight as a mere mortal (the manager), to an artist (the superhuman) in a way where they can clearly see your perspective before they make the final decision one way or the other?
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Seeing Shane’s approach to navigating this tension is both hilarious and fantastic to see.
I also loved the time when Shane was trying to get everyone’s honest opinion about a song and so refused to disclose Amy’s opinion in the email, because of course, “whatever the artist wants the artist gets.”
As a manager, you are working with many different stakeholders trying to put together the best possible album. These include (but are not limited to); the record label, publisher, producers and songwriters. In most circumstances, everyone knows that the artist will get what they want and that they have the final say – and yes that’s the way it should be.
However, as a manager it can be difficult to extract the truthful opinions of the various parties if they know the artist’s preference.
So at this stage of a record, a manager needs to collate everyones’ clear objective views, present them to artist in the most objective way possible and then let them make the final call. If everyone just agrees with the artist all the time, it will rob the artist of seeing all possible angles.
The video is a great insight for fans, and a huge credit to Amy to sharing something so unglamorous and intimate.
Well done Amy, in all my years I haven’t seen anything shared like this on socials before. A hard thing to do in a content saturated world.
Amy Shark will also feature in the upcoming June edition of Rolling Stone Australia, chatting to Managing Editor Poppy Reid about her musical journey, and how she is managing to confront her past and shape a new vision for her future. Be sure to subscribe now to ensure your copy of the upcoming issue.