As part of our new Management Series in partnership with MMF (Music Managers Forum), we will be taking a look at Artist Management from the perspectives of those who are either well established, or are making a name for themselves in the game.
Today, we speak to Umong Shah, Artist Manager for Elle Exxe, winner of the Best Female Act at the Unsigned Music Awards 2016.
Hey Umong! Tell me, how did you get into Management?
I started off as a promoter fresh out of Uni (studying Music Business) and I found myself getting frustrated at young baby bands not having a clue how to promote their own shows (using the tools we provided them). I shared my frustration with Liza Buddy who was managing a great band that came all the way from Canada. I was eager for more experience within the Music Industry and started as her assistant. I had been working with her for almost 4 years before I decided it was time for me to move on and start Fortitude Music with Elle Exxe.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Wake up look at emails, eat breakfast look at emails, sit down at the computer – reply to emails. Elle usually sends me articles, funny videos and GIFs before she goes to sleep, so I’ll read those or respond to her messages (video etc) as Umong as possible (usually lame and inappropriately). There is such a vast list of tasks to do before I can even describe what a typical day looks like. As we have a small team I do take on some more creative roles like content creation (some times) other days its running around London (& greater London) with a shopping list. Recently in Austin I ran around trying to find swimwear for the band – there’s a story there but not sure I’ll spill it yet.
I imagine the story is… they went swimming? Oh well, leaving me in crippling anticipation…
Is Management a full time job?
I guess I could call it a part time job, I have a very unique situation where it’s almost like a 0 hours contract like but on my terms. If I need to leave the country (which has been rather frequently recently), head to a gig early, or have a promo day for Elle I take the day off no questions asked.
Sounds ideal! Are you part of any supportive organisations such as MMF (Music Managers Forum)?
I am part of MMF, and have found them very supportive as well as really nice people to hang out with, yes you Annabella! I also attend events hosted by AIM and BPI, again they’re all very supportive and are really encouraging with what Elle and I do. The BPI liked me so much they put me on The Brits Voting Panel and invited me to The Awards Evening. Thanks Chris & Jen!
Have you applied for or received any funding for your artist?
I have applied and have been awarded ISF (International Showcase Fund) via PRS for music foundation, several times. That has been a huge help with financing on getting the band or the DJ set out to countries. These international missions did secure further business for us in those territories.
It would be great to get your feedback and would be good to quote you in the article.
I think the key for any unsigned manager is to have faith, persistence and loyalty to their artist. Its hard not having a major backing behind you, but if you know what you’re doing it right and believe it, others with see it and start working with you. Having a great team around you is essential, being the person that everyone can count on within that team is where the magics started happening and stories are made. I treat my team like a family.
Photo Credit: Ian Wallman