This month, we got to chat with artist manager/publicist, Angela Lu. Angela gave us all the inside scoop on what it’s like being an artist manager, the challenges she faces in her career, and how COVID-19 has impacted her and the artists she manages. Check out what she has to say.
Angela, you are an artist manager and music publicist. How did you get started working in artist management? What about this job intrigued you?
Artist Manager and publicist are actually my side jobs. I work full time at a music marketing agency. I was inspired by my internship at 88RISING, where I learned a lot about marketing and artist management. When a mutual connection mentioned he was looking for help with marketing/management last year around July, I contacted him and said I was interested in helping since I had just graduated, and was looking to do something useful while job searching.
This job intrigued me because I see many talented artists that have really intelligent managers to help the artists with developing a successful career, I also want to be that person to inspire artists and help them grow.
You manage two independent artists, and oversee a few others. Do the artists you work with all have similar musical styles?
Currently I’m only managing two artists due to my busy work schedule, but coincidentally they are both Asian American hip-hop artists.
Can you tell us a little bit more about what you do as an artist manager and music publicist? What are your responsibilities, and what does your day to day job look like?
I kind of combined the PR work with my artist management work. When I’m not working for my full-time job, I would be communicating with my artists and create plans for their upcoming releases. I usually pitch to music publications 2-3 weeks before the release date and pitch to different playlists. Other times, I would be looking for any type of performance opportunities and other interesting opportunities that are appropriate for my artists.
As an artist manager, you wear a lot of hats, which I’m sure can be challenging. What is the biggest challenge of being an artist manager? What are some of the biggest misconceptions of an artist manager’s role, in your experience?
The biggest challenges as an artist manager, especially for independent artists are the lack of resources and lack of opportunities. I have to discover things/opportunities by myself, and it’s very challenging when I don’t have a team of people to help me or an abundance of networks in the music industry. In my perspective, the biggest misconception of an artist manager is that once an artist has a manager, her/his career will take off immediately. It’s also important for the artist to be in charge of her/his career, if the artist is not hardworking and relies everything on the manager, her/his career won’t be successful either.
Have you ever been in a situation when the artist had a certain vision, but you as a manager had a different idea? How did you find the balance in that situation?
While I haven’t encountered a situation like that, I would discuss the idea with my artist first. I would try to compromise with her/him and see if we can come to an agreement. I always respect the artist’s idea and will accommodate if necessary.
How has the COVID-19 situation impacted your work and how have you adapted to the current situation?
With the ongoing pandemic, all the live show opportunities are canceled. It was challenging at first because live shows are an important way to promote the artists, but there have been a lot of virtual performances, and I was able to get my artists the opportunity to perform virtually.
As an artist manager, you are there to support artists in their creative endeavours. But, who in your own life is there to support you and your goals?
My family and my friends. My mom is also interested in everything that’s happening in the entertainment industry; I think I also got my passion for music from her. She is very happy with what I have been working on. While my dad is not familiar with the entertainment industry, he is always supportive of what I do. A lot of my friends work in the entertainment/media industry so they definitely understand my struggles and are proud of all my achievements.
Any cool tips you can offer to anyone who is looking into being an artist manager or music publicist?
Don’t be discouraged if you get rejected multiple times during your job search, and you can always create your own opportunity. For inspired artist managers, start small by asking your musician friends if they want an artist manager and learn as you go. For music publicists, look for PR internships or apply to be the PR person for your student club. Always look out for interesting opportunities because you will never know how they will impact your career in the future.
What is the best part/your favorite thing about being an artist manager/music publicist?
When I see my artists make great progress in streaming numbers, or when I see my artists being featured on a music publication and people are complimenting their music. I feel really proud of them and of myself because of the work I’m doing for them.
You said some of your favorite artists right now are Ariana Grande, Drake, and The Weeknd. What other artists are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to a lot of songs from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, DVSN, and Jhene Aiko.
If you could manage any artist, who would you choose? 🙂
I would be interested in managing Jhene Aiko.