Colin Lester was in JM315 today to give a guest lecture on what it takes to be an artist manager. With a repertoire which includes artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Craig David and Travis, Colin Lester is more than qualified to impart his wisdom on a room full of students wishing to make a name for themselves in the industry.
The lecture began with a showing of a Youtube video, depicting him screaming and shouting at someone about Bo Selecta’s effect on Craig David’s branding. The purpose of this video was made clear as he proceeded to ask the question: “what does this video say about me?”, to which one audience member responded: “it shows passion”. This is something that Colin Lester was keen to emphasise over and over throughout the lecture, saying that a passion for what you are doing is essential to being successful in the music industry.
Over the hour, Colin spoke of a number of topics concerning the issues within the music industry. He was a strong supporter of record labels, saying that although many artists complain about them, they essentially offer a lot of money for very little return on the artist’s part. He also stated that sometimes being successful can be purely down to luck and being in the right place at the right time. For example, at Glastonbury festival in 1999, during Travis’s performance, it started raining heavily just as the band sang the first few lines of their hit ‘why does it always rain on me?’ As soon as the song finished, the rain cleared and the sun began to shine again. This was broadcast across the U.K, getting people talking about the band, which boosted their sales from tens of thousands, to millions.
He also spoke of reality T.V artists, using the analogy of ‘fast food’ – in other words, they can offer a short-term income but the majority of them are only a temporary ‘quick fix’. The importance of developing artists was also stated, as Colin spoke of the significance of producing a long-term relationship between artist and consumer. The reasoning is that a consumer will always support an artist that they are familiar with, resulting in more income for the manager in the long term.
Too many interesting topics were raised during the lecture for this short report to do it justice, but the following is a list of what we feel were the most important points of the lecture for any aspiring artist managers:
1. Be passionate about what you are doing.
2. Make sure you choose a strong artist that you have absolute confidence in.
3. Success comes from the artist; without the artist the manager is nothing.
4. The artist that you back needs to have an endearing personality.
5. Connections within the industry are indispensable.
6. Do what you feel is right and the money will follow.
7. Be persistent; constantly find new ways to keep your artist in the public eye.
8. As an artist manager, you need to be passionate, have belief, earn a strong reputation, and maintain your integrity.
Quote of the day also goes to Colin with these final words of wisdom:
‘there’s one simple letter between s*** and hit!’