This Article Originally Published October 2001 by Kenny Kerner
Many of you out there are truly interested in becoming a Personal Manager—if you could only figure out how. Well, here’s a great, inexpensive and surefire way to develop those managerial skills and see if you’ve got what it takes.
First, find an unsigned artist/band that attracts your attention. Go see them perform at a concert or club and take notes on their performance. Analyze their songs, their live show, what they wore, their rapport with the audience, the musicianship—you get the idea. Then, wait about three months and go see that same artist/band again, bringing your old notes with you to the show. Ask yourself if the band has improved in any areas in which you found them lacking. Did they get better or worse? Are they more or less professional now than they were three months ago? Then, here’s what you do:
Approach the band or call their hotline and ask to be sent a complete press package.
If their music impresses you, see a third show and try to meet the band afterward.
Find out if the band is already represented by a manager. If not, tell them you might be able to give them some pointers that would make their show stronger.
Set up a meeting at your home, office, or rehearsal room to discuss your possible involvement with the band.
Tell them what you feel about their live show and their tape. Be prepared to back up everything you say with your written notes. Explain to them why some of their mistakes disappointed you as a member of the audience.
Always give them positive reinforcement. Tell them what was wrong and how to make it better.
Ask if they are willing to try some of your ideas. Never force anything on them.
Know in advance what areas are your strongest and how you can help the band in those areas. Think of their overall career plan.
Always explain everything you do before you do it. Be helpful and encouraging.
Attend a fourth show watching for some of the improvements the band has made. Make notes of them as well.
This is one way to ease yourself into a working situation with a band you’ve just met. Some bands will not allow an outsider into their little world. Others will welcome you with open arms.
By getting out to shows and taking notes on the same band over and over again, you fine-tune your analytical skills and also learn how to express yourself in words. This is a very important communication skill. Remember, a manager’s job is, first and foremost, to advise and counsel his artists.
Somewhere along the way, one of these bands will allow you to continue working with them as long as you maintain your professionalism and keep striving to make them better. After you prove yourself to them, you will be in a good position to speak with them about management.
Keep in mind that the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Kiss (to name a few), all rose to international stardom with guidance from managers who had nothing more than common business snese, a burning desire to manage and a vision for their artists.
How many of these traits do YOU have?