By Mike Gormley
When is it time to a get a manager? That is THE most asked question from new artists.
The answer? When you ask that question.
By asking it you are revealing the need for some help in your career. Up until now, if you’ve been diligent, you have been doing everything yourself. The list includes writing the songs and singing them, calling the clubs, booking the dates, booking the studio, creating the art work, hooking up with Internet distributors, hustling the CD at gigs, going to other gigs to pass out flyers, etc.
If doing all of that is still fun and you are still enthusiastic, you might not need a manager. It’s when all of that starts becoming too much of a chore that you know your “business” has expanded and is overtaking your “art.” It’s overwhelming. Then you need some help. But, not necessarily a manager.
A manager takes a piece of your income. You have to be able to afford him or her.
Maybe, at first and for just a little while you need a friend: a person you trust who is enthusiastic about your career. Rather than getting tied up with a manager, ask your sister, brother, or close buddy to help out. You can also check my Web site to see if we can help, at any stage of your career.
Alanis Morissette had a pretty big career going in her native Canada long before she had overwhelming world wide success. Her manager was her dad, Alan Morissette, and he did a good job with her career as it existed when she was a pre-teen and teenager.
But there was a time when the big move needed to be made. “As a parent I was involved in the early stages in finding expressive outlets and educational opportunities for our daughter,” Alan said. The duties included observing other performers; talent showcases (U.S. and Canada); auditions for TV and theater; dance schools; finding record producers, etc. “Once those were exhausted, however, we had to find someone with a track record of thinking out of the box of Canada.”
Alan, who now runs Integrity Talent, often talks to young artists: “I strongly stress the need to find a team that has the best interests of the artist at heart, not just the head.”
The main indication it is time to get a manager is when your music is your career. Not necessarily your daily job, the one that is paying the bills at the moment. It’s when you are mentally positive what you have been dreaming about, learning about and have a deep passion for is what you are going to do for a living. It is your complete focus and you just KNOW your songs are better than anyone else’s and your musicianship cannot be matched. You have been making introduction after introduction to people you think can help and slowly some doors have been opening.
In other words you are a pro and ready to make the sacrifices necessary to present your art to the world.
But you need to be sure a manager is what you need. And to know that, you have to find out what a manager does.
Put simply, they oversee your career. They run your business. While it seems crass to think of it this way, your art is a commodity to be sold and unless you are one of the rare individuals who can efficiently work both sides of the brain, you need a sales rep on your staff.
Once the decision is made to take on a manager you need to realize you are hiring a CEO to take care of the business side while you produce the “product.” You have music to make or the company will go under.
But remember, it’s still your company. You are the artist. You thought up this company by bringing your music into existence. You found a vehicle to express your music in the form of a band or your solo performance. The manager is someone you have put in of YOUR business. You have to keep an eye on things, just like the guy who owns a chain of convenience stores needs to know what the people who run things for him or her are doing.