The WiMN presents: She Means Business! An interview series focussed on women who work in the business side of the music industry.
From publicists, to managers, and everyone in between. We will be sharing the tips and tricks that have gotten these women into the positions of power they are in today!
This week, we had the opportunity to chat with Laurie Brown, CEO of Porch Swing Entertainment. (A Canadian based management firm that offers artist management, management consulting, project work and grant writing services.)
In this interview, Laurie discusses her journey into the music industry, tips for running her business, and advice for up and coming managers!
The WiMN: Share a little bit about Porch Swing Entertainment to our network!
Laurie Brown: Porch Swing Entertainment offers artist management, management consulting, project work and grant writing services. We have three official PSE roster artists – Adam Gregory, Don Amero and The Doll Sisters and eight artists on our “consulting roster”. We also have a myriad of other consulting, project and grant writing clients. We are based out of Edmonton, Alberta but have clients across North America and are becoming established in international territories such as the UK and Europe.
The WiMN: How long have you been working in the music industry and what attracted you to management?
Laurie Brown: I have been a full time artist manager for eight years. My background is primarily in theatre and dance where I have fulfilled roles both onstage and off including production management for full-scale productions. I am also one of the Directors of the Children’s Music Foundation in Alberta and sing with VoiceOver Cappella Quartet. I am a helper and an organizer at heart so after “volunteering’ my services for a number of years with various artists I saw the need to provide assistance on a larger scale and PSE was born.
The WiMN: What is the most rewarding factor of your job?
Laurie Brown: The most rewarding factor of my job for me is when I offer consulting to an artist (developing, emerging or established) and they are genuinely appreciative and thankful for having somewhere to go for help and to get questions answered. The thanks usually come with a great big HUG!
The WiMN: How do you go about picking clientele to work with?
Laurie Brown: Great Question! For me personally it always starts with consulting. If the initial consulting session goes well it normally result in further consulting or project work. With some clients this continues to grow very naturally and organically to a bigger partnership where the fit is right. For an artist to make the official PSE roster we have generally been working together for a number of months, or even years, prior to taking that step together. My three main criteria for working with an artist at this level are – I have to LOVE the music, they have to work every bit as hard as I do, and there must be similar values. The artist:manager relationship becomes a very close one and need to genuinely like the folks I work with. We offer a very personalized level of service here at PSE – our clients become our friends and part of our family.
The WiMN: Has there been any particular challenges you have faced as a women working in business? If so, how have you persevered?
Laurie Brown: I think working in the music industry is incredibly difficult for anyone – it is a tough business for all of us and the more we pull together and support each other the healthier all of our businesses will be. For me as a woman, I’m not aware of any specific challenges but it has taken a very long time to have achieved the level of respect that I feel I have in the industry. I have never really seen myself differently as a woman so maybe no one else has either. However, one of the challenges we face is for our female artists – it does seem more difficult to achieve success for our female artists over our male artists.
The WiMN: What do you love most about working in the music industry?
Laurie Brown: I love the amazing people I have been so fortunate to meet throughout the years and the long standing relationships that have been built. Despite how it may look on the outside there are not necessarily a lot of “perks” to this business and it is not always as lucrative as you would expect. The reality of the job is most of us are spending very long hours working by ourselves at our desks each and every day. It makes it that much more enjoyable when we are out at a show or conference or showcase where we have the chance to reconnect and rekindle friendships.
The WiMN: What advice would you give to a young individual who wants to become a manager, but has no idea where to begin?
Laurie Brown: My biggest piece of advice would be to know what you are getting into, manage realities and expectations, and educate yourself as much as possible so you have a good base understanding of the business. I am a graduate of both Berklee College of Music (Music Business Artist Management Program) and Canada’s Music Incubator (Artist Management Program). Also find yourself some good mentors in the business where you can go for questions and always keep up to date on trends at the state of the current music industry as it changes continually. Become a member of your local music organizations such as Alberta Music, CIMA and ACMA. These organizations provide support, performance opportunities, networking events, funding and education for their members – encourage your artists to join as well. After that – jump in and get your feet wet! A good start would be to intern with an actively involved artist manager who can also mentor you.
The WiMN: What are some tips you would give to new managers for when they are pitching an artist?
Laurie Brown: Use fact – not hype. Always be truthful as to the level that the artist is at and don’t make them seem bigger than they are. Let the other party know how you can help each other and invest in each other. Also have a great elevator pitch that nails your artist and shows how they are different from the rest. After that follow up, follow up, follow up!
The WiMN: Do you have some confidence boosting advice for those aspiring to work in the music industry?
Laurie Brown: It is not an easy business, especially as a woman, but despite the challenges it can be very rewarding! If you work hard, play nice, treat people well and offer help and support you will find yourself very successful within the music business! Each day brings new challenges, obstacles and hills to climb but every challenge offers an ultimate reward, every obstacle a chance to learn and grow, and every hill a beautiful view.
For more on Laurie and Porch Swing Entertainment, follow her social media pages:
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/porchswingentertainment/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/porchswingent?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.porchswingentertainment.com%2F
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PorchSwingEntertainment/