On this blog post, I explain some of the things its entails to make a successful A&R rep in today music industry. The ability to identify new creative talent and developing it into a strong voice in the music business can sometimes be taken for granted. Some of the best-known A&R executives had to use different approaches to make it to where they are now. Chris Anokute, founder Young Forever Inc. believes in passion, mentorship and research were some of the basics that helped him grow in the business. He found a mentor by chance in John Houston, Whitney Houston's father early on in his life and used the chance to learn everything he could from the theatrical manager. He was passionate and prepared.
In the music business, building contacts and having an effective team working for an artist is key to success. Aaron Bay-Schuck, Senior VP of A&R at Atlantic Records believes this is an important aspect that often gets overlooked. Having a reliable team will definitely ensure creativity is fresh and new ideas are brought to the table.
For most of the artists who have had successful careers, they are typically involved with a team that has been with them from the get-go and this nurtured loyalty and an honest perspective in their development.
Many of the A&R executives start their careers at entry-level positions while others collaborate with artists early on before getting them signed. Commitment to your ideas will often bare fruit. The ability to realize an opportunity and being ready for it is important. Being rather an informal industry, your first impression determines your future in the business.
An A&R representative understands who an artist is, who they want to be and they facilitate this process. It takes a long time to gain success since it takes a long time for the project to come together.
Aaron also swears by networking as the key. Having great relationships is the most important thing to build trust. You build this by spending time with the artists and the team, in studio and out. Networking also broadens the spectrum of potential clientele.