WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A...

AMI JAY, FOUNDER OF AJM ARTIST MAN­AGE­MENT, ON LIFE IN THE MU­SIC IN­DUS­TRY

Diva (UK) - - Welcome | Contents -

Band man­ager Ami Jay has made her ca­reer in the mu­sic in­dus­try

DIVA: How long have you been in this job?

AMI JAY: I launched AJM in 2010 in my first year at Buck­ing­hamshire New Uni­ver­sity where I was study­ing BA Mu­sic Man­age­ment and Artist De­vel­op­ment. I de­cided to throw my­self in at the deep end and run a busi­ness along­side my de­gree.

What’s the best thing about it?

No two days are ever the same! One day I can be sat be­hind my com­puter tak­ing care of book­ings, the next I can be in an­other part of the world manag­ing an in­ter­na­tional tour. Be­ing able to travel and work from any­where is def­i­nitely a perk of the job. I also get to go to pretty cool events like the Brit Awards and ma­jor fes­ti­vals for free. Happy days!

And the worst?

An artist man­ager doesn’t work nineto-five. In the new dig­i­tal age of smart­phones, I can work any­where, any­time. This is fan­tas­tic for busi­ness, but re­ally bad for know­ing when to stop work­ing. Some­times it is es­sen­tial to turn off my phone and just chill out!

Has your sex­u­al­ity or gen­der iden­tity ever been an is­sue?

Be­ing a les­bian in the mu­sic in­dus­try can some­times be chal­leng­ing. It is a very male- dom­i­nated busi­ness – which I am hop­ing will change in the fu­ture! There ap­pears to be three types of re­ac­tion from guys: lack of in­ter­est be­cause I am “not an op­tion”, I am seen as a chal­lenge be­cause “I haven’t met the right guy” or I get treated like one of the lads. Last year I took a leap and iden­ti­fied my­self as non-bi­nary. I have never felt par­tic­u­larly mas­cu­line or fem­i­nine and I don’t re­ally present my­self one way or the other. It was very re­fresh­ing to find that the bands I man­age (all male, aged 24-30) re­sponded to my iden­tity in a very ma­ture way. There weren’t any com­ments, only gen­uine ques­tions. I like to think I have a good re­la­tion­ship with my bands and that this helped dra­mat­i­cally when com­ing out as non-bi­nary.

What’s the best ca­reer ad­vice you’ve been given?

Stay hun­gry. I met a suc­cess­ful mu­sic man­ager at a con­fer­ence in Los An­ge­les and he ad­vised me to al­ways stay hun­gry for suc­cess. That in mind, there is no end-goal for me, I just plan to keep go­ing un­til I phys­i­cally can’t any­more.

How do you mea­sure suc­cess?

I mea­sure suc­cess on hap­pi­ness. I worked al­most ev­ery re­tail job you can think of while I was a teenager and, al­though I had loads of money, I was so un­happy. I wanted more for my­self. Now I am hap­pier than I have ever been with my ca­reer and that is what I count as be­ing suc­cess­ful.

What’s the fun­ni­est/most ridicu­lous thing that’s hap­pened to you at work?

A few years ago I was at a mu­sic in­dus­try con­fer­ence in New York. One night, af­ter a day of pan­els, talks and meet­ings, I went to a bar and got up to do Nicki Mi­naj on the karaoke – yes, I can rap, it sur­prised me too! I was there, mind­ing my own busi­ness while belt­ing out Su­per­bass, when I sud­denly felt some­one stood be­hind me. I didn’t think much of it, just as­sumed it was a guy in the au­di­ence try­ing his luck, so I thought I would hu­mour him and have a lit­tle dance. It wasn’t un­til about 20 min­utes af­ter my song and our dance that a wait­ress in the bar told me that the guy I was danc­ing with was Busta Rhymes!

Find out more about Ami’s work at aj­mof­fi­cial.co.uk.

“An artist man­ager doesn’t work 9- 5”

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