Faces be­hind our stars

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SOCIETY - An­drew Moyo

SCOOTER Braun is a name that will not ring a bell ex­cept for those with deep deep knowl­edge of the global mu­sic in­dus­try.

YET he is the man who in­tro­duced Justin Bieber to the world. Af­ter dis­cov­er­ing the then 12-year-old Bieber on YouTube in 2008, he has steered the artiste’s ca­reer to the top, thanks to his con­nec­tions and en­ter­prise.

Braun is among the most re­spected mu­sic man­agers in the world, with the likes of Ari­ana Grande, Psy, Carly Rae Japsen and The Black Eyed Peas un­der his wing.

There has never been a short­age of tal­ented mu­si­cians, but we all know how many of them crash and burn.

While suc­cess is usu­ally at­trib­uted to the singer’s tal­ent, there is a lot that goes on be­hind the scenes. In a func­tional mu­sic in­dus­try, the work put in by the man­age­ment team can de­ter­mine progress or fail­ure.

While Zim­babwe’s en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try is smaller than that of ad­vanced economies, the con­cepts of good man­age­ment still ap­plies.

Band man­agers need to have vast knowl­edge of the in­dus­try and its trends, pos­sess great ne­go­ti­at­ing skills, and must also be good with peo­ple, among other traits.

From en­sur­ing that the artiste is able to churn out hit songs, to se­cur­ing slots at big gigs, be­ing a man­ager is a 24-hour job.

In a bid to shed more light on the roles and im­por­tance of band man­agers in Zim­babwe, The Sun­day Mail So­ci­ety spoke to in­dus­try play­ers who shared their vary­ing views on the sub­ject.

Jah Prayzah has been mak­ing ma­jor waves as he pushes his brand across Africa. And the man man­ag­ing it all is Keen Musha­paidze.

“As a man­ager you have to add your ideas and come up with plans to en­sure the goal is achieved.

“From lead­ing and guid­ing the whole team be­hind the scenes to de­riv­ing fi­nan­cial value, there is a lot that man­agers handle,” says Musha­paidze.

“We have bril­liant man­agers out there but then our in­dus­try is still grow­ing so it will be dif­fi­cult for their ef­forts to be recog­nised.

“Of course, we are yet to get the ex­po­sure and ex­pe­ri­ence like our coun­ter­parts in other coun­tries, but the mind-set of most man­agers I have come across is def­i­nitely in the right di­rec­tion.”

Mar­cus Gora, who man­ages the in­ter­na­tion­ally-acclaimed Mokoomba, adds: “You will be tasked with tak­ing care of the day-to-day af­fairs of the artiste, which in­cludes ad­vis­ing and de­sign­ing over­all ca­reer plans, fa­cil­i­tat­ing re­hearsals and book­ing ar­range­ments, ne­go­ti­at­ing con­tracts and fees, and over­see­ing pub­lic­ity and pro­mo­tion, among other things.

“Man­agers take care of the busi­ness as­pects of artistes’ ca­reers, mak­ing sure that they get the best op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able while proper ac­count­ing and com­pli­ance is main­tained.”

He be­lieves that at the core is pas­sion for both art and the artiste.

“It helps to have an un­der­stand­ing of the dis­ci­pline with a bit of ac­count­ing and le­gal knowl­edge com­ing handy. While there are arts man­age­ment cour­ses that one can pur­sue, one still needs to have pas­sion, vi­sion and grit.

“We don’t have a smoothly func­tion­ing ecosys­tem as there is lack of good re­hearsal spa­ces, good venues and tech­driven mu­sic so­lu­tions among other things.

“To put it in per­spec­tive, Africa rep­re­sents - at best - four per­cent of the global mu­sic busi­ness, so I think lo­cal man­agers are do­ing their best work­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment that is very tough.”

Di­rec­tor of tal­ent search reality show “Starbrite”, Barney Mpariwa, says many man­agers are fail­ing to make an im­pact be­cause they lack the re­sources and pedi­gree to earn the re­spect of artistes.

“In or­der for band man­agers to be ef­fec­tive, they have to be able to of­fer some­thing of sub­stance to the peo­ple that they are man­ag­ing,” ad­vises Mpariwa.

“In most cases, es­pe­cially on the lo­cal scene, you will find man­agers are strug­gling fi­nan­cially so they can­not con­trol or guide the artiste to suc­cess be­cause they will not have the re­sources or ca­pac­ity to help the artiste.

“At the mo­ment, I don’t think be­ing a band man­ager in Zim­babwe is an ef­fec­tive or sig­nif­i­cant port­fo­lio like you would get over­seas when you are man­ag­ing artistes like Usher.”

Barney Mpariwa

Mar­cus Gora

Keen Musha­paidze

Scooter Braun

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