Manager Spotlight // Holland Nix

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‘Manager Spotlight’ is a recurring feature on Rollo & Grady in which we speak with rising
stars in the music management business. This week we caught up with Holland Nix of Anger Management in Nashville, Tennessee. Her clients include JEFF the Brotherhood and Heavy Cream. In addition to running Anger Management, Holland is also a partner in Infinity Cat Recordings.

JEFF the Brotherhood

R&G: How did you get your start in the music business?

Holland: I had a very mid-90’s intro into the music biz. I moved to Nashville a few years after college without knowing it was “music city.” I needed to find a job immediately, so I interviewed and was hired at the Hard Rock Café. I met many people wanting to break into the biz while working at HRC. That’s when I learned about all the music companies in this town. I went home one night and pulled out my CD collection. After reading every booklet in the stash, I wrote down every studio, management company, record label, booking agency and PR firm that was based in Nashville. I whipped out the phone book and wrote down all the addresses I could find. Then, on my days off from the HRC, I would pound the pavement with good ol’ fashioned typewriter resumes. My last day of footwork and the last company on my list was Vector Management. It so happened that the receptionist had just given his notice and I arrived at the right time. He got Kathi Whitley to come and speak to me and then she handed me over to Ken Levitan. All went well and it looked like I had a job, but the receptionist decided not to leave so I didn’t in the end. Kathi asked me to keep in touch with her just in case something else popped up, so about once a month I’d call her and we’d chat. It took ten months, but eventually that receptionist was promoted. I got the phone call to come on over, and the journey began.

R&G: What advice would you give to aspiring managers?

Holland: That’s a tough one because the landscape of the music industry changes every three minutes. I would have to say: do your homework, learn as much as you can about the things that don’t initially spark your interest, and build your knowledge base beyond what you feel is your capacity. (I’m assuming you’re already obsessed with your passions or you would not be in this crazy industry.) I was a day-to-day manager for seven years before I started my own management company; I learned new things every day, and I still am. What you should not do is assume you know all that you need to in order to manage an Artist. Also focus on building your team; no one can do it alone. It’s amazing what can come together when you have the right people around you. Finally, I’ve had some great mentors who have taught me everything from business philosophy to how to properly bang my head at a live show. To these people I owe everything!

R&G: If I had known then, what I know now, I would….

Holland: …have gotten into management a lot sooner. I started at a management company, but then hopped around to many different types of companies in the music industry. Once I really focused on management I was hooked. I don’t have any regrets, as I learned so much working in all facets of the biz, so perhaps I shouldn’t list this as the answer to your question. How about this: I would have gotten earplugs a lot earlier in my career. Although listening to live shows in front of the “stacks” is quite righteous, the long-term affects far outweigh the short-term buzz.

R&G: How important are social media sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and music blogs in promoting your acts?

Holland: Extremely important. What the fans want most is direct access to Artists. It’s important for the fan to stay engaged and the best way to do this is via Twitter. When bands communicate with their fans, it’s instant gratification. It’s the timeliest medium we have today. I mean, who doesn’t want to know what MC Hammer is doing right now? Facebook is still a very clean tool that not only serves as a direct connect with your favorite Artists, but with your friends as well. Total viral lovin’! MySpace is like the 8-track tape player my grandmother had in her car: it looked cool and had been cutting edge at one time, but was no longer the most efficient way to blast tunes in her ride. I don’t mean to say MySpace is irrelevant; it’s simply no longer the shiny new toy. Music blogs are my favorite reads. There’s no greater way to get the fans’ perspective than through the various blogs. What’s posted isn’t always positive but the bad comes with the good. I learn so much about new Artists, new technologies, and the latest hype reading music blogs. Slightly addicted, party of one!

R&G: Most interesting or humorous situation you’ve dealt with as a manager?

Holland: This is hard for me to narrow down from fifteen years of being in the industry, so I’m going to go with something recent. SXSW 2010 at one of the epic JEFF The Brotherhood showcases: There was a guy talking and eating pizza during the JtB set, so Jake walked over to his table, propped his foot on the edge, and played the entire solo in this guy’s face. It was totally rad. Jake and Jamin really know how to grab the attention of the unsuspecting live show attendee. The best part is, that dude bought a CD at the end of the show. Mission accomplished!

R&G: Blackberry or iPhone?

Holland: Blackberry. Thank you Verizon for not jumping on the iPhone bandwagon and therefore allowing my “wheelie ball” callus to grow and grow.

MP3: Jeff The Brotherhood – U Got The Look
MP3: Jeff The Brotherhood – Bone Jam

Previous Manager Profiles:
Jody White
Dawson Morris
Scottie Diablo
John Turner
Jay Steele
Ian Wheeler

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