INTERVIEW: Rachelle Marmer
By: Kenny Love
Rachelle Marmer is a seasoned professional Artist Manager of national recording acts. Learn what it truly takes to attract competent management for you and your career.
KL: "How long have you been in Artist Management?"
RM: "Around thirteen years, just under thirteen years."
KL: "Are you a personal manager, business manager, or both?"
RM: "Well, you know, at my level, because I do a lot of retail management, I'm doing both business management and personal management. I have to kind of wear a lot of hats."
KL: "What are some of the nightmares of being an Artist Manager?"
RM: (Chuckles) "Some of the nightmares, well, I'll have to think about that for a few seconds. Probably, just the things that can go wrong when you're responsible for people's careers and some of the things that can fall through - they do, you know, on occasion. I don't know. I can't really think of any particular nightmares."
KL: "Rachelle, how many acts do you currently represent?"
RM: (At the time) "I currently manage five acts. I do management for three of them, I'm an agent for one, and an agent as well as business administrator for another."
KL: "Do they all have similar musical styles, or do you work with a diversified roster of artists?"
RM: "Very diversified. Everything from Reggae, to Native American Rock, to Jazz. Then, I have R&B bands.
KL: "What are some factors that determine whether or not you will manage an artist?"
RM: "Well, a lot of it has to do with the level of accomplishment that they have already achieved on many levels. First, the level of musicianship. Also, the level of their profession. At this point, I'm not that interested in taking on bands that are brand new, just breaking into a local market because it's just too much work. I'm more interested in bands that have been either in the local, regional, or national markets for a while, have worked in their trade for a while, and are just ready to try and go to the next stage."
KL: "What are some mistakes you see artists making when approaching you, or for that matter, managers in general?"
RM: "Well, I imagine probably the biggest mistake is just not being professional enough, thinking that they're farther along than they are. Just not being open to what a manager might have to offer them."
KL: "What do you think of the resurgence of the independent movement?"
RM: "I think it's great! The more 'educated' independent you can be, the better off you are because, as an artist, it's your career and if you just hand it off to people because you don't want to get into that part of it, then you give away some real important power over your career. I think it's very important to be in touch. How far you get along depends on many, many factors. It's as hard to do it independently as it is to try to get a label. It's not an easy business, but I'm for trying to become as educated as you can."
KL: "What should an artist look for in a manager?"
RM: "Well, I would say a track record of some sort or another. There are so many people who call themselves managers. They might be the band's mother, or friend, or girlfriend, and may have never had any experience, which doesn't mean that they won't do a good job. Because when I started out, I didn't have any experience either. I got it along the way. But you know, unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don't have experience and make claims that they can do things that they really can''. So, I'' say the first thing is to see what they've done (prospective managers). Then, kind of ask around, see what their reputation is for what they say they've done. Are they honest? Do they have a good relationship with the people at labels, clubs, or venues whom they'll be dealing with, depending on what they're doing for you?"
KL: "What advice can you give, generally or specifically, to up-and-coming musicians who may be 'just out of the garage' and headed for the studio to record some material, and who may also be looking for some career guidance and leadership?"
RM: "I would like to say to them to get their act together as much as they can before they even start approaching people. So, that step from the garage to the next level, try to get as professional as you can. Get yourself a really good demo tape. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. It just has to be of decent quality with really good songs. Songs are everything! That's what makes or breaks a career. Try not to imitate other people. Do your own thing but try to have something you feel good about. You have to believe 100% in what you're selling because it's that hard. It's harder than you can even imagine usually to get someone else to believe in you. So you have to really, really believe in yourself."
KL: "What advice can you give to people who may be interested in an Artist Management career? Stay out your territory, right?"
RM: (Laughing) "Give me a call. I'll help you."
KL: "Yeah, right!"
RM: (Laughing) "Well, let me see, good question. Probably, the best thing is to try and get a band that is somewhat established so that you don't have to start from the ground up with them because it's really tough. If you can, get one or two good local bands and start building from there. Try to read some books about it, if possible. Talk to people who are already doing it or whom have been doing it for a while. Try to get as much information about what's needed before you go out and make promises to someone you can do it."
About Kenny Love: A man whose recurring nightmare is that of being run over by a busload of Sumo wrestlers during Houston Rush Hour, Kenny Love is also a National Record Promoter and Press Publicist. Promoting all genres of music, he works with "Indies" on a "back-end" deal, saving them enormous up-front service fees.