Industry Focus: Jackie Bray - Founder of Be Artists [INTERVIEW]

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Jackie Bray

Photo Credit: James Coletta (www.jamescoletta.com)​

Welcome to Magnetic’s Industry Focus, a series where we highlight the major players working behind the scenes of the EDM biz. These are the folks running the record labels, representing the artists, promoting the shows and just getting it done. They may not get the shine of the DJs on stage, but they work just as hard making sure the parties are packed, the music is perfect and that the artists are where they need to be. We’ve decided to shine the light on the behind the scenes movers and shakers.

Meet Jackie Bray - Founder of Be Artists.

You’ve founded a unique management company representing the most famous music photographers in the world, how did this idea come about?

Thank you - I’d love to take credit for the idea, but it was a pretty organic evolution, along with some wise words from a few industry colleagues and friends. I’d been working with Rukes for almost a year, (managing DJ’s at the same time), before I decided to take the leap and work solely with photographers and videographers. It was a little scary at first, but all of the photographers I work with are super talented and take a lot of pride in their work, so we’ve been really successful. I’m looking forward to what the future holds, growing the Be Artists team and business!

What are the most exciting aspects of your job?

I don’t know that anyone would call it “exciting” but, my favorite part of the job is when I book something epic for one of my photographers and they get really pumped. Usually it’s shooting a new artist they’ve wanted to work with, working for a festival they’ve had their sights set on, or going on tour.

What are the biggest challenges?

The biggest challenges are usually budgets. Flights and hotels can get expensive, and when artists have multiple team members traveling it adds up! Luckily we have a great network of artist management and events that we’ve created great relationships with, and they see the value in our work. In addition, managing expectations can be challenging. There’s not a lot of down time for photographers, especially when there’s hours of editing, back to back shows, and little time for sleep. But I bet if you asked, they’d say it’s all worth it.

What are some of the best perks?

Being able to travel for work is great! Getting to go to shows and festivals can be fun, although most of the time is spent working and running around, so it’s not always enjoyable. But, the biggest perk is that my job doesn’t always feel like work, I really enjoy it 90% of the time, (the other 10% is paperwork, and that is definitely work).

Do you believe photographers and videographers have had an influence on the industry?

Yes. Do they affect the actual music? Probably not, but, with social media being the vehicle for musicians to reach their fans, photo and video content certainly help bridge that gap. Whether it’s epic show photos, clips of behind the scenes shenanigans or glimpses into their lives, these photo/video guys (and gals) keep fans engaged and connected, which is extremely important in this digital age.

Where do you see the most innovation in live events? (Festivals, clubs, artist tours, etc)

I personally haven’t seen a ton of what I would call, innovation in the actual tours, festivals etc., but, I also don’t go to a ton of shows. I certainly see artists staying competitive with better stage builds, better visuals, etc. but as a fan, I focus on the music and whether or not they are delivering an original performance to what someone else is doing. I do admire the innovation in marketing that artists are doing these days. Zedd’s ‘True Colors Experience’ with his fans looks awesome and the announcements and show concepts that ATM’s team come up with for their clients are really cool as well.

Have you always been a fan of electronic music?

Yes! I fell in love in with Electronic music when I was 20. I went through (mostly) all of the genre phases: Trance, Breaks, House, Electro, Tech House, Techno, Deep House. These days I prefer techno and house (however broad that may be) but I still jam out to trance or breaks when a good song comes on!

Tell us a bit about managing Rukes?

It’s been great working with Drew! His client list was impressive before we started working together and now that it’s been almost 3 years, his reach is limitless. Working together has been a major component in Be Artists success, and we’ve learned a lot. At the start it was trial and error, learning the ins and outs of contracts, licensing and copyright, but with each situation, we’d learn a new lesson and revise the contract for next time… He doesn’t need much managing, and we still disagree on stuff from time to time, but at this point we’re as close to a well oiled machine as can be. Since he’s on the road so much, most of our interaction is texts and emails, but we try to get together for “catch up meetings” as much as possible. Even with the convenience of communication now, nothing beats a face to face.

If you could offer advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

I. Do your best work, every time, don’t half ass it, even if it’s something you don’t want to do.
II. There are a lot of really smart, supportive role models in this industry, do your best to find one (or more)!
III. Take every meeting, interview or networking opportunity you can, even if it’s something you don’t think will directly benefit you, you never know what you’ll learn.

Be sure to check out Be Artists!