Behind every established artist and successful event there is a team of people who helped to put all the pieces together. Usually, people tend to think that artists make music and managers run business (which is partly true). However, there is much more to that. How does it feel to be an artist manager on one hand and run events on another?
We spoke to Polina Bogomolova, Artist and Event Manager at L'Affaire Musicale (and contributor at Magnetic Mag) for a new Industry Insider feature. She shared with us her successful and fast developing experience of working in the field.
1. Tell us about your profession, artist & event management - what do you do, and what are your responsibilities?
Basically, being an Artist and Event Manager means doing everything and anything for the artists and events I work with.
Artist Management includes a huge scope of responsibilities, the purpose of which is to make an artist’s life and schedule as easy as possible for them to solely focus on staying creative and making music. As a manager, I work on marketing strategy (how to creatively push & promote my client’s music), pitching client’s music to labels and streaming services for playlists placings, advancing shows (finalize all details about client’s performance like hospitality and transportation) and negotiating potential partnerships (with publishing companies, merchandise productions, other creatives such as videographers, photographers, singers and etc).
However, the list doesn’t finish on the business side of work - my favorite part is brainstorming and implementing creative ideas for an artist’s image, visuals (music videos, lyric videos, album artworks, photoshoots) as well as having a word in the direction of music creation.
As an Event Manager, I practically do all the same things for an event as I do my artists. I make sure an event runs smoothly and organized as close to perfection as possible from start to finish. The work includes anything from enforcing a venue’s capacity and rules, creating marketing assets, partnering with ticketing services like Dice, Fevo, Eventbrite and Resident Advisor, writing announce copy, monitoring ticket sales, advancing invited artists (allocate tech, hospitality and transport), preparing artist’s riders, update guest lists, and making sure all necessary decorations are delivered to the venue and in place before the start of an event.
I also overlook operations during the event and handle any major enforcements, as well as act as an artist liaison and make every guest feel as comfortable as possible. Again, it is another huge field and being an Event Manager means to be everything you can (depending on how many people you have on your team and how many responsibilities you are able to delegate). However, the most fun part of this job to me is to come up with ideas for decoration, lights and any other creative aspect.
2. Who did you work with/work currently? How are these projects developing since you joined and in the middle of the pandemic?
I started out working with avant-garde audiovisual artist võx and Brooklyn-based indie dance/disco duo Supertaste, both of whom were a part of the L’Affaire Musicale roster. A few months later, the CEO of L’Affaire Musicale offered me to join J. Worra’s artist management team, who I have worked with since.
J. Worra is a well-established house DJ who has performed at such festivals as EDC Las Vegas, Coachella, Ultra Music Festival, Beyond Wonderland, DayTrip, Dirtybird Campout and many others. Since I joined the team, we have accomplished a lot of heights, but the most exciting one is Worra’s first North American Tour, which includes 20+ cities! Apart from that, she had a total breakout year in 2021 during which my role was integral.
In the late half of 2021 and early 2022 she’s been on the cover of multiple Spotify’s major electronic music playlists, including Dance Rising (1,962,902 followers), Mint (5,881,442) and Housewerk (1,587,522). I’ve been at work here tracking streaming counts, advising on growth strategies, and figuring out ways to best market and thank Spotify for all the love she’s received for her multiple releases. At the end of the day, J. Worra’s growth has been entirely her own due to her incredible work ethic. She’s making the best music of her career so far, and there’s no denying that these digital streaming platforms, major music labels, and talent buyers have taken notice.
In addition to that, our CEO, Tom Astley Williams, had an interest in working with DJ Soda - Asian EDM Superstar with more than 16 million followers across her socials. She played at major festivals all over the world, such as USA Ultra Miami, Ultra EDM Imphal, Barcelona Skyfest, Sensation Australia and others. Eventually, me, Tom and Brandon Agcaoili came to an agreement with DJ Soda and her team to represent her in the United States and Canada - this is how her North American Tour, which is currently happening, appeared.
3. How did you get your start in the music business? How long did it take for you to come to the point where you work with artists as J. Worra and DJ Soda?
It started with one virtual internship at Mi5 Recordings, which was mostly educational and insightful lessons in the middle of lockdown. The real hands-on experience came my way with the offer to intern with L’Affaire Musicale, which turned into a job as an artist and event management a few months later. In addition to that, I was invited as a judge for the first annual Wicked Paradise DJ Competition.
In less than a year, I started working with J. Worra and DJ Soda, which I am very happy about especially considering that I’ve been in the country for 2 years having no one at first - friends, connections and anyone to contact in the industry (and not only). I literally started a new life at the same time as my career in the music business.
4. You mentioned J. Worra is having a 20+ date tour beginning early this year, how difficult is it to plan and manage a tour like that during a pandemic?
We have a great team behind J. Worra, including Chad Cohen at UTA. J. Worra initially had what would have been the Just Because Tour that was cancelled when the pandemic first struck. The first challenge was to confirm and see if we could bring back some of those dates. For all of us who’ve had events cancelled and re-routes for shows that may or may not have had force majeure clauses, this was tricky.
The second challenge was then trying to see if we wanted to completely re-brand the tour or run it back as “Just Because.” The team is always in favor of taking a forget-and-move-forward approach, so J. Worra ran with an entirely new concept that became the Check Out Tour. Of course, after we settled into this new Check Out Tour, then came filling in the new support and advancing all shows and venues.
In the end, it was worth it. J. Worra’s Check Out Tour is now set to start February 3rd in Boston and end May 13th in Philadelphia. She has a show pretty much every weekend, and we’ll have to be on our toes. We also have the new omicron variant to worry about, which has run rampant and been highly contagious. We’re all fingers crossed here that we’re full steam ahead, but of course we will take all precautions as they come. You’ll find me behind the scenes making sure all venues are on point and on the frontlines as one of the designated tour managers on some of these dates.
5. What is your favorite part about working in the music business and what is the most challenging thing about this business?
My favorite part working in the music business is literally music and any creativity it brings to the music business. The thought of being able to contribute to the development of an artist who creates an nonmaterialistic experience and makes people enjoy the moment just fascinates me. Nothing compares with the feeling that music gives you.
The most challenging thing in the music industry… It feels like the industry is exclusive and doesn’t want to let new people in (at least it’s not that welcoming from my personal experience) until you break the door and invite yourself in. Other than that, the hardest thing for me is to wait when confidential projects I am a part of will be announced to the public. Don’t get me wrong - I am always excited about the projects I’m involved in, therefore I want it to get the recognition which it deserves as soon as possible! So much good things in the works that I’m excited to share with the world.
6. How long did it take to bring a foreign artist DJ Soda from South Korea to the USA and organize her North American Tour? What obstacles did you have?
The conversations about a possible partnership started almost a year ago, but the final agreement was made two months before the beginning of her North American Tour, which is crazy! In two months we had to sort her visa (and it is not easy during the pandemic), start contacting venues and negotiate, figure out the routing of the tour, look for graphic and visual designers at the same time, book flights and hotels later. I would say this tour came together in full in the process. It wasn’t fully planned ahead.
Eventually, everything turned out well but not without issues - at first, the interview appointment at American Embassy in Seoul was scheduled on Jan 1, which was too late (her tour started on Dec, 12). But luckily, we were able to reschedule it for earlier and have everything ready in time.
7. What was different in bringing UK-based LGBTQIA+ party, community, and advocates HE.SHE.THEY. to Los Angeles, and what were the different challenges of bringing such a group to the US?
For those who are unfamiliar HE.SHE.THEY., they’re total disruptors and totally fabulous. Steven, Sophia, and Co. are well-beloved in Europe for their mission to make dance and club spaces more open-minded for everyone. As an event, record label, app, clothing brand, and safe space it was a total no-brainer for them to bring their party and community to the LA’s forward thinking scene.
It was the challenge of bringing something iconic overseas and making sure that everything about a HE.SHE.THEY. experience was replicated. From the artist bookings, to the trans-inclusive performers, to the venue, decorations, and vibe of the night – everything had to be inclusive, welcoming, and allow artists, performers, and guests to feel the music without restraint. From start to finish, the event required fully immersive event curation and detail not always found in other shows. It was incredible bringing them to LA and is something I hope we can do again.