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The New Bosses 2018: Meryl Luzzi, Paradigm

The New Bosses 2018 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual list of future live business leaders – received a rapturous industry response following its publication in IQ 78, with friends and colleagues of the winning ten agents, promoters and other rising stars rushing to congratulate the class of 2018.

In putting together the list, 2018’s New Bosses gave IQ lengthy interviews spotlighting their careers so far, as well as insights into their working methods and tips for those hoping to follow in their footsteps. While these were (owing to the limitations of a print magazine) edited heavily, they’ll be reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.

Thirty-year-old Meryl Luzzi, an agent at Paradigm Talent Agency in Los Angeles, is New Boss #3.

Luzzi graduated from Ithaca College in New York with a degree in integrated marketing communications, then worked as an event producer in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York. She bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles in 2012 “never looked back”.

In LA, Luzzi joined AM Only, which at the time had just five employees in its newly opened LA office. AM Only had just partnered with powerhouse agency Paradigm, and was later fully acquired and rebranded. “I’m incredibly grateful to have joined the company at not just a pivotal time for dance music in America, but to be a part of AM Only’s rich history,” she says. (Read the previous interview, with the MJR Group’s Mike Jones, here.)


Who are you working with at the moment?
Sofi Tukker, who recently sold out two Fondas [1,200-cap.] in Los Angeles and Brooklyn Steel [1,800-cap.] in New York, among many other dates. They’re playing Life is Beautiful, CRSSD, Austin City Limits and Voodoo festivals this fall. Their album, Treehouse, went to №1 on the iTunes dance chart, and their single ‘Best Friend’ was featured in the iPhone X commercial and climbed the dance, top40, alternative and Hot AC charts here in the States.

Anjunadeep, for which we put together a series of open-air events – all outdoor, mostly daytime parties across the country. Notable highlights were a sold-out Brooklyn Mirage [6,000-cap.] and Treasure Island [in San Francisco] in advance.

I recently signed Mac Ayres, an R&B singer from New York, who is an incredible talent and whose debut album came out on 5 September. He’ll be touring in North America in November and I can’t wait for the world to get to know him.

Who do you turn to for advice?
I am extremely fortunate to have an incredible support system in my both my biological family and also my work family. Matt Rodriguez, Paul Morris, Emma Hoser and Alan Gary are a few people who have provided me with such guidance and helped me find my voice within this business.

There are also so many women in this business that I am grateful to call not only colleagues but friends, who I can rely on and am continually inspired by and in awe of. To have their support and support them is the best thing in the world.

As a New Boss, how would you improve the way business is done?
Check your ego at the door. No one has time for it.

Be a good human being first and great at your job second.

How has the role of an agent changed since you have been in the business?
Agents are at the forefront of music discovery – they are the new A&Rs, in a way. Also, there are so many artists touring, and thus so much more competition out there, that agents must find ways to tour more strategically.

Where is the most exotic place that your work has taken you?
I went to Brazil for the first time this year and fell in love with the culture, the people and their insatiable appetite for music.

“Never lose sight of who you are, what you want and what you stand for”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Paradigm?
We get countless emails a day and it’s easier to fire across a response and move onto the next one. I’ve learned a phone call and a personal touch goes a long way.

An agent at Paradigm also once said to me, “We’re not defined by the one decision we choose to make, but we are a culmination of the decisions we choose to make each day.” And our decisions ultimately dictate our priorities, right? So wake up each day and make decisions that support what you believe in. At the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror and be proud of the way in which we conducted our business.

What do you do in your spare time to relax?
I’m a big advocate for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Working out, dancing to Bruno Mars and spending time with family and friends is the best way for me to unwind. And heist movies… I watch a lot of heist movies.

What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
Continue working to make this industry a better place than when I first started, empower other young women coming up in this business and work with artists who continually inspire me to do better, be better and fuel my love for music.

What advice would you give anyone who wants to get into the live music business?
Be a sponge. Listen, ask questions, say ‘yes’ to every opportunity and find someone in this business who is like-minded and hold onto them. Never lose sight of who you are, what you want and what you stand for.

And if you think you don’t fit in or that you’re different from those around you, know it’s your edge and not a weakness. Use it.


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Introducing… the New Bosses 2018

IQ’s New Bosses 2018 goes live today, with agents dominating the winners shortlist – no fewer than six bookers make our annual top ten.

The New Bosses scheme is now in its 11th year and relies on IQ readers and ILMC’s members to nominate those individuals, aged 30 and under, whom they believe are helping to shape the future of the live music industry. And it would seem you are good judges of character, as looking back across the New Bosses over the previous ten years, many of our named winners have indeed gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields.

So, congratulations go to this year’s cream of the crop: Bradlee Banbury (Creative Artists Agency), Kelly Bennaton (DHP Family), Leo Benton (K2 Agency), Tom Bownes (Live Nation), Erin Coleman (Paper and Iron Booking), Kevin Jergenson (ICM Partners), Michael Jones (The MJR Group), Maxim Karlik (United Talent Agency), Meryl Luzzi (Paradigm Talent Agency) and Aino-Maria Paasivirta (Fullsteam Agency).

“I remember pitching for an act and the agent subtly mentioned I had won the award, to the artist and manager; they were so impressed, I am now their national promoter.”

IQ’s New Bosses will be automatically shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s New Boss Award at the Arthur Awards in March 2019 – voting for which will open in mid-November. Last year’s winner, Anna-Sophie Mertens from Live Nation UK, comments, “Nothing beats being able to call yourself Tomorrow’s New Boss! The best part is your colleagues and business partners never fail to highlight the title, whether to celebrate or to mock you.

“I remember pitching for an act and the agent subtly mentioned I had won the award, to the artist and manager; they were so impressed, I am now their national promoter. Congratulations to this year’s New Bosses.”

To find out more about this year’s winners, click here to read our New Bosses 2018 feature.

Our winners also gave IQ lengthier insights into their careers and working methods, the full versions of which will be posted here on the IQ website over the coming weeks, so be sure to check the website regularly to find out more about Aino-Maria, Bradlee, Erin, Kelly, Kevin, Leo, Maxim, Meryl, Michael and Tom.


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