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The New Bosses 2021: Jenna Dooling, WME

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Arjun Mehta, founder and CEO at Moment House in the US here.

Jenna Dooling’s path into the music industry began in her hometown of Liverpool, where she first began working for a club promoter. This prompted her to apply for a course at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), for a degree in music, theatre and entertainment management.

During her studies she also worked for various promoters and realised she wanted to be in London to pursue a career in the music industry, and just months after graduating she began working at WME.

Five years later she is an agent at WME having worked her way up from mailroom assistant in 2015. She is now handling all club bookings across the UK and Ireland for the agency’s electronic roster, while her own roster includes Black Coffee, Fatboy Slim, and Damian Lazarus (alongside David Levy).


WME’s mailroom programme is legendary. Can you tell us a bit about it and how it helped set you up for a path into being an agent?

Although my job title was ‘mailroom assistant’, I worked on the front desk so my role also included duties of a receptionist. You are the first and last person that anyone sees when entering the office, so you have to take pride in your role and present yourself in a professional way, with a warm welcome.

Whilst greeting agents and assistants from all departments and learning about the clients they represent, I started to picture my career path and formulate a plan as to how I was going to get there. My main focus was to progress into the music department.

Like any job, you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. From answering calls, handling the mail, to tea/coffee runs, ordering cabs, you have to think of the end goal and that this is only temporary until you have proven yourself.

“Being a former promoter has given me a real appreciation of how hard they work in order to help deliver a successful show”

You had some experience working on the promoter side when you were younger – do you think that’s helped make you a better agent?
Being a former promoter, I understand what it’s like being on the other side of the fence. It’s given me a real appreciation of how hard [promoters] work in order to help deliver a successful show for our clients.

We’ve heard a lot about the closer collaboration between agents and promoters during the past year. What’s your experience of that been, and how do you see it benefitting your clients as the business reopens?
Throughout the pandemic I’ve built closer relationships with promoters by just keeping the conversations rolling, checking in seeing how people are, even when there were no shows happening that needed to be discussed.

We’ve all faced difficult challenges, so working together through these tough times has helped us put our best foot forward. By being proactive, we have implemented backup plans and been constantly flexible across the board with reschedules and cancellations.

One of the best things we have picked up from this is the sharing of information relevant to specific territories which has been invaluable. Throughout the last 18 months, we have built stronger relationships with our promoter partners that in turn will benefit our clients hugely as we work hand-in-hand to deliver the best possible shows and experiences for our careers.

“The most important aspect of the entertainment industry is building strong, long-standing relationships”

Your determination played a significant role in you getting your foot in the door. What advice would you give to others trying to break into the live music business?
The most important aspect of the entertainment industry is building strong, long-standing relationships. Attend as many events and conferences as possible, you never know who you will meet. There’s no harm in reaching out to people on email with a friendly introduction, asking for some advice etc. Don’t be put off when some people don’t respond, consistency is key, so don’t give up!

When I was at school, I didn’t know being a ‘music agent’ was even a thing – we didn’t get taught about all the creative roles in the entertainment industry. You have to do as much research as possible, but speaking to people that you look up to is the best place to start and never be afraid to ask questions! What has helped me through my time at WME is having a mentor, to be able to help guide me, explain things and just absorb information when sitting on calls, as you understand how that agent is thinking logistically and strategically.

What are the biggest challenges facing you and your WME colleagues as the industry starts to get back on its feet?
Diversity and inclusion have been and will continue to be major priorities for me. We continue to push for equality on line ups and open dialogue about how to have better representation.

“Logistically, one of the biggest challenges that we face at the moment is the congested schedule of festivals and tours”

Logistically, one of the biggest challenges that we face at the moment is the congested schedule of festivals and tours, with most artists having missed a full two years of touring. All of them are keen to get back on the road doing what they love best and playing for their fans. This is leading to limited availability at venues and festival slots with many having chosen to honour offers made for artists in 2020 and 2021.

What are you most looking forward to about the year ahead?
I can’t wait to get back to the office to be with my colleagues and friends. Since everything reopened in the UK, it feels so good to be back, attending gigs and festivals – what we have all been waiting (patiently) for and hoping it continues back to normal across the world.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Like any aspiring agent, I want to see myself continue to expand my roster with exciting new talent. Focusing on building a diversified roster, representing artists from the developmental stage to headline level both in the live space and electronic world. I want to look back at the end of each year and be proud of my clients and the team around me for putting together a great run of shows and headline tours.

 


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The New Bosses 2021: Arjun Mehta, Moment House

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Emma Greco, promoter at AEG Presents France here.

Born and raised in Fremont, California, Arjun Mehta graduated from USC’s Iovine and Young Academy in Los Angeles. Moment House was his first endeavour coming out of college.


Tell us a bit about Moment House and some of the challenges you’ve experienced in developing it?
Fandom is increasingly globalising. For the artists and creators we love the most, we don’t want to only receive content, we also want to participate in experiences. The problem is that fans are everywhere, while artists and creators can’t regularly go everywhere.

The biggest challenge is that the music industry is filled with people that think short-term. We deal with this by identifying the forward thinkers in the business, partnering with them, and paving the new normal for everyone else.

As someone with no family connections in music, did attending your specific academy at USC open any doors into the industry for you?
I was very fortunate to have Jimmy Iovine as a mentor, which was made possible by attending the school. He made a few key introductions at the start of the Moment House journey that were impactful.

Has music always been your goal, or did you see yourself doing something else when you were younger?
I’m passionate about music, but my goal, in general, has always been to create. What I am doing now is pretty much exactly what I wanted my future self to be doing when I was younger.

“Jimmy Iovine made a few key introductions at the start of the Moment House journey that were impactful”

What advice would you give anyone who wants to get their foot in the door to the music business?
Talk to everyone you possibly can and always think in any situation, how can I add value here? Be persistent without being annoying.

What are the biggest challenges facing you and your colleagues as the live music industry starts to get back on its feet?
Growing the team fast enough. It might seem counterintuitive, but our business is growing faster in a post-Covid world. It’s logistically easier to travel, rehearse, film, etc. and the global fan engagement and digital ticket/merch revenue opportunities are too compelling to ignore.

What are you most looking forward to about the year ahead?
The last date of every tour should be a digital tour stop – a special digital media experience created for an at-home audience. Even if an artist does a 200-city tour, that’s a fraction of their fanbase.

“It might seem counterintuitive, but our business is growing faster in a post-Covid world”

There’s an incredible opportunity to engage with fans in a compelling way no matter where they live, and the team and I are very excited to establish digital tour stops as the new norm in the year ahead.

I am also excited for artists to start to realise that this is a new creative format – another outlet for their genius. This isn’t just a monetisation tool. It’s a new form of art.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
A version of me that has 20 years’ worth of personal growth!

What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
Building an incredible team full of genuinely good humans and getting to learn from them every day, particularly on our music growth side.

Hard to name everyone but Nigel Egrari, Sam Berger, Casey McCabe, Michele Bernstein, Michael Schneider, Randy Nichols, Edmund Singer-Kingsmith, Jordyn Orenstein, Clayton Barnes, Jon Rast, and many more. You are in great hands if you decide to work with us!

 


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The New Bosses 2021: Emma Greco, AEG Presents France

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Will Marshall, agent at Primary Talent/ICM Partners in the UK here.

After internships at the likes of Aiken Promotions in Ireland, and Nuits de Fourvière festival in Lyon, Emma Greco joined Le Periscope in her hometown of Grenoble, France, in 2015, having graduated with a BSc in economics and a Masters in culture from Grenoble University.

Working as a booking agent, she handled domestic acts such as Baden Baden, Joyce Jonathan and Fréro Delavega across Latin America, Asia and Russia, as well as working on productions from small clubs to arenas and festivals throughout France.

In 2018, she moved to Paris to become a promoter at Super, working on both domestic and international acts.

In 2019, Greco joined AEG Presents France and has developed the roster by signing new acts such as Rina Sawayama, Griff, Zoe Wees, Benee, Beabadoobee and Daði Freyr.


You found some amazing internships early on – what advice could you give to others on getting some good experience?
Getting an internship is not easy when you’re at university or when you’ve just graduated, but if you’re determined enough, you will get there. And when you do, make the most of it! Be curious, ask questions, seize every opportunity, talk to people, start building your network – it will take you places.

You’ve made the switch from agent to promoter. Was that a difficult learning curve?
I’ve had experienced colleagues to learn from and was given the freedom and trust to find my own place, which made the transition easier. It is important to have a good insight into everyone’s role in the industry, it has taught me to be more patient and understanding.

“It is important to have a good insight into everyone’s role in the industry”

Have you been able to do anything during the pandemic to strengthen your career credentials?
I had a career assessment toward the beginning of the pandemic and it really helped me work on strengths and weaknesses and set goals for the future, one of them being to make it onto the New Bosses list!

What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
Finding tomorrow’s best new artists and promoting arena shows.

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
Finally seeing all the shows we’ve worked so hard on putting together. It has been so frustrating not to be able to see the results.

What one thing would you like to change to make the live music industry a better place?
I would like to see more women in leading positions. There’s still a long way to go but I believe we, especially the younger generation, have the power to change things.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

The New Bosses 2021: Will Marshall, Primary/ICM

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Talissa Buhl, festival booker at FKP Scorpio in Germany here.

Born and raised in London, Will Marshall started out running monthly showcase events in the city’s East End, combined with spells working for Live Nation’s festival production team, while studying.

Earning a degree in architecture, in 2014 he dropped the books to join Metropolis Music before heading to Primary Talent in 2016 as an agent, working with Matt Bates. Marshall’s roster is as eclectic and wide-ranging as the London music scene he grew up admiring: alt-pop, electronic, rap, rock, folk and indie acts all garner attention.


A degree in architecture isn’t the traditional route into music – are there any parallels at all with being an agent?
Both have set me up for a life of late nights and impending deadlines, but in all seriousness, there is a problem-solving nature that connects the two, usually within a collaborative framework, and almost always with a slightly competitive drive.

You ran regular showcases when you were a student. How did you find the talent and has that experience helped you understand the job of promoters better?
In terms of the latter, definitely. When it comes to decision making and giving clear advice, the understanding and knowledge of those companies, their different departments and how they operate is key.

Regarding sourcing talent, it sounds simple but I would just put on events and book acts whose music I liked. The way in which music is consumed now means that everyone is their own curator; the tastes you are catering for have exploded exponentially. That is exciting, especially as we push for a more inclusive music scene.

“The advent of widespread livestreaming highlighted just how pivotal crowds are in creating the moments that we do this for”

Do you have a mentor or anyone you turn to for advice?
Probably too many to single out but I feel very lucky because my job requires me to connect with people in all different parts of the industry from all around the world, so they keep my view well rounded. My family and friends keep me grounded and remind me what is really important.

What are you most looking forward to as pandemic restrictions are lifted?
Crowds, and the energy, together with the artist, that they can create. Whilst the advent of widespread livestreaming presented artists and their teams and crew with much needed earning opportunities, it also highlighted just how pivotal crowds are in creating the special moments that we all do this for.

The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you are taking out of it?
We’ve seen a lot of people struggling in the slow down and the uncertainty. The pause has given us a moment to make decisions more consciously and in disrupting the pace there has been more time for conversations around sustainability, and gender and race equality. I hope these conversations continue and that they can further shape behaviour and action.

 


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The New Bosses 2021: Paris Harding, SJM

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Anna Parry, programming manager at the O2, London, here.

Born and raised in Liverpool, Harding belongs to a family of musicians, artists and performers, with multiple generations of his family having a presence in and around the industry.

Influenced by the first grime wave, Harding learned to produce music and opened a small recording studio where he worked with local talent, and ultimately landed remix placements with the likes of Wiley, Sneakbo, Dappy, Steve Aoki, Iggy Azalea and others.

Stints as a club DJ introduced him to other emerging acts, prompting him to promote his own events and underground nights, which led to curating line-ups and securing talent for local festivals. His focus then switched to touring and concert promotion and in 2019 he began a new chapter at SJM Concerts.


What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to have many, which have all been relatively important to where I was in life and what my goals were at that time.

I would say the present moment – even as we limp out from a global pandemic – feels like the highlight for me; the artists, tours and projects I’m able to work across on a daily basis whilst being such a fan and follower of the music and culture itself and be able to make a real contribution to it… incredible.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to find a job in live music?
Think laterally; your specialities and skillset can be used and will be needed in numerous ways. Try not to become restricted to the idea of only having one role or path. Say yes to opportunities that feel uncomfortable, pick up the experience and aim to become the nucleus.

“Think laterally; your specialities and skillset can be used and will be needed in numerous ways”

The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you and SJM are taking out of it?
With so much uncertainty and changes made throughout the industry, it has definitely forced us all to be more introspective and compassionate. We’ve had to collectively help each other navigate our way towards normality on a business and personal level, and there’s a much greater sense of unity as a result of this.

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
In the immediate future, maintaining a fluid mindset to how we build our way back to normal. What we’ve experienced in the last 16 months globally means the scaffolding will very likely need to be rebuilt somewhat differently, and we all need to be on board and willing to do that.

“[The industry needs to] maintain a fluid mindset to how we build our way back to normal”

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I want to continue to help bring through new artists and play my part in building their live career experience with the aim of taking them to the highest level possible (with a few arena-level tours under my belt by that time.) I’ve always been involved in the creative process from production, visuals, to release campaigns, so I’d also like to bring those aspects to the table as an all-round offering.

What’s the biggest challenge for you and SJM now that the business is emerging from lockdown restrictions?
I think helping everyone regain confidence in attending shows, managing crowds, performing and travelling safely and successfully. From this, we’ll be able to better play our role in helping the industry thrive again. To achieve this we need patience and a solid end to the year, but things are already looking really positive.

 


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The New Bosses 2021: Anna Parry, The O2

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

The first 2021 New Bosses interview is with Anna Parry, programming manager at the O2, London.

Born in Calgary, Canada, Parry travelled to Spain to study global entertainment and music business at Berklee College of Music in Valencia. With an independent promoter as a father, she grew up in backstage corridors and tour buses and quickly learned the ropes of the live business as a production runner, tour manager, logistics coordinator, and promoter rep.

Her move to London initially involved an internship at UTA, while also running the events programme for she.grows, the mentorship programme for shesaid.so. Parry joined the programming team at the O2 in 2018 and now works with some of the biggest artists in the world.


What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
There are two: seeing Paul McCartney at the O2. My dad [Jeff Parry of Jeff Parry Productions] became a promoter because of his love for the Beatles and seeing him perform in my place of work was a full-circle moment for me; and I’m currently working on a project with Prince’s estate to honour his 21-night legacy at The O2. It’s a surreal feeling to be working with one of the most influential teams in the business.

You spent part of the lockdown back in Canada, what challenges did that present in your working day?
Well, the obvious one would be the time difference, but luckily I was in Canada during the months of January and February which was a quiet time for the O2. My team are also extremely supportive and allowed for somewhat flexible working hours. Generally, I think that January and February were a hard time for everyone and it was difficult being so far from my team but I was very fortunate to be able to spend the time with my family.

“What is really going to make a difference [to the live music industry] is diversity in the top positions”

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
A more diverse recruitment process. We need to see diversity in every level of organisations, ensuring equal opportunities for people to get their foot in the door and a framework for them to progress. What is really going to make a difference is diversity in the top positions.

Tell us a bit about your work with she.grows/she said.so.
I came across shesaid.so when I was a promoter rep in my hometown of Calgary, and I was working with the only female promoter in the area who told me about the incredible community. She then said her biggest regret was not moving internationally and that’s when I started thinking about the opportunity the industry provided in a global context. It then all came full circle for me when I was able to act as the events manager for the she.grows mentorship programme in London, and was introduced to a plethora of inspiring women.

You’ve travelled thousands of miles to study and find work, what advice would you give to anyone trying to break into the business?
Never give up, and never take no for an answer. The door is never fully closed, you just need to find a new way to open it.

“It is a very exciting time as we get to reinvent a lot of processes”

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I am fortunate to work for a global company in AEG with a stream of creative people where opportunities feel limitless so it is hard to say, but I am very happy at the O2 and feel like we have a lot of catching up to do after the past 18 months!

What’s the biggest challenge for you and the O2 team now that the business is emerging from lockdown restrictions?
Re-engaging the workforce. As a company we have gone through a lot of changes and have a lot of new processes in place. Re-entrance anxiety is a real issue, and as it stands, 2022 is projected to be our busiest year ever at the O2 and we need to ensure that, after over 500 days of no events, people will be well equipped and feel comfortable getting back at it.

With that said it is also a very exciting time as we get to reinvent a lot of processes and I think we have all learned a lot during lockdown and have an even further appreciation for what we do and why we do it.

 


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The New Bosses: Class of 2021 revealed

The latest edition of IQ‘s New Bosses goes live today, celebrating the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2021 honours no fewer than a dozen young executives, as voted by their colleagues around the world.

The 14th edition of the annual list inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations.

Our distinguished dozen this year comprises promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs and more, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.

In alphabetical order, the New Bosses 2021 are:

As in previous years, full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses will appear online in the coming days and weeks. However, subscribers can read short individual profiles of each New Boss now in issue 103 of IQ Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

 


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IQ 103 out now: New Bosses, Green Guardians & more

IQ 103, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The September 2021 edition heralds the publication of the New Bosses, IQ’s annual celebration of 12 future industry leaders, nominated by the global live music industry. Subscribers can see the full list of our most promising 30-and-unders working in the business here.

This issue also marks the return of the Green Guardians Guide, championing 40 individuals, companies and initiatives that are driving the green agenda.

Elsewhere, deputy news editor Lisa Henderson looks at some of the new arena projects that promise to take indoor shows to the next level as the live entertainment industry returns to form.

For this edition’s columns and comments, we pass the mic to Paradigm’s Adele Slater, Yourope’s Holger Jan Schmidt and the Roadie Cookbook’s Nick Gosling and Julie Cotton.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, we ask industry leaders which two people they’d want on their team in a zombie apocalypse.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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