AAM Member Profile - Francesca Riva - Associate Member
Current artists on your management roster:
I work at Umbrella Artist Management that represents Cloud Control, Cub Sport, Elizabeth Rose, Fishing, Franky Walnut, Jane Tyrrell, Pvt, The Rubens, Urthboy, Winterbourne, Zoo Boyz.
Within the roster, I mange Winterbourne. Then I work across all the other bands of our roster assisting Umbrella directors on different projects.
Umbrella Artist Management
How did you get into management?
It was during my University times in Italy (I'm 100% Italian - born and raised close to Milan till I decided to move to Australia). Back then, I started to do a working experience in a Milan based Recording Label (Rude Records) while I was preparing my management postgraduate thesis. The thesis was a research on how to manage and control the creative process (and making it financially sustainable) without destroying it. And by working on the field and getting insights from the different academic papers I was studying, my heart just knew I had to be an Artist Manager; that I wanted to be the person that works closely with the artists and help them to find the best ways to make their career sustainable and successful.
Although, it was not till after I moved to Australia (2011) that I got into it, and I have to say that some of the circumstances have weirdly been kind of Universe driven. Anyway, I knew what I wanted and I just tried to make that happen. I didn't know anyone in the industry as I was in a completely new country so I started to go to conferences (the first was an AAM panel and I still remembered how inspired I was by Tim Levinson's speech; Bigsound, Music NSW seminaries and others), ask people to meet up for coffees and listen to their stories and advice (I need to thank Gregg Donovan, Troy Barrott, Graham Nixon, Phil Tripp, Chris Gilbey, Stuart Rubin, Seam Lam and anyone who gave me their precious time in those early stages). Then, to try to extend my network and the knowledge of the industry, I've decided to get enrolled in the one year Master Of Arts Management at AIM & Sydney Opera House and while studying, to try to do as many internships as possible to hopefully find my path. The internships included helping Rowan Brand & Guy Morrow during Boy & Bear times, doing a working experience in Sony Music and one at Umbrella with Greg Carey and Joel Connolly. It was the Umbrella one that ended up to be my right path. Since I started my internship there back in December 2011, I never left and I'm still there now (2015), doing what I love, which is being an artist manager.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in 2015 for artist managers and/or their artists?
I guess no matter which season you are in, for me the biggest challenge is always to be able to guide, motivate and protect your artists during any of those big transitional industry/economic shakes and find the way to transform all those challenges into new opportunities. For the type of industry we are in, which is fast moving, highly demanding, always evolving and changing, sometimes unpredictable (but always awesome) managing expectations is probably the trickiest. And this is for both artists and managers. That's why I consider respect, trust, honesty, loyalty, transparency and strong communication as some of the core pillars of an healthy relationship between artist and manager. I guess if all those values are set strongly at the roots since the beginning of the relationship, any challenge can be overcome. Managing time is another skill that as a manager you need to learn to master, especially when you are working on different acts / projects at the same time.
What is your hot tip for getting started in artist management:
Well, not quite sure it's a hot tip, but never give up. Have clear ideas and goals of who you want to be and what you want to do and make it happen. It doesn't mean it will happen straight away, it might take a little of time, unexpected roads, but if it's something you really want and you are ready to fight for, it will happen. Be smart, be prepared and be rational on all your choices. But also be a little fool. Mostly be proactive. If you don't go for it, things are not going to arrive on your plate by themselves. Don't be afraid of asking people for advice, for a coffee, for a simple chat. Do networking. Be honest and hardworking. Find amazing mentors and never stop trying - neither when you call yourself artist manager, never stop to try to become the best. Find artists you passionately love and with who you know you could work with and spend a lot of time with, as they will become part of your family. And this relationship is the most precious thing you could have. Make sure to nurture it and protect it fiercely.
What is your hot tip for helping/sustaining your artist management business:
Work very hard, be ready to always learn new skills, learn to deal with setbacks and accept them as a starting point to create something even better. Make sure you find your balance between your work and personal life. Create a team of people you share the same values, principles and you can work amazingly with. Always be true to yourself and do not pretend to be what you are not or pretend to know what you don't. You cannot always have answers to everything. Know your limits and be ready to admit them. But also be ready to work harder to fill the gaps and find the solutions.Become a master in planning, but also learn to be flexible as this industry is as closest to a roller coaster than it is to a flat highway. And of course, have fun!
Name 2 people within the music industry who have helped you get where you are:
There are so many people I am thankful I crossed path with, but Greg Carey and Joel Connolly from Umbrella are the ones. Yes, my current bosses. They've been with me since my early stages. They took me under their wings, believed in me and they've always been there for me. They even get my strong Italian accent (well, sometimes). No better people I could have hoped to have as masters.