– MMF-US 20th Anniversary 1993-2013 –

Industry Spotlight - Steve Hutton

Posted by MMF on Apr 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

After graduating law school Stephen Hutton started Uppercut Management. His first client was Kid Rock. During their time together they sold over 14 million records and received a Grammy nomination. Other clients have included Big Kenny, Better Than Ezra, All That Remains, The Heavy, Jonny Pierce (the Drums), RX Bandits, etc. Stephen also manages songwriters and currently has three songs in the Rock Top 40. Stephen recently joined Primary Wave Music where he serves as Head of the Rock Management Division.

 

 

 

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?

Loving music and my desire to get deeper into it.

 

What was your first industry job and how did you get it?

Working for I.R.S. Records as a radio rep based in Chicago.  Mike Lembo recommended me to the famous Mike Bone, IRS’s president.

 

What determines your desire to work with an artist?

Everyone says this but it’s true – I have to start but loving the music.  I also have to like the artist – as a person and as a performer.  If I don’t get a buzz every time I see them play or speak with them – then it’s not for me.

 

In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?

When they’re singular.  Plenty of bands sound like other bands – I want an act that sounds like themselves.  And they have to write GREAT songs.

 

What is your greatest professional challenge today?

Same as it’s always been – finding a way to do the impossible.

 

How did your business transform over the last several years?

I recently partnered with Primary Wave to run their Rock Management division – so I went from a team of three to a team of 63!

 

Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now? 

Constantly changing.

 

What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?

Don’t work with an artist who you work harder then or care more about their music then they do.  

 

What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?

Work with someone who has done it before – learn from them and then add your own creativity.

What inspired you to want to be a manager?
Some would say I fell into it, although partially true I felt after years of running Universal Music's A&R dept, I felt like I had already "unofficially" semi-managed a bunch of acts already, and after I left Universal to run Radio Starmaker Fund (one of Canada's biggest funding organizations, I had the chance to leave there and manage an act I had signed at Universal who was a platinum act….those chances don't come around very often where the first act you manage is already established….that was 10 years ago and I haven't looked back (well briefly, but who's counting ;) )
 
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
I was a Club DJ and I worked in Record retail originally, but my first "real" job was at an Indie label doing retail marketing, and I got the job through persistence…..its funny I had 2 job interviews that day and after my first interview at CBS (Now Sony) the guy called my second interview at the Indie and told them them to hire me….and they did…I sort of had the job before I got there….fate is a funny thing in my career….my career could have been drastically different if I had gotten the first gig.
 
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
I obviously have to like the music, but as my career in Mgmt has moved on, its less about that for me….its more that you have to believe, not just in the music but the person…..they have to be motivated…and I don't manage crazy people anymore no matter how talented….its just t hard
 
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
Its the intangible, of course great songs, something characteristic about them (i.e. Great voice, great playing, interesting look) but its really the thing that makes you look at them and say "this person is a star"…..many years ago I met Avril Lavigne when she was 14 years old….we hit it off immediately, she was country back then, but I within minutes of meeting her I just knew she would be a star……ultimately she didn't sign with the label I worked for at the time, but I will never forget that experience.
 
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Juggling…..literally, all of the different hats that I must wear to keep my business going, Label, Mgmt, Publishing not to mention active consulting and the work I do with the IMMF.
 
How did your business transform over the last several years?
What started as a management company, became a label out of necessity within 1 year of Mgmt….I used to joke that my job as manager was to get Artists out of Major label deals not into them…and thats what I did for the first 2 years of Management, …then my company added a Publishing division again out of necessity ….and finally after a brief stint away from my companies to run the other Funding agency in Canada, when I returned I realized I needed to add consulting to my companies.
I have also changed the way I work with bands as well and he way I work with them.
 
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
The million dollar question….I used to say 5 years ago that the business would be much more focused and that we would be clear of some of the digital challenges ….seems we haven't gotten that far in 5 years….so I am hesitant to say the same 5 years from now…unfortunately I don't see it being that radically different in 5 years, but I hope and expect in 10 years that things will have evened out a bit, and when you consider who thing have changed in the last 10 its not a stretch to say that our business will be radically different in 10 years….maybe look nothing like it does now?
 
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
Without sounding like an ego maniac the best advice is that which I have given to myself  "when an artist becomes huge and successful it is because they are great, when they fail miserably its because I am a shitty manager"….of course I am being tongue in cheek, but so far that has been the truth for me.
 
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Be prepared to do everything yourself, don't look backwards but look forward…..if you don't build the story no one else will



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