Gregg Latterman is the Founder and CEO of Aware Records and A-Squared Management. In 1993, Aware released the first of many Aware Compilations to help expose unsigned, regional bands to a national audience. The compilations featured Hootie & the Blowfish, Matchbox 20, Jack Johnson, John Mayer and many more bands that have gone on to be household names. After releasing the first compilation, Latterman left his job as a CPA in Boston and immediately started a buzz in the music industry. He continued to build the company while receiving his MBA from Kellogg (Northwestern) Business School in 1996.
After being pursued by most of the major labels, Aware Records signed an artist development and distribution deal with Columbia Records in 1996 which continued as a joint venture until 2010. The first three bands signed to Aware Records were Train, Five for Fighting and John Mayer, who have combined to sell over 20 million records worldwide. In the summer of 2010 Aware did a new joint venture with Universal/Republic and is the home to Mat Kearney and Guster.
In addition to the label, Latterman formed A-Squared Management, an artist management company, in 1998. A-Squared currently manages musicians such as Five For Fighting, Mat Kearney, Brandi Carlile, Jack's Mannequin, Michelle Branch, Motion City Soundtrack, Cary Brothers, Angel Taylor, This Providence, Vedera, Anya Marina, Leslie, A Rocket To The Moon, and producer Jason Lehning.
What inspired you to want to be a manager?
I started out as a record label and over time we had great success with our first 3 artists (Train, John Mayer and Five for Fighting) with our label partner Columbia Records and we had artists coming to us wanting to be involved with us that were already signed to record labels. The first band we managed was Glenn Philips from Toad the Wet Sprocket and Liz Phair was second I believe.
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
The first thing I did in the industry was put out a compilation of unsigned bands called The Aware Compilation. They kind of took off and after a year or two I figured out I could make this a job/career. Between the first 3 compilations most of the bands on them got signed including Hootie & the Blowfish, Matchbox 20 and many many others....Thus the industry was calling me about how I was finding these bands....I had to learn pretty quickly how the industry worked since I was an outsider (actually a CPA at Coopers & Lybrand in Boston).
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
I/we have to love the music and the artist/band. If they are not great people who want to work hard and be honored to be in this industry then it won't work no matter how talented they are as artists.
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
I just have to hear it and see them. For me I have to love their voice first and then melody and then lyrics.
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Helping our artists have the career they want without doing things they don't want to do. A lot has changed and how you get heard to the masses has changed. We still try and break bands the old fashioned way....Great artists with hard touring and building it.......and getting everyone on board....
How did your business transform over the last several years?
We started as just a record label and now we are a record label that also has a management company.
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
Hopefully working with most of the artists we are working with now and have brought in some new artists as well.
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
Only take on what you love...and don't take on too much...Be successful at what you do..
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Learn as much as you can by reading books about the industry and talk to people that have done it before you...Learn from others mistakes and success's.......Find a great artist you believe in and put everything you have into them with passion.....