There definitely has to be something in the water in Bristol because there is no shortage of unique creativity overflowing from its cup. We at the Mogul Minded Group had the chance to catch up with Luke Taylor for an exclusive interview.
Original, innovative & professional are just a few of the words that can describe this maverick of a boss. CEO of ‘Proudlion Management’ and ‘Out The Box Recordings’ Luke Taylor has shown us time and time again that consistent quality is the best way to ensure longevity in the business world. Being in the music industry for over ten years and with regular rotation on stations like 1Xtra Mr Taylor gives us the lowdown on his biggest challenges, what it takes to make it in the creative industry and what we can be expected from him throughout 2017.
- Many people in the South West UK may originally know you as TriggaDon the artist, what inspired your transition from artist to artist manager?
I’ve always helped with developing other artists even when I was pushing myself. I’ve given a lot of game to a lot of relevant artists not just in Bristol. I always aspired to be more than just an artist. Being just a rapper was never my dream. I always looked up to people like Master P, Puff Daddy, Dame Dash and even So Solid’s Megaman to name a few. I guess it’s safe to say I’ve always been “Mogul Minded” haha. Two years ago I decided to put managing other acts in front of being an artist myself cause it makes more sense business-wise. However, I will always be a creative so who knows how I will feel in the future.
- Tell us a little bit about your company OTB? OTB stands for Out The Box. It started as the name of our recording studio I ran with a friend of mine in St. Pauls, Bristol. The actual name is a representative of a particular mentality. The idea of being an individual or a free thinker and also our relentless and uncompromising quest for true freedom. At this stage, OTB serves as an artist development company. We help artists with their sound, image etc. We put together their live show with them and help them identify their lane so to speak. In the near future, OTB will be established as a full on Record Label and a renowned name in the world of art, music, film and so forth. I also run Proud Lion Management, an artist management company. The plan with this is to hire and develop more managers as we expand. All the artists I manage are signed to Proud Lion Management and shelter under the OTB umbrella.
3. What would you say are some of the biggest misconceptions of an artist manager’s role(s)? A lot of people expect too much out of their manager because they perceive him/her as their boss. They expect you to do everything for them, from being creative to financing. And when you’re the type of manager that does all these things that you would only expect a record label to do, some artists think they’re entitled to these things. They don’t realise you are going above and beyond for them. You as their manager may start to feel like the artist is ungrateful and this can hinder the relationship. In actuality, a manager is someone that works for the artist and not the other way around. He works for a percentage of what the artist earns, he is not a charity worker. If you have a manager that helps you creatively as well as financially, you are being spoilt so give thanks. Even the manager who doesn’t do the extra stuff is still taking a chance on you, the return is not guaranteed. If you’re going to be a music manager you have to be prepared to take losses and keep it moving.
4. Has the knowledge you gained from being an artist made your job easier now that you are managing artists? My experience as an artist definitely helps when it comes to management. Over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of skills and contacts that I can now use to help other artists. More importantly, I can empathise with them. I know how it feels to be an artist and what kind of support they need.
5. What has been your biggest challenge since creating OTB? I’m a very passionate person and that’s with everything I do. If I am managing an artist, I’m so serious about their career sometimes more than they are. That has definitely been the biggest challenge. When I am pushing my own stuff, I don’t have to wait for anyone. Whereas as a manager I can only do so much without the artist. It’s the frustration of being the horse keeper trying to force the horse to drink. However, I’m learning a lot about being patient with people and not being so pushy. I have a very charge forward attitude when it comes to my music work. I used to think this was normal but now I know it’s a rare quality.
6. You have a great roster of local talent, what do you look for in an artist before signing them to OTB? When signing an artist I look for talent and authenticity first of all. I have to believe they are able to thrive in the marketplace, simply put they have to be sellable. Then you have to be willing to ride for it because hard work beats talent. The artist and I got to have some type of synergy to be able to work together. Before, I had the fear of missing out so I would try and work with anyone who I saw potential in but now I am a lot more strict with my requirements. That’s something that will naturally come with progression. As one’s credentials go up you have more options, more work and less time for BS.
7. How has the music industry changed since you entered into it? The music business has changed immensely since I started doing music. On the good side of the coin, it is much easier to be independent now. When I started doing music videos, for example, you had to spend at least 3 thousand pounds for a decent vid that would good enough to get on MTV base. There was no youtube and it was before the canon 5Ds came out. The 5Ds allow people to film high definition music videos for a much lower cost. So I think things are much better now for independent artists and labels.
On the flip side, however, I think quality control is a myth now. It’s so easy for any Tom, Dick, and Harry to put stuff out now. Before you would get to go studio like once a week and more time had to pay for it. So you would spend all week writing and practising your bars, making sure your sh!t was tight. Now you can make a tune in your bedroom, shoot a video in your backyard and upload it online and that’s you. It’s not that serious. With that, even the audience has gotten used to sh!t, but that’s just my opinion. Also, the message in the music has gotten crazier and so has the world but that’s a conversation for another time.
8. What can we expect from OTB throughout 2017? In 2017 you can expect a lot more from the OTB roster. I don’t want to give too much away, I just want people to enjoy the show. You will definitely see a lot more from the likes of DeJay, King Aggi, Pine, Pariah, Kodi and many more acts.
9. Any last words? Only when realise you’re just like everybody else will you no longer be like everybody else.
Follow Luke Taylor & his OTB artists Online –