Positions within the music industry come and go like seasons. With the rise of digital media, they have become volatile with the changing needs of artists. One of the vital people in an artist’s career is their manager.
Musicians rely on their managers to make their lives easier so they can continue to perfect their craft. For younger artists, there are benefits to having a veteran manager, but the relationship artists can build with a younger manager can be just as rewarding.
Nineteen-year-old Tenafly, New Jersey-native David Stuart is young, but not letting that stop him from joining the ranks of managers looking to make a staple in the music industry. Stuart currently studies in the Bandier Music Program at Syracuse University in New York. He first got his start in managing musicians when he was just in high school.
“I started off managing my friend from Tenafly High School named Koby,” Stuart told 45s and 40s. “He is an EDM artist, which was my first managing experience. I managed a producer/DJ from the Netherlands named Arcando, but I found it too difficult to manage somebody overseas [and most recently I] was managing an R&B/pop artist named Jahkoy.”
Stuart has since moved on to manage New Yorker Ken Rebel, whom we interviewed a couple years back.
Rebel is an artist who likes to be hands-on with all aspects of his music, which works with a manager like Stuart. Stuart describes his managing style as “hands-on, but also laid back.” He’s looking to make sure that Rebel gets the recognition and attention he deserves. One of the challenges he faces is making sure he’s a successful manager while also still studying.
Being at Syracuse, Stuart says it’s hard for him to do everything Rebel needs on a daily basis and to circumvent that issue, he oversees a team that handles his day-to-day affairs. He is, however, available remotely for any non-pressing issues and only a few hours away if he needed to meet.
The challenges Stuart faces doesn’t hold his and Rebel’s relationship back. He said Rebel is easy going, listens and wants to be managed — just a couple of the highlights to managing the artist he says.
“[Rebel] answers and returns every phone call and takes constructive criticism,” Stuart said. “He believes in his talent, works hard and has the drive to succeed. Some artists can’t be managed, they don’t listen and fight every decision even if it’s [one that could be] right for their career.”
Stuart hopes to continue successfully managing Rebel and introducing him to new opportunities and fans. With Rebel having had a bit of a hiatus from music, the way he makes his return has been one of Stuart’s highest priorities. Among all of his plans for the artist, Stuart wants to work on getting Rebel a distribution deal and hiring a solid marketing and A&R team to support Rebel.
“I bring to the table an experienced team and a lot of industry resources at my fingertips,” Stuart said. “My top priority is making sure my artist is getting the attention they deserve and are happy with their career direction and decisions our team is making on their behalf.”