How to be an artist manager with ICMP alumna Victoria Becks
ICMP alumna Victoria Becks traces her journey from classroom to artist manager…
We're lucky enough to regularly welcome music industry professionals to ICMP to talk to our students and alumni.
These visits are something our students always benefit from but are even more illuminating when the professional in question used to study with us.
Artist manager Victoria Becks is one such success story. Initially taking on our BMus vocals degree, she found herself more equipped to take on the business side of the industry. After stints working with David Steele (ex-managing director of V2 Records) and Jackie Davidson (manager of Wayne Hector), she's now been based at Tileyard Music as a manager and A&R for the last three years. Her expertise includes developing artists, writers and producers including the likes of Ella Eyre, Imani Williams (RCA) and another ICMP alumnus Jonny Hockings.
On a recent ICMP visit to host an afternoon of A&R 1:1 sessions thanks to our Careers and Industry Hub team, we quizzed her on her experiences and traced her journey from the classroom to the industry...
What led you to study at ICMP?
I always wanted to work in music but I initially studied an English degree and moved to London. About a term in, I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do so I quit, then googled music schools and found ICMP. They were in London, which is where the industry is - that’s really important. It’s a leading provider, I applied, got in and started. I thought this was the place for me - it offered the most industry focus.
How did you get into music management?
I did the BMus in vocals. But while I was at ICMP, I realised I didn’t like performing. That was more to do with confidence than anything else. I excelled more in the business side of the course.
Even though I didn’t like performing, I auditioned for a band and started working with them.
We managed ourselves and I became responsible for the bookings, emails and the marketing. I realised I was good at the business side and met some industry people through it."
After the band ended, I emailed some of the guys who I met. I ended up doing an internship with David Steele who used to be managing director at V2 Records. Through him I met Jackie Davidson, one of his business partners who manages Wayne Hector, one of my favourite songwriters.
So just through that I got experience. I balanced it with teaching, singing and working in bars. I then met the guys at Tileyard who offered me a job.
How did you meet your artist and fellow ICMP alumnus Jon Hockings?
I met him at ICMP. I’d known him for a while although he was on a different course in a different year. He played guitar briefly in my band and I got to know him when he was playing with us. After uni, I ended up living with him and a bunch of other alumni from ICMP. He was into songwriting, I was in management: I gave him more feedback around his writing: it was all really natural.
He’s just signed a publishing deal with Kobalt. I also manage another former ICMP student Matt Newman. We’re doing his publishing deal soon too. You never know who you’re going to meet at any point but you have to be ready when you do…
What attributes do successful artist managers need?
I’m very straight talking with my artists. I guess that depends on your personality but I think you need to be really honest and be prepared to give up all your time to work with them.
Being an artist manager is a bit like being a parent. It’s full on - you have to really listen and be patient."
You’ve got to keep driving your artists on during the bad times as well as the good - and also having a passion for music helps too! Now being a manager, you also have to A&R too as labels are doing less and less.
How do you discover new artists?
We’re always looking for new talent. We have a submissions form but the best way we find artists is from them being out there - either gigging, releasing music or being available for live sessions - a lot of people come up and get involved through Tileyard Studios which really helps us find new talent. Tileyard is a great place to work - it brings a lot of people together and the whole ethos is around collaboration. It’s very inclusive.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard about sustaining a career in the industry?
As a manager, find a gem and scrub away at it, really focus on it rather than trying to do too many different things. Focus and persistence is the best way to get something off the ground rather than having ten acts - scrub away at that diamond if you really believe in it.
90 percent of your time needs to be be out there, networking and meeting people: the more I’ve pushed myself out there to meet people, the more opportunities have come my way…
ICMP has an exclusive partnership with Tileyard Studios, where our students can enjoy the industry leading facilities and networking events. Find out more.
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