The biz’s brightest new talents tell their stories - this week it's Nowhere Near founder Hannan Malik...
How did you break into the industry?
My cousin had a then-unknown friend called Naughty Boy who needed a MySpace and I designed it for £20 when I was 14. I then invited him to my school to see my friends Chasing Grace perform and he signed them to his label via Island Records. I was essentially their assistant manager and focused on bringing in the rest of my friends (Mac & Phil and Kin). My designing blossomed into a digital agency and I built a management roster at the same time.
Who are your music biz idols?
Jay-Z and Diddy for achieving what they have as artists and doing it on their own terms. Richard Branson for building several billion-dollar companies from selling a record label. Jimmy Iovine for being an all-rounder – A&R, producer, marketer, chairman and then finally ending up at Apple. Ahmet Ertegun for co-founding Atlantic Records in 1947 as a Turkish immigrant with a Muslim name.
What must a good manager be?
They must be passionate because their job is to inspire and motivate the team to get results. If they’re not waking up and thinking about their clients, their music and their campaigns, then they’re in the wrong job. They must be good with people; we need to communicate with other managers, creatives, publishers, labels, accountants and lawyers around the world. We manage big personalities and magical minds, but also their insecurities that come with that. Lastly, they must be willing to adapt – this business is constantly changing and so is the role of the manager.
What could the UK do better?
I feel there’s more of a writer’s community in LA. Hit records usually have a number of separately published and managed writers, so we only have something to gain by supporting one another. Secondly, the UK should be breaking more acts. Albums are still alive and we’re seeing fans buying into artists and albums again; let’s focus on developing and breaking real artists that can sell albums and tours worldwide.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
Telling my unconvinced best friends at school that one day I’d manage them and we’d be travelling the world together writing and performing songs – and somehow pulling it off. Also, hearing our songs on the radio never gets old.
Where will you be in five years?
In five years, I see my company with a team of developers, youth marketers and growth hackers that can build platforms to facilitate the needs of the artists of the future. The change in consumption of media means there will be no ownership of data and no central point of control. I want to be ready and at the forefront of it. I’d also like to be at Wembley watching my client perform a sold out show to 80,000 fans, plus 500,000 on VR headsets watching from their bedrooms in India.
HANNAN’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: Jade Bird – Uh Huh