In this week's edition of Rising Star, we hear how A2i Group's Ashley Lauder, manager of breakout rapper Hardy Caprio, is breaking big in the biz...
How did you break into the industry?
My journey began at university when Hardy Caprio told me he wanted to take music seriously. I had no idea about the music business, but I was a huge fan of the UK scene. I’ve always had business acumen and I believed in my friend, so I offered to help. I started just talking through ideas, then managing emails, arranging studio sessions and videos. From there, we released an array of singles, an EP and had a headline show. I then formed my management company, A2i Group, which put things into perspective for me. I went on to achieve a silver single, Unsigned (feat. One Acen), and a platinum single with my producer Mokuba Lives for Ramz’s Barking.
How can young people succeed in the music business?
I believe in order to succeed in the music business you need a mixture of things. Be sure of your ability; do not allow others to make you doubt yourself. In turn, take on advice but be willing to put your own influence on things and bring innovation. Always ask ‘Why’. It’s important to understand as much as possible, try to avoid doing things for the sake of doing them or because, ‘This is how we’ve always done it’.
What’s been the key to your strategy with Hardy Caprio?
I wouldn’t say there has been a particular key, we have fundamentals that we stick to. The first would be to make music that you enjoy, this is important. I would also say, do not think about things too much and allow your product to be unique and true to you. Most importantly, have a clear focus of what you want to achieve and then work backwards on how to reach it.
How significant are streaming platforms for new acts?
Streaming is probably the most significant tool alongside social media. It allows you to build a core fanbase and at same time generate revenue. This allows acts to build their value, which is extremely important. Alongside other factors, such as being able to judge your fans’ age group, gender and nationalities. It all contributes to your marketing strategy.
What makes a successful manager?
Belief. I feel your belief fuels your drive, and once you have this anything is possible. It is important to overcome barriers and obstacles that come with the process, but that is only possible if you have belief.
What’s your biggest ambition?
To take over the world. To build a platform for all young and upcoming artists to be able to enter the industry. For them to have the knowledge to be able to manoeuvre through any situation that comes their way.