UTA agent James Wright has called on the live sector to keep up the collaborative spirit fostered during the pandemic.
Wright (above, holding award) is part of the senior management team at UTA, and was speaking to Music Week after he and the team collected the trophy for Talent Agency at the Music Week Awards earlier this week.
Talent Agency was a brand new category for 2021 and UTA saw off competition from CAA, MBA Live, Primary Talent International, an ICM Partners Company and WME. Wright joined UTA in 2015 when UTA acquired The Agency Group, he represents an array of acts including Grammy winner Jacob Collier.
Music Week spoke to Wright backstage after he had accepted the first award of a very busy evening. Here, he reflects on life in the live sector during the pandemic...
Congratulations, you're the inaugural winners of this award...
“Thank you. It feels good. It’s been a really tricky year and it’s nice to be acknowledged for what the company has managed to do in what has been an incredibly difficult 18 months or so. We’re very proud to be winning it, it’s been a very difficult time for any agency and this shows there’s a good way of handling it. I think we’ve managed to get through it the best we can.”
What did UTA do differently in 2020?
“We were very honest with people internally. We were very transparent and we looked after as many people as we could internally first. We communicated very well as a group. I wasn’t expecting it to last as long as it did, but we were told by the powers that be that we had to keep in touch with artists and managers, talking to them every day and helping them through this. That put us in good stead. The company is incredibly strong and we made some very smart acquisitions over the last 18 months to really bolster our position in the industry.”
The live sector should keep communication channels open
James Wright, UTA
You brought in Obi Asika and Echo Location Talent Agency earlier this year, is that a sign of things to come?
“Bringing in Obi to run our international department with Neil [Warnock] was a really great move for us. It’s really given us a much deeper and wider pool of expertise and allowed us to really nurture the talent we’ve got and go after talent that we want.”
Have you a message for the live industry after such a tough time?
“We were good at communicating across our competitors during the pandemic and we should keep that communication channel open.”
Find out what Polydor co-presidents Tom March and Ben Mortimer had to say after collecting the Record Company award here, and check back on musicweek.com in the coming days for reaction from every winner.