Management is often a position in the music industry that goes underrecognized and undervalued. From tour managers functioning on the crazy, tightly scheduled days on tour with the musician, to artist managers organizing and directing every step of an artists' path in order to help them thrive, these are the people behind the show, but they rarely get their (well deserved) round of applause at the end of the night.
For this Weekly Women Wednesday, we had the incredible chance to talk with Peyton Marek- 22 year old manager of indie pop rock group, The Greeting Committee. Raised and living in Kansas City, Peyton has always been involved in the music scene- and at just 18 years old, she was managing, booking acts, and producing and engineering music. Read all about Peyton's experiences as a manager, her love for live shows, and her advice for those wanting to work in the music industry.
Tuesday Zine: Starting off, do you mind sharing some of your different jobs and experiences in the music industry?
Peyton: Absolutely! Job-wise, first and foremost, I am an artist manager. I handle everything you can think of when it comes to an artist and act as the interface between all parties of my team (band, agent, attorney, business manager, label, publicist, etc). Some highlights of what a manager does includes planning an artist’s timeline i.e. touring, recording, press, etc. schedule and essentially, handling the bullsh*t so the band can focus on the music as much as possible.
Experience-wise, one of my favorites has been The Greeting Committee’s hometown show in (my hometown as well) Kansas City, It sold-out in less than two weeks and was PACKED. I felt proud.
T: You began managing at 18 years old, which is incredibly impressive. Was there a negative or condescending pushback because of your age and gender, or did you have a fairly supportive system around you?
P: Thank you so much! I have- definitely, however, understandably at first. Allowing an 18-year old to help handle your first recording contract and plan your career for the first time is wild.
I will say I spent the first year trying to be perceived as older in order to be taken more seriously. What I learned was the fact that I should OWN being a young manager and OWN loving music, which is what got me to where I am. And most importantly, to be my artists’ biggest fan.
T: Were you particularly active in the music community growing up (attending shows, invested in certain musicians/bands)? Did growing up in the Midwest play a specific role in your interest or involvement?
P: Oh yeah! My parents have always had a band so I grew up going to my parents’ shows and setting up/tearing down. My dad taught me very early on how to tweak a PA (amongst many other variations of audio) and I ran sound for my parents on an iPad I got for Christmas. If it wasn’t for my mom and dad, I definitely wouldn’t be in music.
I grew up going to shows on shows. The alternative radio station in Kansas City, 96.5 The Buzz, played a gigantic influence on my wishing to be in music. Lazlo (The Buzz’ PD) and I initially managed my artist, The Greeting Committee, together.
I remember sneaking out of school to go buy concert tickets before the pre-sales sold- out for artists such as alt-J, Jack White, Silversun Pick-Ups and Arctic Monkeys.
Kansas City is a hidden gem and is being more and more exposed in that realm everyday. KC has great venues, radio, FANS! and is growing in the recording scene. I have some amazing friends who run the music scene in my hometown and I am lucky to get to go back to experience it and tell people all about it.
T: You work closely with a variety of artists under Backbeat Management, such as The Greeting Committee, Betty Who, COIN, and Foreign Air. Are there any specific moments in these musicians’ careers that have given you that ‘proud mom’ feeling?
P: Absolutely! Every live show for sure. There is nothing in the world that tops the sound of a crowd screaming or singing along to your artist. Riveting!
Since joining Backbeat, our roster has truly been in full-swing- across the board. Albums, touring in bigger venues and overall monumental growth which is exciting to be apart of. It’s going to be a stellar remainder of 2019.
T: What is one lesson you’ve learned from working in your profession?
P: Remember why you started! If it takes you going to see your favorite band to light the fire under you and keep the excitement up- do it. Do whatever you have to do. It’s easy to get caught up in the industry and being in an office often; however, as a manager, I keep it going by spending time with the artists I look after and go to as many shows of theirs as I can – that’s when you see it come alive in the constant long-haul!
Never try to act older than you are. Own your age, own your gender, etc. You’re in it for a reason and have the tools to be successful and a baller at what you do. The hard work will pay off.
T: You co-produced and co-engineered The Greeting Committee’s 2015 EP, “It’s Not All That Bad”. What was that experience like, and have you considered producing or engineering again?
P: Yeah! My first audio/production project. My parents are in a band (and have been since before I was born – they met through music) and got a bunch of recording equipment one day which intrigued me very much. I told my dad I wanted to be a producer/engineer and he began teaching me the low down on how to record a band.
The Greeting Committee and I went to high school together and expressed interest in recording together so we recording “It’s Not All That Bad” in a variation of my basement and the drummer’s basement and got creative with live tracking and lots of bleed-through, ha.
One day, a guy (and LEGEND), Tim Anderson, flew to Kansas City to watch us record in my basement and wanted to sign them to Harvest Records. The rest is history!
I set out to be an audio engineer and producer and one day would love to have my own studio for my dad and friends to hang and record at. I need to figure out what to name the studio first.
T: You seem to have a real connection with the artists you work with- do you feel that this type of close relationship is necessary for managers to have with their clients? Or that a manager can be successful with a “strictly business” relationship?
P: Strictly business is for chumps! Ha, no..just not how I do things. Your band is your family. Their lives and careers are in your hands for the most part. You are guiding them and mapping out to the best of your ability how you are going to grow them. It sounds like an immense amount of pressure (and it most definitely is) but you have a team around you with the same goal in mind and that is to break this band.
My artists know they can call me for anything at all, music-related or not.
The lead singer of The Greeting Committee, Addie, is my best friend and has been since the beginning of the band. I’m her friend first but it’s cool saying I’m her manager as well.
T: What’s something that you hope to see change in the near future in the music industry?
P: I hope to see more rock bands laying the groundwork for music. I love hip-hop and am an avid listener but I LIVE for rock and roll music and real instruments. Loud drums and electric guitar solos are my steez.
I’d also like to see the Music Modernization Act change the game more and more with paying artists and songwriters fairly.
I also think everyone should be paying WAY more for a DSP subscription than just $9.99/month. I’d love to be apart of the change to move towards higher payment for music. We’ve come a long way, nontheless, and in my opinion are eliminating piracy more and more; especially overseas.
T: Lastly, do you have any advice for young women that want to pursue a career in the music industry?
P: Do it! Don’t be afraid. Own being a woman in the industry and don’t let it come in the way. You belong in this industry just as much as anyone else.
I read this statistic the other day somewhere that stated it would take women ~213 years to be at the same place men are, professionally. I also read the Annenberg research, specifically regarding studio personnel, stating 98% of producers are men and 97% of engineers are men. If that doesn’t get you fired up and ready to change shit, call me!
As a woman in music, I work everyday as a PERSON in the industry; however, I, like every woman in our business, have to do my part. Hire more women. Seriously. Get women in on sessions, diversify your options you present to artists for recording, artwork, tour managers, etc. We’re only going to change it if we get this going now.