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Making Noise with Wednesday Management’s Laurie Lee Boutet

Making Noise with Wednesday Management’s Laurie Lee Boutet



A 21-year-old Laurie Lee Boutet, London – photo provided

For Laurie Lee Boutet, founder of Toronto’s Wednesday Management, whose flagship act is the 2024 Juno group of the year The Beaches, her career started with a “come for a beer” email from a British A&R executive.

The Quebec native had moved to London at the age of 18, and while attending London Southbank University started a carefully curated music blog called Skeletory, recommending songs. Through her ballsy networking skills, she landed an A&R gig at Mercury Records. Eventually, when her visa ran out, she was forced to return home where then-Universal Music Canada president and CEO Randy Lennox in Toronto hired her at their first meeting.

Boutet, not surprisingly for a person who already showed so much independence and initiative, left the label after a few years and started her management company in 2016. Today, she is one of Canada’s rising stars in an area of the business that has a significant shortage.

Wednesday is a boutique company and she likes it that way, with just four artists on the roster, including Toronto pop singer Alex Porat; Montreal producer/writer Connor Seidel; and British drum & bass singer-songwriter Venbee, who Boutet started managing at the same time as she landed The Beaches.

It was February 2022, when The Beaches, who had a sizeable following — and a 2018 Juno Award for breakthrough group of the year — found themselves in a scary place professionally, with no label and no management. They needed to figure out next steps and were meeting with prospective managers.  

“I knew the second I met Laurie that we were going to work together,” The Beaches lead singer-guitarist Jordan Miller tells Making Noise. “She is gorgeous, funny, whip smart, and knows the business better than anyone. She also was the only person who I’d met with who was honest with me about what I could be doing differently and what I could be doing better —  and she knew exactly how to make my ambitions for The Beaches a reality. I’d attribute so much of our success to Laurie’s guidance and the direction she has moved us in.”

In May of 2022, while Boutet says she “didn’t have anything to do with it,” The Beaches won the rock album Juno Award for 2022’s Sisters Not Twins (The Professional Lovers Album) — the Universal Music Canada combo of two EPs, 2021’s Future Lovers and 2019’s The Professional — signalling that they were still loved and supported. Perhaps a good omen.

In this comprehensive interview, Boutet talks with Karen Bliss about how she got her foot in the door, the importance of networking, the original game plan for The Beaches, and why she has cried eight times the past year.

I turned on the Toronto Blue Jays home opener [April 8] and there was Jordan singing both national anthems. That was really cool. She did a fantastic job. How did that come about?

They reached out to us and asked if the band wanted to sing. Sometimes, I’m like, “I don’t think it’s worth it.” But, this in particular, Jordan was like, “This is my only dream.” And I was like, “What do you mean this is your only dream?” And she’s like, “I have to do it. I’ve always wanted to do it.”  You can tell by watching it, how excited and happy she is. Normally, you see her on stage, she’s a rock star; she’s got almost no fucks to give, but then the home opener, she looked like she was on the brink of tears. She was so happy to do it.

And then you all got to watch the game, of course.

Yeah. They gave us a box. So we just drank beer and ate hot dogs and ate popcorn and had a really fun time.

So, I went on the landing page for your company and the first thing that comes up “Welcome to Wednesday. Always be kind. Thanks. MGMT”.  That takes some thought. It’s very deliberate. Why do you have that sentiment on your business page?

It was on my five-year company anniversary. It was over covid and I wanted to do something different to celebrate my five years. You couldn’t do a party because everybody was at home. So, I found this like amazing designer [Old Friend] and I had him design these t-shirts. I was like, “I don’t want it to feel music related. Make it look like it’s a poster for a cocktail bar. Music and cocktail bars, all my favourite things.” And, in the t-shirt design, he had that “Wednesday, always be kind.” It’s at the front of the t-shirt and I loved it. And I was like, “Actually, I’m redesigning my website. Can I use that as the beginning, when you come on almost as a logo?” and he was like, “Hell yeah.”

I just liked what it encompassed. I’m not a big fan of putting a bunch of shit on the website. I think as a manager, our job is to showcase the artists that we work with and their successes are success. I don’t need to write long bios about what I’ve done. You’ll see it in the caliber of artists that I work with.  Even the bios, I wrote with my friend who’s a songwriter [Ali Willa Milner] and I was like, “Let’s write really fun little bios that like we would find funny.” And that’s what we ended up doing for the website.

“Please be kind” is not what one normally associates with traditional artist management, The music business is supposed to be cutthroat [laughs].

I think there’s an old school and a new school way of being a manager. To your point, traditionally, you had to be signed for an artist to have success. So the role of the manager was to negotiate, to protect the artists from these nasty record labels and try to make sure that no one takes advantage of them, where I find that now, because of platforms like TikTok, everything’s switched. The power is actually no longer in the hands of record labels or even in the hands of gatekeepers. It’s all in the hands of the artists because they’re capable of building their businesses online themselves through the use of TikTok. And so the job is no longer, “I’m going to be an asshole and I’m going to protect my artists.” My job now is “How do I take advantage of what we’re building online to build your business and make you have a career for the rest of your life?” Because when you’re capable of building your audience yourself and when you have the power in your hands, no is just no and yes is just yes. It doesn’t have to be nasty. It can just be “This doesn’t work for us.”

Laurie Lee Boutet and mom Nancy Lee Jobin – photo provided

Your career got started in the U.K.  You had a blog giving tips to A&R and the industry of about music to check out, which led to your A&R career. But what made you leave Canada for London?

Heartbreak. I wish I had this feeling of I wanted to break into the music scene. I really fell into it. I wanted to work in advertising. My mom worked in advertising and was super successful and has always been my role model. She’s the reason why I have the confidence to do what I do because she’s never really gave a fuck. And when you have a role model like that, it’s not a question of, “Oh, you’re a woman.”  I was like, “This woman did it.”

But, I was super heartbroken at the age of 18. I then met this English guy who was on a gap year, and I’d never heard of a gap year before. He’s like, “Well, right after high school or A-levels, you do a year of traveling and then you go to university.” And I was like, “I want to do that. That sounds like what I need.” I was living in Montreal at the time. It was either Paris or London because I also speak in French. I’m French Canadian. And so, I’ll just go to London. And I fell in love; I fell absolutely head over heels for the city, obsessed. I had never felt the way that I’d felt in London.  It changed my whole life perspective. I ended up staying for five years. I ended up going to university there and I started a music blog.

I would research and find brand new music of new artists that journalists would talk about or that I’d find on SoundCloud. But, I didn’t have much money, so I would walk to university every day, which was an hour-and-a-half walk. It was so beautiful because I went from North London to South London. So every day it’s Big Ben, it’s Tottenham Court Road, it’s Trafalgar Square. I was just enamored by it. And I would listen to music. And out of the 20 songs I would pick, I would listen over and over again. And my favourite one is the one that I would write about that day. And, I think, through that process, I almost taught myself how to A&R. I didn’t even know it was a job yet. I just knew that I liked the process of listening and finding the ones that really stuck out to me and really meant something to me.

I had a goal of I’ll write a song every single day, just like writing about shit that I love, until I had an email from an A&R person and he’s like, “Come for a beer.” And I was like, “What does he want from me?” [laughs] And, I ended up sitting with him and he’s like, “I wrote a blog like yours to get into music, to be an A&R.” And I was like, “What the hell is an A&R?” And he told me what the job was. And I was like, “Holy shit. How do I do it?” And he’s like, “You have to meet as many people as possible. You have to continue writing your blog and music that’s being signed and you’ve got to put gig listings.”

So I would spend five hours every Sunday going through every single venue in London. And, I would listen to all the music of all the artists that were playing. And then, I’d do a list of the top shows that I thought that people had to go to. And through him, I met other people.

What’s his name?

His name is Charlie Moss [then with Warner Records]. He’s still a very good friend of mine. He introduced me to people and every meeting that I did I would ask them to introduce me to one other person. And then that person I would email my gig list every Sunday. So I’d be like, “Here am I.” And so, I kept on top of people’s minds, until I eventually got an email from this guy Mike Smith, who was the president of music at Mercury Records at the time. He ended up hiring me as his A&R scout. Mercury ended up turning into Virgin EMI when EMI was sold to Universal [2013], but I worked under Mike for two years and he was one of the best bosses I’ve had in my life.

Did you sign anyone?

No, we lost every deal that we went after [laughs].  Mike was an old-school rock guy. He was a publisher for a long time. He signed Blur at like 26.  He president of Columbia UK for six years. He taught me so much. He was the kindest man. I got so lucky because some people aren’t that nice who work in majors. My visa was coming up and he was like, “I want you to stay. I love working with you.” And then, unfortunately, he was no longer my boss, maybe a month before my visa was to get renewed, and the [new] guy was like, “We’re not going to renew your visa, but we’ll help you get a job back in Canada, if you want to go back home.”  And I said, “Fine.” I went back to Canada and I was just absolutely heartbroken.

That’s an awful way to come back home.

(L to R) Universal Music Canada, 2014: Randy Lennox with wife Barb; Rich Castillo with wife Ailish; Shawn Marino; Laurie Lee Boutet- photo credit: Mariah Hamilton.

I know. It was horrible. But, through those two years that I was in A&R, I made it my job to meet every single person that I could.  I hung out with everyone. And so, when I knew that I was going home, I asked hundreds of people, “Can you email whoever you know and introduce them to me?” and [Universal Music Canada president and CEO] Randy Lennox received five emails. The first email, he’s like, “We would love to meet you, Laurie. Let us know when we arrive.” The second email, Randy’s like, “The moment you get off the plane, please come to the office. We need to meet right away.” Then, the third email, Randy’s like, “I got the email. We know she’s coming.” And so, Randy was ready to receive me on my day of arrival. I flew home and, and the next day I sat down with Randy and he offered me a job on the spot [laughs]. I ended up working there for about 18 months. I had the cubicle outside of his office and we’d joke around.

You hadn’t lived in Toronto for a decade and were too young anyway when you did, 14, to know the city and the music scene. So you had do what you did over in London here, from scratch. How did you start scouting?

I was very angry that first year that I came back because, like I said earlier, I was so in love with London. I thought I was going to live there for the rest of my life and was very angry when I came back and the job was so different. In London, Mike Smith was like, “You don’t need to be in the office; you just need to be in every studio; you need to be at every show, just come in once in a while.  Come into the meetings.” I had a glass office at [age] 21 on Kensington High Street. it was a little bit extravagant.

And Universal at that time was up at Victoria Park and Consumers Road [laughs] in North York.

I had to drive an hour a day to go to work. I hadn’t driven in years. I was very angry, but I got extremely lucky because Universal Music Canada had also hired a UK executive Rich Castillo. He flew over the same week that I flew over. So I got to have him. He was a piece of the old the UK way of doing things. He got to help me stay connected to it. We got to push the boundaries a little bit and do things a little bit different.

How so?

Singles focus, a lot more hands on, spending time in studios and downtown on the ground talking to artists.

Which artists did you bring to the label?

We signed K.I.D. It’s funny because, again, I don’t think I signed much when I was there. The weird thing about the UK is that they’ll sign very developing artists because there are so many labels and so many A&R’s, but for Universal everything that I brought in, it felt too early.

In the UK, singles deals were common for new acts to see how they did. Not here in Canada. And the styles are so different than here.  Did you enjoy doing A&R here?

I had a lot of fun with Randy. He was probably my mentor. We were really close. It’s funny because I was so mad about being in Canada that we would be in the meeting and I’d be the only person to stand up to Randy.  We’d be in the A&R meeting and I’d be like, “I think that’s a stupid idea.” In hindsight, I’ve learned how to say things a bit more graciously now [laughs] but when I was young, I’d rip shit apart in front of everyone in the meeting. Randy would laugh. He loved it because I think everyone held back what they said and here was this 24-year-old calling everything stupid and maybe speaking when I shouldn’t have spoken. I think Randy found it refreshing at the time. He spent a lot of time mentoring me and helping me out and introducing me to people.

Team Wednesday
L to R: Alison Perdue, day to day; founder Laurie Lee Boutet; Nicole Cere, Venbee’s co-manager

You have a full-time salary and benefits at Universal. In Canada, people don’t usually lose their jobs in the industry, unless there’s a buy out or worldwide layoffs.  It’s pretty cushy. What made you decide to go into management, an area of the music industry, which is very hard, with no guarantees?

Again, coming from the UK, there’s so much infrastructure in the market. They have so many managers and so many A&Rs and so many ways for artists to develop and help for artists to develop. It felt like there were no managers in Canada. I was finding things [artists] really early on and I was helping them develop, almost like a manager, with the hope of down the line maybe signing them to the label. But whilst I was doing this on the side, I realized that I just preferred the hands-on approach of management. I’d been at majors for so long and hadn’t really signed anything. That always felt out of my control. But when I was finding artists and helping them make records, and putting them in the room with producers and writers and helping them with their brand, it made me feel like I had control over what could be done and that I could build a lot of value.

The first thing aspiring artists usually say is “I need a manager.” The established managers are still the leaders. We all know them. They’ve been in the business for decades. But we have hundreds of artists. There’s not enough peer managers, young managers, maybe because it’s a hard job and it’s trial and error with someone’s career without a mentor.

A hundred percent. At the time, there were no young managers. What became interesting is that streaming arrived the same year that I arrived in Canada. That’s when the power being in the label’s hands shifted to it being more into the artist’s hands when Spotify came along.

And so rather than it be old school managers, who had their relationships with the majors and that’s the only way to do business, you started seeing young managers find acts, get playlisting, get a bunch of streaming. So, because of streaming, there was like a whole world of young managers that were starting off at the same time as me because of the shift of power. There wasn’t any, to your point, we have so many artists in Canada, an unbelievable amount of artists and we just don’t have anyone guiding them. Or not enough people. And there’s loads of great companies, but there’s so many artists and not enough infrastructure.

Did Randy leave for Bell Media at the same time you left?

Randy left six months before.

Were you clear about leaving to start your own company or did you second guess yourself?

I must’ve been crazy. I was 25 and, in my heart, I was like, “This is it.” It didn’t matter what anyone said to me. You couldn’t have convinced me otherwise. I just like, “This is what I’m going to do and I’m going to have success doing it.”

How did you get those first acts when you were a new manager?

I started my company off with three artists. I started with Ralph, who I ended up managing for eight years. I managed this artist called Saya. And then I co-managed Charlotte Cardin with Cult Nation’s Jason Brando.  That was my starting roster straight out of the gate. Saya had a song that went on the Spotify viral charts and she blew up and then, funnily enough, we ended up signing a deal with a major in the UK [Polydor]. And then Ralph, on her third single [“Cold To The Touch”] got added to a bunch of really big Spotify playlists.And then she started streaming a lot. And then Charlotte, we put out her first EP [2016’s Big Boy] through Cult Nation and were able to build a ton of momentum in Canada that she ended up signing a deal with Atlantic in the States. So that first year I was like, “I’m unstoppable.” I was very naive at that time [laughs].

When you sat down with potential clients, how did you get them to work with you, a new manager?

Because I’d been helping them all on the side, while I was working at Universal. It just felt natural. They were like, “We want you to manage us.” I didn’t feel like I was leaving and starting at zero. I’d put a little bit of work behind the development and was just ready to roll.

Did you have a cushion from Universal while you got going?

I didn’t have any savings. I moved back into my mom’s house. And, then down the line, Randy had a partnership with a company with Bell Media called Dais [a digital content production company].

Run by Sol Guy.

Yes. Randy had been with Bell for six months and when I told him I want to leave Universal and start my own company, he was like, “I’ll support you, whatever you need.” And he introduced me to Sol. I ran the Dais studio for a few months and then we eventually did a management deal. That was the first year of my business. I definitely owe a lot of it to Randy.  I worked out of the [Dais] office and me and Randy would have these things called mentor breakfasts at Soho House at his favorite table. Sol was amazing as well. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would have had to bartend or work at a restaurant, but I made enough money with that to kick start my career in management.

So at some point you started managing an artist from the UK, Venbee. Is that an artist you followed when you lived there?

No, at the time I wasn’t working with Charlotte anymore. I think they just wanted to build their company and I wanted to keep my own company. It’s hard when the whole team’s based in Montreal and I was based in Toronto. I think they were felt it didn’t make sense anymore. I was devastated to leave the project, I was like, “is that biggest artist I’m ever gonna have?”

But you must have a good relationship with them still because Connor worked with her and then Alex has been opening for her?

Yeah, we’re really good friends. But it took a little bit of time to get over. It was my first big one and it meant a lot to me.

Back to Venbee…

Laurie Lee Boutet and Venbee – photo provided

Over covid, Nicole [Cere, at Wednesday] had found Venbee on Spotify and started managing her from afar. And I was like, “Don’t do it. It’s too difficult, the time zones, the market’s so different.” And then Venbee ends up having this viral TikTok [“Low Down” in April, 2022] and she was like, “I need your help.” And everything went really crazy from there. Nicole co-manages her with me.

But it’s funny because when I moved back to Canada, like I said, I was so angry to be back and I wanted to prove to my old boss, the guy who had let me go, wrong. I spent years, “I’m gonna have success, I’m gonna prove him wrong. I’m gonna do this.  I’m gonna do that.” And it’s funny years later I never would have thought that an artist that I’d worked with would have ended up going viral in the UK. It was a huge full circle moment for me because eight years after I’d left the UK, I got to go back with an act that everybody wanted to sign.  I got to live the moment that I’d wanted to live from the age of 24. But at that point, it just didn’t mean anything to me anymore. I moved past it and I’d grown past it. She signed to Columbia in the UK [June 2022] and it wasn’t even that song that went massive. It was the song after that that went really big, “Messy in Heaven.”

At the time, I’d also just signed The Beaches, but we were still in the early phases. So I felt like I got some sort of redemption by having this mega hit. It peaked at No. 3 in the UK charts, but it was in the top 10 for 13 weeks. I’d gotten that moment that I’d wanted from 24 years old. But back here, no one knew what it was. And so it’s a very surreal feeling to have something and then nothing at the same time because the markets just act so differently.

Finally, let’s talk about The Beaches. They had been a band almost a decade in 2022, since their late teens [and even before then in Done With Dolls]. Had a deal with Island and Universal Music Canada. Lost both deals. Now independent. I remember writing their bio for you. It was a distinct new chapter. New sound. The direction of the new songs were very pop. It was a bit risky. And they had new management — you.  What was your discussion with them?

Someone had told me The Beaches were looking for a new manager.  I was like, “I don’t know if I have the balls to even go for it,” but I was like, “Oh, fuck it. I have nothing to lose. I might as well sit down with them.” They had just been dropped and they were devastated. They had fired their manager and they were worried. They didn’t know what their future held. But, to me, it just felt like such an opportunity.

I’ve known the band since they were signed Universal. I worked there when they were signed at Island and then the deal moved to UMC. And so, I’d known them for years and years and years and they were just always the coolest people that I knew. They were so funny. They were at every party. They were just so charming. And, sometimes, I felt I couldn’t tell that through the branding. It’s hard being four women and trying to figure out what your brand is at such a young age.

And so, when I sat them down, I was like, “Guys, I know this feels devastating to you, but I think this is a huge fucking opportunity. You get to rewrite the type of brand and the type of music that you want to make. You’re all 25. hat type of music do you like? What type of branding do you like? There’s no one to tell you what to do anymore. Let’s just make really cool shit for 25-year-old girls. What do you want to listen to? What do we think is cool?”

They had always appealed to older men. The music to me was very modern rock, very rock and roll, but here are four girls that listen to pop music. And so, if you like that music, if you could make the music just 20% more pop, I think everyone would be open to it. What plays on alternative radio in America is seen as pop in Canada, and what plays on alternative radio in Canada is super modern rock in America. So, if we want to be alternative in America, we have to lean a bit more pop. We have to make the type of music that we know that 18 to 25 year old girls are going to want to listen to.

And lyrically too, it sounds more youthful, more them. Some very funny lines that people in their 20s can identify with.

And that was the conversation we had from day-one.  I had it with Kylie [Miller, guitarist] and Leandra [Earl, keyboardist/guitarist]. And then they’re like, “Okay, we want you to come talk to Jordan and Eliza [Enman-McDaniel, drummer]. We sat down; I had the same speech. and we were like, “Let’s fucking do this.” Our decision was based off of “Do we think this is cool?” “Yeah, we think this is cool.” “Is this cool?” “No, it’s not cool.” We really let our hearts lead what we wanted to do, so that it would be the most authentic as possible to the band.

And we hired an amazing photographer, content person, Meg Moon, and we said, “Let’s film everything that you do — making of the album, the live shows. And let’s make sure that we’re posting on TikTok five times a week. Let’s make it as authentic as possible.” And, I had moments of doubt because they had an audience, they could sell out two shows at [the 2500-capacity History, Aug. 5-6, 2022] but what happens if we lose those fans and we don’t make enough new ones to replenish? That was always a fear in everyone’s mind. We will alienate some people.

When did you see that it was working?

Early. We had a viral TikTok when the album [Blame My Ex] was being done. It was on a little snippet of “Everything is Boring.” We got a thousand Spotify followers. The song wasn’t even done yet. We’re like, “Oh my god, 300,000 views on TikTok.” It’s the most we’d ever had and it really impacted consumption. Nothing went viral after that, but we continued trying and continued trying.  Maybe four months later, the song came out and its first day of streams was better than anything that they’d done previously, but nothing extravagant. It was enough that we were like, “Okay, we think people like it.” We started getting a little bit more confident. We weren’t as worried. Then we released “Blame Brett” [May, 2023] and it didn’t do as well as we thought it would do the first week, but we just all loved the song so much and really believed in it. It was Leandra who posted a TikTok. She found a random video of Jordan singing in the studio and that just immediately went viral. And the next day it had 100,000 views then 500,000 then 1 million views. And then on Spotify, the song went from, 10,000 streams a day to 50,000 streams a day to 100,000 streams a day. And we watched it in almost shock, but excitement.

That was just the beginning because we got to build the rest of the album off of that momentum and we’ve been able to keep that momentum going. The song’s almost been out for a year and [April 9] we had the most it’s ever streamed, 224,000, on Spotify. And so, through the TikTok and through posting consistently and them playing shows and all the momentum, we’ve been able to build off of that one moment that started with that viral “Blame Brett” moment.

You must have so many highlights from the past year from February’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance to the 2024 Juno Award for group of the year and rock album (Blame My Ex], and this summer’s hometown headlining show at Budweiser Stage [Aug. 22]. What is your fave?

I think that the Junos were such a special moment. we were on such a high and we had the time of our life and obviously it’d come very closely after Kimmel.

Kimmel was amazing. We were on a high and the Junos, the whole crew’s women [stylist, hair & makeup, content], except for one person. And you saw the band, everyone’s causing terror, everyone’s giggling, everyone was laughing. It was just a true celebration of everything that we had built over the last two years. And I think for the band too. They’ve worked so unbelievably hard to get there and have earned their stripes. And so the win is just so much sweeter.

Like, I’m not a crier; I never cry and I’ve cried like eight separate times of happiness over this last year, through these moments of Kimmel or the two Massey Hall shows [Nov. 2023], or the Junos or even just the album release party. And I’ve never seen artists so grateful for the success and they don’t take it for granted. And they’re so happy and humble and haven’t changed at all. I don’t know of anyone who deserves it more.

it’s been one high year for all of us. The whole shift was very thought out and we’d committed to a new vision and a new way of doing things. We wanted to do it independently and to actually have the success out of it. It was so beautiful. The Junos brought it all together. We had one of the best weekends of our lives.

The Wednesday roster also includes Alex and Connor. Don’t want to leave them out.

Alex, I’ve been managing for four years, but she’s recently had a bit of success on TikTok and did even better on Instagram reels [with “HateLove”] with 85 million views. We were able to leverage that to CHR radio, and she got to tour with Eric Nam [in Europe, 2023] which was really amazing. Connor, the last year, got to produce the latest Half Moon Run album [Salt], the Bobby Bazini album [Pearl] and he did the Juno-nominated Katie Tupper album [Where To Find Me]. I think he finally got to find and produce stuff that he’s in love with and he’s completely happy with. So, it’s just been a weird year for everyone to have little moments of success and to be proud of what they’ve done.

The Beaches: Leandra Earl, Eliza Enman-McDaniel, manager Laurie Lee Boutet, Kylie Miller, Jordan Miller – photo provided

And what’s next?

What’s coming is the Bud Stage is like going to sell out in the next month. Four months in advance. An artist that can go from two shows at Massey Hall to Bud’s stage is pretty spectacular. When [The Beaches responsible agent at The Feldman Agency] Joel [Baskin] called me and said, “Live Nation wants to do Bud’s stage,” I said, “Are you out of your fucking mind?” And I was super wrong, and they were very right. The girls are touring nonstop at the moment. They’re about to head off on Australia to a sold-out tour [May 6-12]. We have to keep on adding dates in Australia and upgrading because it’s hard to know what the demand is when you’ve never been, but we sold a 1200 capacity venue [Metro Theatre] in Sydney in a day, and we’re like, “Holy shit.”

And you did this all with an independent distributor?

Yes, AWAL. I’ve done business with AWAL for years and years and years. Most of my clients have been distributed through AWAL. So, when the band was independent, it was only natural to go through them. They have deals where there’s terms with low commitment, but obviously when The Beaches song [“Blame Brett”] went viral, they wanted us to commit to a little bit more. So we ended up doing a longer form deal with them. They’ve been an amazing partner. I’m so unbelievably happy with them. They feel like a major, but they don’t take as aggressively as a major does, but they spend like one.

You left Universal because you didn’t see a lot of managers out there and, in particular, female managers. Do you have plan to expand Wednesday, to bring in female managers, to mentor? In the U.S., sometimes managers are brought in under bigger management firms after they’ve had success. What’s your view?

When I started my company, I just felt like if I joined another company, someone else would get the credit for the work that I did. And because I never saw any female leaders — there certainly are a few, but there just wasn’t enough at the time, I was like, “How are women supposed to know that they can do it on their own when there’s not enough people doing it on their own?” So I never want to join anyone. I always want to build it myself. I want to have the credit. It’s very egotistical and selfish; I want to be that person. But, having said that, I wouldn’t have been able to build my business on my own without people helping me along the way. [The Feldman Agency’s co-owner] Tom Kemp has held my hand through every major business decision I’ve made since starting my company.

Looking back now I wonder if I would have gone further along if I joined a different company? Maybe I was holding myself back by not being in a different company, now that I reflect back on my 25-year-old me ego, wanting to do it myself, but I don’t have plans. I’m very happy building a boutique company.  I would love to hire more women. I’d love to hire women managers. I want to hopefully help give the confidence to more women to be able to manage and build a company that way. But I like the idea of staying boutique and not working on too many clients and doing a really great job for my clients.


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