A music manager organizes, coordinates, schedules, brainstorms, and seeks out opportunities so artists can be as involved in their business as they want to be. In this episode, Bree Noble presents Rosabelle Eales, the Founder of Overall Management. Rosabelle explains how the most successful artists are the ones who have had to figure themselves out first. And that you should not seek management until you understand what you need from a manager. But if you’ve had momentum and you want to add fuel to the fire, then it’s time to ask questions from established management. Tune in to determine if you need a manager to boost your career today!
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Here’s Why You May Need A Music Manager To Boost Your Career With Rosabelle Eales
I am excited to be here with Rosabelle Eales. We are going to talk about her journey and her awesome management company that helps out musicians and especially focused on women. I’m excited about that because as you guys know that is a big topic for me. Before we get started, Rosabelle, I’d love to know your background and how you came to do what you’re doing.
Thank you for having me. I feel like time flies. I’m turning 30. Looking back at what’s been the last few years for me in music is crazy to think that it’s been many years. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After high school, I moved to New Orleans for college. I spent two years at the University of Loyola, New Orleans.
While there, I met and started trying to create my base circle, many of whom I still work with now. One of the people I met while I was out there was an amazing manager named Matt Bauerschmidt, who manages an artist named G-Eazy. That was my first legit artist that I worked with, toured with and spent a lot of time working in and around that camp, which then opened the door for me to work in hip-hop, where I spent 3 or 4 years. I managed a female rapper signed to Young Money.
I did support and helped on quite a few tours in that space, and this is like the very cliff notes version right back then. In 2013, a very dear friend of mine, Garrett Nash, came to me because he had put out the song called I Hate U, I Love U. That was spreading like wildfire and asked if I wanted to join his team and work with him.
I left the world of hip-hop and started managing Garrett. Together, we took that song Top 10. It’s now Diamond in almost every country, which is crazy. It’s now six times Platinum in the US. It was like I was thrown into the fire of management because there are very few ways to better learn how to be a manager than to be tasked with something as big and overwhelming as that record for us. It was very special. Often at the back of that, I started my company, which now homes seven incredible, talented and amazing writers, producers and artists.
That’s an incredible journey. It seems like a lot of it was very serendipitous. Things are given to your path.
For a long time, when I was younger like 20, 21, I was like, “Working in music is being at the right place at the right time, and learning how to say yes to the right opportunities.” I think it still is that. I would like to help. I’m a little bit more strategic. A lot of my story in music was me knowing that this is what I wanted to do and this was the environment I wanted to be in. Having enough common sense to see a good opportunity when it walked by and being someone who wanted to learn, absorb, be malleable and saying yes to opportunities that felt right for me, and then using those opportunities to grow and learn how to be a great manager.
Did you think that management was the direction you were going to go from the beginning?
I thought tour management was the direction I was going to go. I found a real passion for tour management when I was first getting started. How I explain it is that management is a never-ending to-do list that you never get the satisfaction of finishing, where management is a to-do list, where at the end of every day, you’ve got the satisfaction of finishing it. There was something about the sense of completion that came with a tour that I loved, but my mind for business and growth was ended up being a little bit more directed in management.Learn how to say yes to the right opportunities. Click To Tweet
Tour management is more like project management versus having this never-ending thing of we’re always trying to grow this artist in some way. Once we grew this over here and now, we need to focus on this over here. A lot of people that are in my audience and reads the blog are not even clear what a manager does. They feel like, “I need one because I am dying here. I am burned out.” Could you explain what is a manager?
A manager is hard to define the role. Sometimes I get asked the question like, “What does your average day look like?” I’m like, “There is no average day. I do not have an average day.” I think of a manager fundamentally is a catch-all for your business. A manager is somebody who is organizing, coordinating, planning, scheduling but is also brainstorming, seeking out opportunities.
A manager makes it so fundamentally you, as an artist, can be as involved as you want to be. I have clients who are very involved in their business. I have clients who choose to just be creative but it does open the door so you could choose to be creative. Everything aside from creating and putting your art into the world, a manager facilitates it.
What about things like interacting on social media and stuff that I feel like an artist needs to do but sometimes I don’t want to do?
That’s 50/50. I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all in management. I know managers who post a client’s profile. I have been a manager who is posted and promoted on clients’ profiles when they’ve asked me to. Sometimes clients choose to do that themselves. There’s no one-size-fits-all. Every one of my clients has very different and specific needs, although the job is similar across the board.
More of like what your specific artist needs because we have different business personalities. Some artists are interested in the business side, some are not, some might have a lot of ideas about what you should be doing and some of it like, “I’m not an idea person. I hand that over to you.”
That’s something that someone said to me. Two things have stuck with me is that one, a manager should never take on a client until the client has too much going on to manage it themselves. I have done the opposite of that in the past. I have two clients on my roster who are very much developing. I’m blessed to be in a situation as a manager where I can take on projects where maybe the runway is a little bit longer, where I want to be a part of the build. That is a very rare situation, that more times than not, artists should not necessarily seek management until they understand what they need from a manager.
All get outreach from people sometimes who are like, “I just made this amazing music and I feel like I need a superstar manager to help make this happen.” The scary and hard truth is that a superstar manager can’t make it happen. A superstar manager can be a part of having relationships with labels, lawyers, other managers or agents, of course, but often it is the artist that needs to do it. For me, what I look for in my clients is that they have a strong vision and understand where this is going, and what I can do is help to create the environment to which that can most flourish.
A lot of times, artists want someone to come in and take over because they’re so overwhelmed by everything. That’s usually not the point where they’re ready because they have to figure themselves out first.
The artists that are the most successful are the ones who have had to figure themselves out first. When you look at the artist who are the most successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they climbed the ladder with themselves and made it to the top. There is a certain level of experience, knowledge, growth and understanding that they have gained themselves from whatever environment before they seek a team.
At the end of the day, it is just more stereo speaking like management is 80/20 for a reason. It’s not a 50/50 business. Your manager is not your 50/50 partner. They are there to facilitate, push through, communicate, help and build. For sure, come up with ideas but it does still sit on your shoulder to be the person who’s propelling this forward.
That 80/20 comes up because a lot of artists don’t even know what the standard situation is with the manager. Is that pretty standard and deal different if an artist is still on the developing side versus at the point where they’re at a place where they could support you at 20% as a manager?
Managers know when they take on an artist, who’s developing like what’s going on. A manager, in my opinion, there’s no one size fits all but normal, 15% or 20% is standard. I don’t think it’s appropriate for a manager to receive more than 20%. I know that sometimes managers receive less because clients have much more overhead.
Let’s say, you’re an artist plus you’re a bigger artist. You have an assistant, a security guard, driver and you have a husband. You have a staff, then maybe you need to offset some of those expenses by reducing your manager’s commission. It’s different but normally if we were going standard like a business standard norm, a manager gets 20% a business manager gets 5% and a lawyer gets 5%.
What about a band? They probably would have a lot more overhead because they have more people that they have to pay.
In most band situations, it’s fundamentally the same thing. The band is splitting that 70% or 80%, depending on what it is percent amongst the members. I’ve known some bands, let’s say there are four members in the band, they’ll split all the profit five ways, and then 1/5 of that goes into a band account. That band account is what’s used to cover expenses and overhead outside of their team.
I know there’s some of it that’s intangible. It’s about their art, all that stuff, but are there any metrics or anything that you’re looking for, or is it more of an overall feel of where their career is?
I’m not a financial or metrics-based manager. That’s not necessarily what guides me. I have to keep reiterating that I can only speak to my opinion and perspective, but no manager is the same. When I’m looking for a new client, what I look for is above anything. Do I feel like I can best serve this person? Do I feel like I can pull my weight and bring to the table what I need to bring to help move this individual forward in whatever ways they’re asking? I was first like, “Do I think I can do it and do I believe in the music? Do I love the music?” I have to love the music. I have to feel passionate about it. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.Artists should not seek management until they understand what they need from a manager. Click To Tweet
Let’s say those two things are yes. What I then look for a secondary to that is, “Does this individual fit the ethos of my company? Do they fit the community that I’ve built? Do we have similar communication styles? Does it feel like we can gel and work together?” If they say yes, then we start to have conversations about more of the nitty-gritty and what that relationship would look like.
What I really look for is, “Do I feel like I can best serve them? Am I passionate about music? Does it feel like they fit the ethos of what overall is because in a lot of ways, my company specifically, is far more of a community than it is a company? All of my clients have relationships with each other. They all work together. We all support each other. If there’s a win for one, it’s a win for the whole team. When I bring someone in it is like, “Does this person feel like they can join this family and they can both benefit and also help to propel the community?”
I definitely want to talk about your company ethos and your community, but before we do that, I wanted to ask on your side, what skills do you think you had to develop as a manager to be able to do what you do? When you said, “The ones I can best serve,” what are your superpowers as a manager?
My superpowers as a manager are my organization skills. I have an incredible intuition. Everything I’ve ever done has been guided by my intuition. It would be my organizational skills, my communication skills, my intuition and my overall understanding of business, how to make money and how to make something profitable.
My superpower is my compassion, my empathy and the love that I bring to the table. I feel like I serve a specific clientele that likes that, needs that and enjoys that support. There are other clients that are like, “I don’t care. I just want you to make this happen. I don’t necessarily need the compassion, love and kindness,” but that’s something that I take a lot of pride in and love to share with my clients.
That ties into your company ethos, your mission and all that. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Something that I’ve been saying for many years that ended up becoming the company ethos is that we really are good people fighting for the good people. I take a lot of pride with that. I was chatting with a friend who had left music, and it’s gone into other entrepreneurial efforts. Giving a tone music but it’s exiting out.
They were telling me all the reasons why they didn’t want to be in music anymore. How it was the toxic environment. It was the negative conversations. It was all the toxicity and I couldn’t help but while I was sitting there listening to them think to myself like, “I don’t deal with any of that.” I go out of my way to be like, “I only do business with good people.” I’m a good person. I surround myself with good people.
I try to bring love, grace and joy to everything that I do. Because of that, I take a lot of pride in this business. Within that, I seek similar individuals to be my employees and to surround ourselves with. I’ve always said like, “As a manager, I was only going to go as far as being a good person could take me.” If at some point, I hit a wall where I felt like I had to start to compromise my morals or behave in a way that didn’t feel authentic to me, then I was going to debt. I wasn’t interested and I have done nothing but continue to propel up hurt. Our ethos is that we are genuinely good people that are out here being good people every day.
You’re putting that forward and sticking to that because in that way, you’re going to attract only the artist that wants that and not the artists that are just only focused on the money, and they’re willing to step on everyone to get there.
In any friendship, relationship, business and relationship, you have ups and downs, you have bonds but it’s like, “I don’t have a conflict with my employees, with my clients.” We don’t have a conflict with each other because we’re all on the same page. I’ve managed to now build an environment of people whose personal ethos all line up.
When I’m dealing with people outside of my company, other managers, publishers, labels, NRS because that’s what my company at Zoots, we find ourselves also only dealing with other good people. It’s interesting because you’ll sometimes hear the feedback about how the music industry breeds shittiness or that people experience this toxicity.
I’m like, “Yes, 100%.” I’m not out here saying for many years, it’s been rainbows and butterflies, but I will say that as I started to put this mindset forward and be like, “This is how I can stay in this industry.” For me, to stay here, I have to surround myself in these healthy environments. You then realize how many other people are out there in this industry with that same perspective, and those are the people who are starting to grow, build and collaborate with.
We can take back the industry. Kill them with kindness.
That’s how I feel. I’m not trying to pretend like it’s all butterflies and rainbows. Of course, shit comes up. It’s not easy. Being a manager is not easy. Running a company is not easy. Being in music, especially, post-pandemic, none of this is easy but that’s okay. It’s when it’s not easy and toxic that you’re like, “I can’t handle that.” By elevating yourself out of environments that could potentially be negative or toxic and surrounding yourself with real genuine positivity, collaboration, friendship and compassion. It makes it all bearable.
I’m thinking about the artist on your roster. I know you attract the people that would be supportive of each other but do you ever experience them maybe getting competitive with each other? Artists are easily comparing themselves to others.
Not on my roster. For comparison, fatigue is a big thing. The statement like comparison is the thief of joy is a very real statement. I do witness my clients struggle with comparison fatigue or not understanding why things happen for other people that aren’t happening for them because the timeline is so different. I see that but that does not happen internally. Something else is that we don’t have any clients to sit in the same. Although, it’s all housed under the concept of alternative pop. None of my clients sit in the exact same space. Everybody sits in their own space so they can genuinely support each other.The most successful artists are the ones who have had to figure themselves out first. Click To Tweet
I had a few questions about what you do with your clients. Are you seeking label support for them or are they mostly doing independent releases?
It’s a little bit of both. Overall is I’m launching a label with a major label partner. We’re doing a JV. The deal is not signed yet, so I can’t talk about it but mostly because I try not to talk about things until like don’t count your chickens until they hatch. I am doing a JV with a major label to be able to give opportunity both to my client and other talents that I find and believe in to be able to release to me if that’s what they want.
Aside from that, it’s 50/50, Nash’s signed to Atlantic, Ahmad who still has an artist project is independent but we’re working on something new that we might shop around to a label. Ilan is independent. Girl Wilde is in a label deal with a label called SNAFU. Max is independent, and then our newest client, Sean Kennedy is independent. It’s 50/50.
If you’re looking to take on an artist, do you feel like they absolutely have to tour or do you think nowadays, if they don’t want a tour, they can still have a career that way?
You ask a really interesting question. Something that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, which is that, my biggest touring act would be Nash. He tours a lot. We spent five years basically on tour, nonstop all over the world, you name it. We were there kicking, selling off shows the whole nine. COVID hit, and then he didn’t seem like a loss of income.
He was like, “What?” It’s because he wasn’t on tour, he was able to make music. What he didn’t realize was that a lot of the music that he was making was music that he was making with playing live shows in mind. He was thinking to himself like, “This will be perfect for this or whatever.” He took touring out and he made the most incredible body of work imaginable.
I am blown away by what he’s made, but now that is opened the conversation for us about what touring looks like for him. I don’t know if I have a settled opinion on this but in the circumstance of him, because that’s all I can speak to is that he will tour. He probably won’t tour as much, and that’s totally okay. Some acts are heavily touring base acts and that is a big portion of how they see their fans and how they make their money.
Some artists are streaming, some artists are both. When you are a new artist coming out the gate, to make fans, to build those connections, I do think touring is important. There’s also a world where it’s about like, “What do you want as an artist?” If what you want is you want the tour, merch, streams and you want all of it, then you have to do all of it.
As an artist, you’re like, “I’m super happy with how I stream and sell online. I’ll do a few shows here and there. I’m super content with this.” That’s also okay, too. I don’t know if there’s a format and that’s something that I realized over COVID because I was also indoctrinated with the idea that the only way to make it work is to be on the road.
Especially being a Touring Manager previously. There are those artists out there, especially they’ve realized as they slowed down during COVID. There are all these parts of life that I was missing out on and stuff. Maybe they don’t want a tour. In Nash’s example, how was he making money then when he stopped touring?
Through many revenues, through merchandise. He owns a portion of his catalog independently, so that does well. Different ventures, completely outside of music. It’s often with touring, you spend a lot of money to tour. You throw a lot of money into touring and that was a big realization. After you look at your bottom line of what you’ve made, he was like, “There are other ways that I could be doing this as well.”
That being said, he is still going to go out and obviously, he’s the ultimate. Frank Ocean is an amazing example of this. Frank Ocean doesn’t tour, and when he does a show, his fans show out but that’s not something that seems to be of interest to him. Frank Ocean is still one of the biggest and the best ever to do it. It’s about creating the environment that makes sense for you. My agents would probably hate me for saying that. If my agents read this, everybody tour. Lots of tours.
Are they also pursuing the sync options?
Sync is a complicated and weird beast because you can’t control sync. Sync is something that comes to you. Ahmad did four songs on the Birds of Prey soundtrack, including the Doja Cat Boss Bitch record and the theme song. That was an amazing single opportunity. He then had a song in the Space Jam film that came out. He’s always working on stuff like that but I don’t know if you can chase sync as much as you can make stuff, and then hope that it gets out.
It’s a nice income stream but you can’t absolutely count on it necessarily. I have one more question. There are a lot of indie artists reading to this blog, how should they know if it’s time for them to pursue a manager? I know you said, “When they’re too busy,” but they might perceive that differently. They may be like, “I’m too busy because I need to build my website. I need to do all these basic things I haven’t done yet.”
It depends on what type of manager you’re talking about. When I started managing Nash, although I had been in music for many years, I had never experienced something as big as I Hate U, I Love U. Garrett was my best friend and we really figured it out. I sometimes think that homey managers, brand managers, end up being the best managers that you can have. That’s one angle of this conversation.
They’re so invested.
Also, you will figure it out together. That’s my biggest lesson. I didn’t graduate college. I don’t come from music nepotism. I wasn’t raised in LA. I literally grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I figured this out for myself. The biggest lesson from that is, if you’re an artist and you feel overwhelmed but you don’t necessarily feel like you’re so big that you need to go seek an established management, find a homie, who has a little bit of a mind for business.Surround yourself with healthy environments. Click To Tweet
You all can figure it out together. You’ll probably be far more successful than you would think. That’s the first thing. Is it finding a manager, building a team? I don’t want to deter people by thinking that they have to be an island and they have to do it on their own. I’m more speak to when you start to seek out, you’re like, “This person is my favorite artist. Who is their manager? I want to work with that person.”
That’s when you start to be when you seek out more of a management company situation. You should probably have a certain level of momentum and interest. Things are moving. Maybe you’re starting to get hit up by ANRs. Maybe, you’ve been playing shows and touring yourself, and you’ve built a little bit of a touring base for yourself. Where you’re like, “This is trying to feel like something.”
When you shouldn’t seek out a manager or management company, when you feel stuck and you’re like, “If I find a manager, this person will out stick me.” That doesn’t work. You should seek out a manager or a management company or a situation when you’re like, “No.” This really feels like this is moving. If I could pull somebody in, we could maybe do something with this. I think that that’s a good time.
That being said, tapping your friends, tap in the people around you who love you. You got a friend that makes dope shit on Photoshop. Have them design your artwork. Have them make a T-shirt for you. Squarespace is an incredibly easy platform to build a website put something good on TV and mess around with it until you build something for yourself that you like.
Especially, in the last many years, there are many things to become successful. These tools were previously coveted. I heard a statistic, and don’t quote me, but it’s something along these lines where it was several years ago, there was a total of about 60,000 songs coming out a year between 40,000 and 60,000 songs coming out a year.
Now, there’s between 40 and 60 songs coming out every single day. What that means is that those tools have now been given to you. You don’t have to get a record deal to get your music out. We have TuneCore, DistroKid and Stem, and the levels and all of these places that you can be uploading your music. They can be helping you with playlisting opportunities.
We have these incredible resources like TikTok that you can be putting your art out there and building a fan base for yourself. You have all of these things. You should be doing those things. If you’re doing all of those things and it feels like things are starting to spike, and you’re like, “I need to talk to someone. I need someone who can guide me,” that’s a good time to start looking for a manager.
First of all, there’s a bunch of people that take my courses that are like what you said. They’re like, “I’m this person’s mom or I’m this person’s friend, I’m helping them. I’m managing them or I’m doing this together with them,” and they’re just getting educated. There are many ways to get educated now. There are many tools.
You’re absolutely right. I love the way that you drew that visual. Don’t go looking for a manager when you’re stuck. You’ve got to get yourself out of the mud first. Then when you start driving down the road because you got out of the mud and you want to go faster, you get other people to come and push you or throw more gas in the vehicle so you can go faster.Trying and seeing what works by trial and error is the only way to truly figure it out. Click To Tweet
I have a lot of empathy. Even for my bigger clients, I get it. There is so much noise and trying to cut through the noise and get your art out there. It’s hard and it’s complicated but the biggest thing is everybody’s feeling. The biggest artist that you could only imagine is feeling that, down to the person who’s just starting. We’re in an unprecedented time with the amount of just pure media that is constantly being out, put out all the time and trying to catch that moment. Get that momentum and in every generation of music, artists and managers, everybody had frustrations. It was trying to get your CDs to the radio station or the local record store to play it.
Everybody has had their things and now are things that we have so much. Understanding that nobody has figured it out, how to cut through the noise and have a massive hit, the first song you’ve put out, no one’s figured that out. It’s because of that, all you can do is be putting your art out in an authentic, dope, unique way. Surrounding yourself with people who support you, making sure you have an amazing brain trust and try to keep pushing it forward.
It’s helpful to hear that from someone like you that’s in it, that no one’s figured it out. As an artist, you’re in this island of thinking that you’re the only one that doesn’t know the secret or something. We’ve covered so much and I know this has been helpful for everyone. Is there anything else that you want to make sure to cover while we’re here that might help our audience?
No. You can’t put out too much music. Don’t be too precious with it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’re going to be fine.
Sometimes they clutch onto their song thinking it’s like, “If I only I had the right way to release it, it’s going to be the biggest thing in the world.” No.
Just get it out there. It’s fine. Be adventurous. The cool thing too is you can only take stuff down. If you, do it, you don’t like it. Take it down. Do it again. There’s not a formula, so you’ve got to try and see what works. It’s trial by error in many ways, is the only way to truly figure it out.
I love hearing that from someone who is a manager because we, as indie artists, might think that managers know all the steps, secrets and the things that we don’t know, and they’ve got it all figured out. Obviously, you have been through this. You have done the failures. You’ve tested, you’ve tried. That’s how you got where you are now. That’s inspiring to everybody reading because they can do that, too. How can our readers find you? I know they’re going to want to learn more about you and more about the artists on your roster.
Seek them out you, guys, Overall Mgmt. Thank you so much, Rosabelle. This has been a really great conversation.
About Rosabelle Eales
At 23, Rosabelle Eales founded Overall Mgmt with one initial principle in mind — “we are good people, fighting for the good people.” Her first two clients included gnash and Imad Royal, who, with the guidance of Rosabelle, have become two of the biggest names in alternative pop music. Overall now houses incredible, multifaceted talents stretching to all corners of music. You can learn more about her roster + company at OVERALLMGMT.COM.