Each month, we’ll put The Industry Observer spotlight on an artist manager who is doing incredible things for their roster and the music market in general.
Rupert Lincoln, manager of alt-pop trio LANY and one of the hardest-working figures in the industry, is our April manager of the month.
Following an exchange on Facebook with an artist based in LA, Lincoln quit university in the UK, packed up his things and moved to the US to manage her. But as we found out, that’s not exactly out of character for Lincoln – many of his successes spawned from trusting his own instincts.
As the manager of LANY, Lincoln has helped take the trio from a stage where any profits were invested back into the band, to the point where a video posted on YouTube gets over 1.2 million views in two months.
The now Polydor-signed act are set to return to Australia for Splendour in the Grass in July. But first, Lincoln chats to TIO about how he came to sign LANY, how WME cemented his career choice, and the biggest risks he’s ever made.
What made you pursue a career in artist management?
I grew up in Bristol, England engrossed with music. Not playing it but consuming it in many ways. In my early teens I started to poke around online researching how music was made and finding producers I liked.
I think I managed a guy from [music-based social community] Soundclick for a month or two when I was 15. I also sold knock off Michael Jackson DVDs through Ebay (now I realise that’s illegal!).
Eventually, my older brother had a connection to an artist from my hometown who had just moved to LA to sign to a major label. While at University in Leeds I reached out via Facebook and a few months later I quit my studies and moved to LA to work with her. That turned into a front row experience of the music business and management. After a stint at the WME talent agency, I realised management was something I really enjoyed and should pursue full time.
How did you come to manage LANY?
I met Paul [Klein, lead vocals, keyboard, guitar] through our mutual friend Ryan Good. I saw him play keys and sing, and I was utterly blown away. He said he had just moved to LA and we started chatting while I was still at the talent agency.
I then decided to leave that company and took a gamble on going out to manage an embryonic LANY. I hadn’t met Jake [Goss, drums, Roland SPD-SX] and Les [Priest, keyboards, guitar, vocals] yet, as they still lived in Nashville but went with my gut! It was the right move and it’s an absolute pleasure building something unique with these three really special guys.
How did the music industry first receive LANY?
There was initial label interest but no one would commit to signing them. We just stuck our heads down and worked our socks off as an independent act for a year-and-a-half and it paid off. We re-invested everything into touring.
LANY’s career is really heating up globally as they ready the release of their self-titled debut LP, what’s in the pipeline following the release?
Certainly lots of touring. Australia, Asia, Europe, North America and eventually South America too. We put a lot of importance on being a global band.
What career goals did you set for LANY that the band have already met?
Every week there’s a new goal for us. When you play the 1,000 cap room you want to play the 2,000 cap room, and when you play to 2,000 people you want to play to 4,000, and so on and so forth. We’ve been knocking our goals down one by one and continuing to set new ones.
What’s the biggest career blunder you’ve ever made?
Probably made a few blunders when I worked at a dry cleaners in my teens! Dry cleaning isn’t my calling!
If you could go back, what advice would you give your teenage self?
Experiment more with being entrepreneurial. School in the UK doesn’t teach that and it’s a shame. There’s no entrepreneurial culture or focus on enterprise. Eventually, I did take some big risks including moving to America and my mother was incredibly supportive of that, but I would have loved to have started even earlier and experimented more as a youngster.