In this series, we’ll be showcasing a variety of talented women in the music industry who are acing it right now. To find out more about how they navigated their chosen path in the industry, we’ll be uncovering how they got to be in their current roles and just exactly what that role entails. With the hope of sharing the abundance of career paths in the music industry, this feature aims to inspire more women to find their very own place in the music world by showcasing those who are already thriving in its environment.
For our third Industry Talks feature, we spoke to Amber Chen who’s currently managing an array of artists including Celeste, Rachel Chinouriri, newfamiliar, Kam-BU and Gabriels for Atlas Artists.
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Hi Amber, thanks for taking part in our Industry Talks.
Can you tell us what your job title is?
I’m a day to day manager at Atlas Artists!
What does your job involve?
Management involves so many elements these days which keeps the job varied and exciting. You have to be organised, a hype man, understand the business side to things and also have such enthusiasm about music. A week is never the same, there’s always emails involved but sometimes we’re on shoots or promo. My job includes taking care of the artist on a daily basis but also helping with marketing and social media planning for the next campaign. I also love getting involved in the creative process and helping to out plan music videos, styling and general branding of an artist.
Tell us a bit about your career so far and how you secured the role you’re in today.
My dad was the one who inspired me to get into music, he was a musician himself when he was a teenager playing in the local pubs. I started going to gigs when I was 16 and managing my friends’ bands until eventually I went to uni to study music business. I spent a lot of time at uni gaining as much experience as I could, going on tour and working with artists I went to school with. I got my job at Atlas Artists in my third year of university. One of our artists, Rachel Chinouriri, was playing a BBC Introducing industry event so I went along and found out that Atlas was hiring an intern through her. A year and a half later here I am!
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing an artist on their journey. To be a part of that and watching them grow into their art and become who they are is truly special. The process of building an artist is very hands on and creative and that’s the best part for me.
How do you ensure that your job doesn’t burn you out mentally?
I’m slowly getting better at this but it’s tough. When you love what you do it becomes a way of life that can sometimes be hard to seperate yourself from. I always ensure that I spend enough time with myself whether that’s not going out late during the week or prioritising my in depth self care routine on the weekend, haha! Also finding other hobbies is so important for me as it gives me time away to focus on something different, I took up painting over lockdown.
Do you have a degree? If so, what is it in?
Yes, I have a degree in music business! Comes in good use 😉
Were internships important to kickstart your career?
Yes, as I started Atlas as an intern it was how I began my journey there. Unfortunately good PAID internships are hard to come by so I definitely recommend making your own experience in whatever way you can instead of relying on internships that are often very competitive. Everyone’s situation is different so make it work for you.
Has networking played a significant part in your career?
Networking is sort of everything in the music industry, the people in your network are important no matter how big or small. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a community of friends and colleagues that understand the industry and that you can learn from each other. Especially being a young POC woman in a white male dominated field it has been important for me to network with other POC women in music.
If someone was looking to start a career in artist management, how would you advise them to start?
I would advise them to not be afraid to start their own things and leading their own paths. If there’s something you want to do, go out and try and do it. Every failure or success is a lesson learnt. Knowledge is also key in management so learning about today’s culture, what’s trending and what’s not is important.
Any top tips for being a successful woman in the music industry?
Resilience is everything. Standing up and using your voice is everything. There is still a culture of devaluing women for their ideas and behaviors that when reciprocated by a man are perceived differently. Challenging those expectations of how a woman should act in a male dominated field is so important. Especially in the business side of things, the industry can make you feel as if you have to be someone else, more masculine maybe, but always stay true to who you are and express yourself by any means. People forget that we work in an expressive industry after all!
And finally, which other women are killing it in the industry right now?
These guys are all so inspiring and are breaking boundaries in their own ways! My colleague Linda Maitland at Atlas Artists, Leanne Nguyen at Marathon, Jodie Brunning, and Jess Rowe at Hart Media. Of course all of the incredible women at Parlophone Records that I work with on a daily basis, Liv West, Alice Backham, Anya Du Suazay, Kiyanda Duncan and so many more.
Find out more about Atlas Artists here.
Industry Talks | The new feature from Lock Magazine.