In this instalment of our Featured Alumni series, we catch up with Vocals graduate Alex Katter!
Alex (pictured on the right) graduated from ACM back in 2004, so we wanted to find how his career has been up to now, and how he’s found running his own management company, Gravity MGMT!
Hi Alex! Tell us a bit about your background, and your experience in the music industry?
After leaving ACM in 2004 I’ve been lucky enough to continue working in music, not as a musician as first planned but as a manager to artists & songwriters.
My first experience as a manager was working as an assistant at Safe Management under Chris Herbert (Spice Girls, 5ive, Bens Brother) where I enjoyed 4 and a half years learning what it is to be a manager and that your little ‘black book’ is one of the most crucial assets a manager can have.
When I left Safe for pastures new, I worked as a consultant for Island Records & 19 Entertainment that ultimately led me to meeting industry legend, Colin Lester (Craig David, Travis, Arctic Monkeys), (pictured on the left), and working with him at the newly formed management company Twenty First Artists.
TFA was my first real experience of being a stand alone manager and I’d say most of my learning was within the 3 amazing years I spent under the guidance of Colin.
Being owned by a major label (Universal) had it’s flaws. It wasn’t just about learning to be a better manager to the clients we represented, but the business mechanics behind any artists or songwriters career. I’d say the two most valuable lessons I learnt from Colin were to always back talent and how to build business around your clients.
What have you been involved with since then?
In January 2014 I set up Gravity MGMT bringing my assistant from TFA, and now business partner Jack Wise along for the ride. We wanted to set up a company that was an extension of our musical loves. We’ve been lucky enough to have amazing clients and the team bond we all have has seen us through hard and good times. We’re very proud to represent the clients we do and waking up every day knowing your future is in your own hands really drives you forward.
Our current roster include The Amazons (Fiction) Harry Foxx (Stellar) Rachel Furner (Universal Music Publishing), Nick Atkinson (BMG), Dan Bartlett (FurtureKind/Sony ATV), Edd Holloway (Music Production, 2011) (BMG) & Charlie Holmes (Music Production, 2011), the latter two being ACM graduates!
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
I joined ACM at 18 so I could continue to be a musician and meet like-minded folk. I loved being around so many creative people and doing music everyday.
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
The tutors were fantastic and really got to know me as a person, I think the guidance I got from the likes of Neil Simpson and Chip Jenkins were the catalyst for me now being part of the industry as a manager and not a musician. I enjoyed the performance aspect at ACM and although I was in a few bands that seemed to have some legs I soon discovered the business module & talks from industry professionals opened up my eyes to a career away from the spotlight.
Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the industry?
If working in this industry is everything you’ve ever wanted to do then go and do it, I hear too many people have excuses for why they can’t get a job or a foot in the door, it’s very simple to me. You need to have talent, absolutely, but you need to have the drive and ambition to succeed. Your reputation is everything and the hustle you have to do to survive in this industry is ridiculous. If the artist or songwriter is good enough you can make a career for them and yourself, it’s working out in your own mind which clients are a 7/10 vs a 9/10, once you work that out it becomes a lot more obvious why certain things happen and don’t. The buck stops with the manager and we run a ‘no blame policy’ at Gravity, if something hasn’t happened the way it should or someone makes a mistake, it’s our fault as we should have foreseen it happening but as good a manager as you may be unless you’re picking the best clients to represent it just ain’t gonna happen. As Colin said to me once and something I’ll always remember and never forget…
“We’re Managers not Magicians”!
If you’d like to be a student at ACM to kickstart your career in the music industry like Alex, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.