Interview: James Southgate

James Southgate (3 of 6).jpg

The 2018 NZ Music Manager Awards take place on Wednesday May 9th at The Tuning Fork in Auckland.

Up for the main prize of Manager Of The Year are Alastair Burns (Marlon Williams, Julia Jacklin, The Weather Station. Phantastic Ferniture), James Southgate (Devilskin) and Julia Foa'i (Te Vaka, Opetaia Foa'i).

We had the chance to fire some questions to James Southgate ahead of the awards.

Who was the first musical act that you managed and how did you become a music manager? 

The First band I managed were The Earlybirds. I was introduced to them by a friend who was the ex bass player for David Bowie and solo artist Zaine Griff, he was mentoring the band and I saw them in rehearsals at The Old Vic Theatre in Devonport and they blew me away with their musicianship and their songwriting. Within a week of meeting them I started to manage them.

How were Devilskin first brought to your attention? 

A very good friend of mine Jerry Lloyd who worked as my Marketing Manager at Warner Music persuaded me to see them perform in Hamilton, again I was instantly hooked by the phenomenal dynamics within the band, their stage presence, performance and songs and within a month of meeting them I was engaged as their full time manager.

You're up for Manager of the Year, how does it feel to be nominated for the main prize? 

It is great recognition from your piers to be recognised for such a significant award. Over the years the likes of Scott McLaughlin, Ashley Page and Alastair Burns have all been very worthy recipients for the amazing job they have done with their artists and to be recognised for the job I have done is extremely gratifying.

Any up and comers we should keep an eye out for? 

Yes, totally excited with a brand new release from electro pop singer songwriter SHAYNA. We have been working on her songwriting for a little while and have just released a magnificent song called 'Miles Away' - instantly added to the A-List Pop Apple Playlist. SHAYNA co-wrote the song with M Basa and recorded with Josh Fountain who produced and mixed the song. We were extremely lucky that we also enticed Shae Sterling to film the fantastic debut video which was shot at multiple locations throughout Northland. 

Also excited with the new songs Devilskin are currently writing and look forward to getting back in the studio with them this year.

What's the hardest part about being a manager in the music industry? Well it really is an all encompassing job, its a cliche and easy to say its 24/7 but it really is 24/7. There are times that everything gets sacrificed to focus on a tour / album release / international touring / recording whatever it is that is required at that moment. You need to have a wide range of skills and if you don’t have the required skills engage experts who do!

What is the most rewarding part? 

For me its standing out front in the middle of an excited crowd who are loving the music and hearing your favourite songs being delivered live with pure musicianship and seeing the crowd react to that music. I have to say a Number 1 album on the main album chart is a pretty close second, thats validation for the 18 months - 2 years of hard work to get to that point and the Number 1 is payoff knowing that punters are buying the music. I love that.

If you could manage one person / band, either dead or alive, who would that be? 

Wow thats a pretty massive thought, any band dead or alive! It would have been a wild ride, how could you go past The Beatles or Led Zeppelin either would have been phenomenal, managing the chaos would have been an extreme challenge but man, it would have been exhilarating taking that music to the world.