Indie Manager Spotlight – Alex Damashek

A few months ago, I had a random conversation about artist management with a friend (who is an independent artist) and he said he thought I would make a good manager. I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge, and began to think of the qualities a manager of an independent artist should have. I posed the question on Twitter and got a lot of great responses, including the following from 8THW1:

“A great manager knows what’s best for the artist and knows how to communicate that to the artist”

“A good artist should be in the same company as a close/best friend. You will both share landmark moments of success”

“The artist creates while the manger secures space for the creation to flourish”

“Unfortunately, there are NOT many real deal managers out there. Chemistry, devotion and communication is the key. PERIOD!”

When I asked who people considered to be great managers of independent artists, some really great names came up, and I decided to learn more about how these people got into artist management, as well as ask them to share the pros and cons of working with independent artists, what it takes to be a great manager and more. So I present to you my “Manager Spotlight” – a multi-part interview series. Get to know the managers behind some of your favorite artists, and hopefully you’ll learn a thing or two if you’re thinking about becoming one.

Today our spotlight is on Alex Damashek, who manages Tanya Morgan and YC the Cynic. Enjoy!

Alex Damashek and Donwill of Tanya Morgan

(courtesy of Alex Damashek)

State your name and tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Alex M. Damashek, or AD for short, I manage the rap group Tanya Morgan and an incredible young, rising talent, named YC the Cynic.

What made you decide to get into artist management, and why did you choose the artist(s) you work with?

I decided to get into management because I used to be an artist.  I used to rap, DJ, and produce. I released my first album before I was 17, and 3 more before I turned 21.  I always had crazy marketing schemes and hustles to promote my music, and most of the artists around me couldn’t match my work ethic.  that’s why I always thought I’d make a good manager, because I shared the artist’s creative mentality, but I also had a hustle about me for business and marketing that a lot artists didn’t have. Years later, I was working at SOB’s, and I was exposed to a next level of talent, but the artists still needed the same help with business. It was like the writing was on the wall.  I choose the artists I work with because I believe in them, and I believe in their futures in the music business, both creatively and financially.  If you don’t believe in those two things for your client, you are managing the wrong artist!

What are the pros & cons of managing an independent artist?

The pros of managing an independent artist is that you can have a lot more impact on their career. The manager of an indie artist usually acts as the whole team: the publicist, the booking agent, publisher, sometimes even the label.  The con is that you have to work harder for less money.

What, in your opinion, does it take to be a great manager?

A great manager is someone who wakes up every day and asks themselves: “what can I do today to advance my artist’s career?” and has the drive, contacts and skills to get it done.

Can you share some memorable experiences from your journeys with your artist(s)?

My most memorable experience as a manager thus far would have to be touring the UK with Tanya Morgan.  We went to cities we’d never heard of and got crazy love everywhere.  We stayed in fancy hotels and were fed constantly.   The last show on the tour was in a beach town in Cornwall called Penzance. We ate fish & chips on the beach over looking the water, and I turned to the guys and said “this is SO hip-hop”.

Tanya Morgan

(photo courtesy of Robert Adam Mayer aka Photo Rob)

What are some accomplishments your artist(s) has/have achieved since you came on board?

Since I started working with Tanya Morgan, among other things, they completed their first headlining tour of the West Coast and made their 1st and 2nd trips to perform in Europe.  They are also unlockable video game characters that you can play with in NBA 2K11.  With YC, its only been a year, but he’s gone from a virtual unknown to one of the most buzzed about up-and-coming cats on the NY scene.

YC the Cynic

(photo courtesy of Vasilis Pazionis)

How have things changed for you since you began managing your artist(s)?

I have traveled the country 2x over on tour and I get into parties that I didn’t necessarily get into before.

If there was one thing you could change about your experience as a manager, what would it be?

If I could change one thing in my management experience, I would be more assertive with my ideas and opinions. Artists are always going to make their own decisions, and sometimes you have to let them make their own mistakes, but as a manager it’s your job to make sure the path they choose is the one.


Tanya Morgan:

YC the Cynic:

Move Forward Music:

3 Responses to “Indie Manager Spotlight – Alex Damashek”
  1. Sum says:

    eagerly awaiting the rest of the series!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] My name is Alex M. Damashek, or AD for short, I manage the rap group Tanya Morgan and an incredible young, rising talent, named YC the Cynic. What made you decide to get into artist management, and why did you choose the artist(s) you work with? I decided to get into management because…(continue reading After the Jump…) […]

  2. […] Part 1: Alex Damashek (Tanya Morgan, YC the Cynic) […]

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