Indie Manager Spotlight: David Hamilton

Last month, I did a multi-part series entitled “Indie Manager Spotlight” in which I interviewed several people on the indie scene who are doing some awesome work and were willing to share some insight on their experiences. Well, to start this new year off, I give to you the last of this series, featuring David Hamilton, who manages Brooklyn MC WordSpit and was part of the US management team for Estelle. Enjoy!

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

I’ve always been a bit of a “manager”, LOL ;-). My whole life actually…just ask my mom.  After returning from Iraq, and moving to New York from Delaware, I began pursuing a career in music entertainment. I worked a few retail jobs, internships at Sony Music Studios & with John Legend in October of the same year while attending school at the same time. I became an official employee of John Legend’s HomeSchool Records in Sept of 07 as well as the exc. assistant to Estelle’s US management. Estelle is very hands-on in her vision and I have and will always applaud her ability to fight for what she believes in.  In the summer of 2008 I went to work with the Obama for America campaign. Over that summer, although only an occasional associate at the time, WordSpit began sending me music for feedback. After the election, he and I began discussing working together and it led to the idea of management.  An Underground Music Award, a national McDonald’s campaign, performances across the country, a band, thousands of album downloads and 2 years later… I’m a manager.                                                                                                               .

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

Pros: Keyword- independent! We were able to try some unconventional things and only had to answer to ourselves. I also think as an independent artist you are a bit of an underdog. People like to cheer for the underdog. They get just as or even more excited when you get small wins. There is a rush that come along with “winning” in spite of a low budget, or network connection, or a major co-sign.

Cons: NO MONEY!! LOL! In order to do anything in this world, you need a little something to make moves. Flights, buses, band, clothes, CDs, food, etc… ACCESS. Being independent means you have to figure out where the doors are, which ones aren’t traps, who has the keys, and who’s willing to let you in whether it be an event, a club, or an office. But with will and talent, we all can turn pennies into dollars and with tact & skill…kick in any door we want.  I have!

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

Being crazy. Completely and utterly insane. No, in my opinion, the greatest skill to have is the ability to COMMUNICATE. You have to know how to talk, when to talk, who you should talk to, and what to talk about. Everyone isn’t your homie but you can’t be an inaccessible dick either.

PLAN. If you don’t know where you intend to go or how YOU plan to get there…then what are you doing? You have to set goals and realistic means to achieve them. Always reassess your plan to make sure you are on track or if you need to adjust your shot group.

COMMON SENSE. Please bring it to the table. Be willing to try new things and take daring approaches, but use logic to assess the risk and returns.

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

For Estelle, it was great being able to celebrate her first Grammy. To know I helped play my part as a team member is something I will never forget. (Catch me in her “American Boy” video…they saw me and were like “That’s a win!” LOL) My two years with WordSpit have some of the greatest memories and growth in my life. From house parties, to road trips, to near fist-to-cuff fights.  I will never forget the day I told this guy he was going to be in a national commercial. “Is this shit real!?” And the day he won his UMA… “East New Yooooork!” Thought that guy was going to cry on stage, LOL! Now go get that Grammy, guy.

David Hamilton & Estelle during Grammy Week

(photo courtesy of David Hamilton)

David with his mother and WordSpit at a celebratory dinner for WordSpit’s UMA win

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

Hmmmmm….I wish I had more money and time because there have been so many blossoming artist that I would love to have helped. Other than that, I count every win and loss as experience. By the way….I have an iPad.

Links:

Wordspit: myspace.com/wordspit; wetheillest.wordpress.com

Estelle: www.estellemusic.com

If you missed any of the other “Indie Manager Spotlight” features, check out the links below:

Part 1: Alex Damashek (Tanya Morgan, YC the Cynic)

Part 2: Andre Clarke (TTK)

Part 3: Danielle Thornton (Eric Sosa)

Part 4: Anshia Tull (Kimberly Nichole, Eric Roberson, Aaron Camper)

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Comments
5 Responses to “Indie Manager Spotlight: David Hamilton”
  1. Great interview! I’ve worked with David and he definitely is one of today’s brilliant minds! Congrats!

  2. Glam Ginger says:

    WoooooHoooooo to David J H!!!! You deserve all that’s gonna come to you! I F’s w/u and Keep it up. 🙂

  3. Amber says:

    Great Interview!

  4. Eboni says:

    Definitely a well-deserved acknowledgment. Ever making moves! Love it..

  5. Bryson Gauthney says:

    Good interview Dav!… it was very enlightening, I took a lot from what you said. Your motivation, motivates me to be a better leader.

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