Industry Feature Friday: Jeff Ojeda (Phase Music Management, BCCMA and Music BC)
Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
I'm over the moon excited to have Jeff Ojeda as my guest this week for IFF! Thank you SO MUCH for joining me this week! Jeff is the incredibly talented Owner & Manager of/at Phase Management Inc. and on the Board of Directors for BC Country Music Association and Music BC.
Ya'll, this is the best having Jeff join me this week!!! So excited!
Here's a little more about Jeff and Phase from the Phase website:
"Jeff has over 15 years of experience in the Music Industry. From managing music artists, conceptualizing & creating brands for artists, to tour managing & teching for musicians from across North America. After starting his music branding specialized design company in 2010, his creative know-how caught the eye of various labels & management teams.
In 2015, Jeff leveraged his early successes by managing and developing artists as Phase Management Inc. He helped launch his first commercial signing, The New Electric, up the charts and garnered three Top 20 Canadian Pop Radio hits on their way to multiple awards & nominations. Together, they embarked on cross-Canada tour with Pop superstar, Nick Carter (from the Backstreet Boys)." - http://phasemgmt.com/author/jeff/
Their music resume speaks VOLUMES with names like Kyle McKearney and The Lad Classics, Zoey Leven and Spencer Bleasdale (Producer/Mixer) on their roster. Jeff is a game changer for these artists and industry professionals.
Phase Music Management is easily one of the leading management companies in Canada today, to say the least. The level of representation is truly remarkable. Having a company like this backing you up and providing their level of business services can and will (and has!) only propel an artist further.
With all that said, I'm very very happy to introduce you to Jeff Ojeda. If you don't already know who he is, you NEED to know who he is!
Get to know more about Jeff here:
SS: Hi Jeff! So you're the Artist Manager at Phase Music Management and you're on the Board of Directors for Music BC and BC Country Music Association (BCCMA) and you also have Harmonic Concepts! You have dedicated more than 10 years of your life to creating brands for artists, and managing music artists from across North America. Amazing! Since this is your first time on a Studio B platform, tell us about your music business and industry journey and Phase Music Management! Jeff Ojeda (JO): Thank you Sarah! and thank you for having me! I got my start in music world just over 15 years ago when I put out a record with my band and toured across Canada. I quickly realized I didn’t love being the guy on stage but I really enjoyed putting out music and all of the moving parts of being a functional recording artist. I disbanded the band back in 2009 and decided to hit the road as a guitar tech for a local band (The Latency) that was starting to blow up. Touring with them taught me a lot and was pretty well my first exposure to big festivals and doing shows in theatres / small arenas. It was awesome. I stuck with The Latency for just over 2 years and loved it. While on the road, I downloaded a bootleg copy of Photoshop and taught myself how to design Myspace pages. We had been touring with bands Faber Drive & Marianas Trench and I offered to design pages for them for free. That was the start of Harmonic Concepts, which quickly took me off the road and had me very busy doing music-specialized design work for a good 7 years. It was fun chasing that success at the time and the connections I made then I still keep up with today. I was taking marketing calls with all of the majors in the US and Canada and it really fast tracked my understanding of label structure and how things work ‘on the inside’. It was a lot of fun and I got to work with some of my heroes which is always cool. When I returned home from touring with The Latency I also started an internship with a local management company (at the time) Chief Music Management. I worked well with Chief and his team and stuck with him doing various day to day management tasks, design work, keeping up his roster’s websites & web properties. An experience that changed my life. For the first time I got to see and understand so many aspects about managing and Chief was a great mentor that way, where he was always willing to explain things or help connect me. I’m very grateful for those times because it was the first time I felt like I found my purpose in life and in my career. It took me a few years to finally jump in and start managing on my own… If I remember correctly I think I started managing my first band in 2015… It took about a year to transition out of Harmonic Concepts (design company) to full time management as Phase Management Inc. Fast forward to today, I now have Phase Management Inc., 3 artists and one producer/engineer (Kyle McKearney, The Lad Classic, Zoey Leven and Spencer Bleasdale) and I have a very big announcement coming that I’m very excited about! SS: The decision to hire a band manager is one of the most important ones an artist or band will make. Managers are usually intimately involved in every decision they make and have tremendous power to mold the direction of a career. You are an AMAZING manager BTW! Before starting your own company, Phase Music Management, you caught the eye of various labels and management teams. You found yourself working with some of the biggest names in music (Florida Georgia Line, Nickelback, Shawn Hook, Flo-Rida, Keshia Chante, Dallas Smith, Marianas Trench & more). In your opinion, what makes a good manager - what do you think is the most important aspect of being a music manager? What should an artist look for in a manager? JO: Haha well, thank you!! I’m grateful to have my clients’ trust and truly enjoy fighting for them.
I think a good manager should be grounded, realistic, have a good sense of foresight, be innovative and creative, be a good listener and be always willing to learn. Being very transparent and real when setting expectations is important too. I believe in under-promising and over-delivering. A manager needs good ears along with intuition to identify that ‘it’ factor in artists. Every manager will have a different vision for your project so I feel like it’s important to get to know the person, make sure your values align and that you can confide in them representing you.
SS: What is your process for finding new opportunities for your musical artists? JO: In terms of finding new opportunities, I am constantly researching and finding new ways to reach new fans. Every artist and creative has a different path so it’s important to seek things that are congruent with their brand. Its also important to understand timing and building a career trajectory. A lot of ‘luck’ is actually well-planned strategy. I love when my artists appear to be lucky haha it means I thought things through and it validates the process. SS: Artists and creatives - we can be a wild, emotional and adventurous bunch! There are a lot of ups and downs! Describe your strategy for helping an artist stay motivated and on track with their music career.
JO: An artist needs to enjoy the creative process or its game over. Focusing on other aspects of the career or comparing your career to someone else’s is just a waste of energy. It’s important to put blinders on sometimes and keep yourself connected to your heart. The industry can be challenging because so much of us equate success to things like radio adds, playlist adds, etc… the truth is all art is good when it is done with intent. Focus on what you’re on this planet for and shut everything else out around you. SS: This is a big question and maybe a little controversial. You're also on Board of Directors of Music BC and BCCMA. Now, I'm also on the Board of Directors for CMAB and I have heard so many artists and industry say that being a part of associations is getting harder and harder because (in some cases) they always choose the same artists for performance opportunities, they don't do anything for industry people, and yes the memberships offer opportunities for Award nominations but like - that's it. Artists and industry aren't finding the same value in music association memberships. How can we all work together to fix this? JO: Great question. I’m very proud to be part of both organizations here in BC. They’re both very different in their own ways so it’s nice to have objectivity and be able to observe how both function. I’m passionate about music in general and I think that’s why we all do this. You’re right, being on a board is a labour of love and it may not come with tangible value but I do think having a say in the direction, integrity and future of these organizations is important. I like to think that my perspective can bring a bit of innovation to the table so I’m excited to dive in, listen to membership feedback, and get to work on creating a more accessible space for everyone.
In terms of honouring individual careers — fully agree there. It’s unfortunate when all of us get coupled into 'Industry Person of the Year’ when we all do such different things. It becomes more about popular vote than it being a celebration for folks that are top performers in their sector. Every single award association needs reform and a reassessment of their categories / eligibility. SS: Bonus question: The objective of music associations, through the leadership and experience of their BOD, is to celebrate and support the growth and development of our music community and all those associated – provincially, nationally and internationally. Tells us, what would you like to accomplish being on a Director and make a difference in your associations? JO: For me, I think contributing to the enrichment and betterment of music cultures, and the means of accessibility to them is my top priority. I’d love to contribute to shaping a more accessible and valuable association (for both Music BC and BCCMA) for their members. Its tough to speak about them in general as one because they are both in need of different things. At the end of the day I want to know I am making the difference and helping people succeed as a result.
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