Rising Star: Meet MMF's Joseph Lever

Joseph Lever: “You get told ‘No’ a lot in this industry”

The biz’s brightest new talents tell their stories - this week it’s the Music Managers Forum’s events coordinator Joseph Lever...

How did you break into the music industry?

My break into the industry was through playing bass in a band called Young Kato. We signed to BMG for publishing and records and did a lot of touring, playing more than 250 shows from the ‘toilet circuit’ to some big support shows in arenas. We recorded an album with Dan Grech-Marguerat, which was an incredible experience. Those five years were a rollercoaster ride with lots of ups and lots of downs. The journey made me increasingly fascinated by the industry and ultimately led me to seek a career in it. After the band ended, I started interning wherever I could and eventually this led to the Music Managers Forum and Big Life Management’s inaugural Jazz Summers Future Genius programme. Then, the MMF created a role for me.

How did your experience in a band prepare you for your current role?

We had quite a few knock-backs and the experience made me resilient and persistent. You will get told ‘No’ a lot whatever you do in this industry, and it certainly prepared me for that. Understanding the artist/manager relationship from both sides helps too.

Why are managers important?

I truly believe that managers are the lynchpin of the artist’s business. In this new era, we’re looking at exciting new approaches, but this means it’s more important to have an entrepreneurial manager to be keeping everything together, driving the artist’s career forward while exploring new revenue streams and acting as chief operating officer of the business.

How can we encourage creativity in the music industry?

I was fortunate enough to go to plenty of gigs and festivals when growing up, with access to live music to inspire creativity, but this sadly isn’t the case for everyone. I believe more support needs to be given to initiatives helping to offer people from more deprived backgrounds the chance to engage with the music industry.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Being part of an organisation that helps enable managers opportunities and in turn their artists’ businesses is something I’m really loving. I genuinely believe that the MMF is doing amazing work pushing positive change in all areas of the industry and it’s very rewarding to play even a small part.

What is your ultimate ambition?

I have always had a keen interest in the visual arts and in addition to my work at the MMF I am setting up a creative agency to join up my passions. My ultimate ambition is to have a career in artist and creative management running my own company.

JOSEPH’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: Gregory Dillon – Alone With You

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