Creator of Catalyst Entertainment, Guv is known to be the essence of visionary management.
Listening to some of his mates MC whilst growing up, and becoming motivated to help promote them, he managed to land his first radio song at the age of only 13. Guv now manages some of the best upcoming artists and talents in the UK music industry. Working with artists such as Mist, Tom Zanetti, Steel Banglez, Big Shaq, Swifta Beater and Lippi, to name a few.
With his own dream and goal of one-day managing artists behind the scene, Guv shares with us what keeps him motivated, his inspirations in terms of music, his knowledge of the industry, and his advice from experience…
What’s your own inspiration in terms of artists, and where did it come from?
I was a heavy grime fan in the early days of Dizzee, Wiley, Pay As You Go Cartel ect. But I think my true inspiration in terms of music would be a bhangra producer from Derby, called Tru Skool.
He taught me how to play the Dhol, which is an Indian classic drum, when I was about 7 or 8. I remember him being a master of so many instruments and he was a genius in my eyes.
Today, he is probably the biggest bhangra producer in the world. I know it’s a completely different area in music compared to where I’m currently at, but he is number one in that game and I plan on being number one in my game – hence, I draw inspiration from him. He also taught me a lot when it came to attitude in the music scene and self-belief!
As a manager, when you see what’s happening in the industry, how do you then apply this to your artists for them to grow?
I always think that it’s vital to give my artists knowledge, and not to keep them in the dark. It’s the key thing for trust and longevity in manager-artist relationships.
Obviously, there may be certain things that you want to keep away from the artists to protect them and protect their creativity, to keep them in a positive mind frame and their morale high. But I do think it’s important that they understand the business side of things. In a sense, make them their own bosses by helping them to build their own foundations.
It’s also about being selective with the information you don’t want to share, in terms of negativity. There is much of that in the industry and you want to keep that away.
At the end of the day, it all depends on how well you know your artists.
Mindset and the right attitude is key. But what advice can you give to young people who want to enter the music scene today?
After university, I applied for hundreds of A&R (artists and repertoire) jobs and graduate schemes for marketing assistants, management roles, etc. And even though it was a rejection most of the time, that’s exactly what drove me… I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to do it my way, and create such a noise that can’t be ignored’.
And if you’re not from London, like me, you’ll realize that the industry is very London-centric. I created a noise in the north with Tom Zanetti, and a noise in the Midlands with Mist. As well as working with two of the best producers at this time, Steel Banglez and Swifta Beater. Together, creating a noise so big that London couldn’t even ignore it.
Ultimately, it depends on how deep you want to go into the music industry. Have no days off. It depends on your ambitious. Learn a lot. Read books on the industry. Just keep up to date with the music. Study marketing. Go into detail and analyse everything. And get going!
Branding an artist is important in your industry, but how do you think social media can affect a musician’s artistry?
People can do some crazy things for likes and retweets. And yes, we can be more intelligent with the use of our social media. But I think it also comes down to being truthful and real with yourself.
With huge coperations coming in and being involved, using big celebrities and mainstream artists to promote their products or get viral campaigns, it can all get a bit crazy.
For independent artists it’s great; you don’t need a label. If your social media following is that big, people will tweet out with your video, and it can go viral. I’ve seen it with Mist and Tom; we can put out a merchandise and everything goes crazy and sells out in minutes.
What exactly inspires you and keeps you motivated?
The fact that I’ve done so much, but I’ve technically done so little.
There is still so much more for me to do. I still need number one singles, I still need Grammies, and I still need Brit Award for my artists…
With music, I want to travel more of the world. I’m not really motivated by money because that’s something that comes. It’s more about success and achievements. Doubling my goals is what inspires me to be honest with you.
As you have progressed up, what have you learned about the industry, something you may not have realised before?
I’d say on the outside it looks corporate but inside it’s not so much, it’s more about maintaining good relationships. But it is definitely fast moving and evolves quickly. If your hot everyone wants to know you; if you’re not or have a bad run, it’s easy to fall out of the public eye. In that sense, it can be a cold industry.
And again, very London centric. Although there is 9 million people in London, there’s still about 50 million outside in the rest of the UK. Look at cultures outside of London, look at music trends, explore different cities and formulate your plans, structures and ideas for music from there.