In the music industry the job title, A&R manager, is deemed to be one of the most important job titles to a music artist in the industry alone. There was once a time where an artist had to know someone who knew someone else in order to get in front of the best A&R managers. Take Woobi, A&R manager for Alamo and Sony Records, for instance, who is considered to be one of the best in his generation.
These days, all it takes to find an A&R manager is to find their profile on social media, email them, and hope as an artist you get a response. In return, an A&R manager may review your music, take a listen, either schedule a meeting with you, or tell you to “keep working”.
The rumor on the streets is that A&R managers want the easy way out. Many would argue that A&R managers only want to market the complete artist package rather than develop the artist. Well, Woobi, CEO of Direct Management Team, makes it known that as an A&R manager he still strongly believes in artist development.
As a Miami, FL native raised in Jonesboro South Housing Projects in Atlanta, GA, Woobi is no stranger to a rough upbringing. His childhood friends happen to be well known artists, Young Thug and Peewee Longway, who speak on the same struggles.
Fast forward, Young Thug graced Woobi with the opportunity to manage his two artists, Gunna and Lil Duke. He likes to call that opportunity the “golden start” to his A&R management career. With a book in the works, Woobi is very open about his start in the industry, his core values, and success in the music industry.In short, his management company, Direct Management, was created to develop and market artists.
Woobi believes in putting in the late hours at the studio, helping artists find their sound, style, as well as mentor them. Some of those artists being Gunna, Lil Duke, Lil Gotit, Lil Keed, and independent artists Shaun Lamont, Bonnie, and Kam Killed It.
“I knew long ago that independent artists would be the new wave. I run across a lot of new artists, and it puts me at an advantage as an A&R. You as an individual may not like someone’s music, but to me it’s important to respect everyone’s music. Music is energy. Music is a reflection of our lives and to some it's a way to pour out their pain.”
After speaking to Makin’ It Magazine, Woobi’s everyday routine consists of meetings, studio sessions, dealing with different types of personalities, creating unique sounds, listening to music, promotion, and marketing artists. His hard work and success is what later caught the eye of Alamo and Sony Records.
“As an A&R manager, I have to know how to market each artist individually, know the correct timing, teach my artists etiquette, and help mold their character. The most rewarding part is watching artists obtain hit records, see an increase in numbers, and witnessing their growth. All in all, every artist I work with has to invest into an LLC, because ownership is important to me.”
To Woobi, studying the greats like Jay-Z, Diddy, and Mohammad Ali are important to him. He mentioned, ”many people in the industry move off impulse and try to make everything easier.” Instead, he wishes to challenge the greats, read how they overcome their obstacles, and focus on being one of the best A&R managers of his time.
His message to independent artists these days is to, “Think outside the box. Be creative. Don’t stay confined to your environment. Know you can be anything you want to be, and know who you are before you become who you are.”