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Want to Live Your Dream? Build Your Team. The Only Way To Win The Game.

Have you ever wondered how Drake became the world’s best selling Hip Hop artist? With over 5 million albums sold, 14 simultaneous charting singles on the Hot 100, and several other accolades including a grammy, there is no doubt that Drake is the most successful rapper of the 21st century. 

Drake enjoying shots from his 1st Grammy.

Drake enjoying shots from his 1st Grammy.

How does a Canadian TV soap opera kid from Toronto go from living in his mom’s basement to having 2 mortgages totaling $30 million? Unlike his claim of doing it all himself in “All Me” (sorry Drake), the secret to Aubrey Graham’s success lies in the strength of his team. 

If you want to making a killing in your career as an artist, then you cannot ignore the importance of building a team.  But what does a successful team look like? And what should you look for when recruiting star players? In this post, we will go over three simple points that will help you build your dream team for success in the music business:






always remember, team work makes the dream work.



There is only so much one person can do while building their dream, but after a while, you will start to realize you can only do so many things. That’s when you’ll start to look for a team! But before you go on and do that, you’ll probably ask yourself, “how do I know I need a team?”

You’ll know when:

  • Your photographer is mad at you for forgetting about your scheduled shoot for the third time in a row.
  • You got totally f***** out of a large amount of money by a shady producer online.
  • No promoter takes you seriously because they assume your just another fuccboi without representation. 
  • And you will definitely know when you get no love online even though you worked so hard coming up with that original cover art on MS Paint.

These are all the problems you could be avoiding if you had some sense in you and started building a team. If I haven’t made my point clear by now, then I can’t help you here. But if you’ve gotten this far, I’m assuming that you are, at the least, still interested; so read on youngblood.

Repeat this three times outloud:


OK, so now that you’ve realized that. You may be starting to ask yourself this:

  • Who are all the players on my team? 
  • What do they do? 
  • And how do they help me become bigger than Drake? 
The original gang.

The original gang.

While there are many people that can become involved,  we’re going to focus on the essentials for artists just starting out. These are:

  1. Artist Manager
  2. Videographer/Photographer
  3. Personal Producer/Engineer
  4. QC

Just a quick side note: you should aim to hire multifaceted players. They should be able to do more than one thing in their field well.



Your artist manager is thee most essential component in the success (or failure) of your career. Artist managers are not usually involved in any of the creative process at all. But they could definitely play a role in the development of your sound and content. A great artist manager is someone who is willing to place all their bets on you and willing to move mountains. Can your homeboy from day one act as your artist manager? Sure. Drake’s manager, Oliver El-Khatib was there from day one and look at them now. But we should consider this the exception and not the rule. Most artists starting out usually do employ (read: volunteer) their friend. BUT PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, make sure that your Franager (yes I made that up) has the following qualities:

1) Gift of gab

  • Your manager should be able to get you into and out of any situation. That and they should be able to talk you up to everyone they know without over promising something that will set you up to disappoint. They should act as your #1 fan and champion your music to the end. Remember, if your manager doesn’t do well at cocktail party talk, you should fire his ass ASAP.   

2) High emotional intelligence

  • Your manager should be good at:
    • Self Awareness
    • Self management 
    • Social Awareness
    • Relationship Management 


3) They’re a musician

  • Your manager should have a sophisticated taste and a good ear, how else are they going to let you know whether your music sucks or not? 


4) Semi Type A Personality

  • Your manager should make up for your weaknesses as an artist. That means your manager is an organized, motivated, ambitious, proactive and highly meticulous individual. But they should still be able to enjoy a night of pure debauchery every now and then.

5) Stoic

  • Your manager should be one of the most level headed people you know. That means that they keep their cool. Period. 



It’s better to show than to tell. So i’ll let the pictures/videos speak for themselves.

Your videographer/photographer should always make you look like this:





NEVER like this:

If they believe in your music and they like you too, they’ll be easy on your budget.SO BE NICE.



We personally don’t believe in working with too many producers. We definitely do not believe in working with more than one engineer. 

Your producer should understand your vision, and they shouldn’t differ from it. They make the music that helps express YOUR STORY. There are a lot of producers who can make hot beats and fly instrumentals, but not all can make good music. Make sure your producer knows how to make great music, and if you’re not sure about them remember to ask your manager! That’s what they’re there for, remember?

They DEFINITELY should have their own style, and they should definitely listen to all different kinds of music. If they never heard of Animal Collective before, run away and do not look back. Befriending your producer is ideal. This will help the creative juices flow. You can also try a bottle of Jack Daniels. One last thing about your producer, if they don’t know how to bounce their stems at 44.1khz WAV then fire their ass ASAP. 

Your engineer should understand how to use Pro Tools or Logic Pro X. Their should only be one person involved in the mixing of your music. Make sure they’re not sketch, or power hungry. Engineers sometimes tend to ego trip and claim some type of ownership over your music, don’t let them. They may not agree with the way you want your music to sound, but ultimately its your music so you should have the final say.

If you think that the distorted dub that makes the meters peak in the middle of the mix sounds great, keep it. F*** what they (the engineer) say otherwise. On another note, stay away from sketch engineers! If your engineer is agreeing to take on your project simply because of the money and not the music, run away! Make sure that your engineer makes you his/her top priority or else you will end up paying too much for too little in return.



Okay so you’re finishing recording your debut EP. Everyone on your team is really excited about the way this project is turing out. They’re all getting caught up in the emotion and excitement of it all, who’s  to say this project isn’t actually dope? Hell, even your level headed manager thinks its dope. But wait, you drop it and NO ONE F**** WITH IT. What happened? I’ll tell you what! You forgot to go through the quality control! Who is the quality control? Is quality control a person or people? What the hell is quality control anyway?!?!

Quality control is a person or group of people who decide whether your product is s*** or not. These people are not a day to day member in the team, but they are the people who the music gets to first before unleashed to the public.The great thing about QC is that they’re the easiest of the four components of your team to pick. Pick any body off the street, put them in a room and see if they bop their heads to your music. 




QC should always be impartial and not part of the creative or production process at all. QC is basically the litmus test of your entire project. If you fail, you need to go back to the beginning of the process and start all over. Don’t think of releasing music until you get at least 8 people out of 10 to rock with your music. 

Get these people on your team, and you’re golden, Ponyboy. 


Today, we covered three things: 

  • Why building a team around you is essential to success. 
  • Who to look for when building an all star team.
  • What roles your members should play. 

Follow this guide and you’re sure to get on way quicker than without. As we said earlier, there are a lot more people who will contribute to your career as you grow your audience and your sound matures. When that time comes, you’re going to have to learn a little bit more about the new players and how the roles of your current team will evolve. For more on that, you should definitely buy Donald Passman’s book:

This guy explains the ins and outs of the people and corporations who will be directly involved in the development of your career. Nowhere else will you find as thorough an explanation about the biz. Period. 


Valencia, Spain.

Valencia, Spain.

About Marcus.

Marcus is the founder and director of creative development at 91mgmt. He’s been having visions of the life he’s living . With a background in psychology and a Masters of Global Entertainment and Music Business, he dedicates his time and energy on developing the sound and career of artists he believes in. He also likes giving pointers here and there. You can find him in the gym throwing stuff around, swerving in his Volkswagen GTI, or in the studio producing some really dope ish.

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