Artists need to build proper relationship with their labels – Toki Tope
On August 22, Stomp Media Entertainment roster artist MCKay and theMedia 360 Company teamed up to present “Trappist—1 live-streamed concert,” a one-day digital event to help care and support people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we are taking readers behind the scene and chatting with the concert mastermind, Toki Tope–Anifowose.
21-year-old Toki is an independent artist manager from Ondo, Nigeria. With years of experience within the music industry as an artist manager and AR, he is currently the founder of ANNIFF LLC and represents a killer roster of artists such as Notas, Kalan.FRFR, Chino Lingo, Billyboybrody, DMBGotti, Rick, PJayy, L’A Papas, Joey Fatts, Dulieee, Rich100$, AZCHIKE, Trilly. Soltesh Iyere had the opportunity to chat with Toki on how he entered artist management and AR, what a day in his life looks like and more.
How did you get involved with artist management and connect with clients like Chino Lingo, Rucci etc.?
I got involved with artists by interacting, once I go places, you have to connect yourself nobody is going to do it for you. Once you connect with them you listen to their music and try to help them expand more.
What is a day in the life of a manager like?
For me, it’s usually calm, it takes a lot of time, but it’s all for a good result. You wake up in the morning and before you know it the day is ending.
Handling and managing artists isn’t an easy thing to do especially when they’re a popular demand in the community. I would say 50% of what a manager does is be on the phone and emailing people. The other 50% is making sure your artists are happy, you’re building that relationship with them.
To be a manager, you have to shoulder a lot from your artists emotionally. If they’re having a bad day, you’re the person to help be their emotional support. Sometimes, when artists are not as motivated or don’t know what to make, you’re kind of in a weird spot where you can’t do much, you have to wait for them to get out of that phase. The other half is emailing people, phone calls, building relationships with people, finding ways to leverage new opportunities.
What type of conversations are those phone conversations? Goals, strategies, etc.?
Working on collaborations with other artist managers, finding writers. One thing I always advise artists and managers to do is to be more familiar with building a good relationship with the label or entertainment group you’re working with. Don’t let a label just do a standard four-week release where they’ll just upload you on SoundCloud, put a song on a playlist, that’s not enough.
Make sure you’re building a proper direction with the label and see how you can get them more excited. There’s a lot of labels out there that just put out your music and stop marketing the record. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth and they’re doing the right job.
It doesn’t matter what label you’re on. You can be on Universal or Monstercat, but at the end of the day, if you’re not building that proper relationship, they’re just going to treat you the same way they’ve treated other artists. So many of the times I’m on phone discussing strategies, planning release et.c
You threw the online Trappist—1 live-streamed concert with MCKay, I’d love to hear more about how this came to be.
The idea conceptualized around the end of July. My friend was dropping off some mask samples to me and told me, “MCKay has partnered with theMedia 360 Company for his live stream concert” I looked it up afterwards and I was like, “Woah, this is crazy,” considering all the stops the pandemic had caused, then I reached out to the team and asked if we could collabo, and they called back saying, they were also looking at working with any talent.
Within a night, I thought, “I’ve always wanted to throw a music concert, and this seems to be the right one”. That same week, I did some more research and was able to get a contact.
I know management is your primary focus now, but would you ever want to explore other facets of the music industry?
I feel like eventually, I can explore other parts but currently, I’m trying to help all the good voices in my roster get their music to more fans and also help them build their fan base.