Martha Earls, currently the manager for country superstar Kane Brown, joins Zak Kuhn for a fascinating discussion on the ever-changing formula for an artist today, her diverse jobs in the industry and working with Brown.
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Formerly, Earls has worked for big companies like Warner Chappell and BMG, eventually going into the publishing world and even trying her hand at entrepreneurship with partner Mike Molinar, creating a company that would eventually become Big Machine Music, and now heading her own management company, EFG.
While transitioning the publishing/management company she and Molinar had created to Big Machine, Earls says she became the “de facto” manager and within three weeks felt “so much happier.” From that point on, Earls became a consultant for different companies until she met an artist she could finally put all her energy into: Kane Brown.
She explains that at the time, Brown was pulling clout, posting covers on Facebook, but these days they’ve had to adapt to the new TikTok territory.
“What’s interesting is that these songs break because people obviously not only like the videos, but they also use the songs. So that’s a little bit of a different twist that didn’t exist with Instagram or Facebook, where they’re actually able to go do an action with your song. But the artist has to have more value than just that one song,” she says.
“After you have one big hit, you have a choice and you can choose to do all the work and evolve into a well-rounded successful artist and entertainer or you can be somebody who’s really successful on one platform, but you have to know that that’s much more fleeting. That will eventually go away.”
As far as her time with Brown goes, Earls has nothing but good things to say. She attributes a lot of his success not only to his talent but his vision for what he wants his own brand to be, feel and look like, saying he is “authentic” and has “got an instinct.” At this point in their relationship she “innately knows what he would and wouldn’t do.”
Their dynamic only continues to generate more success for Brown, as he recently made his Grand Ole Opry debut.
On her own success, she advises aspiring people in the industry to above all, be kind.
“I like to make people know that I see and appreciate that we’re working together. So many people have that adversarial label relationship and I want it to be the opposite, especially with people that aren’t the top, the CEO, of going like, ‘I know you’re just trying to do your job and I’m just trying to do my job and let’s do it together. Our success is your success.’”
Listen to the episode here or by searching for The Zak Kuhn Show wherever you listen to podcasts.