How to Win Friends and Influence Talent Agents
Nikki Solgot, owner of Ten in One Talent, a DJ talent agency whose roster includes Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, Satoshi Tomiie and Andy Caldwell, among many others, was kind enough to endure our inane questions.
So, a majority of your day is spent doing what? Chasing promoters, ha! Planning a tour, creating new opportunities for my clients is the fun stuff I get to do, but unfortunately the majority of my day is spent chasing down a promoter for the silly stuff.
You chase down promoters for silly stuff? We pride ourselves on long-term, mutually rewarding relationships, not only between the artists, but also between the artists and promoters. We also strive to maintain relationships within the Dance and Pop music scenes, in North America and overseas, in order to maximize the opportunities for our artists. A hands-on approach allows the agency to work together within the artist’s team to accomplish their career goals, including additional opportunities like sponsorships.
I’m a DJ blowing up in Kinosha. Sign me. Please. We select talent through our relationships with labels and managers; however, there is also a lot of research done via chart watching, Beatport, recommendations from our current clients, and reading the media.
I wanna be like Andy Caldwell. He’s got like 40,000 MySpace friends. All factors must be there for our consideration, and most importantly, we talk to our promoters. If they don’t know who you are, it’s going to be hard to get you into their market.
The last promoter I dealt with stole my crack pipe, but the joke was on him. I’d moved on to meth. What’s your mission statement? Respect your local scene, don’t over-saturate yourself, and play quality events over quantity. Production is your key to being recognized, but take your time to produce (I receive so many demos where you can tell the producer took very little time to create a song; that will impact people when they hear it). In addition to production, learn how to market yourself, read books on the music business, know your goals and what it is you want to accomplish with your career and work towards it. Also, just because you play your local area and some surrounding states does not mean you need a booking agent or manager. You need to know how to manage yourself first. Agents and managers work for you, not the other way around, so when you are being approached by promoters, media and labels and you can’t manage it on your own, this is when you need me.
How did you start Ten in One? I started in the industry in college, throwing events on campus for Nike. After college I worked as a promotional assistant (fancy title for Flyer Kid) for an independent company in Denver. At this stage I saw all the smaller bands that the talent buyer was passing on, and so I approached a local youth center run by the Denver Broncos and asked if I could be their in-house talent buyer for the 300 capacity room. After a year of working within the punk rock music scene I moved to Arizona where I discovered and fell in love with electronic music. After a year of attending the events, I discovered I wanted to be more involved so when I was approached by Nigel Richards of 611 Records to be his personal assistant and publicist, I jumped at the opportunity. This eventually led to me taking on more clients and creating multiple opportunities for myself within the Arizona music scene. In 2002, I was approached by several of my publicity clients to handle their bookings, so I launched a division within my publicity firm to handle bookings as well. And the rest is history, as they say…
What music do you listen to? I often throw dance parties in my car.
You rock, Nikki. I love it all! Including country, opera, classical, rock, punk, metal, hardcore, rap, hip-hop, etc.