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Meet Carley Jennings of Dead Room Living in Burbank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carley Jennings.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Carley. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
My start in music began when I took an internship with a boutique record label in 2006. From there, I spent time at major labels, large management companies, and eventually returned to the same boutique label to run the day-to-day operations. My time there came to an end shortly after I became a mother.

It became clear that the expectation was that my work would be my priority and that my family would come second. Unfortunately, that didn’t align with my personal convictions, so I made the difficult decision to leave. Because my partner was able to provide for our family, I had the luxury of spending two years at home with my daughter.

And while I was so grateful for that time, I also really craved a professional life outside of the home and music was still my passion, so when a former colleague reached out about managing an artist she was working with, everything fell into place. Previous experience told me that prioritizing my family’s schedule would be a hard sell at most, if not all management companies.

Plus, I knew that after two years away from the workplace I would have a difficult time finding a new professional home. Two years in music and tech is like ten years in many other fields; things were changing and evolving every day. But I knew the fundamentals of the music business and thankfully all my old colleagues were still happy to pick up my calls and offer advice where needed.

So in the spring of 2014, I took a leap of faith and started Dead Room Living Management, a boutique artist management company specializing in artist development. I had two clients and worked from my living room or nearby coffee shops. Over the last four years my roster has shifted and grown – I’ve seen my artists land record deals, major tours and festival plays.

I’ve watched them listen to their songs on the radio for the first time and see paychecks like none they’ve ever seen before. It’s been both incredibly rewarding and incredibly exhausting. Today, I’m entering a new phase with my company – preparing for a rebranding and fresh approach to independent project management in addition to artist management.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has absolutely not been a smooth road. The music business is incredibly competitive. So for everyone “yes,” you’ve likely had at least 10 “no”s. As a manager, it’s really important to believe in the artist, their talent, and the quality of the music you’re representing, even if it feels like other people don’t.

I’ve had artists choose to stop working with me in favor of working with a manager who has a big office and a nice view. I’ve even had a client leave me because he wanted a male manager. When that happens, it’s pretty hard not to take it personally because the nature of management is dependent on personal relationships, but it’s really important to remember this is still a business and to let it go.

And as if professional challenges aren’t enough, life has provided its own share. Roughly six months after starting Dead Room Living, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. For the last four years, I’ve had to make taking care of myself and my health a priority. Because if I’m not well, the health of my business suffers.

Dead Room Living – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am the owner and operating manager of Dead Room Living Artist Management. Dead Room Living is an artist management company specializing in music and artist development.

I pride myself in putting the artist’s vision and satisfaction first because, at the end of the day, the music and the career is theirs. My job is to help them manage their brand in a way that is sustainable and healthy.

Prior to running my own company, I was witness to what happens when an artist is over-worked, and their health takes a back seat to their creative output. As a result, I am incredibly sensitive to how vulnerable musicians are to alcoholism, addiction, exhaustion, and a slew of mental health ailments.

If my clients aren’t well, there is no music and isn’t that what we’re all here for? I am not the hard-ass manager who forces people into doing it their way. I’m proud to be reasonable, level-headed, and loyal.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For me, success has a few faces. Most obviously, success is helping my clients achieve major goals – be it a record deal, securing a booking agent or a tour, seeing their music get major exposure (television or movie placements), etc.

As far as my business goes, success is growing my business every year – seeing the income increase and knowing I worked hard to get it there. But on a personal level, success is knowing, when I put my head down on my pillow at night, that I worked hard, treated others with respect, and defended my client’s vision and wishes to the best of my ability that day.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The Lonely Wild. Lauren Moore.

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