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Meet Felicity Ward of Aisle Eight

Today we’d like to introduce you to Felicity Ward.

Felicity, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I never intended on becoming an Artist Manager but music has always been a big part of my life. My obsession with music developed from being that one awkward kid in school that didn’t seem to fit in with anyone group. Growing up I would sneak out of the house and go to open mic nights and concerts. Music helped me connect with people, express myself and most importantly, it was my escape when I felt like I had no control over my life.

I wasn’t trying to break into Artist Management, I sort of fell into the role shortly after I started the final year of my MBA in 2017. I was feeling a little uncertain of what I was going to do when I graduated and I couldn’t seem to focus on my final project. The day before my topic submission was due I decided my time would be better-spent diving into the New Music Playlist on Spotify rather than researching topics. I think the stress of that time put me in the right position to be where I am now. While I was busy procrastinating, my topic found me. I had been searching through the playlist and looking into these artists I hadn’t heard before when I discovered a lot of them had little to no online presence. That’s when it hit me…I should write about independent artists in the age of digital marketing.

I asked a friend who happened to be an independent artist if he wouldn’t mind being my subject for the year and he obliged. Within a few months, I started taking on other responsibilities to help him out. A quick Google search explained that I was performing the basic day to day tasks of an Artist Manager, and it was as simple as that. I’ve since consulted for Independent Labels both here in the US and in the U.K. and a handful of other artists who are looking to strengthen their marketing efforts.

This year, I’ve signed two people, M.A.G.S., an Indie Rock artist and a Producer/Guitarist named Oscar White. I learned at a very young age how powerful music can be, but I never imagined I would be working side by side with incredibly talented musicians as they create it. I get to talk about music all day and I love what I do.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I wouldn’t say it’s been smooth, everyone has setbacks but you learn from them and move forward. Artist Management is very different in 2019 than it was even ten years ago, and I think that’s one of the most exciting yet challenging aspects of the job; it’s an industry that is constantly evolving. I wear a plethora of hats in order to continue pushing my artist’s career forward. It takes time and patience which is something I didn’t completely grasp in the beginning.

Tell us more about your work.
I am an Independent Artist Manager and my company is called Aisle Eight. By combining management and artist development with some label services, Aisle Eight provides a platform for Independent Artists to thrive. Artists maintain control over their music and creative direction. They can focus on the music while we focus on spreading awareness and building their brand, oftentimes from scratch.

Two key elements Aisle Eight brings to the table are brand development and digital marketing. We build everything around the artist, working with them to ensure that each campaign, partnership, licensing opportunity, etc is authentically representative of who they are. We strive to cultivate a tribe of fans for our artists through various methods and strategies. We mainly focus on what’s referred to as human to human marketing, creating meaningful connections between artists and fans.

We live in a time where everyone and every brand out there regardless of their industry is competing for attention. We don’t want to compete for five seconds of someone’s attention. We don’t want them to feel like they are on the outside looking in. Our artists really care about their fans. The fans are the label and the A&R’s. We really make a point to be as open as possible with them. We want them to feel like they are just as much a part of it as us.

Right now we have a few projects we’re particularly excited about. One is the new music from M.A.G.S. which will be his first release since his self-titled album in 2017. If you’re not familiar with him, please check out his music here linktr.ee/elliottmags. The new music is phenomenal, the visuals are captivating and the live show is going to be an incredible experience for his fans.

The second project comes from RIAA Double Platinum Certified Producer, Oscar White. Oscar has worked some top players industry like Steve Aoki, Pharrell, Iggy Azalea, Sevyn and SchoolBoy Q. He’s an incredibly talented guitarist and producer. While I can’t say very much about this one just yet, I can say that it’s going to blow people’s minds. He’s pulling artists from all corners to create a powerful sound and a unique experience you won’t want to miss. Follow his Instagram, @theoscarwhite to stay up to date.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Curiosity is incredibly powerful if you’re not worried about the risk that comes with it. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t relentlessly curious. I am always learning, always listening and always looking for the next trend. For example, I listen to as much new music as possible, even if it’s a different genre than the artists on my roster. We live in the age of the genre-less fan, so knowing what other artists are doing, helps tighten and drive our strategies.

We regularly consult with labels, producers, bands, and individual artists. Providing assistance with anything and everything they need may need from assessing their current strategy to offering custom in-house marketing strategies for budgets large and small. Consultations start at $75.00 and include a digital assessment and custom report of findings. We do a deep dive into their online presence from search engine rankings to social platforms and then provide recommendations and marketing strategies on how to grow their tribe and further their career.

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Image Credit:

Jon Stars, Benjamin Lieber, Justin Ward

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