Today we’d like to introduce you to Jana Fisher.
Jana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m an artist manager and digital marketer, the Los Angeles office of Invasion Group. As a kid, I had no idea this kind of job existed. I grew up in Ross, Ohio, population 2,000, the daughter of an Evangelical minister. I began singing in church and by my tweens, I aspired to become a famous Christian singer. I didn’t listen to much contemporary secular music until I was thirteen and toying with the radio at home and discovered the local pop radio station.
My father’s job took my family to Florida, where I lived through college. I knew I wanted to make a career in music, but music school seemed too rigid to me. Fortunately, Stetson University has a very special Digital Arts program, where I concentrated in sound and recorded an album of my own songs for an assignment. Design and web development were also parts of my coursework.
Upon graduation, I was accepted to an internship program with Invasion Group in New York. I packed my possessions into my parents’ Honda and moved a week after commencement, knowing no one in the city. My knowledge of HTML became valuable to the company, and at the end of the summer they hired me to handle their email newsletter and code custom MySpace pages. That was in 2009, and I’ve been with the company ever since. We’ve grown together, and I started the Los Angeles office in 2017.
Has it been a smooth road?
I had an image of an artist manager as an old school, desk-pounding bulldog that didn’t align at all with my personality, so I never imagined that I could manage artists. As a Midwesterner, I wasn’t used to asserting my opinions; it seemed to me like New Yorkers made conversation by yelling.
With a lot of tenacity, I figured out how to make my own management style. I’m more of a counselor and cheerleader than a salesman or a fixer. I make things happen with kindness and clear communication.
Social media has also changed quite a lot in the past twelve years! Those custom MySpace pages I started out coding are long gone. The landscape is always evolving and so I’m constantly learning on the job.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Invasion Group is a full-service management company for career artists. We work with an eclectic roster of independent-minded musicians who are making their own paths. We support their journeys for the long haul.
Our style of working together is unique in that we are a collaborative team. The company is made of five managers who are each experts in their own fields. We work together on everything.
I am particularly passionate about the intersections of art and activism and I love how many of our artists have social messages in their music. Raye Zaragoza sings about her experience as a woman of color in America. Elizabeth Moen writes about mental health in a way I really love. Seth Glier shares positive messages about human connection and performs all over the world with the American Voices Abroad program sponsored by the US State Department. And of course, Ani DiFranco has championed issues from women’s rights to gun reform to queer visibility. In dark times, working with these artists is what gets me up in the morning.
Because of my performance experience, I understand some of the unique challenges that artists face. I’m a lapsed singer-songwriter and I started storytelling a couple of years ago. Apparently, audiences resonate with my weird religion stories and I won a Moth StorySLAM. But storytelling has also taught me so much about how sharing our emotional journeys through art, stage banter, or just day-to-day conversation is key to making lasting connections. At the root of it, that shared resonance is what marketing is about.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I find the music community in Los Angeles to be friendly and welcoming. I’m secretly quite introverted and so I was nervous about moving here and making new connections in the industry. But I find Angelenos in music to be very open to meeting new people who are honest and competent. My network is vibrant in a way that was difficult to find in New York, where folks keep their cards much closer to their chests.
Los Angeles is a great place to be deeply involved in the industry but also have some semblance of quality of life. Somehow out here, I get more done while running myself into the ground less than I did in New York.
- Website: invasiongroup.com / janafisher.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @invasiongroup & @janamfisher
- Facebook: facebook.com/invasiongroupltd & facebook.com/janamfisher
- Twitter: @invasion_group & @janafisher
Headshots (personal photo and the photo with feet on desk) by Lexa Payne; Group shot of 4 by Ben Ferrari