Who is “Sarah J”?
I am a creative, adept, well-respected producer manager. I’ve been managing producers for years. I A&R and work closely with all of the major labels and publishers to secure work for producers. I also just graduated from barber school. So I’ll be incorporating men’s cuts when I’m traveling.
How did you start out in the music business?
Coming up, I had many friends who were engineers, producers, etc. I started out in the Myspace days networking heavy. I was always in a studio.Taking trips back & forth to NY and LA sitting down with labels, building relationships, shopping tracks, speaking on industry panels. I started placing mixtape stuff, selling beats and it turned into album work. My name started to travel that I had all the heat from producers so artists and labels started reaching out to me.
What was your own biggest misconception of the music industry going in? Is it all that you expected?
The amount of time it would take to see results was my biggest misconception. This business is all about the real work you put in. If you’re constantly networking, traveling, and being realistic about the quality of work you’re presenting you will see great things happen for you! I love what I do! Im a workaholic. I love helping the underdog producers. I think its so important for new guys to get in the game!
What do you think of the state of the industry now?
The business has changed so much in the last 10 years. You have to adapt or you will be obsolete. I like the new formula , producers and artists have way more access now than ever before. It’s all about your grind, team, and investments. I would like to see producers get compensated more.
Since the internet kicked in, the game is over saturated. This is why I stress the importance of equally networking and marketing yourself as much as cooking up beats.
In your beat reviews what is a universal theme that you stress to your clients?
My #1 tip for producers during my beat reviews is to travel and build relationships in person! If you’re not out here in peoples’ face regularly tapping in you will be another producer stuck in the Gmail. I also discuss the importance of filling out split sheets, locking in with a PRO (either ASCAP or BMI for example), actively networking, carrying flash drives around with your beats loaded, making merch such as t-shirts with your logo, business cards, etc.
Hit me on my IG or Twitter @sjmanager to schedule a 30 min call today! Producers find the reviews very helpful.
Do you think producers and engineers get the credit they deserve? If not, why do you think that is?
No, I do not think producers and engineers are receiving the credit they deserve. It should be mandatory that producer and engineer credits are listed on all artwork covers, IG/Twitter promo, press releases, and on videos. They need all the exposure they can. Your credit is everything in this business. It’s nice to be highlighted for the hard work you put in! I would like to see artists reposting and retweeting the producers that did their songs too!
How do you feel about artists not crediting or paying their producers? How can producers protect themselves from this?
I think it’s bullshit to not properly pay your producers or credit them. If it’s a mainstream artist and they are signed to a major, the business is usually being handled properly. It’s the independent or mixtape stuff where I see the problems kick in. I sometimes see artists throwing the music out and not contacting myself or the producer. Artists and their teams need to work on better communication with the producers. Keep them updated if they are using a beat and fill out the proper credits. Producers can register their % share with their PRO.
What are some projects and singles you have placed production on?
I have placed records with Tory Lanez, Fab, Nipsey, French, Meek, Machine Gun Kelly, 50 Cent, Lecrae, T.I, Crooked I, Wale, Jeezy, Fox Sports, different licensing work.
What are entertainers like Tory Lanez, Meek Mill, and more looking for out of their production? Are they willing to work with producers with no big-name credits?
They look for a variety of production. From big drums, sample stuff, melodic, classic feel, Caribbean vibes, records with hooks, etc. Yes, they don’t discriminate as to who the producer is. As long as they have heat they fuck with it.
What advice would you give someone looking to start a career in the music business?
I would tell them to constantly do their research. Research how to read contracts, publishing, points, royalties, building their network of DJS, A&Rs, artists managers, different tastemakers. This is a business at the end of the day and you want to be familiar with how it works. Practice patience. It can take months and years sometimes to land placements. If you are in it for the long haul, you will have faith in yourself and keep working.
What is next for “Sarah J”?
I’m always working on a gang of projects. Locking in placements and admin deals for producers. I’m putting my podcast back out. Specializing in producer information and industry talk , mixed with live interviews. I’m still traveling constantly to different studio sessions, city to city, finding undiscovered producers! I also have a R&B artist who’s really dope & working close with Fly Havana and Starks on deals.
Nothing in life is free we know, but could you kick some Free Game to all of the musicians reading this article looking to take the next step?
Get out of the house and get to some open mics, beat battles, networking events (A3C, SXSW for example). Collab with other producers and artists to tap into their networks. Be active on all social media platforms as well as Youtube. Put out consistent content and visuals. We live in an IG world and people like to see videos. Be assertive but not pushy. Find a way to talk to people. Constantly invest in yourself, it’s never a waste. It will help you reach your music goals. You have to spend money to make money. Start booking sessions in different cities to collab and network with other people.
Finish this statement, Soulja boy is_______.
Soulja boy is a genius! He’s truly reinvented himself in this short amount of time. He’s got the internet in a frenzy right now. Salute to him!
If you are serious about making that next step as a musician make sure you follow Sarah J on IG and Twitter @SJMANAGER. Where she kicks industry knowledge daily.