Olivia Management

Artist Management in Nashville, Tennessee

Some advice from a talent buyer...

My dear friend (and former intern from many moons ago), Brian Johannesen, is an experienced talent buyer. He posted the following on his Facebook this week to help educate up and coming bands on how to get the attention of buyers and clubs when self booking. I thought the advice was extremely helpful, so with his permission I'm reposting it here! 

"Booking your band 101:

First, let me say that it is okay if your band gets passed on. Don't take it personally. There are so many factors that go into whether or not your band is right for the venue and a lot of them have nothing to do with how good you are or aren't. Many places stick to certain genres, or original music, or just cover bands, or maybe just a certain vibe. Many venues have small budgets, and either can't afford to pay you what you want or simply can't afford to have another show. In some cases, yes, they don't feel that your music is polished enough or maybe they just don't like you. That's okay, too. Music is subjective and there is no band that everyone likes. You'll find the right pockets for you and you will enjoy the shows so much more if you're working with people who are on the same page. Everything is fine. If a venue passes, I think it is totally okay to ask for recommendations of other places to play. I want you to succeed and enjoy playing live music, and if I can point you in the right direction, that's awesome, even if it's not going to work at my venue.

Another note - don't think about this as you are trying to trick a venue into giving you a show. Lying about stuff doesn't ever go well, just be honest and remember you are talking to a person who has many factors to consider.

Choosing a venue:

Whether you are on the road or looking for hometown gigs, choosing the right venue is so crucial. There are a lot of things to consider and a little research will go a long way. Here are some things to look for:

- What nights do they do music? If you are looking at a venue and they don't have any shows on Tuesdays, they likely don't do shows on Tuesdays, so maybe don't reach out about doing the show on the Tuesday. If you do, make sure to include in your email the question: Do you host shows on Tuesdays? Also check to see if they have a regular event like an open mic or a comedy show or something on those nights. If they do, they are not going to book you instead. Even if they are willing to have a show after the regular event, it's probably not a great situation so I'd look elsewhere. Also, just because they don't have a show that night, it doesn't mean you are entitled to it. There may be something else going on.

- What is their capacity? This can be a little tougher to figure out, but you want the right sized venue. If you are a folk duo who's never been to town, it is not the right move to try to book a 500 cap rock club. You can get a better feel for the places by looking up photos on google or the website. indieonthemove.com is an excellent resource for any touring musician and you can usually find a capacity on those listings as well. Your draw should also be considered with this.

- What is their vibe? Like I said before, a folk duo in a rock club is usually not the right move. If your in a punk band, DIY spaces and dive bars will likely work best for you. Don't ask about the 7PM music series at the coffee shop. If the venue has free shows and looks to have a good crowd of people there every night, you should consider what your sound will feel like in a room like that. If you're solo/acoustic, you will likely get drowned out by the noise. Even if you're saying to yourself "I don't really care I just want to play, I don't need people paying attention" consider it from the venue's perspective: If someone is quietly playing in the corner while the bar is loud and rowdy, that's probably not the vibe they want to put out. If the venue does free shows and it looks like folks will be eating dinner or talking with their friends, consider that they likely don't want a band that is really loud and will disrupt their customers time. In venues like that, it's not necessarily about YOU, so turning up likely won't pan out. Actually, if you are playing a free show in general, especially if its at a restaurant or something, it is almost certainly not about YOU. You're probably just booking that gig as background music and for the money. (I want to be clear, that's not the mission at Big Grove, we aim to have shows and provide a good spot for your fans to come see you. Many breweries do not take this approach).

Writing your email:

Here's what your email should include every time. Just make a boilerplate email and change the details when you send.

- The name of your band and your name.
- The setup that you are going to be playing in that night. (Full band, duo, trio, etc)
- Your genre
- A range of dates that will work for you (Ideally more than one but definitely no more than 5. Also, don't say we'd like to come play sometime but offer no dates, you will slip through the cracks, saying that you can be flexible beyond the dates offered is fine, and if there is something that is a good fit, you will be asked).
- If you have played in town before, where you have played and your draw. Do NOT lie about this, ever. If you say you can draw 50 people and draw 10, you won't get booked again. I promise. If you haven't played in town before, that's fine just say so. Also, if you're booking in Iowa City, the fact that you drew 25 people in Cedar Rapids doesn't really help me out, I'm only interested in Iowa City.
- A BRIEF bio. I mean it, brief. A paragraph max. It should say where you are from, what you sound like, who (only a couple) of your influences are, and any other relevant achievements you may have. I don't need your life story, and more importantly, I won't read your life story.
- LINKS! Your email should ALWAYS include these links: your website, your facebook, a link to your record (if you haven't made a record you should have a link to some sort of recorded music. If you don't have that, stop now and go make one before asking for a show), if you have a music video, include that, and you should definitely have a link to a video of you playing live in the exact setup that you are touring in. If you don't have that, go make one. You can use your phone, it doesn't need to be great quality, but I need to hear what you will sound like live in my room. If you show me a video of your band and I think I'm booking your band and you show up solo or as a duo, I will be upset.
- The subject of your email should look like this: 
for example: 
Brian Johannesen at Brian's Venue 6/15-6/19
No more, no less.

Here's what your email should not include:

- Really informal language like dude or bro or sup or holler or anything like that. It's an instant delete. Buyers do this as their job, treat it professionally. It doesn't have to be super formal, just respectful and to the point.
- A misspelling of the buyer's name. Just double check, it takes two seconds.
- Your fee. You don't have a fee. Every venue, every city, every state is different and you are not worth the same in all of them. You may have a minimum number in your mind, but you don't state that in your email. In any event, this email is not the money negotiation, this is to determine if there is interest and if the dates are available. Negotiate the money later. The market will eventually determine how much you are worth, for now, just get your foot in the door.
- If you're going to name drop someone, make sure that that person actually knows who you are, and that I definitely know who that person is, and that it makes sense to be name dropping them in the first place. For example, if you say Joe Schmo recommended that I reach out and I don't know who Joe Schmo is, that hurts more than it helps. If I do know Joe Schmo, I will probably ask him about you guys, and if he says he doesn't know who you are, that's definitely bad. Make sure it makes sense.
- Don't ever say that you need to play there or that you know it'll go really well. Buyers know their rooms well, they know that kind of stuff. They can be wrong, and you may be right, but they care a lot about their rooms and they want to do what's right for their bosses, their patrons, their bottom line, and their artists. They will determine if you need to play there. They probably have a good idea of how it's going to go and you really don't need to do their job for them.

Finally, it's all going to be okay. It's not that scary and a lot of venues will say no. A lot will not respond. If a venue doesn't respond, politely follow up once a week later. If they still don't respond, it's likely not worth bugging them anymore and you should move on. Try again in a few months or a year. Don't worry about it. Get recommendations from your friends who seem like they have a really good handle on what's going on in their market. Go play with your friends bands in their towns and offer to play shows with them in yours. Keep good track of your draw and how it's developing. If you're new, don't shoot the moon, go play some open mics and get some shows under your belt. Focus on being good, and the rest will develop. It's slow, it always is, but at some point it'll get easier. Be kind, be polite, be understanding. Everything's chill, man. Music is fun. Repeat that, over and over. Your blood pressure will thank you."

You can learn more about Brian's venue here and his music here

Summer Interns, Pt 1: Nora McGonigle

It's that time of the year again! Summer interns are sometimes hard to come by, but we've got a great crew this year. We're excited to have Nora with us because she's a wonderful writer, go-getter and brings a bit of school diversity to the group, as she's currently enrolled at the University of Georgia. Read more about Nora below! 



1. What do you want to get out of this internship?

I want to learn all there is to know about the artist management field! I want to gain experience that will help me in my future career in the music industry. I want to discover new technologies used in the music business and learn what it takes to run your own company. I am excited for all the hands-on projects that I will be working on this semester and I know that my time here will be very worthwhile. 

2. What do you love to do? Hobbies? Activities?

I have had a passion for horses since I was young, and have been riding and competing regularly since I was nine years old. I love animals of all kinds and work as a pet sitter part-time when at home. I love Atlanta Braves baseball, discovering new music, and hanging out with/going for walks with my dog, Iris. Every Saturday in the fall you will find me cheering on my Georgia Bulldogs between the hedges. Go Dawgs!

3. If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

Right now I have been eating a lot of sushi. I love seafood and there are so many sushi options, I don't think I could ever get bored!

4. Favorite musicians, artists, genres, equipment, shows you've been into...tell us anything you love about music. 

Country music is definitely my favorite genre. I started listening to it when I was eight years old when I watched Carrie Underwood win American Idol, which was my favorite show growing up. She has been my role model since then and her voice is unlike anyone else's. I also currently enjoy Maren Morris, Moon Taxi, Kacey Musgraves, Ashley McBryde, Ed Sheeran, Brothers Osborne, Caitlyn Smith, and Aubrie Sellers. 

5. Why did you choose to intern here?

I came across Olivia Management when I was searching for Artist Management companies in Nashville to intern for. I read Erin's story and was impressed by all of her accomplishments, and immediately connected to her "lightbulb moment" where she decided that she should move to Nashville and pursue being an artist manager. After my interview with Maggie, I knew that Olivia Management was the perfect place for me and that I could learn a lot from them. It was scary to think about moving to a big city for the summer by myself, but I know if you don't take risks, you won't ever reach your goals and dreams. I am excited to get started here and learn from some of the best in the business. 

6. What is your favorite part about Nashville?

I've dreamed about moving to Nashville for a long time, and have visited several times before moving here for the summer. I love how Nashville is such a big city, but at the same time it feels like a small town. I love how everywhere you look, there's music. Nashville is where so many people go for a fresh start and to chase their dreams. 

7. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be the best artist manager I can be when I grow up! I hope in a year from now when I graduate, I will be able to move back to Nashville and start my career in the music business. I love discovering new artists, and want to help them share their music with the world and make their living doing what they love most. 

Lessons Olivia Management Taught Me


All good things must come to an end; or so they say. This semester interning at Olivia Management has flown by, but the lessons I learned in this short time have been invaluable. This blog is all about the 5 greatest lessons I learned throughout this semester. 

  1. It's all about the people you are surrounded by. A team is only strong as its weakest link. There are many times that you will find yourself in this place, but use the people around you to uplift and encourage you. The women and man (thanks for putting up with us Josh) at Olivia Management were some of the most positive people I know. They constantly pushed me to be the best version of myself and to show up each day ready to work. Their passion and drive is contagious. Working around such uplifting people can make a job joyful, fun, and worth every bit of hard work. 
  2. Making mistakes is apart of life, own up to them. Throughout my internship, there were multiple times when I made mistakes. Some were bigger than others but if I learned one thing from this, it’s that everyone truly does make mistakes. However, it’s all about how it’s handled in the aftermath. Owning up to my mistakes didn’t show my weakness, but instead showed my willingness to grow and learn so that in the future I could do better. This lesson taught me humility, grace, and how to keep persevering even when I stumble. 
  3. Know your strengths and work every day to develop your weaknesses. Upon starting my internship with Olivia Management, my wonderful bosses asked me what my interests were and what type of tasks I would like to work on. After I mentioned having interest in graphic design, I had the opportunity to create a lot of tour posters, marketing visuals, etc. Making these graphics was such a fun experience for me because I got to express some personal creativity while also working within the vision of our artists. It stretched my strengths but also helped me to develop my weaknesses. It may have been challenging at times, but rewarding when I saw my visual designs posted on socials and websites.
  4. No matter how small an idea may seem, it has the ability to make a huge impact. Erin and Maggie have created a work environment that fosters creativity, freethinking, and the willingness to think outside the box to implement new ideas. When we sat in the office for our Monday staff meetings, we often had brainstorming sessions and thoughtful conversation. No idea was a bad idea, every opinion was welcome, and we used each other’s creative minds to come up with the best solutions to any problems we were facing. Sometimes 5 brains are better than 1. 
  5. Work doesn’t feel like work if you are doing what you love. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to be around music. To work in an industry that revolves around my passions has been so rewarding. It simply doesn’t feel like work because I am doing what I love. I enjoyed going into the office a few times each week because I was in an environment where everyone loved music and was just as passionate about the industry as I was.

I am truly going to miss Olivia Management, but I am so thankful for all that I have learned. I will surely use this knowledge in various positions moving forward, and I couldn’t have asked for a better first internship experience. 

#TBT to "I've Been Over this Before"

By Madeline Heiskell

John Paul White and TSS.jpg

In 2016, John Paul White released his album , “Beulah," Recently, NWF Daily News wrote a piece about the album. The Secret Sisters were featured on the track "I've Been Over this Before." The article says, "'I’ve Been Over this Before' is the only collaborative track. It features The Secret Sisters, who White said he grew up near. This will satiate the cravings of those who hunger for the Civil Wars’ harmonies." To check out the full article, click below!

My Semester at Olivia Management

By: Josh Snyder

This semester, I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to intern at Olivia Management. Time has flown by, as I can't believe that I am sitting here writing my final blog post about my time with this special company. I have learned so much about marketing specifically in the music industry and how the industry works as a whole. I have learned skills during this internship that I will be able to carry with me no matter what career path I find myself going down. It is impossible to share everything that I have learned, so I will share my biggest takeaways from this experience.

1. Find something that I'm passionate about and go after it!

This is a saying that I have heard countless times in my life, but after interning at Olivia Management, this statement could not be more true. It is so evident that Erin has found her passion and I have so enjoyed being a small part of the amazing company she has created. Going forward, I want to make sure that I find myself doing something that I am passionate about because it is much more fun to be a part of something that I truly believe in.

2. Affirmations go a long way

Each week at our staff meetings, our team shared affirmations with each other to encourage one another and to celebrate the accomplishments that we made in the previous week. I believe that this practice should be applied to everyday life. Celebrate accomplishments no matter how big or small they may be. We should always find a reason to pick each other up, plus it's a small step in making the world a happier place.

3. Push your co-workers and allow them to push you back

This internship has exposed me to a variety of new things, one of which being these blog writings. It has been neat for me to see how my blogs have improved over the semester. I have been pushed to do things outside of my original comfort zone and I have only benefitted from it. No matter what role we find ourselves in throughout life, I think it is important to find somebody that will push you because it ends up bringing out your best. Maggie, thank you for trusting me with tasks that I had to just figure out!

Words can't begin to express my gratitude to Erin and Maggie for believing in me and trusting me to be a part of this company. Olivia Management works with top notch artists and it has been a privilege to work alongside them to promote their unique and beautiful work! 


John Prine New Album: 'Tree of Forgiveness'

By: Josh Snyder


John Prine is easily one of the most respected songwriters/artists in the Americana genre, let alone all of music combined. Since 1971, Prine has written hit after hit about daily life, current events, and of course, love. For the first time in 10 years, Prine has released a new album containing all original tracks. According to Rolling Stone magazine, the album titled 'Tree of Forgiveness' is "very good, frequently brilliant, with all the qualities that define Prine's music". The album features background vocals from other Americana stars such as Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell. While Prine's age shows in his vocals, one thing that helps set this album apart is Prine's brilliance of songwriting that is just as strong as it was when he started out back in 1971.

You can check out the rest of Rolling Stone's review here!

The 2018 Americana Honors & Awards!

By Madeline Heiskell

The 2018 Americana Honors & Awards are quickly approaching and we are so excited! Our Americana artists have created a lot of amazing music and have achieved some fantastic goals this past year! Our favorite duo, The Secret Sisters, just hit 1,000,000 streams of their hit single, "He's Fine" from their Grammy-nominated record, You Don't Own Me Anymore, released in June of last year. You can watch the video here:

Caitlin Canty, Olivia Management's emerging artist, just released her new record, Motel Bouquet on March 30th! You can get the album, which Rolling Stone calls "dreamy and daring" by clicking the button below, or you can listen below to my favorite track off the album, "Motel." 

 We are so proud of all our artists' accomplishments since last year's Awards, and look forward to this year's releases from Matthew Perryman Jones, Hush Kids and maybe more! 

Tomorrow, April 6th, is the last day to vote to nominate your favorite Americana artist for the 2018 Americana Honors & Awards. If you are an Americana Music Association Voting Member, don't forget to vote for your favorites!

#TBT I'm so in Love with You

This video never gets old. "I'm so in Love with You" was even on my Spotify list of Top 5 Most Played Songs of 2017. Rewatching today and getting excited for this summer when Jill opens for The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks on July 1st and Steel Stacks in Pennsylvania on August 17th!

"Save You"


Before interning at Olivia Management, I had already been a fan of Matthew Perryman Jones. In high school, I would pick a station on Pandora and listen to the songs. Some of the music stuck out to me more than others. One song that I loved and played over and over was "Save You" by Matthew Perryman Jones. It had been a long time since I had heard it, but once I learned Matthew was one of Olivia Management's clients, I found a renewed love for the song. Today was the first time I watched the video, and also found the scene in "One Tree Hill" (A show I have watched many times growing up) that featured the song. I hope you all enjoy this amazing song as much as I do; a song that reminds me of where I've been, and how I got to where I am.




The Magic of Red Rocks Amphitheatre

By: Josh Snyder

There is no doubt that Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most iconic music venues in the world, let alone in the United States. Red Rocks is a performance space constructed in a rock structure in Morrison, CO just outside of Denver. There truly isn't any other venue like it when it comes to the unique character that is Red Rocks and the breathtaking views that it has to offer. Other than the scenery, what makes Red Rocks so special? Former Director of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and author G. Brown had this to say, "God is a pretty good architect: A naturally formed amphitheatre for performers to look up at the crowd instead of out over the crowd. The pitch of the seating allows [a musician] to see everyone's faces, instead of just seeing a sea of heads. And that's a pretty spectacular thing for a performer". For artists that have played Red Rocks, one thing they can agree on is how great the acoustics are and how special it is to see 10,000 people singing back to them.

Our very own, Jill Andrews will be making her Red Rocks Amphitheatre debut this coming summer. On Sunday, July 1st, Jill will be opening up for The Avett Brothers at the famed venue. Jill is ecstatic and we at Olivia Management couldn't be more excited for her. We surely will look forward to hearing the countless stories of her sacred experience. Tickets for the show can be found here! Bring on summer!



By: Josh Snyder

The annual SXSW conference is being held this week in Austin, TX with the festivities wrapping up Sunday, March 18th. This multi-faceted event features conferences in the film, music and media industries, as well as festivals celebrating music, film, comedy, gaming, and interactive media. SXSW brings people together from all parts of the world and offers opportunities for networking, as well as the appreciation and support of all forms of art.

Last year, The Secret Sisters made their debut appearance at SXSW. During the event, the sisters participated in radio interviews as well as performed in various showcases. It was a very busy week (you can check out last year's blog recap here) for them as it led up to their record release that summer. One of the radio appearances the sisters made was with mvyradio, where they performed 'Mississippi' from their latest album You Don't Own Me Anymore. You can check out their performance below! 

Wishing we could be in Austin this week as spectators to witness the amazing Nashville talent being represented. Locals with Acme Radio Live are at SXSW this week curating the "Nashville House" event featuring local acts we love such as Forest Fire Gospel Choir, Marc Scibilia, Sun Seeker, Liza Anne, Megan Davies and Waker. Willie Nelsons' Luck Reunion is taking place this week just outside of Austin and the star studded show features Devon Gilfillian, Blank Range, Lilly Hiatt, Josh Ritter and of course Willie to name a few. From everybody at Olivia Management, we salute all the artists performing at both SXSW and Luck Reunion by wishing them the best of luck!


Caitlin Canty: Record Release Tour



This week, Caitlin Canty heads out to the West Coast on her first leg of the Motel Bouquet release tour. This leg of the tour includes four stops, beginning in Santa Monica, CA, and finishing in Seattle, WA, as she heads up the coast. Noam Pikelny will join her on all four dates, and Jeffrey Martin will join Caitlin in both Portland and Seattle. 

Caitlin Canty's new, highly-anticipated record, Motel Bouquet, will be available later this month, set to release on March 30th. Described by Rolling Stone as "Thoughtfully constructed alt-folk with just the right amount of twang", we are so excited here at Olivia Management for everyone to hear the new music. 

You can still preorder the record and purchase other exclusive merchandise items today. Visit the link below to access Caitlin Canty's PledgeMusic page so you can experience first hand the record which The Bluegrass Situation compares to "being taken for a cinematic ride."

Matthew Perryman Jones #TBT

By: Josh Snyder

If you are a Matthew Perryman Jones fan, then you are likely aware that Matthew is finishing up his fifth studio album, slated to be released this year. The album is bound to feature new hits that fans will surely fall in love with! You can pre-order the new album here.

In anticipating the excitement of this upcoming project, I came across a video of Matthew performing "Waking Up the Dead" at Smoakstack Studios in Nashville. This performance showcases the vocal ability that Matthew possesses and that is sure to carry over to this new album! Check out the performance below:

Consulting Client Spotlight

As some of you may know, we have an increasing list of awesome and dedicated consulting clients that are constantly seeking out the best ways to grow themselves and share their music. We're going to highlight a few that have been kicking it into high gear lately - check them out!

Kate Kelly

With a flair for jazz styles and a voice that's smooth like honey, Kate Kelly's album is one that we can hardly wait for. We'll have to, though, as her Indiegogo campaign is now underway; she's offering special packages for fans to support her first full-length album. Kind as can be, Kate Kelly spends most of her time at the hospital where she works as a music therapist when she's not writing or recording. Read up on her journey here and check out her Indiegogo page below! 

Danielle Cormier

Danielle has been hard at work on her first full-length album Fire and Ice, and finally the anticipation is over! Her record was released this past Friday! We're proud of Danielle's determination and work ethic, and really dig her strong vocals - we think you will too. If you like pop, folk and singer songwriters, check out Danielle's new music here. Fun fact: She also got Peter Frampton involved in the record - he performs on the single "Can't Quit You." Watch Danielle's music video for the title track of her new album below. 

Michelle LeBlanc

Whenever Michelle walks into our office, I am instantly happier. She has an infectiously bright personality, and is a lady Jack of all trades (Jackie of all trades?), even encompassing her love for Tarot Card reading into her recently completed Kickstarter campaign. She released her new EP, A Man Like You, on March 2nd, and we're loving it. Read more about her lovely gypsy soul here and check out the album below. 

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Merritt Gibson

With two singles already out, and a release date set for March 30th, Merritt's debut album, Eyes On Us, is just around the corner. Just a freshman in college, Merritt is already killing the game when it comes to learning what it takes to have a career in music. Not only does Merritt have drive, but she also has a realistic sense of the work ethic necessary to accomplish her dreams, but don't take my word for it, check out what East of 8th has to say in their article about Merritt's single "Eyes On Us" here

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