WORKFLOW: KRISTIAN NYHOLM
33 years old, Lives in Copenhagen. Independent artist manager for Coco O, Kwamie Liv, Vinnie Who, Thomas Blachman, Citybois, Mont Jake & Laid Back.
I work as an independent artist manager and represent a select group of talented people, mainly in the music industry. I’ve been in the business for 10 years, working for various record companys as a label manager. On a micro scale it all sort of started organically when some of my friends started to make it into the limelight. I’d take care of all the organisational and practical stuff and make things happen. Along the way I found out that I could actually be a professional at what I was already doing for the fun.
On a macro scale I guess I’m a subconscious form of my two grandfathers; one was a lawyer the other a painter and ceramist. As a manager I have to deal with both worlds. The creative process behind an artist and the business and how to realize projects.
I have a few daily routines that have since turned into rituals. Every morning starts with a bit of alone time, a solid breakfast and news on the radio. After I get to the office and in between the many phone calls, emails and meetings, I always try to find the time to go out of the office for lunch. Not necessarily in relation to work, but to get a break during the day. After work I often wind down with a run.
These small rituals give me the energy I need to be above everything work throws at me. Working with creative people, you never know which situations are going to arise. Having some non-work checkpoints throughout the day allows me to actually work better.
On the difference between work and play
Over the years, I’ve learned that there has to be a pretty firm line between work and free time. There’s always an email to respond to, a call to make or a potential market to explore. But if you don’t disconnect and take time to manage yourself, this business turns into a Sisyphean job. I never reach a state of being completely done anyway; a fact that was important for me to come to terms with.
On going solo
A few years ago I left my job as label manager in order to go solo. When you venture out on your own, you leave behind the comfort of colleagues and the privilege of not having to worry about money. But going independent has allowed me to map out my own direction, make my own rules, cultivate my own ideas and work with a select group of artists I truly admire. Change always opens up more doors than it closes.
On work tools
I trust my intuition unconditionally. The compass inside me is my most important tool and also the main reason I’ve managed to make it in this business. Combined with hard work, credibility and a personal approach of course. I’ve also been both clever and fortunate enough to surround myself with talented people throughout the years.
My degree of success depends on my ability to understand artists and help empower and communicate their visions. Even the megalomanian ones. I’ll rather go out on a limb and harness the madness than play it safe. If anything, madness indicates passion and that is essentially the fire within me as well as the artists I work with.
On fresh perspective
I quite often travel to Los Angeles. The city of LA represents everything Copenhagen is not. The constant opportunism and never ending chase for glory is a great inspiration. It’s the only place in the world where people come up to your at a traffic light to hand you a business card. My visits to LA help me to stay on top of my game and keep a fresh perspective and I believe a change of scenery is needed sometimes. Feeling on top of your game in Copehagen is one thing. Los Angeles is a whole other ballgame! I hope to visit more in the future.
On my first trip to LA, years ago - all by myself, I read a book below the Hollywood sign in the Hills, about the late great impresario, Jerry Weintraub. He basically invented the management business and represented the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis and Sinatra. He’s the old school, larger than life type. A Jewish kid who came from nothing and made his way into showbiz and did it his way. He’s one of the industry people I admire and take note of because he also moved his career into film and TV - and he took entertainment to another level. Such a cliche - but at the same time what I needed to move forward at that time, presenting what I believed was the next big thing.
On the horizon
2017 is the first year where ALL the artists I work with are looking to release new material. So i guess my main goal is to make make this happen, make them successful and still have time for a run after work
If I can look back at my career with a feeling of decency and know that I’ve conducted fair and credible business, i’ll be proud and happy. Help realizing projects that contribute something real, new and different in a world of hustle and marketing-driven nonsense is my everyday goal.