The roles of artists and managers are very different. Artists are motivated by creativity and fueled by a love for the craft. Managers are business-driven, goal-oriented and networking masters, committed to finding the best opportunities for their artists and handling all the business aspects that come with it.
Without the right balance, there can be a disconnect between intention and execution for managers and artists. Artists want to stay true to their creative and artistic ideals, and managers try to influence them to do what’s going to help them reach their goals in the long run.
Someone who understands this balance better than most is full-time artist manager Normal Bechtel, better known by his moniker “iAmMoneyMoves”. Having started his career in the music industry as a photographer, Norman is now leveraging his connections to grow iAmMoneyMoves management.
Norman answered some questions about his background and his current work as an artist manager.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you started to work professionally in the music scene?
I started off designing and making apparel for concerts at a young age, being around the music scene and looking to get more involved I reached out to the artists I have built a relationship with and started shooting concert photography. I started shooting photography and working in the industry with artists such as Cardi B, Moneybagg Yo, J Stone, All Money In, Yo Gotti, DaBaby, Marshmellow, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Megan Thee Stallion, Dave East, Meek Mill, Mariahlynn, Jhonni Blaze, and many more artist. I have also been involved in many large events such as Moon Rise Music Festival, SXSW, Winter Fest, Charm City Smoke Fest, and Summer Jam.
What prompted you to transition from photography to full-time artist management?
With the contact list and knowledge that I have gained from the industry I jumped into artist management and put the camera down, being a manager there is just not enough time to be a manager and a photographer efficiently. So, I chose artist management, development, and providing consultations. Many artists need to know how to run and push their career, their name is a brand and a business, a lot of artists don’t realize that. It takes a lot for me to put an artist under my management, only because I am not here to babysit an artist. We are here to work if you are not ready to work, it’s just not going to work. My artist development focuses a lot on the artist’s social media, investing in yourself, how to drop music/videos and much more. Working with me on the artist development side no matter how long the artist is looking to work, I feel every artist I have worked with has grown a lot from my format.
What are the key things you look for in an artist before working with them?
Material and writing, this should be a constant, and it’s what drives everything else we do as managers. Touring, getting in front of audiences and developing a dedicated and authentic fan base. Positioning and associative wins, this can extend to that of the media, support slots, festivals, brands, radio play, you name it. You want the best looks for your artists at all times. Social Media, their presence on social media is also a major factor, being live on social media and staying interactive with your fan base to have a personal connection.
Who are some of the artists you’re working with at the moment?
I am currently working with one artist under my management currently, Bama Boy. You can follow Bama Boy on Instagram @only1bamaboy and find his music on all platforms and on YouTube as Bama Boy. There are many other artists I do not manage directly but work side by side very close, such as Yung Inkky ( @yunginkky ), T-Savage (@tsavagethe1 ), and Chrisean ( @__Chrisean ). I work with many artists under my artist development and artist consultations. There may be more artists coming out of my artist development program that will be under my management soon. But as I said I am not doing it for fun, it’s not a game, so I try not to waste any artists time or mine. Even if we don’t work together after artist development, that artist will still be close to me, and they are a better artist than they were before the development.
How do you build a good working relationship with the artists you manage?
Me and my artists talk on a daily basis. We are always talking about the next move. We become family. I try to go to as many studio sessions as I can with my artist. We work on the creativeness of visuals and social media together as a team. I work with my artists with advice and anything they may need for their personal and professional life. I analyze data, set goals, track and measure results with my artist. We will make weekly goals, monthly goals and yearly goals.
What’s the most difficult or misunderstood part of artist management?
It’s not everything we make it out to look like. As a manager, there is a lot of behind the scenes work we are working on all time. The artist really doesn’t know everything their management does for them. A music manager is a thankless job at times with long hours and late nights. We are hired to make sure you are making the right decisions for you and your carrier. We are the gatekeeper, a spokesperson, team architect, artistic direction, administration, and we take of all the small things.
How important is social media for promoting an artist?
Social media has become a powerful tool that any musician, artist, singer, or influencer can utilize to grow their audience and overall expand their career online. These social media platforms have opened up many more opportunities for musicians to network and share their music with a wider audience. All of this would never have been possible without the creation of the many social media platforms that we are going to discuss today.
What’s next on the horizon for iAmMoneyMoves?
It’s easy to point to emerging trends, highlight which artists are poised for big things, and identify where innovation in music and technology is setting the stage for more disruption in the coming years. As far as the music itself though, there’s not a simple answer. The problem is; what’s next in music is everything. Of course, that’s always been the case to some degree, but today even the most clearly defined genres come with a spectrum of sub-genres and a resistance to any kind of formal labeling. For every new sound, there is something different and equally compelling, acting as a counterbalance. In past decades, it was easier to pinpoint the styles and scenes acting as the dominant driving forces behind the direction of popular music as a whole. Today, that’s impossible. Today’s rising artists are different. For the first time in history, we’re being introduced to a new generation of artists who don’t know life without the internet. Everyone is exposed to everything, and influence bleeds freely across borders. Even artists embedded in a local scene or internet niche soak up drops of inspiration from artists in other worlds, and nobody operates in a bubble.