TPS #033: What’s YOUR TED Talk?

Author: Andre Mullen - 3 min Read

Read Time: 3 minutes

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💡 Big Ideas:

1. Artist managers can create their own TED Talk in 3 steps – seeing themselves for who they really are, thinking for themselves about themselves, and acting like they believe.

2. Artist managers should have their own TED Talk – the talk that steers their careers.

3. Artist managers own TED Talk is the WHY of their management career.

4. Artist managers must have their own internal talk to navigate the music industry effectively.

Time for YOUR TED Talk…

In today’s newsletter, I want to talk to you about the 3 steps to creating the TED Talk that steers your career as an artist manager.

If you know anything about TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks, they are designed to spread ideas that spark imagination, embrace possibility, and activate impact.

As an artist manager, you represent your client – or in some cases, clients – with whom you have to spark imagination, embrace limitless possibilities, and help create life-changing moments for themselves and their fans.

This is not an easy feat nor for the faint of heart.

However, your passion for creativity, for music, and to see your client win continues to fuel your drive so you can manage smarter.

How many times have people thought you were either crazy or impressed when you say you’re an artist manager? Even they know dealing with artists can be demanding.

How you continue to get better is based on your own personal TED Talk – what you tell, and how you see yourself, every day.

There are many artist managers who secretly doubt because they aren’t having these necessary talks with themselves.

It’s time to change narrative.

“What you think, is what you talk. How you think, is how you talk. Pay attention.”

So why should you even care about creating your own TED Talk as an artist manager?


Your TED Talk is what fuels your WHY as an artist manager.

In an industry where your “why” can be clouded by technology advances, shifting client personalities, and your own life “lifing” all on its own, controlling your own self-talk becomes very important.

There are 3 steps in creating your TED Talk as an artist manager:

1. See yourself for who you really are

2. Think for yourself about yourself

3. Act like you believe

It is important for you to have your own internal talk with yourself as you navigate this industry. It helps you to develop your own instincts, trust your gut, and of course, manage smarter.

Here’s how, step by step:

Step 1: Seeing yourself for who you really are

How you see yourself is what creates confident momentum as an artist manager.

Working with your client creatively – whether it is musically or business – requires you to see yourself not only as a creative but also as one who can develop this creative vision into a sustainable business model.

In my earlier years as an artist manager, I found myself representing a client who had signed to Def Jam. He had just let go of his previous manager and I was referred to him by a friend of mine who happened to be his A&R.

The morning before my official face-to-face meeting with him, I was extremely anxious, with a series of thoughts running through my head.

“What if he sees that I don’t know everything?”

“What if he sees me mess up?”

“What if he sees me fail?”

As I asked myself all these questions, I looked into the mirror and saw myself.

Then I said:

“What I don’t know, I’ll find out.”

“What I mess up, I’ll take responsibility for and fix it.”

“What I fail at, I’ll learn from it and keep going.”

“He’ll see all of that.”

How you see yourself is exactly how you will respond to challenges and problems.

So make sure you talk about yourself and how you see yourself.

Step 2: Think for yourself about yourself

How you think for yourself about yourself is a practice that goes a long way.

This is the basis for all of your relationships in the music industry. How you think for yourself about yourself directly determines how you interact, engage, and build with industry professionals.

Right before I started managing artists, I was administrating music publishing catalogs for small labels. One of the labels I was working with referred me to a major publisher.

In the meeting, the director expressed that he was impressed with my work:

“Everyone knows you know a lot about publishing and you know your stuff. I’ve heard some colleagues talk about your work on a smaller scale, but what do I do with someone who has never worked with a major publisher?”

I didn’t get the job.

However, I began to THINK.

He said, “Everyone knows that you know a lot about publishing and that you know your stuff.”

He also said, “I heard some colleagues talking about your work.”

So a rejection that was intended to break me down actually built me up.

I believed what he said and I gave myself permission to go after everything and anything I wanted to in the music industry no matter what anyone thought about me.

All it took was for me to THINK for myself about myself. 

Step 3: Act like you believe

Acting like we believe in ourselves creates possibilities that may never have been possible.

All we have to do is believe.

This isn’t a “fake-it-till-you-make-it” concept so often adopted in the music industry.

This is a genuine belief in which you are so convinced that your whole demeanor falls in line with this very thought.

After I didn’t get the job with the major publisher, I attended a music conference in Nashville. While there, I saw the GM of an independent label that I had wanted to work with for some time.

They had just announced a partnership with eOne (now MNRK Music Group). Press about the partnership was everywhere.

I went over to her, congratulated her on the recent partnership, and mentioned how easy it would be to have their catalog managed by their new partner.

“Yes”, she said, “we just need to bring someone in-house to handle our publishing administration.”

I asked her what some of her challenges were and she responded. I then responded with solutions to those challenges and said:

“Whoever you bring in, I would encourage you to make sure they’re recommended.”

Two weeks later, I received a call from the GM:

“I would love for you to work with us. You come highly recommended.”

I wanted to work for them and all I did was act like I believed it.

No one said artist management was easy.

How you see yourself and what you think about yourself is very important as you continue on your artist management career journey.

Hope this helps.

✋🏾When you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

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