On November 14, Lana Del Rey attended the Artist and Manager Awards in London, England, where she presented the award for Manager Of The Year to her managers Ben Mawson and Ed Millet (from TAP Management). Lana wore the Gucci wood dress (with tiger head buttons), which can be viewed or purchased here. You can read Lana’s long and touching speech below, thanks to Music Business Worldwide for providing the transcript.
I am very happy to be here tonight to give my managers this award and I wanted to share with you what they did for me that no one else could do.
They were able to see in me all of the things that people around 2006/2007 said were unmarketable, not pop enough, too abstract. They were able to see these traits as assets and to have the wisdom to see that some of the peculiarities of my writing style were relatable.
They could actually make my record translate in a universal way that other bigger managers and bigger labels that I had met hadn’t been able to understand up until that point.
My melodies, choruses and songs weren’t four to the floor, and my sentiments were not always cheerful… like having a debut record called Born to Die! But I was able to communicate my feelings in a way that was different from other artists at the time. I had my own unique vocabulary and I had ambitions to be a great American writer. They saw that value in that.
By the time I met Ben in 2009 I had already been playing in local bars and auditioning for major and indie labels for about four years. Although my experiences with open mic nights and playing on the lower east side of New York City was generally positive, my experience playing for labels was mostly the same.
Every meeting ended with the question, Where are the hits? To which I would indignantly reply, I’m sharing my life story! I guess I expected people to see the value in that and to have an a-ha moment.
On some level I think people did love the music, I got a lot of positive feedback, just no calls back. That was probably because nobody knew what to do with the tone of the project and songs, and they couldn’t really envision what my career would look like long term.
But when I met Ben and shortly after I met Ed, I moved to London where they lived, and we did start to get calls back after making the rounds for a few years.
They were the first people who could see the big picture and they loved my music as much as I loved making it. Which I think is the most important thing for a manager: to truly love the projects that they are working on and to want to make the personal and professional commitment it takes to make an artist successful.
Once an artist becomes famous, it really does become a commitment and a shared life between everybody involved. The artist’s ups and downs and the layers of the complexities in the ways that the managers need to be involved, especially in a younger artist’s life, can be extensive.
Crazy ex-boyfriends, complex family histories to work through, previous indie record deals gone wrong, eleven record publishing commitments made at a young age to unwind. All of that before you even think about what the style of the first record should be.
The most valuable thing a manager and an artist can share is to be on the same page as each other for the most important things like principles, ethics and goals.
Eight years ago I told my managers upfront that there were going to be more parts of me that were not for sale than would be for sale. That having a real private life was going to be as big a priority to me as it was to write thoughtful records. I had to fight that a little bit, but we’ve kept them at the forefront of all of our decision making.
On a side note, I’d also just like to say that there is a real cultural shift happening this year with women coming forward telling their stories about experiences in the entertainment business. It’s a real cultural moment.
Me and my managers called each other up the same day that some of these revelations started to be divulged and I felt really lucky that we were on the same page about the fact that we felt like this is going to be a really good thing for artists like me and younger. I had a moment in those weeks thinking about how important it is to have those shared principles.
So to finish, I really am one of those artists who wouldn’t be where I am now without these two people because it does take a village to make an artist go far. They’ve helped find the right people to support me as I travel around the world sharing my music.
I also wanted to say that Dave Chumbley was my booking agent and he passed away this year while we were doing shows in the UK. I feel like if I mention his name, he’d be smiling because he loved stuff like this.
So congratulations, you really deserve it, Ben Mawson and Ed Millet, managers of the year.
Public Appearances > 2017 > Artist & Manager Awards at The Printworks in London, England (November 14)
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