So, what exactly is A&R? What does someone in A&R do day-to-day? Most people have a lot of misconceptions when they think about this role…
Stephanie Wright tells her story about how she landed her first major label job in Nashville (Capitol Records) with zero music industry experience or degree, but it eventually led to her current role as Senior Vice President of A&R at Universal Music Group Nashville.
With her start in an administration role, she found ways to use her creativity in any situation she could, which eventually led to her discovering artists Brandy Clark, Erin Enderlin, and then signing Kacey Musgraves.
“I’m glad I took this [slower] path— it gave me an appreciation for the whole process of making a [music] project”
Stephanie goes into detail on what the A&R role truly means, how to deal with established artists versus newer artists, how A&R uses strategy to accomplish artists’ goals, and what she thinks a “sign-able” artists looks like.
“My job is just to keep [artists] authentic…[people] who have something about them that sets them apart…at the core that’s what everyone is trying to find”
Great news for artists— the label really isn’t trying to change you!
Stephanie dives deep on:
- UMG’s company structure,
- What genres mean at UMG (spoiler: they are more difficult to define in this digital age)
- How those genres relate to how she aims to brand an artist
- How A&R is constantly evolving
- What labels are looking for in an artist
“You have to be flexible and fluid in how you are going about launching an artist, there’s not a one size fits all anymore.”