Kate Ramos, native of Australia, has worked in the Latin music industry for the past 25 years. She is manager at Red Light Management (RLM) based in L.A, where she focuses on a Latin client roster.
Prior to joining RLM she worked for 12 years at Live Nation. She started with the company in Miami, under the Clear Channel/Televisa partnership, until moving to Los Angeles to head up the Latin touring division.
As a manager, she has worked alongside clients negotiating recording contracts and TV deals, confirming international tours and endorsement deals and experiencing a Grammy win. Over the years Ramos has worked with some of the biggest global touring artists including Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Maná and Enrique Iglesias.
She has been involved in the development and execution of marketing platforms around music for many major brands such as Pepsi, 7UP, Corona, and Visa, as well as the successful branded tour “Juntos en Concierto” starring Marc Anthony, Alejandro Fernandez and Chayanne in its debut year.
In your own words, what is a manager and what does she/he/they do?
I would say that the role of a manager is to take the creativity of an artist and help make it a business. The manager should always be honest with their client, even if the advice is not necessarily what the client wants to hear.
3 tools or qualities that you find are important in a manager?
Humility (the manager is not the artist), honesty (always) and perseverance.
If you could define it, what would you say is your management style?
I’m a behind the scenes person. I understand that the artist is the star. Some managers get confused about this. I’m also very direct, not everyone likes that, and I’m not a ‘yes’ person. That does no one any good.
How did you become involved in management?
I’ve been in the industry for many years, in different areas but since the beginning – always working with what I love – music in Spanish and everything that it brings with it – the culture, the food, the language.
Did you have any examples of managers you looked up to?
I have worked alongside many managers over the years and I have many significant friendships but when I started I was working in Spain. The most important manager was Rosa Lagarrigue, and she was a woman. She represented some of my favorite artists – Miguel Bosé and Mecano. I wanted to be like her. Over the years I got to know her personally and now can say that she is my friend who I admire a lot.
What are you looking for in an artist? What are you looking for in people you work with?
Firstly and most importantly I look for the music and the project that I’m attracted to. If I don’t love the art I can’t be a part of something that is going to be such an important part of my life. Then it’s also a factor that the artist believes that they need help in addition to what they can do alone. The team – dedication – to the artist and to the job.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your line of work in management?
Know how to not get too personally involved. When you spend so many hours with people it’s difficult to turn off and to separate the personal form the work – but its important to do it. I keep learning.
What are some of the biggest joys?
Many. So many. The moments when you see that the hard work paid off, when you have been a part of an important achievement in the artist’s career. I love developing ideas, strategies that result in something that benefits the artist – whether it’s the end of a successful tour, a partnership with a brand that provides benefits for all parties, when the artists win a Grammy. The gratifications are very personal –it doesn’t mean that anyone else even knows, just one self– but if I felt that my work wasn’t helping I couldn’t continue. It’s a tough job but the joys make it worthwhile.
What are some of the challenges that aspiring and up and coming artists face today?
Understanding the importance of being real to their art. Many want to adapt to what is selling at the moment but a truly successful artist is one who is very good at what they do – not because they do what sells. The artist must believe in themselves and understand that they to work hard and harder. There’s a lot of competition.
Could you share 3 tricks of the trade?
- Don’t stop believing in your art. You have to love what you do – not just want fame.
- Don’t stop listening to others and learning
- Look for an honest manager who really knows the business and the industry. Not just someone to be your buddy, your companion, there are many who can do that.
How has this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic affected you, your team and artists? How are you dealing with it and adapting?
The pandemic is extremely tough for everyone but above all for artists it’s primarily hard because of how gravely the situation has affected live music. This is where most artists make most of their income. The release of music has moved on line. It’s different but it works. The live music part is tough because there are lots of ideas but planning is complicated until we have a clearer idea of where each different region/country will be in the near future. From a communication/organization perspective were lucky to be so advanced technologically so in reality many can work from home.
Do you think this pandemic will have a long term impact in the global music industry? If so, how?
Absolutely. The music industry as a whole will be severely affected – there are so many people who depend on live music and touring to make their living from the artists to technical staff, musicians, support teams, caterers etc etc not to mention the venues and their staff. But this is a creative industry and new ideas will arise. On another level artists and musicians are very sensitive people, very creative and many suffer from psychological issues, perhaps in a greater portion than other professions. It’s important that we support the artistic world at this time because art helps us all in times of trouble and music is no exception.
In this crisis, could you share some words of wisdom or advice to managers, artists or workers that may be currently struggling within the music industry?
Talk to others. Perhaps my favorite saying in Spanish is ‘speaking, people understand each other’. These are difficult times. There is a lot of stress and many are depressed – there are a lot of ugly things happening in the world. We must remember though that there is also a lot of good things. And good people. You just need to find them. Listen to positive messages because there is a lot of negativity and a lot of incorrect information. There will be a lot of suffering but we will come out of this and hopefully after the nightmare we will have learnt something . When it is time we will get back to hearing live music because people need the human connection and nothing is better than in a musical environment