Diane Dunkley formed RM2 Music in 2010. The winner of the 2013 Precious Awards Business of The Year takes her role as an ambassador for British music seriously.
Nurturing the creativity of the likes of soul greats Don-e, singer songwriter Leon Ware who has penned classics for Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, Mint Condition and up-and-coming artists such as Timotha Lanae and 4 Femmes on the Thames.
Starting her career in contract management and economic regeneration projects for London boroughs such as Lambeth and Southwark, before being headhunted to work on secondary revenue commercial contracts for London Underground, music had been a hobby.
After a chance conversation in 2005, with ex backing singer of the legendary Prince, that passion for music turned into a chance to fulfil a childhood dream. Being asked to arrange a London show for the singer led to Dunkley taking her first steps into the music business and eventually saw her found her own music management company.
Here Diane share what a typical day for her is like.
My alarm goes off at seven and while my nine and 10 yr old get dressed for school I check my emails, especially for those that would have come in from LA over night, and answer anything urgent. I also do a quick scan of twitter and facebook to see what’s been happening and what my artists have been up to. I also check my diary and plan my movements for the day as I work around the school runs, it’s important for me to do them when I can. If I’m not having meetings I will work from home. I then do my daughters hair and while they eat breakfast I jump in the shower. After which is the school run.
Once back home, around nine, I will have a coffee while I plan what needs to be done for the day. Working with international artists and across various global territories means I have to plan which emails go out first so I hopefully get a response which helps me action what I need to during the day. So emails and calls to Japan tend to go out first thing, emails and calls to LA late afternoon and into the evening. I normally travel into London two to three times a week so it’s more emails on the train. I also catch up with Music Industry news via Music Week updates or CMU Daily who inject humour so always give me a giggle.
First port of call is to speak with my artists. We may be arranging a tour in which case means speaking with promoters, agents, PR, radio and the Musical Director of the band to make sure the technical aspects are covered. I have recently taken on an assistant which is a tremendous help. I will liasise with her to ensure all the logistics fro tours are covered. This will include booking travel liaising with the venue regarding the hotel and putting the itinerary together.
Ultimately making sure an artist is where they are supposed to be whether that be a rehearsal, soundcheck, recording studio, interview or photoshoot. I tend to accompany them where possible so I act as the link person between the artist and the client.
Interlaced in between are business meetings with lawyers or accountants. Due to the rapid changes within the music industry, you can think outside of the box and as most of my artists are independent we have the freedom to brainstorm and try different ideas to generate income. A manager is not meant to be an expert in all fields and do everything, but they should know how to build the right team around the artist to make sure all angles are covered. They act as the hub and co-ordinate everything.
All the running around during the day normally leads to show time. So once sound check has been done, there is hair and makeup, and we fed and water the artists and they are ready to perform! Once I have got them on stage, I hope there are no technical issues, then I can relax and enjoy most of the show. If I’ve invited anyone down to see the artist then that’s a good time to join them. Networking continues after the show. After which it’s home time. Final check of emails then bed.
When there isn’t a show or event I make sure its family time therefore my free evenings are often spent at home with the family. Movie and popcorn and once kids in bed, a nice red. My favourite TV shows are Greys Anatomy and I can’t wait for Dallas to come back !
Everyday is definitely different, whether it be a different tour, artist or event. I’m now reading before I turn the lights out to stop my mind racing and shut off.
Here are Diane’s top ten tips for surviving in a male orientated industry…
1) Perseverance – be focused on your goals and keep going there will be knock backs, just dust yourself off and try again.
2) Know your stuff – The industry is constantly changing so it is important you keep up with the latest news and think of ways to exploit the changes for your artists. See it as a positive rather than a negative. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do and work with the artist I do if the industry was the same as it was 20 or even 10 years ago.
3) Be prepared to graft – If you come in at entry level, be prepared to graft and do the smaller jobs. One of my first jobs was making sure towels and water was on the stage before show time.
4) Be flexible – On show day in particular it’s all hands on deck so be prepared to do something out of your job remit.
5) Have a thick skin – As I mentioned before under perseverance, there will be knockbacks, IT’S NOT PERSONAL, in this industry people can be very demanding and in some cases not very loyal, remember IT’S NOT PERSONAL.
6) Passion – You have to love what you do and be passionate about your artist as sometimes you are the only one in the room who knows how amazing your artist is and by the time you walk out it is your job to make sure everyone knows
7) Network – Key in this industry as a lot of it is who do know, this knowledge will speed up your journey no end.
8) Always deliver – If you say you’re going to do something do it, in fact over deliver and give superb customer service, it is noticed
9) Learn the technical elements – Critical for show day when things aren’t going right with the sound and your artist has asked you to sort it out. I’m considering doing a sound engineering course and I know some amazing female sound engineers. It gives you an edge and makes you stand apart from the others
10) Be assertive – stand your ground, without being rude as people will try and fob you off, stick to your guns.