Nurturing the Island’s Performing Arts

Theresa Minors’s career took a 180-degree turn six years ago. The animal warden quit her job, and started a management company for musicians. She had three clients and relatively little experience.

“It was a very big change but your heart doesn’t lie,” said the CEO of PlayList Management. “I have a bachelor’s degree in animal science. I worked at Dolphin Quest for a number of years and was an animal warden for the majority of my career but when I look back at when I was a kid, everything was about music. I sang with my sisters, I played guitar, I was a drummer in Somerset Brigade Band — music has always surrounded me. But it wasn’t until [2009] that I paid attention to it.”

She formed PlayList Management with her husband David. He kept his day job while she worked to get the company off the ground.

It helped that they’d already had success with The Indigo Sunset Band, childhood friends who’d signed with Atlanta-based producers LA Reid and Pebbles.

Through that effort, the couple learnt about entertainment law and contracts and made vital industry connections.

“We were successful in getting them on UK radio, getting them interviewed and reviewed,” Mrs Minors said. “It was fun. At that point in time I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to do full-time but it was natural for me to organise and help them through it.

“My husband always had a passion for the stage. I’ve heard family stories of how at three or four, his father taught him how to play the horn. He grew up in the Regiment band, took part in plays on the Island and overseas. It was a real passion for him, he just never saw himself doing it full-time. When I said ‘This is it’, he supported me.”

PlayList Management now has 42 clients on its books. It scouts for talent for agencies in the UK and the US and has expanded its management services to actors, screenwriters, models and producers.

Its youngest client is nine; its oldest, 43. Teenagers are also part of its focus. Mrs Minors started the Developing Artists Programme at Berkeley Institute in 2010, offering students rare industry insight and training.

The initiative later expanded to students at CedarBridge Academy, Warwick Academy, Bermuda Institute and Sandys Secondary Middle School.

“We saw that Bermuda had a lot to offer at that point,” Mrs Minors said.

As part of the programme, a “select few” students are taken to the US for a two-week boot camp every July. Palmer Williams, Angie Stone and Parliament-Funkadelic are among those who’ve spent time talking about their careers and giving students “the real industry deal”. The teenagers leave with professional headshots, a film reel, a body shot and recognised credits for their portfolio, the CEO added.

Next month, 13 students head to Orlando, Florida for an “acting, modelling and talent showcase in front of agents”.

It’s all part of PlayList’s efforts to promote Bermudian talent, Mrs Minors said. Five of the students involved in the original Developing Artists Programme have signed with agents in Atlanta, Georgia; two students will meet with executives from “a major record label” next month.

“We try our best to keep in touch with the majority of the students we started off with,” she said. “Some are in school studying [the] arts in colleges in the UK and the US. Julian Johnston and Aarian Lasselle are both doing very well in college producing and expanding their careers. Occasionally they meet with our kids and give advice.”

Bermudian hip hop artist Kid Klassic is another one of PlayList’s success stories. He’s been recognised with several awards from agencies in the US.

“We grow every year,” Mrs Minors she said. “We started off as management company and then began the Developing Artists Programme for 13-18-year-olds in the music industry. Years after that we expanded and incorporated the film aspect of it — acting, directing, teaching students how to screenwrite and write songs. As part of our management services we help with development and training. We also talent scout and work with industry professionals in Atlanta.

“We’ve also just made connections in UK and can now submit for casting film and TV there.”

Mrs Simons said she couldn’t have accomplished as much as she has without tons of local and overseas support.

“Tiffany Fox and Stewart Crockwell at CedarBridge Academy and principal Kalmar Richards, Bermuda CableVision, Flanagan’s, Craig Simons, LifeStyles Entertainment and Rian 8-Track Williams have particularly supported us and our growth locally over the years,” she added.

PlayList Management will hold its next round of boot camp auditions in September. For more information visit www.playlistmanagement.net.

http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20150713/ISLAND04/150719899

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