YA IndieGround House to the White House
Artist manager and consultant Yaya Rey is an entertainment industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. As founder of YA IndieGround House Management, she empowers artists and brands such as R&B/soul singer Esnavi, and photographer and film producer Alenka Slavinec to reach new heights, and her extensive knowledge and expertise make her a sought-after influencer across the globe. Rey also leads talent relations at Industry Rules Magazine, is a member of the Entertainment Consortium Collaborative Outreach Program (ECCO), and a board member of the Music Managers Forum. This industry insider is self-made, and FM Hip Hop’s #FMFeline. Learn more about Yaya Rey in the exclusive interview below!
FM Hip Hop: How did YA IndieGround House Management begin?
Yaya Rey: I started out by working with a music artist back in 1997. Years after working with him, more and more opportunities started to present themselves. I then decided to form my own artist management company and wanted YA IndieGround House to represent various types of artists in music, film, fashion, beauty, and art.
FM: What are some of your proudest achievements with the company?
YR: There are a few, but one of my proudest moments was securing a nail polish campaign for my artist Esnavi. We partnered up with Dazzle Dry, a nail polish company with a vegan formula. It was a limited collection, and the nail line consisted of three great colors for summer which were named after songs on her album EXIT E: “Morning Dew” (green), “Oh My!” (coral), and “Planet E” (violet).
FM: What are common mistakes that indie artist managers make?
YR: I find that many managers who represent independent artists, especially newbies, try to rush the process. They also attend events and will start asking for favors immediately without even building their contacts. I learned many years ago that you have to give something to get something, so do not arrive empty-handed.
FM: Tell me about your work with ECCO.
YR: ECCO consists of a diverse group of entertainment professionals and high-level executives. As members, we help bring attention to key issues and initiatives that will have a positive impact on the national, regional and local levels via public policy, civic engagement, and legislation. Most recently, in April 2017, we visited Capitol Hill and were able to meet with members of the Hispanic Caucus, Black Caucus, Multicultural Media Caucus, and former White House appointees to discuss ways that we can help. In addition to meeting with members of Congress, we also had the opportunity to meet with the ACLU and the United States Conference of Mayors.
FM: How do you feel about the current climate of the entertainment industry in New York?
YR: The competition in New York is fierce, but artists right now have an advantage because of the power of social media. You can reach so many people around the world. It takes time and effort to maintain an online presence, but definitely worth it if you want to compete in this market. One important thing about New York is that you have to keep yourself on the “scene” by attending red carpet events, festivals, industry parties, etc. Don’t focus all of your time rehearsing and perfecting your craft– get out there, network, and stay connected. It can be exhausting, but very rewarding for your career.
FM: What are you and your clients currently working on?
YR: My client Esnavi is finishing up her next album and she is also working on a children’s book. There are some other things in the pipeline, but I’m not ready to share that yet.