The Subtle Truth. 020 - Erika Wohland
As some of you may already know, at the start of 2021, Subtle But True took on their first intern, Erika Wohland. I (Steph) launched this internship program with the intent to teach an aspiring manager what I’ve learned so far, give them the tools they would need to start their own ventures and get another creative mind involved in brainstorming for SBT’s projects. I really wanted to teach someone in the early stages of management how to go about getting started in the industry but also be able to show them some hands on things such as being present at shows, collecting royalties, etc.
When I first started working in the music business, I didn’t have much guidance, I didn’t know what tools to use and didn’t have many people who could help make the beginning phases run more smoothly. Instead, I worked long days and nights, studied continuously, read multiple books, slowly built a network of mentors, friends and peers and eventually was comfortable enough to start my own business, 3 years later. I wanted to help facilitate this process as much as possible because the beginning phases are often the hardest to push through and feeling alone during those times can be extremely rough on mental health – I know from experience.
When Erika reached out to me on Twitter, I immediately loved her energy and loved how interested she was in Subtle But True, our artists and about management in general. She had many questions and I wanted to help – it wasn’t long after our first interaction that I asked her if she’d be interested in doing a short-term internship with us and she immediately said yes. The original 3-month internship was quickly extended and now she has been an intern with us for a whole year! I wanted to take this opportunity to not only ask her some questions about the internship and teach you all a bit more about what we’ve been working on, but also to let you all know that Erika will be continuing to work with us in the new year!
With that being said, I want you all to get to know Erika better. Although I may know the answer to some of these questions, I think they are important to ask so that anyone reading can get a better understanding of her work with us at SBT and to get to now her better as a person.
Q. Prior to joining the SBT FAM, did you have any experience working in the music industry?
A. I was always interested in working in the music industry, but I would consider SBT to be my first real experience working with artists.
Q. Why did you choose to reach out to us in the first place? What was your original intention?
A. I chose to message you because I saw that you were a woman in the music industry who started your own artist management company and that was exactly what I wanted to do in my future. I would have reached out no matter what genre of music you were managing but the fact that you manage EDM artists was the icing on the cake. Originally, I just reached out to get some insight on how you started your career so I could apply it to my own journey in the industry. I honestly did not think you were going to respond to me, let alone offer me an internship, but I am so glad that you did because it has blossomed into a beautiful friendship and work relationship. I’m so grateful that you gave me a chance and I hope that one day I can offer the same to someone else.
Q. You’ve been working with us for a year now, what has been one of your favorite things to learn about and why?
A. I really enjoyed learning about the certain things that need to get done when an artist performs at a festival or show such as meeting with those in charge of the event and stage managers to get things in order, collecting payments, making sure the artist is prepared, etc. Getting to work behind the scenes at Dancefestopia and Red Rocks this past year is something that I will always treasure, and I feel honored to be on such an amazing team.
Q. Would you say it’s easier or harder than you thought it would be to work as an artist manager? Explain:
A. I wouldn’t necessarily call it “hard” but there is a lot of work that needs to be done that most people do not understand. To those outside of the music industry, artist management seems like a “fun and cool” career but there’s a lot of time-consuming work that goes on behind the scenes. It’s constantly replying to numerous emails a day, keeping track of funds for the team, creating social media posts and new ideas for engagement, forming a unique brand for every artist, and coming up with different ways to incorporate it into their career, reaching out to labels/blogs/playlists, and it does take a lot of social energy as well with having to network with others in the industry and maintaining those connections. One thing I did notice is that many people who work in the industry also have day jobs in order to have some income because money is not always promised when starting out.
Q. Do you think an internship was a good way for you to get your foot in the door of the music business? Would you suggest an internship to others if they asked? Why or why not?
A. I think an internship is the best way to go. I started attending CU Denver for their music business program but I found that I learned way more by working for SBT and having a more hands-on experience rather than just learning from a textbook. I’ve also reached out to other managers in the industry and most of them don’t have degrees. Instead, they made connections and found themselves working internships to start out.
Q. After this year of interning with us, do you feel more confident in your own abilities to manage artists and to potentially start your own business in the future?
A. I definitely feel like I still have a lot to learn but I know that continuing to work with SBT will give me the knowledge and skills needed to eventually get to the point where I can manage my own artists. Even some professionals in the industry still have things they need to learn and it's a never-ending process.
Q. With your current knowledge on how to manage artists, which aspect of the career do you think will come to you with the most ease? How about with the most difficulty?
A. I think forming a brand and creating social media content that fits with it will be one of my strong suits because I can utilize my creativity and have some fun with it as well. I think one of the most difficult things will be learning the ins and outs of royalties and how it applies in different countries.
Q. What has been the most memorable moment of your internship with us so far?
A. The most memorable moment of this internship was seeing our artist, Matt Doe, perform in front of a full house at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO. Living in Denver, I was so excited to have the SBT family come to my city and I’m glad we got to show Colorado what SBT has to offer. It’s just the beginning!
Q. Random question – If you had to live inside a tv show for a year, which one would you want it to be?
A. I would choose Rick and Morty because who doesn’t want to travel to different universes with a crazy scientist and use his unique inventions to fight off random creatures? I think it would be a hell of a life!
Q, Lastly, what are you most excited for n 2022?
A. I’m so excited to continue working for SBT and hopefully it includes more time together in person rather than just video chatting with everyone! This company will continue to grow bigger and bigger and I hope I can contribute to the expansion of Subtle But True in 2022 and in years to come :)
Stay up-to-date with Erika's internship on Subtle But True's socials and website or follow her @ErikaWohland !!!