Interview with Artist Manager Patrick Reichert
Please, briefly introduce yourself. Who is Patrick, in your own words?
Patrick: I am 41 years old and live in a suburb or Reading, PA. I started my artist management company/record label RMR Records LLC in 2006. During the early years, I managed artists, including Rich Dolarz, and Young Prada to modest success. Beginning in 2010 my company branched out into managing battle rappers and running battle rap leagues as well. The most successful leagues that we are a part of include Traphouse Battle League (Philadelphia) and BlockCity Battle League (Newark, NJ). I currently am an investor in the Ultimate Rap League (URL) owned by hip hop legends Smack, Beasley, Chico and Norbes. The biggest name battle rapper that I manage now is Jai400Block and in the past I have managed Shotgun Suge and Blaqu Mugga both who battled on URL. I also serve as the personal manager for Norbes. RMR’s current roster of music artists includes Proof Gambino, Azizz (founder of Outsidaz), Sevy Campos, Dope, Homicide187, GL, WMKT, Awall Bulldogg and many more. Though most of my work has occurred in the world of hip hop, my company has worked with rock producer Jack Endino, brokering the recording of an album with a rock band from my city (Flux Capacitor). I have also personally done some acting in film and TV.
What inspires you to be creative? Is there anything special that you do to get into a creative mindset?
Patrick: I am inspired by great music and art. The goal of my company has always been to allow artists the freedom to make music without boundaries. In my opinion the best way to facilitate the creation of great music is to let artists be 100% in control of their creative process. In this way, the maximum amount of innovation can be achieved. Honestly, I am inspired by the artists I work with and the music they create. Proof Gambino is the reason that RMR Records got back into music promotion and record label services in 2016. From 2010 until 2016 the majority of RMR Records’ successes came in the field of battle rap. Proof came to me with his project “Watch Me Climb” in 2016 and I was excited to release this album on my record label. Because of Proof’s motivation, RMR has grown our roster of artists to include a variety of different artists in diverse genres of music. I am forever grateful to Proof for his encouragement! His latest project, 2018’s “Prophecy” has over 100,000 spins on Spotify alone. Proof Gambino has three projects coming in 2020, one of them on his new label Bentley Record. Without Proof Gambino, RMR Records would not be where it is today.
As a manager, I am asked to use my creativity to help my artists select the order of the tracks on the album, to suggest changes to songs as work-in-progress and to choose which songs should be singles vs b-sides. In order to get myself in the right mind frame for creative work, I first have an in-depth conversation with the artist as to what the roots of the project are and what they hope to achieve with the project. After acquiring a full and nuanced understanding of the goals the artist has, I actively listen to the song(s) in question repeatedly with the artist’s goals in mind. Immersing myself in the music is the key to being as creative as possible.
Patrick, according to you as an Artist Manager, what stands you out from others?
Patrick: As I said earlier, the number one goal of RMR Records has always been to allow artists to create the music they want to create with zero boundaries and no meddling. Typically, record labels and artist managers put pressure on artists to make music that will be commercially viable and easy to market to the fans. I feel that allowing artists to have 100% creative control of THEIR MUSIC is the best way to consistently have great music being produced. RMR Records is artist-centered and we provide as many or as few services to our artists that each artist desires. Our recent affiliation with Bentley Records also sets us apart. Bentley Records has international music distribution which is a service I could not offer on my own. I cannot guarantee any artist that Bentley will sign them, but Bentley will review any artist I bring to them with serious consideration.
Who has inspired you in your life, and what is your greatest achievement so far?
Patrick: My Mom and Dad instilled in me a strong work ethic that I am grateful for to this day! They taught me the value of hard work and effort as they relate to achieving your dreams. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. I owe my parents my whole life and all of its successes, and I still have them as a support system now. What a blessing.
From the music industry, I draw inspiration from three record labels: Sub Pop, Death Row Records and Strange Music. Sub Pop came to prominence in the early 90’s with Nirvana, Mudhoney and others; but few people know that Sub Pop started in 1981! It took them the better part of a decade to start seeing real success and real money from all their hard work, but they persisted. Their determination shows me that I too should be patient and keep working hard for my dreams. Death Row Records was a truly independent hip hop label with no parent company and an unbelievable roster of world changing artists (Dr. Dre, Tupac, Snoop Dogg etc.) The first twenty releases on Death Row all went platinum! Death Row Records showed me what is possible for independent record labels and I aspire to attain even a modicum of the success they had back in the 1990’s. Finally, I view the accomplishments of Strange Music as a testament to the power that a strong vision has to drive a company to the top. Tech9ne started Strange Music and had to fight for every inch he gained in the game since he was going it alone without a major label’s backing. But Tech9ne had a vision that most couldn’t even conceive and he stayed true to his vision, which led to the massive success he and Strange Music have today. Dogged determination and a stubborn refusal to give up are great traits for any record executive to have, especially when you are independent. I was blessed with the opportunity to meet Tech9ne and tell him how much the success of his label have meant to me and my company.
How important is personal branding and what do you do to grow your personal brand?
Patrick: In this day and age of the Internet, social media and the rise of independent artists it is imperative for everyone in entertainment to build their personal brand. The old model of record labels signing an artist and then sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into promoting the artist in hopes of recuperating the investment has fallen out of favor. Many artists are truly independent i.e. Wiz Khalifa’s early career or on smaller labels (Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper etc.) and so any artist who wants to break out of the underground must have a well-defined brand associated with their music, image and personality. It is harder to spread awareness of why fans should care about your music when you don’t have a multi-million dollar corporation pushing your career forward. Therefore not only having a strong brand but staying on brand with every move you make is even more important for the independent artist. At RMR Records, I personally strategize with my artists every move we make. In this way, the whole team is thinking about branding and marketing every step of the way. Not only do we come to better decisions by macro and micro-planning every step of the way, we also avoid pitfalls by deciding proactively to NOT do certain things that would be detrimental to the artist’s brand.
Do you have any tips for our readers that are trying to break in the industry?
Patrick: First and most important you have to know why you want to be in the music industry. The music business is full of thieves, liars, cheats, and terrible people! If you are not grounded in your own morals, you can easily become a member of this swamp! But if you are entering the music business for the love of music and art and with a pure heart for helping talented people succeed, you will be able to make a positive impact on the artists, producers and record label owners who are also in the game for the right reasons. If you think you are going to get rich and famous quickly, DO NOT BECOME AN ARTIST! When you love music, the creation of art that you can be proud of is the reward. I am blessed to have met and teamed up with great artists with very pure motives and I thank Jesus every day for the great team I get to work with.