5th March 2016

How does an artist fly from Ibiza to London when there is a volcanic ash cloud over Europe? #NCW2016

Volcanic Ash

Remember back in April 2010 when England went into meltdown as all flights in and out of the UK were cancelled due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland? Well this was just another challenge for Matt Cheshire, Managing Director of Artist Needs to overcome to get his high profile singer back to the UK from a gig in Spain. The solution was actually quite simple; Matt hired a private jet and flew right over the top of it!

In 1999, after studying Sound Engineering & Music Management at Leeds College of Music, Matt Cheshire spotted an opportunity after running a Gatecrasher event at a Country House in West Yorkshire, to create a unique business and start a fascinating career that has taken him and his team all over the world.

Matt Cheshire Artist Needs

Here are 8 questions with Matt Cheshire to give you an insight into the career of an Artist Liaison Manager

What is an Artist Liaison Manager?

In summary this is the person, or team, who get an artist or group from home, to their venue and back home again safe and sound, and look after every imaginable logistic and request in between.

What kind of job roles exits in the industry?

The roles that an artist liaison officer may perform are hugely varied and complex, if you imagine everything that’s involved when you or I go on a trip or holiday, that’s a good way to look at it, just on a bigger scale as it’s not uncommon to be looking after an artist and their team for several months if they are on a world tour. That will include travel arrangements, hotels, food requirements, leisure time activities, basically anything they need whilst they’re away.

Who is the biggest act you’ve managed?

Everyone always asks this question, but there is no straight answer as a big act or artist to one person might not be another person’s cup of tea! We’ve dealt with pretty much every big name on the planet at some time though, so I’ll let you decide who the biggest act you would like to work with would be!

What’s the strangest request you’ve had to handle?

After doing this job for over 16 years nothing surprises me anymore, all that matters is that we make the artist as comfortable as possible in their environment before and after their performance so that they can go out on stage and put on an amazing performance.

A couple of requests though that stick in the mind; we have to provide an array of roses all different colours and all at exactly 1 inch height intervals; we have had countless numbers of animals on set, and one particular group just had to watch the big match before they went on stage, the issue was they were in the middle of field in a caravan and we had no TV reception, so had to hire in a 50 inch plasma TV and Sky dish.

Group watching football #NCW2016

How will I know if this career path is right for me?

Having a love or a passion for music always helps but isn’t essential, that’s more of a perk of the job.

If you’re the kind of person who’s interested in events generally, hospitality, management or even just organising things and people, then I would definitely say it’s a career worth exploring in more detail.

What kind of skills do you need for the role and we don’t mean an A in GCSE Maths and English?

You’ve got to be calm under pressure and a good problem solver. At times you’ve got to perform what seems like the impossible, but usually there is a logical solution if you stay calm and apply a bit of creative thought.

When the ash cloud hit us and no commercial flights were coming in and out of the UK, it only took us about 30 seconds to realise that a private jet can fly higher than a normal airliner at 45,000 feet, therefore we were able to just fly straight over the top of it, and because there was less air traffic, it meant we could take a few short cuts and get home even quicker!

Being a great communicator is essential, at the end of the day you can make the best plans in the world but if you don’t tell anyone about them it just isn’t going to happen.

Finally being organised is crucial, our job is to try and get more than 24 hours out of a day, therefore we have to be extremely efficient, well planned and meticulous with timings or else the show doesn’t happen!  

What earning potential is there in the industry?

Like any industry if you work hard and are good at what you do the rewards will follow. Don’t get me wrong the job is hard work, but for me travelling around the world and being involved with some of the world’s biggest acts at the top of their game is as rewarding as the pay cheque.

Finally how can a degree at Backstage Academy help towards a career in Artist Liaison?

Obviously their degree courses cover all of the theory about our industry, that’s a given; the real benefit of Backstage Academy is their network of industry contacts that provide students with endless high quality work experience opportunities.

Every summer Artist Needs work with Backstage Academy to provide crew experience at some of the major summer festivals and not just in the UK.

The Academy carries a great reputation for constantly developing the next generation of talent to come through the industry which means that as a student or graduate of Backstage Academy, your skills and services are usually in high demand.

Many thanks to Matt Cheshire, Managing Director of Artist Needs. To find out more about the career opportunities that exist as a result of studying at Backstage Academy register for one of our Open Days