IU’s chapter of the American Marketing Association offered a Q&A session with Mark Cheatham, the Creative Artist Agency’s co-head of Hip-Hop/R&B touring group, on Wednesday.
The event started with a video about Cheatham and his career. In the video, he discussed artists he signed including Usher, Lady Gaga, Pink, 98°, Jessicca Simpson, Justin Bieber and Cardi B.
One student asked about his early career goals and if Cheatham ever wanted to go into the music industry. Cheatham said he had no plans of going into the music industry when he was young.
“When I was growing up, there was no Instagram or YouTube, and I did not know I was into music,” Cheatham said. “My other careers were not working out really well, and my mother’s friend came to me and said I'd be a good agent.”
The first question asked was about how he and the CAA have handled the pandemic.
“We have been affected because sometimes most artists just make money from tours and there’s barely any these days,” Cheatham said. “We had to get creative, and it’s easier if the artist has a personality like Cardi because she can do TV and the people love her.”
Cheatham talked about how he finds new artists and signs them onto labels.
“I have been in the business for a long time so people know who I am by now and I do not judge who is gonna be big,” Cheatham said.
Cheatham also talked about his biggest success stories as a music agent.
“My biggest success stories were Usher and Justin Bieber, and that is because we have done great tours,” Cheatham said. “Cardi B is another success story. Cardi is huge now, and that is because she expresses herself.”
Cheatham also discussed internship opportunities at CAA for sophomore and junior students interested in the music industry.
“It’s pretty competitive,” Cheatham said.“If you become an intern, we fly you to LA and provide you with housing for two months. It’s really a valuable experience if you have good eyes and ears, you could learn a lot from the different agents.”
He advised new and upcoming artists to find an effective manager and be willing to learn.
“What I always advise people is don’t get stuck,” he said. “Find someone with a name and get on their good side, and from there find somebody else or another desk. Keep moving and don’t get stuck in one place for a long time.”
Senior Jeremy David, professionalism board manager for the AMA, organized the event and chaired the meeting.
“My biggest takeaway is that everything is about relationship building because if there is no relationship it’s not gonna work out,” David said. “It is really important to treat people with respect.”