Dion Peters' Beginners Guide to Music Managing

While music has always been part of her life, Dion entered artist management relatively recently, but the impressive success of her artist and son, Novelist, has shown that she has a natural talent for this work. Joining the music industry as a manager after previous roles as a key worker, helping homeless women in London, Dion is a mother of four and balances managing a family with managing Novelist. She is a regular guest on Novelist’s popular BBC 1Xtra show and has now branched out with her own show on Balamii radio, spreading positive vibes with her sharp and uplifting selections.

As part of our Abbey Road Equalise International Women’s Day celebrations, Dion is one of the remarkable women who has kindly offered up her time for our 121 mentoring sessions. If you’re looking at starting a career as an artist manager - you don’t want to miss this opportunity! To apply, send us a short video to equalise@abbeyroad.com explaining why you'd like a session with Dion and what you’d hope to get from it.

Ahead of her 121 sessions, Dion has very kindly shared some of her top tips and pointers for starting a career as an artist manager.

Dion's Top Tips for Becoming an Artist Manager

1. Do you believe in the art your artist produces?

2. Can you commit to the role on a long or short term basis? It’s important to have realistic expectations, understanding that the road to success may be a marathon rather than a sprint.

3. Consider what transferable skills you already possess. The title of Music Manager may be daunting for some but it’s probable you already have some necessary skills.

4. Are you a good communicator? This will count and can mean the difference in receiving a yes or a no!

5. Is co-managing an option? This can present a perfect solution if one is time poor or inexperienced. It’s a way to potentially halve the workload and double the skill set.

6. Always always be polite and say thank you (if only for someone’s time).

7. Keep clear and up to date business contacts, inclusive of a small note of their job title and where you met. You may meet a number of people with the same name, so this will matter when it matters.

8. If one professional can’t help you, don’t be afraid to ask if they can sign-post you to someone else who can.

9. Take NO offence if (in fact 'when') people don’t get back to you when they say they will. Workloads are constantly shifting and people typically prioritise what’s important to them. Give a gentle reminder after which a slightly stronger 'sorry to chase' email is appropriate and typically does the job.

10. Discuss and set small realistic goals with your artist, including time frames within which to achieve them.

11. Though big, the music industry can be small in a sense that it’s a community wherein paths can cross frequently and people know each other. It’s important to remember that you are building the reputation of your artist and also yourself.

12. Start as you mean to go on, in terms of building your artist as a brand. As their manager, part of your responsibility is to give good counsel with a view to their future success. In and out of the world of social media, it’s far better to never put out anything that could be potentially damaging to the brand. This could be in speech or behaviour.

13. Be professional but also light-hearted. Mistakes happen and things won’t always go to plan. The world won’t stop turning, tomorrow’s another day and most people are not unduly fussed, particularly when you’re honest.

14. Does your artist want to be a recording or performing artist? The independent route or signed? This information will inform your pathway and targets.

15. No one expects you to know everything when starting out, so don’t be shy in asking people to explain terms or procedures you’re unfamiliar with. This will give them the opportunity to feel helpful and demonstrate how clever they are!

16. Synchronise your music work calendar with that of your artist and give them lots and lots of reminders when they have appointments! Just trust me on this.

17. Punctuality is a mark of respect for a person’s time and opportunities can be missed if late.

18. You may be the main source of faith in your artist’s work as enthusiasm and support can sometimes be in direct correlation to income! Be their cheerleader! Progress and recognition can be painfully incremental, which can take its toll.

19. No matter how excellent the music, without sufficient exposure it’s unlikely to transcend beyond hobby status. A solid social media strategy is imperative and where possible, securing small local venues for performances can go a long long way. This can also be an opportunity to reach out to local media for a feature in their publication(s). Document EVERYTHING! Bearing in mind, from small acorns big oaks grow.

20. It’s common knowledge that for many starting out on the road to musical success, it can take time to reach a stage where one has anything resembling a regular income. As the manager, you need to decide early as to whether you’re happy to donate your time for free, for expenses or in exchange for something the artist can offer that may be of value to you. You may, for example decide to work for free for the first 6 months whilst you build momentum, then revisit the terms of your agreement.


More About Dion

With over two decades experience of working with young people, Dion’s journey first began with curating and performing motivational and also Black History assemblies in schools. Due to her passion for both parenting and mentoring, when her children’s school was approached by the television producers of Dimbleby for an ambassador of parental responsibility, she was the clear choice. She was also featured on Talking Point.

Furthering her zeal to enable others to achieve social mobility, Dion studied to become a key-worker and worked with vulnerable young women. After eight rewarding years, it was time for a fresh challenge and the opportunity to manage her son musician and Mercury Nominee 'Novelist' arose.

Dion took on and executed the role with relish and was warmly referred to as ‘Mumager' by many. During her time as a music manager, Dion also managed to support other budding musicians in a mentoring capacity, often asked to review and give feedback on unreleased music.

Dion now features on Novelist’s BBC1XTRA residency show and also has her own radio show titled AMALGAMATE which is a fusion of genres and features music from across the globe.

With an ongoing drive to motivate others and promote positive mental well-being, Dion has created an Instagram page primarily for this purpose.

Apply for your 121 mentoring session with Dion now.

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