Sheridan Rupert is in the music business in South Africa and has always had an inherent interest in the development of people. But she hasn’t always been in the music business. She started playing piano at the age of 5 and studied through Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College throughout primary school. She attended the Johannesburg School of the Arts from 1985 to 1989 where music was her speciality and majored in piano and organ (through Unisa).
After school she completed her performer’s diploma through Trinity College and tutored beginners in her spare time. This creative also dropped out of law school – the signs were always there that a creative environment is where she belonged.
After nearly 2 decades in corporate, she ventured into the music industry in 2015, volunteering her services so that she could learn.
During her time in corporate she was always in an HR/ Training & Development Role and particularly in the last 6 years of those, strongly focused on career development (succession planning) and database development (she designed a learner management system).
These have always been her natural tendencies, which is why she naturally landed up doing that in the music industry.
The last 2 years she spent as an artist manager, mostly in a voluntary capacity, to understand the music industry and gain experience under her company, Slight Edge Events, which was registered in 2017.
She is currently on the Kumisa Artist Management Programme (2017) which covers music law, contracts and other areas of the music industry essential for any artist manager to be an expert in. KUMISA, the KwaZulu-Natal United Music Industry Association, is a non-profit, regional music industry organisation that aims to serve and represent the interests of the music industry in KZN, nationally and internationally.
What were the main difficulties you experienced getting into the industry?
The main difficulties are getting access into an existing eco-system, where people don’t’ know you and don’t’ know if they can trust you. It’s also difficult coming into a system where it seems as though there isn’t enough work for everyone. Any newcomer is not exactly welcomed, you become a bit of a threat. To get into the system, I did volunteer work of any kind I could find. People are not eager to teach. So I learned by doing. I think this is how everyone starts and you can believe it when I tell you I had egg on my face on far too many occasions. It wasn’t easy, but it was probably the best years of my life.
How has the artist management programme changed things for you?
I will forever be grateful to Kumisa for granting me the opportunity to learn as I would not have been able to afford this one-year programme. If you are an artist manager or a professional in this business, you know how much there is to know. This course has changed my life in every possible way.
When you are new in an industry, it seems that everyone around you knows more than you do, and you kind of get sucked into a system where people appear to know what they are talking about, but don’t really know.
It frightens me that musicians don’t’ know about royalties and copyright and if I had my wish about the difference I make in the industry, it would be in that area, making sure musicians are educated.
Having studied now and learning everyday has changed my confidence. It has changed how I work and who I work with. I have also come to value my work.
After managing people for 2 years, I also know that I would not like to manage people full time. I don’t’ have the right personality. I would far rather be involved in designing the career plan and milestones for an artist. Ensuring that they develop holistically, be psychologically prepared for what’s coming and how to cope in the industry. Selecting strategic festivals and people to meet. And then make sure they each teach one 😊
If we gave you a magic wand, what would you create?
A music centre in Durban. A gigantic building with many spaces for a few recording studios, rooms for photoshoots and video shoots, skype calls, coaching rooms, lecture rooms, boardrooms, administration offices, individual computer terminals. A one-stop shop to get your music business set up. A building that would have musicians coming in and out all day, providing services which don’t cost an arm and a leg. More professional education available on a more regular basis. I believe that the whole game changes when certain information and services become available to EVERYONE and not the select few. Like the change that happened in the world when the internet came into being. All of sudden the information hoarders were not so powerful. You could find anything you want by simply googling it. We still have far too many musicians who don’t know what they don’t know. I want that to change and I will work to change it.
You still have the magic wand. What would you have done differently if you had to do the last 2 years over?
I would have gone to Kumisa earlier – I would have banged down their door until they put me on a programme. Nothing else. As much my lessons were painful ones and I lost a lot of money, the experience is priceless.
You’ve been using Music2Deal for 6 months now – can you describe your experience.
I volunteered to market the system because I could bring my passion for connecting with people together with my passion for marketing. Your network is your currency and it is not possible to get anything done in this industry if you don’t know who are the right people to speak to. This system made that happen for me. However, it wasn’t really until my 3rd month that I started to realise it’s power. When the realisation hit me of what was possible, it’s like a new energy came about in marketing it – that new energy is because I was selling my experience now and not a system. I would honestly not continue to market something which doesn’t work for me. Music2Deal is one of the best things to happen to me which is why I work on it every day.
What else does Slight Edge Events do?
I have one artist manager working with me – she is managing one artist. My focus has changed to quality over quantity. I mean at one point there were 22 artists and my little car – I really did have my head in the clouds for a while and I won’t ever forget those times or the poor musicians sardined in my car with the blaring music.
I currently offer an administrative service to musicians in terms of music registration and online music platforms, which include online stores. I also assist them in writing biographies and basically consult on getting the basics in place like social media presence etc.
I do event support in terms of promotion, photography and videography. Although I am not a qualified photographer and videographer, I do these for artists who could never afford to get anyone to do it for them. My job is to get a clear performance which shows the artist’s stage presence. I leave the fancy stuff for the video gurus.
I spend the rest of my waking moments updating my database of blogs, media and radio and get an absolute thrill every time I use my database.
Where can we find you on social media?
Facebook personal https://www.music2deal.com/za/KUrGphv5MmvjHfcDZ067sGQkufA
Facebook personal: https://www.facebook.com/SheridanSlightEdgeEvents/
Facebook Company Page: https://www.facebook.com/SlightEdgeEvents/