What’s Working in Indie Music Today: Lessons in Success from New Artist Model Member Rishi Deva
By Dave Kusek and Lindsay McGrath of the New Artist Model: Turn your passion for music into a rewarding career.
Rishi Deva manages the chart topping, award-winning Canadian artist Parvati. With his help, she has risen twice to #1 on the Canadian electronica charts with her rich pop songs, dance anthems, and electronic soundscapes.
Parvati has performed live at venues including New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Earl’s Court in London and reached millions of listeners in Asia on Asia Pop 40 radio and YAN TV. She has three singles coming to top 40 pop radio in 2016: “I Am Light,” “Yoga in the Nightclub,” and Shanti Om.”
The Line Between Music and Business
Rishi not only works with Parvati on her music career but helps manage her other business interests as well. Parvati is founder of YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, a company dedicated to teaching a gentle form of the art that combines chi-energy work with yoga poses. She is also the author of self-help book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie” and publisher of the online “Parvati Magazine.”
“The lines between management and artists have blurred a lot,” Rishi says. Says. “Parvati is a producer and does some things on the business side. Parvati and I, we are doing 90 percent business and 10 percent music. The music is a component in the whole piece of getting it out there.”
Being a successful manager has a lot to do with being organized while also trusting your intuition, Rishi says. It is essential to balance strong strategic planning with the ability to jump on unexpected opportunities. He urges independent artists to constantly be on the lookout for collaborations that will be a “win-win” for everyone involved.
“Don’t have a plan B; have a really good plan A. It’s really important to plan, and don’t give up. The power used to be in the hands of the big tastemakers: labels. That’s crumbled now,” Rishi says, adding that many independent musicians don’t own their own power. “They don’t know everything. It’s you and your fans, which you can now build up with powerful platforms on the internet.”
“Labels can connect you with big names, networks. But you can still do that on your own and retain all the rights to your music,” he adds. “The role of the artist and label is merging into one. Artists need to be more business-minded and artistic, which can be a challenge. Good managers will be able to work both sides of that and work hand in hand with the artist to help develop the marketplace.”
“That’s why I feel what Dave is doing with the New Artist Model is essential. He is empowering so many artists to go for it. Giving them the tools to have more confidence in these situations.”
“I’m really happy to have discovered The New Artist Model. I’ve had over 20 years experience at labels and in management. I also have a Masters degree in Business,” he says. “I consider the New Artist Model a little ‘mini-masters’ in business. There’s a lot of value in the program if you work it.”
Working the New Artist Model program has not only brought him more ideas about how to be a great manager, it’s also helped him describe Parvati’s musical style more effectively, Rishi says.
“Her song ‘I am Light’ cradles two worlds. We couldn’t figure out if it’s pop or New Age,” he explains. “So I posed the question to the Indie Artist Network that we got as part of the New Artist Model and Dave (Kusek) said ‘It’s celestial pop.’ Sure enough, we used that genre and that’s what’s working. That’s what we’ve been calling it. I just heard the song played on the radio after Coldplay and before Ed Sheeran.”
The Value of Networking
Rishi says he goes to a lot of trade shows and always make a list of people he wants to network with ahead of time. Preparation is key. However, one of his biggest successes came one day when he decided to do something he hadn’t planned on.
“All of the success that Parvati has had on Asian radio lately is due to the intuition I had at a conference. I sat in on an Australian panel. Thought why not?” Rishi says. “I met a big-wig guy who owns radio stations and had the intuition to link up with him. He’s helped us get all over Asian radio. This was not a part of the original plan. As a result, we are having success in a lot of areas we hadn’t expected like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.”
Rishi says that Parvati’s fanbase has grown significantly this year, especially in Asia. He credits her song “I Am Light” with opening the door to that market.
“I didn’t expect Asian radio to be so promising,” he says. “The song itself has a Sanskrit component, a Buddhist chant. So that’s why Asia is probably picking up on it. We are in the process of doing an English version.”
Currently, Rishi is working on ideas for funding Parvati’s upcoming Asian tour.
“Right now, we have support with radio and fans, but not the funds. We’ll look for a sponsor rather than a loan from a label that we will have to pay back later, Rishi says. “We’re looking for sponsors that fit Parvati’s brand. They must be environmentally and health conscious.”
Rishi is looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Parvati as they grow her fanbase, increase her revenue streams and create iconic live performances. “Parvati has an incredible business head on her shoulders. That is a testament to where we are going. She is very active in music and business.”
For more about Parvati and Rishi visit https://parvati.tv/
New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo.
For more info on the New Artist Model visit http://newartistmodel.com.