Interview with Julie Colbert -- Music Agent for Adele & Carly Rae Jepsen (Part 2)

By Amanda Botfeld on September 4, 2012

Julie Colbert works as an agent for musicians such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Britney Spears, Blake Shelton and Adele at William Morris Endeavor (WME) Entertainment. This is the second part of her interview, right after she begrudgingly agreed to be a music agent for six months. You can read Part 1 here.

What made you stay?

Literally the next day, they signed the Spice Girls. I just went on that ride for a while.

Julie Colbert’s Current Client, Adele

I saw the Spice Girls movie.

I put that together. I put the specials together, and I traveled the world with them. I really got an opportunity to be in the middle of a big thing. Then to have people want you in film and want you in television – I was sold on that world.

How do you pick who to represent?

There’s a couple different ways. One of them is gut where you go, “I believe in this person and there’s just something there.” Other times they have a team around them already of people that you’ve worked with or who you trust that you think are really talented. If there’s a manager or producer or someone that I think is amazing, and they tell me they think they know someone that is amazing, I have a tendency to take a better look at it. It runs the gamut really. Once you get to a certain place you get a little bit of freedom within your company to say, “I’m gonna spend some time on this person who may not be making any money, but I believe in them. I think I could get something going with them.” And what’s great about here is that they let you do that. If you say you believe in someone, they really let you do that.

What do you think is the key to being an agent?

I don’t know how you represent people that you don’t actually truly care about. So when it doesn’t go well for them, it doesn’t go well for me. I always say I would never have an agent because I could never give over the control of my life like my clients give to me. I could never do it. I’m a control freak and I would want to know what’s going on every minute. I would want to be making calls but the system isn’t up that way. There are things that artists can do to help themselves, but generally the industry’s run by agents and managers. You really have to trust your agent.

It sounds like a very personal connection.

I enjoy that too. I try to be as understanding as possible and understand what it must be like to have their career in some ways sitting in my hands. Be as compassionate as possible and as truthful as possible.  One of my things is I am going to tell you the truth about how I feel, and if you disagree with me, I will tell you one more time, and then I will just be supportive. And if you support people once they make their decisions, there’s not a lot of I-told-you-so’s and you help people move through. It’s a really close relationship, and it’s a really hard business. You really have to be a team and you really have to work together. It’s like a family and you have to fight and you have to move on. It’s sort of co-dependent just generally.

You can read Part 3 of Julie’s interview here, where she talks about the trials and tribulations of being a female agent in a primarily male-dominated industry.

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