Behind every great, reputable, or up and coming creator is a (small or large) team of individuals managing a very well-oiled machine – curating art that, especially during these unparalleled times, is challenging to make do without. Jamie Ibe is at the forefront of these skillsets, honing his craft as a talent manager, his roster including; Geovarn, Kadeem Tyrell, and Lottie Jade, while also optimistically succeeding in other sectors, such as his developing talent company, Open Your Mind.
We spoke for what seemed hours on zoom with the conservation beginning with the characteristics that make a good manager. “You’ve got to exercise patience… a lot of artists don’t work in real-time, they’re in their bubble creating the art that we all love.”
Making note of the clarity with which he spoke, it’s hard to believe that there was a time that Jamie Ibe did not consider the career path of talent management. Initially, he pursued the path of a musician, which landed him a single deal, but admits that it did not sit well, and found himself acquiring the skillset that was honed behind the scenes.
“I was quite quick with it, I just started promoting in uni, I had a little radio show. But when I was looking at the people that inspired me, they were all in executive positions behind the scenes.” He confesses though, his eye was not always on the prize with music, but where the money resides, leaving an internship at a label to join recruitment after graduating from university.
Fast forward to the present day, and his current role has taken a full-time position that oozes passion, commitment, and enjoyment for himself and his craft. Admittedly nowadays, he spends most of his time on Clubhouse, which he declares gleaming with joy, it is a networking site many of us have taken to, to listen in and speak to a diverse audience anywhere around the world, on any topic you please.
However, it is not all fun, managing artists is a demanding role. His approach to tending and ensuring his talent is producing the best art possible, is one that is intimate and interactive as he explained, “I want to know what space you are at mentally. Being an artist is so tough, music is such a spiritual thing, it’s deep, if you look at artists who have died from suicide or overdosed… they were telling you this in their song. I want to know how they are; it goes deeper than making music.
But the fast pace, ever-changing nature of his role is what attracts Jamie Ibe to it the most, “Why I love it so much is no day is the same like I won’t speak to you tomorrow, but I’ll speak or do something completely different. Like drake said, nothing was the same, that’s the beauty of it.”
Talent, quality, and consistency, are the three principles Open Your Mind, the company founded by Ibe himself, stands by. His innovation was simple, on a train coming back from a job he had just resigned from, “I was just on the train thinking, ‘ I’ve made money but I don’t want to be here, I need to open my mind’ and I just quickly wrote that down. And I kept talking to people around me and they said similar phrases or words, I just started doing it from there.”
His motivations for commencing are untainted, as we went on a tangent discussing the disadvantages many kids have growing up, sharing a passion for a cause we both can relate to, “I’m not just here to create opportunities for just music and artists, I want Open Your Mind to end up being for everyone, to come, create and live their dreams. But things take time, I’m not the son of a millionaire… we’re building, it has to make sense for everyone… and I made a chain”, then he began to show off an impressive OYM silver chain, draped around his neck, displaying his interwoven identity with the company. He explains, the inspiration for the chain came from hip-hop culture, when the likes of Kanye signed to Rock-a-feller and was gifted with a chain.
His drive to do good is uncanny, as we began to speak on the challenges today’s young people have growing-up, with the absence of many support branches that helped him in his teenage years. “I didn’t grow-up super poor, but some days I didn’t have food and the youth clubs would cater to that, and more. Like they don’t have that now, I still remember my mentor. The youth club is where I first saw artists like Kano perform, I was seeing people I saw on Channel U there, so it was massive to me.” This has been an inspiration for him as he describes the projects, he has undertaken in the past include advising kids on career aspirations and music, in his local Croydon Council.
The UK music scene, naturally, is at the forefront of Jamie’s mind, “I’m not leaving until the R&B UK scene gets its run, I want the infrastructure to be built properly across the genre.” His favourites (besides his artists) include; Bellah, Mnelia, Scribz Riley, and Ling Hussle, “I want everyone to see what these artists are doing, they’re singing from a place that so… Woah.”
Jamie Ibe’s hopes for 2021 are like all of ours, with 2020 being a lesser expectation for us all, he plans to “go crazy” this year, focusing all his energy into his craft and talent under his wing, promising non-stop quality, and a bright-eyed eagerness for wanting to connect and collaborate with all creatives, urging me to plug all his socials so this is even more possible for him. His energy is sticking, and 2021 is sure to be a great year for him.