Kate Loesch: A&R and CCO
Introduce yourself! What's your name and what do you currently do in the industry?
My name is Kate Loesch, I’m an A&R at Capitol Music Group and CCO of Her Music Club.
How did you get your start in the industry, and how long have you been in the industry?
I started throwing events alongside Ethik Clothing & Matthew Garrett Booking in NYC around 2013. We would throw release parties, shows etc. with up and coming artists such as Jimi Tents, Tribe Gvng, Danny Seth, Aarron Cohen & more. From there, I started interning at UMG for brand partnerships and shared services, just to get my foot in the door. In the fall of 2014, I started interning for Sony Music / Epic Records and interned up until I graduated in 2015. I basically told them I was going to work for a competing label unless they hired me (I knew I was either going to get thrown out of the office or get a job), and they ended up hiring me to assist two A&R execs.
When did you know being in the business is what you wanted to do? Was there a specific moment where you were like “oh god, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life”?
While I was interning at UMG, they had a program where every Friday an exec from every department would come and talk about their role and what their departments do specifically. It was pretty immediately that I knew I wanted to do A&R. It came natural to me, I’ve always had a good ear but I didn’t realize it up until that moment. It wasn’t as though I thought to myself “this is what I want to do for the rest of my life” but, there also wasn’t anything else my mind was that focused on and I was that passionate about. It sort of just felt right and I move off feeling.
Is there anything you struggled with (or even still do struggle with) being in the industry?
I struggle everyday! From not being taken seriously because I am a woman but also a woman in hip hop, to managing personalities. Honestly, the hardest part about this job is the politics and managing personalities. You have to take each battle with stride and understand that, there will be another battle to fight so just keep fighting. Bill Murray said it best though “it just doesn’t matter”, you never know whether this battle you are fighting will turn out good or bad, and it just doesn’t matter. This is the journey and adventure of all of it.
What is the best part of your job? Why?
The best part about my job is that I get to do what I love, with some incredible human beings. Music is a language in itself, and I get to speak that with some of the best in the business. I am inspired by people I work with, I also inspire others in my own right. Possibilities are endless and I am lucky and blessed to be in the position I am in. I have a platform that maybe others don’t, and I am able to use my platform to speak on important issues that I think need attention. I am able to use my platform to make people feel heard and seen, to make others feel important and honored. That’s all people really want at the end of the day, is to feel heard & seen, and I am able to make that happen.
Is there someone who you consider as your mentor in the industry?
The person I consider to be my biggest fan and mentor in this game is so much more than just a mentor at this point. He is my brother, he’s my dad away from home, he’s my family -- and that’s Chris Anokute. He is one of the most fearless human beings I have ever met in my life, and he fiercely fights for those he believes in without expecting anything in return. He inspires me, he pushes me, he challenges me, but most importantly he loves. He keeps it real and will never allow me to surrender to the systemic road blocks. Chris is an incredible executive and creative, having worked with some of the biggest artists in the world such as Rihanna, Katy Perry, Fifth Harmony to also managing and developing break - thru acts like Kevin George and Leon.
What advice do you have for women who want to get their start in the music industry?
The best piece of advice I have for women who want to get their start in music is to just DO IT. Be fearless, put blinders on and just go for it. There will be a million people trying to make you feel a million different things, trying to tell you that you should do something else, or to do it this way or that way -- listen to what feels right. Find a mentor, seek out female leaders or women that inspire you. Protect your energy because everyone is going to want a piece of it. Just keep your head down and do the work, and move smart.
Have you ever been turned down or not taken seriously because you were a female in the industry?
I have definitely not been taken seriously, and most likely turned down because I am a women (although they won’t blatantly say it’s because of that). I’ve walked into studios and been ignored because they think I’m someone’s girlfriend, or that there is just no way I could be the one organizing the session! When it comes time to talk money and terms, I’ve been pushed to the side so “the men could talk business”. I’ve basically experienced it all as a women in this industry. But, if you have a true sense of self which is essential in this business, not too much can shake you.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In 5 years I see myself with a great team, and great artists. I want to have my own company, whether that’s sooner or later. I see myself making a difference.
What are some of your other hobbies? What do you do in your free time (which we know can be very hard to find)?
I love anything outdoors -- I grew up surrounded by nature and that is still my crutch during hard times. Taking a hike or a walk in the woods can truly make all the difference. I love going to the beach, I love exploring and doing new things. When I’m not working I really just like to be around normal people who don’t care about what I do.
Who is your all-time favorite artist?
My all time favorite artist ?!?!? Hmmm… I would have to say Bob Marley probably.
What is something you can't live without?
Music & animals
Go-to Karaoke song?
Either a Mariah Carey or DMX song
Tea or Coffee?
Iced coffee OR hot tea. Not hot coffee!
First concert you went to?
My first concert was BB King & Jonny Lang -- 4 years old
What’s something that you always have on you?
I always have my cell phone and chapstick on me
Who is your dream artist or band to work with?
I would love to work with Jay Z, or just be around him in the creative process to see how he does it, John Mayer, Kid Cudi.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
There isn’t really a typical day, but when I first get in I address any immediate emails. I check in with any artists or managers I’m working with; go thru all emails; check on the status of projects that I’m working, then if I either go thru beats, demos, or find new artists. Take meetings, etc.
You are apart of Her Music Club, can you explain what Her Music Club is and your role with it?
About a year ago, my friend Monique Chavez came to me with this idea of bringing women in the industry together. She asked me what I thought of it and naturally I loved it, but I mostly loved how inspired I saw Monique, she had this fire in her eyes I hadn’t seen from her. I told her to just go for it and I will support her in any and every way. About a month later, she launched Her Music Club by doing a piece on me for international women's’ day, and announced the first Her Music Club event (panel + performances). The way she orchestrated everything so quickly from just one idea was so inspiring to me. Our platform is event based, focusing on panels, speeches, performances etc. from other women in music. Our goal is to create a safe place for all women, to come together, to laugh, to cry but mainly to support one another. For so long, women had to fight to even be taken seriously in this industry that often times, if there was another women in the room they would look at it as competition. It wouldn’t be friendly or supportive. But over the last few years a shift has occurred, and women are realizing how powerful we are when we come together! My role in the club isn’t really just one thing because we truly work together to make it all happen, but I mainly work on booking the artists for our events and securing any other big opportunities for us whether that is someone on the panel, a sponsor, VIP guests etc. We’ve done three major events so far and 2019 is only going to get crazier in the best way possible for us!
What do you hope to see done in the industry within the next few years?
In the next few years, I hope to see real musicianship make a major comeback. We are seeing it occur again slowly whereas the saturated part of the market isn’t having as large of an impact as it did a year or two ago. REAL records that a lot of people would have written off due to the mainstream market are now climbing the charts. I hope to see more inclusiveness. I hope to see more love and not as much cut throat behavior.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of myself for just staying true to me. You can say a lot of things but you can never say I didn’t stay true to myself. Whether it’s an unpopular opinion or not, I’ve always stayed true to Kate. Maybe I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’ve honored myself and I am proud of myself for that.
When looking for new music, what do you look for in the artist or band?
I just look for greatness. I look for potential. I look for star quality. Does the music move me or speak to me? I am not one to be into numbers, although that’s what a lot of major labels and publishers are looking for these days. I try to stick to the music and, if i’m doing my job correctly, the numbers will follow.
What saying do you live by?
“ I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -- Maya Angelou