Kelleigh Bannen’s ‘This Nashville Life’ Explores Artist Management With Sandbox’s Jason Owen
Every other week, Kelleigh Bannen will provide behind-the-scenes analysis, stories and insight into Music City’s No. 1 export, with help from some of Nashville’s top songwriters, artists, executives and producers. Taste of Country will debut each new episode of her This Nashville Life podcast, and Bannen herself will introduce it as a guest writer. Thoughts and opinions expressed by Bannen are hers alone and do not reflect the opinions of Taste of Country, unless she’s talking about #TomatoGate, in which case, yeah … she’s spot on.
We’ve made it to our final episode of the season. Today we'll follow the journey of an Arkansas native from politics, to Hollywood, to country music: Jason Owen is in some ways a quintessential Nashville story.
During each of the interviews we've shared on This Nashville Life there's been an element of happenstance mixed with creativity and perseverance. Jason really arrived in Nashville by chance — he ultimately followed his own curiosity and passion all the way to artist management. After getting a little burned out in the label world, Jason started Sandbox Entertainment in early 2011 and his first client was actually the first artist he ever worked with in country music: Shania Twain.
He and his team at Sandbox currently manage artists like Little Big Town, Dan + Shay and Kacey Musgraves. On working with Kacey, Jason says, "I dream for her on a Katy Perry level. She dreams for herself on an Alison Krauss level. Neither are wrong. I think when we meet somewhere in the middle is where it’s magic."
I asked Jason a lot of process questions about how he approaches the work of management, and I love the spirit with which he watches the work of his peers. On the topic of what other managers are doing Jason says, "I have been obsessed with how Jeffrey Azoff has launched the Harry Styles record. I think it is one of the most brilliant album releases I have seen in years."
One reason I love this sentiment so much is I think this is the work we’re trying to do here on the podcast. Inspire you by sharing inspiring stories. If we can watch our peers (and competitors) with a teachable eye there’s a LOT to be inspired by.
Lastly, Jason has some tough, but cleared-eyed words for wannabe interns, but it’s a warning that speaks to what it takes to be successful in this business. I think you’ll find an invitation in its midst.
Come with us as we try to figure out what it means to live This Nashville Life.
Listen to This Nashville Life Season 2, Ep. 9
About Kelleigh Bannen: Kelleigh Bannen’s This Nashville Life Podcast offers an authentic, vibrant look at the journey of someone trying to “make it” in country music. Bannen is admittedly still learning what that means. After a short career as an independent artist, the “Famous” singer signed a major label record deal and recorded two-and-a-half albums that were never released. She’s honest, but not bitter about the obstacles female artists face in country music, but her blog and podcast go much deeper.