Suit Music Management
A DIFFERENT KIND OF SUIT
Relentless ambition has fueled the rise of Suit Music Management founders Jarrod Holley and Andrew Cohen from hustling protégés to respected peers in the Nashville music community.
Nashville since 2008.
Andrew Cohen always knew he wanted to work in country music. After two years at Texas State University, he transferred to Belmont and graduated in 2009 with a major in music business. Though he was an excellent student (Cohen was accepted to law school but decided not to go), Andrew found the beginning stages of his career to be a bit of a struggle. “It was a tough road for the first year. I worked at a booking agency for four months and promptly quit because me and my boss didn’t get along,” he recalled with a laugh. “I knew I wanted to be in this business, I just didn’t know what I was going to do next.”
Cohen ended up getting a job on the road selling merchandise for Grammy-nominated artist David Nail in 2011. During the same time, he and some friends formed a networking group called YEP, or Young Entertainment Professionals. “(YEP) was a result of me and a bunch of friends all being fresh out of school, knowing we needed to meet more people but not knowing where to start.” After a year on tour with Nail, Andrew took a job managing artists with Crush Music where he says he “learned everything he could ever possibly learn” from veteran Nashville music executive, John Grady. Cohen also remained on as executive director of YEP during his tenure at Crush Music.
Jarrod Holley’s career in the music industry began while still in high school in Cleveland, Ohio. A self-described ‘punk rock kid’, he began working and hustling as a promoter for local bands. “I’d go rent out VFW halls & old coffee shops and gut them,” he recalled, “just to find a way to put a stage up and a show on.”
In 2011, one of Holley’s mentors introduced him to a management company in Nashville that was hiring. Though it was a new city and new music genre, he leapt at the opportunity. “I knew nothing about country music,” he admitted. “But at the time, anything legitimate in the music business is what I wanted to be involved with.” Once he arrived in Nashville, he looked for ways to get more involved with his peers in the music industry. Fortunately for Jarrod, there just so happened to be a new networking group that was rapidly taking over Music Row. “I was alone in my apartment and literally Googled ‘how to meet young professionals’ and found YEP.”
Through YEP, Jarrod and Andrew met in 2011 and learned very quickly that, though they were both setting out for careers in the same industry, they didn’t have much in common when it came to taste in music. “He grew up 100% country,” said Holley, “and I grew up 100% non-country.” But what they lacked in musical chemistry, they more than made up for with a shared singular focus of what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives. “Very quickly, we realized that we were both absolutely obsessed with the music business.” This recognition prompted Andrew to offer Jarrod a position on the board of YEP.
In March of 2015, while Jarrod was working on tour with the Eli Young Band and Andrew was running marketing at the record label I.R.S. Records Nashville, they both felt frustrated with the direction in which their careers were moving. “I missed being in the trenches with the artist,” said Andrew, “so I was looking to make a change.” Similarly, Jarrod felt stuck and typecast as a Road Guy. “I’d been on the road tour managing,” he said, “but still being on the board with YEP reminded me how much I was missing.”
The two close friends met for lunch and decided they would step out and form their own company. On September 21st, 2015, Andrew and Jarrod launched Suit Music Management, though it wasn’t exactly an overnight success. As Cohen recalled with a laugh, “We launched with no artists and no prospects…only knowing that we wanted to do good business with good people.” But it didn’t take long for Suit Music to sign up-and-coming artists such as Jackie Lee, Jason Nix, Britty, video director, Dustin Haney & producer, Aaron Eshuis.
Cohen & Holley aim to break the mold of the traditional music manager. The name Suit Music is actually an homage to one of their favorite shows, ‘Entourage’, in which the actor’s manager, Eric (or E.), was commonly negatively mocked as being a ‘Suit’. As Jarrod explains, “Two decades ago, you had to be that buttoned-up, prim and proper manager and we just don’t believe that you have to be that anymore.”
Now entering their third year, the ambitious protégés have now become welcomed peers in the Nashville music community, and they’ve committed to a vision for the future of Suit Music. “Songwriters, artists…that’s who we like to be around,” says Cohen. “Whether it’s our company or our artists, we are looking to build something people can root for.”
ABOUT SUIT MUSIC MANAGEMENT
We combine the best of traditional management—strategy and strong relationships—with the mobile-first, data-driven tools of today in order to help our clients build a successful brand and business. (cited from http://www.suitmusicmgmt.com)