Many of us know from a young age that music would be our career. Maybe not as an artist but there are many professions with this wild music industry. We recently had the chance to chat with Fanny Axen from Sweden who has been involved in many parts of the industry there and is now coming to Los Angeles to continue her expansion. Her story and advice is vital. Enjoy:
You seem to have loved music from a young age. What is it that draws you to music?
I have since I was very young I used to sing and dance. I sang in church actually and did a lot of solo performances and also playing in a band.
What draws me to music is definitely the feeling I get from it, it just makes you feel something so real no matter what ur feeling at that moment and I really like that.
What was your first job in the music industry?
My first job was as a stylist and I also was a bit of a manager’assistant for this group called Little Great Things which is Benny Andersson, from ABBAs grandchildren. I started to make my own clothes for them helped them with image and it was very cool cause in the end actually one of the guys in the group was in tears because of how much more confident he said he felt after me helping him really find himself just through style hair and what really works for him, and that was the best feeling.
As a stylist, what advice would you give to an artist trying to create a brand?
Just to make sure to be yourself and then just put some extra spice on it if that makes any sense.
I always want an artist to try new stuff that there not normally would, like colors and maybe even how things fit your body, cause a lot of times they do actually ending up liking it. Then mix that with ur own personal style, most of the time u get your look there!
How did the switch to doing PR happen?
That’s a very interesting story, I was working with my idol at the time actually which at the time 2010 was one of the biggest artist at the time Mohombi he hired me cause he really believed in me, and i really had no relationships in the business but i believed in this guy so much and everyone knew about the song ‘Bumpy Ride’ which was number 1 all over the world, but no one really knew about the artist behind it, so i made it my mission to have the whole world know who was the person behind the song.
So along the way it really worked out i had him in some of the biggest shows on Tv after basically forcing people to give him a chance i also did the job as radio plugger which means i got him on the radio stations i even booked him some shows.
Also connected him with some big bloggers since social media wasn’t as big at the time i still had that thinking of connecting names with bigger fashion brands and also bigger names in general as makeup artist and so on and thats how i became PR Manager from being the stylist and Designer for the one of the most successful artists.
Who was the most fun to work with?
ohh hard question… i think i must say Mohombi and Ro James has been the best people to work with.
I’m sure there are some crazy stories of your time with artists. Give us a wild one, you can even leave out the artist name?
ok I would say this huge artist that was doing a show in Stockholm that actually at the time this guy who tried to be an agent in my management booked him and basically i put everything together from the venue, selling tickets without any budgets and i actually still ended up selling around 300 of them just from my social media, having my artists i managed at the time opening for him, goodie bags and all around it. Anyway ended up getting a call from him telling me to pick up the artist at the airport because apparently he just landed with his private jet. To make it short they were not happy and came to pick up there money this guy had kept me outside of all the money talks so i had no idea and had to deal with it all by myself from making sure the artist got in the hotel he wanted to paying for his food from my own pocket to making sure the car was right it wasn’t easy and i didn’t sleep for 3 days.
In the end he did the show even though his agent wanted to cancel it at first, and on top of that had Mariah Carey whole team coming by as well which didn’t make it less work for me and my friends but in the end we pulled it all off successfully, but the last day taking the artist to the airport i even was in the taxi going to the airport the guy was gonna transfer money and didn’t so i was stuck there to. i found out what this guy was about after all that and cut him out from my team. But the artist told me he was extremely impressed with me and everything i had to deal with i made it all happen and sold those tickets did the PR and still made sure he was ok, he told me whatever i need he would be there for me and we have a great friendship today and definitely will be working together a lot in the future as well.
I guess that would be the craziest iv been through with a big name but learned so much and i said if i can pull this off i can do anything i put my mind to.
With all the changes over the past decade, how do you feel about the current state of the music industry?
Theres good and Bad. Bad i think its way to much focus on how big u are on social media and things like that instead of the actually talent especially in Sweden they sign everything that has a big following even tho theres no talent. I don’t like that the younger generation seeing this and thinking thats what it takes and its just about to be famous and not talented.
The good i like that its not as much focus on looks and the labels are not looking for the next Justin Bieber anymore they want to find that artist thats unique that doesn’t sound like no one else so its a good thing to have the guts to stay true to yourself.
Which artist are you working with now that has all the pieces together?
As an artist just getting their career going, what is the most important advice you could give?
I have a few, believe in what you do and don’t think getting signed to a label is gonna make you a huge star, the absolute best thing for an artist today is actually to stay independent its definitely harder through the development stages, but i promise you, in the end, it will all be worth it.
Second thing keep a small team that you trust and everyone is doing what there best at work with products and writers that gives you their full attention and believes in you, its not about being with a big management team that work with big names, you won’t be a priority there and will still have to do everything yourself and they just gonna make money out to you and take credit for the work you do.
And the last thing is, don’t stress, if you know you have something great and a great team around you, you will get there, in the end, it’s all about timing in this business.
What is next in the career of Fanny Axén?
Big things happening, I’m officially moving to LA which always is where i know i was gonna live, and Im very excited to now being able to work with the biggest brand and artists in the world and also being a link between Europe and the US, and really build my own brand as a Female music executive. Theres a few artists iv been involved in for a while that you guys will soon hear about to:)
Looking forward to it!
Interview by Keith Pro
You can follow Fanny Axen on INSTAGRAM