Meet the Meppershall 19-year-old making waves in rock band management
- Credit: Archant
When you think of a rock band’s manager, you probably think of an older man – but 19-year-old Ella Gregg is pleased to be well and truly smashing the mould.
Ella, from Meppershall, was just 18 when she arranged a debut UK tour for Blushes – an indie-rock four-piece who have had airtime on BBC Radio 1 and a four-page spread in NME magazine.
She now runs 321 Artists, with which she continues to manage Blushes, and hopes to work with colleges and young people to help them get into the industry.
“The fact I am younger than all the members is very daunting, yet doesn’t come up in conversation or is made apparent very often at all,” Ella tells the Comet.
“I’m there to do my job, regardless of my age.”
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She says her interest in music really took off from when she was 15, when she started finding emerging artists on social media and supporting them at gigs. Her networking in the music scene saw her gain 10,000 Twitter followers by the time she was 17.
She was intending to join Herts police after finishing her A-levels, but she was then scouted by an artist development platform called Secret Sessions – for which she became community manager for 18 months, scouting more than 2,000 artists.
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“I couldn’t give every single one of those the opportunities,” she says. “But some artists came along that you knew you couldn’t let pass by. And that’s what happened with a band called Blushes.”
Ella discovered the group from Aylesbury on social media in December 2016, and immediately thought they had something special.
“I spoke to them a lot over the coming months and kept a close eye on them,” she says.
“I was introduced to Blushes’ manager and he told me he was in awe of my passion and work ethic and asked to start working with his management company. I began working with Blushes as their booking agent.
“I had absolutely no experience in booking gigs, but I learnt extremely quickly and immediately met the required expectations.
“Due to circumstances, Blushes’ manager was no longer able to manage the band – so I took on the responsibility and role of artist manager for Blushes, as well as continuing my role at Secret Sessions, at the age of 18.”
At first she underestimated the amount of work and responsibility that would come with juggling the two roles, and she says she “did struggle – but I knew I didn’t have the time to be worrying about that”.
Within six months of taking over as Blushes’ manager, she had organised their debut UK tour, the group’s track To The Bone had been played on Radio 1, and NME had featured them in their 100 Artists of 2018 list – as well as giving them a four-page spread in the magazine.
“Being able to grow Blushes to be in a position for them to have that incredible experience was so motivating,” says Ella.
“Watching them perform reminds me why I do this and how lucky I am to be in this position at such a young age. It’s incredibly rewarding.”
Ella is now in the process of booking Blushes’ autumn UK tour, and the group will also be at Wilkestock in Hertford this summer. Their new tracks Cielo Rosa and Dust came out on Friday.
And Ella says says there is plenty of room for younger people in the music industry.
“It is viewed as such a niche and difficult industry to get involved with, which makes me angry as there is so much room for fresh and driven young minds,” she says. “My advice to anyone wanting to get involved with the music industry is to research, network and take any opportunity you can.”
Blushes guitarist Sonny Ford says working with Ella is like having a whole team behind them.
“She is relentless and has the knowledge of someone who’s been in the biz for at least another decade,” he says.
“Ella’s approach to managing is that she is not only a manager but will also be a friend, there with open ears always. No-one’s opinion goes unnoticed, and no matter what she will try her hardest to turn your thoughts into actions.
“Having a manager that is younger is great, because we’ve been on this journey with Ella from the start of her managing career – and it’s great to see her develop new skills and knowledge each and every day.”