Meet Jason Owen, the Mega-Manager Whose Consumers Swept the Grammys’ Country Prizes

Meet Jason Owen, the Mega-Manager Whose Consumers Swept the Grammys’ Country Prizes

Nashville’s Sandbox Entertainment houses Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay and Little Big Town, amongst others.

There is a minute regarding the of Feb. 10 whenever supervisor Jason Owen allowed their head to “go here. night” Could his client, Kacey Musgraves, whom by 4 p.m. had currently found two Grammy Awards — for “Space Cowboy” and “Butterflies,” for country song that is best and greatest nation solamente performance, respectively — in Owen’s words, “sweep this thing”?

Musgraves did exactly that, winning every category by which she was that is nominated what many give consideration to the absolute most coveted honor for the evening, the all-genre album of the season prize, for “Golden Hour.” However it has also been a sweep for Owen’s very very own Sandbox that is nashville-based Entertainment whose clients — which include Dan & Shay (co-managed with Scooter Braun) — took home every one of the Grammys in the united kingdom groups.

For Musgraves, who Owen has represented since 2011, it ended up being “a reckoning,” he claims. “It stated a great deal for Nashville and also for the future of nation music, to place a limelight on items that are thought not quite as conventional that deserve all of the attention on earth. It had been unique.”

And individually talking? Claims Owen, whom presently boasts jobs in development at Netflix and Amazon: “It had been single-handedly the most useful evening of my expert life. Definitely.”

If ever two different people had been destined to traipse through life together, it’s Musgraves and Owen — he, an unabashed worshiper of most things Dolly and Madonna while growing up in Arkansas, and she, a Texas girl that embodies the nation glamour of the Barbara Mandrell aided by the vocal majesty of the Linda Ronstadt (Harry Styles’ comparison). And it’s perhaps their mutual real-time growth in fairly brand brand new landscapes that both received and bonded them to one another. “The work of a good supervisor is truly to permit the musician to really make the music while the art me go out and give them the opportunities,” Owen explains that they want to make, and then let.

But Owen is more of a builder compared to a finger-snapper. From their very first administration customer Shania Twain, who he took in after serving in senior promotion, advertising and innovative roles at her label, Universal musical Nashville, to Midland, a neo-traditionalist band that unexpectedly topped the country charts, there’s strategy behind the step-by-step placement of the Sandbox work, specially because it pertains to the real time arena.

“I never pigeonhole because I don’t tune in to music this way, and I also do not have,” says Owen. “There’s a spot for several, particularly using the right documents therefore the exact same is true of touring. Like Kelsea Ballerini is going with Kelly Clarkson at this time; Harry Styles and Kacey ended up being a combination that is magic and in early stages with Katy Perry and Kacey, too. Neither she nor i desired in which to stay a particular lane of nation touring.” (At Sandbox, Leslie Cohea heads touring.)

Owen has constantly gravitated towards feminine artists, returning to their childhood playing Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler and Dolly Parton. “ i believe female acts just possess this energy of superstardom,” he claims, recalling a household ski journey in 1990 during that he traded the slopes for MTV as he eagerly awaited the premiere of Madonna’s “Vogue” movie. “i might perhaps perhaps perhaps not go out because I became dying because of it,” he claims with a laugh. “The artistic of this spectacle just always stuck beside me.”

Unlike many Nashville industry heavies, nevertheless, Owen did start out in n’t the songs company. Away from university, he went to just work at brand New Line Cinema and line that is fine moving up to Spelling Entertainment. It had been then that veteran label PR strategist Lauren Murphy (now Lauren Lewis) tapped him to just take fee of promotion for Mercury Nashville. In the same time, UMG established a unique label called Lost Highway. Positioning it self as kept of main-stream country, it had been house to records by Johnny money, Ryan Adams (Owen notes that Adams’ promotion had been come to an end of brand new York) while the newly signed Musgraves. “I utilized to stay for the reason that seat at Universal and will have to cope with the worst f—king supervisors. And I also had been, like, ‘I am able to fare better than that with my eyes shut.’ And that’s just just what began me personally thinking about management. However it was frightening.”

Timing-wise, a change ended up being arriving at the Nashville music company whilst the 2010s approached.

Luke Lewis, a figure that is beloved musical City, ended up being set to retire (he had been succeeded by present UMG Nashville president and CEO Mike Dungan) in accordance with their exit in 2012 arrived some uncertainty. States Owen: “I knew that i really could be kept there in a truly good or bad situation.”

Owen wound up making their peers when you look at the dust as Sandbox finalized Faith Hill, Dan + Shay, minimal Big Town, Midland and Devin Dawson (Twain left for Maverick in 2016). His group expanded too, to 15 — “basically 90 % feminine,” Owen adds. “And the acts don’t really take on one another. They’re all supportive and rooting for every other.”

And there’s great deal to cheer on. Dan + Shay, whom saw a crossover that is massive in current months with “Tequila,” and also found a Grammy final Sunday, just racked up 10 Academy of Country Music Awards nominations, being a duo or independently. Five a lot more of those ACM nominations went along to Musgraves, whom, nearly a 12 months after “golden hour” was launched, is finally getting played on country radio, which had all but sat out of the period.

Owen’s destination into the greater socio-political-economic balance of Nashville — an oasis of blue in an usually red state — is significant. Early this past year, whenever conservative talk-show host Mike Huckabee ended up being appointed to your Country Music Association’s charitable board, Owen had been among those vehemently opposing the move, in specific as a result of Huckabee’s history of slamming not merely same-sex wedding but parenting that is gay. In a letter to top CMA metal, Owen had written, I have a child and two on the way“As you may know. This guy has managed to get clear that my children just isn’t welcome inside the America.” Huckabee quickly resigned amid the firestorm, with numerous crediting Owen’s clout for the swift action, although he had been fast to indicate that lots of other top execs had been applying unique stress behind the scenes. He’s confident Huckabee’s views have become much the exclusion and never the norm among his Nashville peers.

“Look, since 2002 once I moved right right here, we never ever felt any such thing but accepted and enjoyed and normal,” says Owen. “There had been for the very long time — and most likely ‘s still to some degree — exactly the same way of accomplishing things. And there are some of us whom stray far from that way of thinking. That may ideally start the modification.”

As for nation radio, Owen and Musgraves d have every one of these people saying, ‘Where does this fit?’ Like, whom cares xxx porn where? It’s brilliant.”

In a unusual example of “the business getting up aided by the art,” Owen is delighted that the structure is coming around to Musgraves, and credits John Sykes at iHeartRadio for leading the cost. “I’m happy on her and I’m delighted for all of us,” he says. “I think it provides her yet another layer of possibilities and things for all of us to perform. … We’re off to an extremely good begin.”

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