Nashville’s Sandbox Entertainment houses Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay and Little Big Town, and others.
There is a minute in the of Feb. 10 when supervisor Jason Owen permitted their brain to “go here. evening” Could their customer, Kacey Musgraves, whom by 4 p.m. had currently acquired two Grammy honors — for “Space Cowboy” and “Butterflies,” for country song that is best and greatest nation solamente performance, respectively — in Owen’s terms, “sweep this thing”?
Musgraves did exactly that, winning every category by which she was nominated — including what many give consideration to the absolute most coveted honor associated with evening, the all-genre record album of the season honor, for “Golden Hour.” However it has also been a sweep for Owen’s very own Nashville-based Sandbox Entertainment, whose clients — which include Dan & Shay (co-managed with Scooter Braun) — took home most of the Grammys in the united states 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 believed never as conventional that deserve all the attention on earth. It had been unique.”
And really talking? States Owen, who presently boasts jobs in development at Netflix and Amazon: “It had been single-handedly the night that is best of my expert life. Definitely.”
When two different people had been destined to traipse through life together, it is Musgraves and Owen — he, an unabashed worshiper of all of the things Dolly and Madonna while growing up in Arkansas, and she, a Texas girl that embodies the nation glamour of a Barbara Mandrell utilizing the vocal majesty of the Linda Ronstadt (Harry Styles’ comparison). And it’s perhaps their mutual growth that is real-time fairly brand new surface that both received and bonded them to one another. “The task of a good supervisor is actually allowing the musician to help make the music and also the art which they like to make, and then allow me to venture out and offer them the possibilities,” Owen describes.
But Owen is more of a builder when compared to a finger-snapper. From their very first administration customer Shania Twain, who he took in after serving in senior promotion, advertising and imaginative 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, particularly since it relates to the real time arena.
“I never pigeonhole because I don’t pay attention to music in that way, and I also not have,” says Owen. “There’s a spot for many, specially using the right documents while the same is true of touring. Like Kelsea Ballerini has gone out with Kelly Clarkson at this time; Harry Styles and Kacey had been a secret combination, and in early stages with Katy Perry and Kacey, too. Neither she nor i desired in which to stay a certain lane of country touring.” (At Sandbox, Leslie Cohea heads touring.)
Owen has constantly gravitated towards feminine artists, going back to their youth playing Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler and Dolly Parton. “ i believe female acts simply possess this energy of superstardom,” he claims, recalling a family group ski trip in 1990 during which he traded the slopes for MTV while he eagerly awaited the premiere of Madonna’s “Vogue” movie. “i might maybe maybe maybe 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, nonetheless, Owen didn’t start out in the songs company. Out of university, he went along to work on brand 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 take control of promotion for Mercury Nashville. During the time that is same UMG established a brand new label called Lost Highway. Positioning it self as kept of conventional nation, it absolutely was house to records by Johnny money, Ryan Adams looking for beautiful latin brides (Owen notes that Adams’ promotion ended up being go out of the latest York) in addition to newly signed Musgraves. “I utilized to stay for the reason that seat at Universal and would need to cope with the worst f—king supervisors. And I also ended up being, like, ‘I am able to fare better than by using my eyes shut.’ And that is just just what began me personally thinking about management. However it ended up being frightening.”
Timing-wise, a change was 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) along with their exit in 2012 arrived some doubt. Claims Owen: that I really could be kept here in a truly good or bad situation.“ I knew”
Owen wound up leaving their peers into the dirt 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 single other.”
And there’s a complete 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, simply racked up 10 Academy of Country Music Awards nominations, being a duo or independently. Five a lot more of those ACM nominations decided to go to Musgraves, whom, almost a year after “golden hour” was launched, is finally getting played on country radio, which had all but sat out of the period.
Owen’s spot when you look at the greater socio-political-economic stability of Nashville — an oasis of blue in a typically red state — is significant. Early this past year, whenever conservative talk-show host Mike Huckabee had been appointed into the Country Music Association’s charitable board, Owen ended up being some of those vehemently opposing the move, in specific due to Huckabee’s history of slamming not only same-sex marriage but parenting that is gay. In a page to top CMA metal, Owen had written, “As you might understand i’ve a son or daughter as well as 2 in route. This guy has managed to get clear that my loved ones isn’t welcome in their America.” Huckabee quickly resigned amid the firestorm, with several crediting Owen’s clout for the action that is swift although he had been quick to indicate that lots of other top execs had been exerting their particular force behind the scenes. He’s confident Huckabee’s views have become much the exception and never the norm among their Nashville peers.
“Look, since 2002 once I relocated right here, we never ever felt such a thing but accepted and enjoyed and normal,” says Owen. “There had been for a very long time — and most likely is still to some degree — exactly the same way of performing things. And there are some of us whom stray far from that way of thinking. That may ideally begin the noticeable modification.”
In terms of nation radio, Owen and Musgraves d have each one of these people saying, ‘Where does this fit?’ Like, whom cares where? It’s brilliant.”
In a uncommon example of “the business getting up because of the art,” Owen is thrilled that the structure is coming around to Musgraves, and credits John Sykes at iHeartRadio for leading the fee. “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 complete. … We’re off to a very good start.”