Cara Lewis, Owner and Founder, Cara Lewis Group
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Powerhouse agent Cara Lewis started 2019 strong, overseeing client Travis Scott’s $32.1 million-grossing tour that topped Pollstar’s Q1 Top 100 Tours chart with 438,982 tickets sold, and playing an integral role in booking crooner Khalid’s first arena tour.
“I have always been able to maintain my business,” says Lewis, who revealed that Chance the Rapper will soon detail a 37-date arena tour of his own. “It is about being able to reinvent by adapting to changes and trends.”
Prior to creating her own agency, Lewis made her name during a 23-year tenure at William Morris and a shorter stint at CAA earlier this decade. Name-checked in Eric B. & Rakim’s 1987 song “Paid In Full,” Lewis guided some of hip-hop’s biggest touring artists, including Eminem, Kanye West, Nas and the Beastie Boys, and conceptualized groundbreaking tours like “Smokin’ Grooves,” which brought artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, OutKast and The Roots to the masses in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.
“The most impactful success of my career is going out on my own and starting my own agency,” reveals Lewis, who launched Cara Lewis Group in 2016. “The freedom afforded to me by this choice has helped me expand the concept of artist development in live music – something that is often missed in the major agencies.”
Going forward, Lewis anticipates “immersive experiences” at festivals to grow, explaining, “Adding panels, workshops, tattoo artists, pop-ups and special unannounced guests makes a concert or a festival much more of a live experience and a bigger draw for a ticket.”
On the horizon, Lewis teases “planning and establishing several client-owned festivals” this year and next, a “rare and exclusive run with Eminem in Abu Dhabi,” “breaking the London hip-hop scene” in North America and branding “Smokin’ Grooves,” which returns to Long Beach, Calif., for a second consecutive year this June, to “once again be a touring property in 2020.”
Your favorite laminate:
Travis Scott, “Astroworld”: Holographic skeleton on a horse.
The show that changed your life:
Run-DMC Raising Hell 1986 at Madison Square Garden. First rap arena tour ever. When I realized how great it is to get paid for something you truly love to do.
Best/worst career-related advice you were ever given:
Best: Always deliver what you promise.
Worst: Keep your head down but keep doing what you’re doing.
Biggest miss by you and/or the industry:
Industry not recognizing the value of HIP-HOP Music and culture for too many years.
What would you like to tell our friends at the record labels and/or radio:
Call me and tell me about your next superstar.
Where can you be found during a show?:
Backstage making sure everything is running smooth and in a suite once the show begins.
Artist to watch – breaking in the next year:
Flipp Dinero, Ally Brooke, Daydream Masi, Ravyn Lenae, Octavian, Phony Ppl to name a few.
Poorly written emails with no capitalization. Slow responses via phone and email.
Technology that has most impacted your daily work or personal life:
Blackberry with a keypad with every app possible to make my business function, and my Macs of course.
Ten years removed from The Great Slump — can it happen again:
I have always been able to maintain my business. It is about being able to reinvent by adapting to changes and trends.