Everybody’s trying to figure out a way forward,” says Kevin Shivers. “We’ve all been targeting the fall of 2021 for hard ticket shows, we just hope it gets some traction before then.” The widely respected WME partner isn’t sitting still for a second, pandemic or not. “We’re looking to do Tyler’s [Tyler, The Creator] festival in ‘21, for sure,” he says. “Tory Lanez is about to have a moment in the next year. He’s making the most of this COVID out of anybody I know. He’s putting out great music after great music, had a big live stream on YouTube and Quarantine Radio on Instagram Live.”
Shivers, who is one of the most – if not the most – senior African American music agents in the industry, wrote a much-needed guest post on the need for diversity and inclusion in the live business in the wake of the George Floyd murder entitled “Why Our Industry Needs to Wake The F-Up Now” that was a clarion call.
“We’ve got to do better,” he says. “We’ve got to start now. We’ve got to recruit better, and hire, and then we’ve got to mentor and develop. And then we’ve got to figure out how to get people into the leadership, because when you walk into these places and there’s nobody in leadership that looks like you, it doesn’t
make you want to stay. We have to do better.”
And better is what Shivers’ impressive career exemplifies. The Waco, Texas native’s first concert was Too $hort at the Waco Convention Center while on heavy rotation was Lone Star State rappers like Geto Boys, Scarface and UGK along with a cassette of Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It. The UT graduate’s tale of befriending Charles Attal at Austin’s famed Stubb’s and working his way up the perilous corporate ladder is an example for all. Going from the mailroom and working and learning from Benjamin Scales in 2008 to assisting Brian Edelman and Marc Geiger to making agent in 2012 and working with acts like LL Cool J to making partner in 2017. Shivers says it’s good to be “honored by your colleagues, you’re with this smaller group of people at the agency, you get a seat at the partner table.”
The show that changed your life?
I love the Kanye, Jay-Z tour. Watch the Throne
Artist to watch breaking in the next year?
He’s not breaking, but Tory Lanes is about to have a moment in the next year. He’s making the most of this COVID out of anybody I know, and he can’t tour. And he’s putting out great music after great music.
Technology most impacting your daily work or personal life?
Alexa. I find myself asking her questions all day long.
Best live show you saw this year?
The last one I saw was Tame Impala at the Forum.
Your favorite venue to see a show at and why?
The Garden. I mean, it’s classic. And one of the best shows I’ve seen at the Garden was Tyler, The Creator. It was insane.
The role of livestreaming going forward?
Somebody’s going to figure out. People don’t really sit around and watch livestreaming unless it’s a big festival or a big event. Somebody’s going to figure out how to monetize it.