Cara Lewis, Owner and Founder, Cara Lewis Group

Cara Lewis
– Cara Lewis

Great Scott! The Live Biz & Her Clients

Cara Lewis
Owner and Founder, Cara Lewis Group

As a towering digital rendering of Travis Scott traversed colorful Fortnite landscapes in April 2020, something became obvious: Cara Lewis’ clients were navigating.

“I think releasing music and content and an everbuilding social media presence have seen many artists through the year in spite of not being on the road,” says Lewis, who as head of Cara Lewis Group oversees a powerhouse roster that includes Scott, Chance The Rapper, Eminem, Khalid, The Roots and many more.

While the caliber of Lewis’ clients has certainly helped, she shored up their margins in lean times by orchestrating several high-profile partnerships, among them Scott’s deal with McDonald’s and Khalid’s union with Chase for the U.S. Open. Numerous livestreams, including several installments of the Verzuz series, also helped Lewis’ clients stay front of mind for fans.

“Nothing has stopped for us,” Lewis says. “We have stayed really busy and positive and in constant communication with our many relationships, including artists, managers, promoters, etc. Whether it be seeking out opportunities for our clients, building new relationships, rerouting the same tour 10 times until it becomes reality or just planning for the distant future, it was and is all for the promise of a bright future ahead which appears to be coming!”

For many of Lewis’ clients, it seems like the return will be as easy as pressing play after the pandemic’s long pause.

Take Scott, who was set to headline Coachella 2020 before the pandemic forced its cancellation. On May 5, tickets became available for the third iteration of Scott’s Astroworld Festival – now expanded to two days at Houston’s NRG Park – and they sold out in less than an hour.

“Helping to produce the festival and seeing it come to fruition has been especially rewarding, while Travis curates an amazing eclectic lineup with an atmosphere unlike any other festival,” says Lewis. She likens the event to “going to your favorite amusement park with the hottest live performances.”

Of course, it’s not only about Scott for Lewis, who has represented Nas, the Beastie Boys and more since getting her start in the industry in the ’80s. She’s “optimistic” that Q4 2021 “will bring full tours for Arizona Zervas, BIA, Coi Leray, J.I., Phony Ppl, THEY. and Vic Mensa,” and says Cara Lewis Group is “strategically planning” tours for 2022 and 2023 by Eminem, Chance the Rapper, Travis Scott, Erykah Badu, Khalid and many others.

“I expect to see live music thrive upon its return in a huge way,” she says. “I also think that the energy fans will bring to shows will be beyond powerful unlike any other time. … Additionally, many artists had huge, breakout years in 2020 and have yet to tour. I believe when the industry emerges, we’ll be able to thoughtfully build a new precedent for what shows should look and feel like.”

Hot Takes

The business philosophy you live by?

The business exists because of the artists and their music and should be treated accordingly and fairly. That philosophy that has always been at the heart of my business. It is all about trust and relationships across the board.

Which music artist or band has most helped you get through this year?

All music, all genres, and especially the DJ club quarantine series by D Nice and Questlove’s themed DJ sets that programed the most amazing music and artists, uplifting the world and getting us through some of the scariest times of our lives.

The artist you would most like to see live when touring and festivals return?

I would have to say Travis Scott and Astroworld. Smokin’ Grooves, a Festival I created and curated over 20 years ago which produced many superstars which will tour in 2022. Eminem, who rarely tours but when he does delivers the most iconic performances of a lifetime with all of his greatest hits.

When it’s safe to do so, will you go back to the office, work remotely or a combination of both? Why?

A small team has been working out of the office since July 2020 when I was able to provide a safe environment. I do think moving forward it will be a combination of both. I think the productivity level is way greater when collaborating in person as opposed to a daily Zoom call but I am open to both and will incorporate some kind of hybrid schedule.

How do you think livestreaming will or won’t be integrated into your business going forward?

I think livestreaming has and will always serve as a way for artists to provide content to their fans. Nothing will replace the energy, community, and the overall experience of a live performance but content is more important now than ever as livestreaming provides another way for artists to be visible and to interact with their fanbases. I think integrating and geotargeting the streaming of live concert events in the future will not only produce the ability for a fan to see their favorite artist and watch a concert regardless if it comes to their city or not, but will also become an additional revenue stream the touring artist.

Your favorite music documentary – recent or old?

“Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly”…as I helped to create many of those moments you see on screen.

Zoom, Clubhouse or TikTok? Why?

TikTok – seeing the way that people express themselves virtually has created a whole new sect of artistry and another platform to break artists and their music.