Yves C. Pierre, Concerts Agent, ICM Partners
Yves C. Pierre
Coming up on the label side of the music business, most of Yves C. Pierre’s mentors who gave her an opportunity and supported her were Black women. She reflects that, upon entering the agency space and not having “that same reflection of people that look like me, it was completely jarring.”
“So fast forward over nine years later, to really be able to have the power to change the landscape is so important to me, because I don’t want anyone else coming behind me having those same kinds of feelings.” Pierre is working to bring about change via her recently announced role as one of the members of ICM’s Concerts Leadership Committee and via the creation of Diversify ICM.
She’s also passionate about intentionally pouring information into her mentees from organizations including She Is The Music, Femme It Forward, Culture Creators and Power 2 Inspire.
What Pierre Has Learned From Mentors Including Mignon Espy, Chaka Pilgrim, Kevin “Coach K” Lee, Ethiopia Habtemariam and Jaha Johnson:
“Having confidence in what you’re doing. … I had to learn that. I had to believe in myself and the work I was doing. It didn’t come easy. You always second guess yourself … but to know that I had someone pointing me in the right direction or reinforcing how things were going, [saying] ‘You’re doing a good job’ [made a difference]. … That’s something that I learned on the label side so that when I got to the agency world, that sort of confidence piece of understanding the culture, of understanding artists, understanding the business side of it, it didn’t take that long for me to feel that confidence in myself.”
Tips For A Mentor-Mentee Relationship:
“I don’t think a mentee-mentor relationship is cookie-cutter. I know people always say this, but you have to meet people where they are. I can’t treat every mentee the same. They have different backgrounds, different goals and different influences in their lives. So it’s more so about meeting them where they are and having some sort of common goal and respect. At the end of the day yes, they might be younger than me and yes, they might want to be where I am, but there’s still a respect level that needs to be there. I think everyone needs to be respected for who they are and what they bring to the table, and I think if you start with those things, you’ll have a full mentor-mentee relationship.
“And being as honest as possible about the process, but also being as honest about your own experience. I think you’ve got to give people the good, the bad and the ugly because people have to make informed decisions as much as possible. There is a sort of pull-the-curtain-back conversation that you have to have with your mentee to really develop some trust with them.”
The business philosophy you live by?
Cultivating my relationships and friendships is not a business move – I don’t do it for the business part of it. I think the business that I drum up through those relationships are added value, but my relationships, my friendships in this entertainment industry are super important to me because more often than not these are people that I’ve known for a very, very, very long time and that I consider family. Cultivating these relationships, it’s not like a chess move or a business move.
Which music artist or band has most helped you get through this year?
D-Nice and his Club Quarantine. And Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Verzuz.
The artist you would most like to see live when touring and festivals return?
I don’t think for me it’s about a particular artist. I think it’s about the camaraderie of being in a space with people that you work hard every day with. To be able to play hard with them as well is what I’m looking forward to more so than any sort of artist on a stage. Getting off of Zoom, getting off of the whole conference call, really being able to spend time with people.
When it’s safe to do so, will you go back to the office, work remotely or a combination of both? Why?
I think it’ll be a combination of both. I think everyone’s sort of learning how this is going to work going forward, and I know that there are certain things that need to be protected and changed a bit. I think that people are open to a myriad of ways that that works out.
Artists to watch breaking next year?
An emerging artist that had an amazing trajectory thus far since we signed them is this artist by the name of Q. And I’m going to toot my own horn, but I’m waiting for the Migos Culture III album. I think everyone is including myself.
How do you think livestreaming will or won’t be integrated into your business going forward?
Pre-COVID we saw festivals trying to implement those things, but those were very much an afterthought kind of conversation. I think the business model is going to have to figure out how to include livestreams in addition to in-building things because the amount of people you can reach across the globe can be an added value when you’re trying to set someone up in a place where financially they might not be able to physically get there. Talking about trying to drum up interest virtual might be the way to go to do some artist development. So I think it’s going to be a hybrid.
Your favorite music documentary – recent or old?
“The Black Godfather.”
Zoom, Clubhouse or TikTok? Why?
I’ll pick Clubhouse because it was something new. In the initial phase of it, over the summer last year, it was a way to connect with folks that you hadn’t connected with in a long time. You might not necessarily have been on Zoom with them either. So it allowed me to sort of reconnect with my friends that were in entertainment, who weren’t necessarily at other agencies, they’re in other walks of life. Being able to talk to them at all hours of the day, at night, it was just an outlet. So that was great to sort of sit in a room and shoot the shit and talk to people.