Q’s With Natasha Gregory: ‘Being A Great Mom And A Great Agent Go Hand In Hand’
– Natasha Gregory.
Booking Agent at Mother Artists Live
Natasha Gregory is a fierce advocate for mentoring and supporting women and parents in this industry. It’s one of the reason’s our editorial staff picked her for Pollstar’s inaugural Impact International list of honorees.
There are many others from a 20-year career that began with Gregory being told she was “too nice”, and culminated in the launch of her own agency Mother Artists Live, where she takes care of Idles, First Aid Kit, Amy Macdonald, Cate le Bon, Do Nothing, Alex Amor, Heavy Lungs, amongst others.
When we reached out for her honoree’s profile, Gregory’s mindset was a mixture of “focused, patient, grounded, grateful, kind, empathetic, exhausted,” in her own words. Pollstar wanted to know what made her go independent during the worst crisis this business has faced in a lifetime, and especially ask her about her views on inclusivity, which is something Gregory’s always been outspoken about in all its facets.
Pollstar: What made you go independent in the middle of the crisis?
Natasha Gregory: Even though it was during the toughest months of a pandemic for the live music industry, it has been born out of a core aspiration and focus in creating a ‘truly equal’ workplace for all, with hard, passionate work and a no-bullshit approach for our clients, employees, and industry.
Without the pandemic my brother and I would never have had the chance to talk through our joint beliefs, visions, and shared work ethics. We work incredibly well together on IDLES – Mark as IDLES management, me as the agent – that we just knew we would be a force of good in this industry.
What exactly do you mean by ‘no-bullsiht’?
This industry can very often be ‘smoke and mirrors’– whether it’s within a company to staff, to promoters, or PR. Our PR from the very start was purposefully direct, simple, and honest, using language we all use every day. We wanted to speak to everyone and treat everyone as an equal, because that’s what we are, equals! Working hard and delivering the best is a given in what we do every day, what isn’t a given is making sure business is done in the best way possible. It’s a human business after all.
Jaroslaw Hipisowski – Natasha Gregory and Mark Bent.
Founders of Mother Artists management company and booking agency.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with family?
Mark and I can tell each other exactly what we think and not get offended, we know that if we disagree with each other that the very next day we will be fine. We also have a very straight forward approach. We are half German and it’s an advantage in organization, strategy but also in being able to get to the point quickly and sort things out straight away. We really are each other’s biggest champions and always have been.
We know our skill set and who does what well. We can’t bullshit each other! We have made sure, just like when a band starts, that everything is laid out from the start, so that there are no issues down the line. But I’m sure, like all businesses, we will meet some bumps in the road, but there is no one I trust more in this business then Mark to get through it with.
What are your main takeaways from this past year-and-a-half?
Nothing is a given, live each day well and true. Health is key, mental and physical. This pandemic really has focused my views on how I conduct my business going forward, not by changing how I do business, but reinstating the importance of how I conduct my business and that it is greatly needed and appreciated. This is a human business, with real people, and incredible trauma over this past year and a half.
– Natasha Gregory with her two sons, Rocco and Winston, at All Points East Festival.
Bringing your kids to work “should be the norm and can and should be done,” she says.
Any personal takeaways?
I am incredibly lucky and ‘rich’ in family and friends. I bounce well off people and social environments. Not having that has been tough for me in this pandemic. Life is short so I’m going to make sure that I live it in truth to who I am and to help and use my privileged position for good and for others.
You’ve always been a champion of inclusivity in all its aspects. How’s this business doing in your opinion?
We have a long way to go. Companies are still mostly set up to suit and support one type of person and that needs to desperately change. The pandemic has meant that everyone has had to work from home, which I feel has on the one side hugely balanced the playing field for a more inclusive environment, but also made it tougher for others depending on the environment that they are having to work in.
With companies opening again I hope that decisions can be made for each individual employee, on what helps them be the best in the business but also the best in their own personal life and that that truly equals success.
Equality isn’t everyone working the same hours: Paternity should be available for both parents, not just the mothers. Empathy should be a real emotion and skill for the heads of companies, not just part of a ‘buzz /PR’ campaign. Accountability and action are important.
– Natasha Gregory chaired the panel “Gender: Calm down, what
Panels that “will create positive change in the music industry in equality and fair rights” are the only ones she
What has kept you focused during this past year-and-a-half?
My family are my focus. By setting up Mother Artists I have been able to keep my focus fully on building something of value, using my past 20 years of experience and only working on what’s truly important. I got rid of noise that I didn’t need.
Having two young kids at the beginning of the pandemic was a real juggle, but I think the best thing I have done was just to be open with myself and those I trust. When I’m not ok, its ok not to be ok and to talk about it. I have also trained in the gym a lot – for my brain and mental health there is nothing better. Plus, my kids, two and six, are the best distraction and funniest team around me ever.
What do you predict in the coming year for the live business?
I think it’s going to take time to get back to whatever normality in this industry we face. Every country has its own rules and regulations and strategy with Covid – that it’s making international touring very tricky. So, it’s going to be a lot of local touring to start. 2022 / 2023 is already congested so agents and managers must try and plan far ahead, something that isn’t always easier for newer artists.
For the UK and UK artists, we also have to navigate Brexit, a challenge for sure, the costs especially that not all bands will be able to afford, but that we, as an industry, are all working our way around. That’s what’s great about this industry, we are built to work through challenges.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in your career and why?
Staying true to myself from the very start. Early on as an Agent I was told I was too ‘nice,’ that always confused me to be used as a negative.
And making sure that I am always trying to be a great mom, which in turn allows me to be a great agent, the two go hand in hand. Trying to lead by example and help in a small way to build this business for all. I wouldn’t be here without the help of some amazing people, it’s only right to do the same.
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