Creative Management Firm’s Yvette Medina On Her Passion For Developing Artists

Yvette Medina,
Courtesy Lyme Lite Media / Yvette Medina
– Yvette Medina,
founder of Creative Mangement Firm

During the nearly 20 years Yvette Medina has spent in the music industry she has had the chance to work in various sectors of the business, from the agency world at CAA and WME to marketing and as a label manager for artists including Romeo Santos, Pitbull and Calle 13 at labels such as Sony Music and Roc Nation. Thanks in part to mentors including CAA’s Darryl Eaton and Pitbull, Medina discovered her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for managing artists – especially those who are up and coming. 

Medina spoke to Pollstar about her journey in the business and becoming the owner of Los-Angeles based artist management company Creative Management Firm, with clients including Chilean-American singer/songwriter Paloma Mami, Argentinian singer/rapper Ecko,Trinidadian artist LATENIGHTJIGGY and producer De La Cruz. Mami, who recently released her bilingual debut album, Sueños de Dalí, has been nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist. 

Pollstar: How did you get your start in the business? 
Yvette Medina: I started my career at CAA as an assistant. I had an amazing boss, Darryl Eaton, who is now one of the co-heads [of contemporary music] of CAA. He [gave] me the opportunity to learn as much as I could. And I was the only Latina at CAA at the time, and he had multiple Latin clients. I was able to learn how to do bookings for the United States and globally for the different artists that he had. He was always such an amazing mentor to really help me grow. And I stayed at CAA for five years working for him and, you know, just really building that whole Latin side of it. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to go into that genre of music. I didn’t have that much knowledge of it. But realistically, just being Latina you have all the knowledge you really need (laughs) and having such a great mentor like him, he helped really nurture that and gave me my opportunity to start off. 

Tell me more about being the only Latina.
I was the only Latina in the whole [music] department. And the only person that spoke Spanish. I kinda was spearheading anything that anybody needed in terms of any of the Latin clients that they currently had and trying to assist  wherever I could on that.  
You didn’t initially see yourself in the Latin market. Was there another genre you were into?
I am a fan of R&B … R&B was something that I was intrigued with and I really enjoying listening to, so I always just thought I would work with artists that were focused in that genre. But you know, Darryl was [working] in so many different genres. He booked artists from Blink-182 to Ice Cube to Enrique Iglesias and [inspired me], instead of focusing on a genre, just being good in general at booking. And the Latin thing just became a part of what I did because I spoke Spanish.     

How did you get into the label side of the business?
After five years at CAA, I ended up leaving to work at William Morris. They had a Miami office that focused on Latin. And I stayed there for about two years … at CAA I used to work with Ricky Martin and so when they needed a label manager for his project over at Sony, I left the agency side of things, doing booking and started focusing on the label management side of things. It was a turning point for me because from that moment on I wanted to continue working on the management side of the business. 
And you also worked in marketing? 
I was at Sony for two years, and one of the artists that I was the label manager to was Pitbull. After working with him for some time, he was at the point in his career where he was building his own company and trying to bring on different people to start growing his team. And so I left Sony to go work for Pitbull and become his head of marketing over there. [I] was on his management team but spearheading marketing for him.   

Were there any takeaways that you had from working with Pitbull or Romeo Santos?
Working with Pit, in my career it was such a pivotal point because he really went from understanding who I was as an employee at a label to saying, “You are destined to be an entrepreneur, and if management is what you want to do, then we’re going to help you do that.” And he has always been a person that I’ve been able to go back to ask for advice. And he’s helped … to guide me and gave me opportunities that have really helped establish my career. And with Pit, I mean, we did so many amazing things together … from winning his first Grammy to touring the world.     

When I decided to move on to Roc Nation Latin, it really was also because I had worked with Romeo Santos at Sony …  being able to go back to another artist that had done so many amazing things in his career. And with [bachata], Romeo took a genre that a lot of people thought of as more local … people listened to that type of music in the Dominican Republic and became a global sensation, he became one of the biggest artists of Latin music. So I think I use that now for my artists that have different visions and want to accomplish certain things to never [lose] focus from your goal, because anything is possible.
How did launching your own artist management company come to be? 
When I decided to leave Roc Nation … I wanted to develop artists. I really wanted to help that next generation … and impact at that level. So, artists that I had had my eye on, I went to reach out to and see how we can work together. I was lucky enough that one of [my first clients] was Ecko, who is one of the leaders of trap music in Argentina. 

He’s only 22 years old, but he’s made such an impact in different ways. He’s the protagonist of a series for HBO Max [“Días de Gallos”] and also just did a license commercial for general market singing in Spanish. 

Creative Management Firm’s Yvette Medina (L)
Courtesy Lyme Lite Media / Yvette Medina
– Creative Management Firm’s Yvette Medina (L)
poses with her client Paloma Mami at Premios Juventud in Miami on July 22. Mami took the stage during the 2021 award show with Ricky Martin to perform their single “Qué Rico Fuera.”
I have another artist, Paloma Mami, who recently got nominated for a Latin Grammy. She’s only 21. Her album did so well and had no [songs with special guests] on it. And in the history of Latin music, [she’s] the only female artist to ever release a debut album [with no special guests] and go gold in the United States. I believe Paloma is one of those artists that’s going to impact music and the world in a much bigger level outside of just music – she co-direct videos. She also is in fashion; she designs all the clothes that you see her wear. People like that don’t come along very often. I’m very excited to be a part of her team. 

Was it always a dream of yours to launch your own company? Did you see it as a necessity to forge your own path in the business?  
I’ve always wanted to have my own company and … being able to launch my company and focus 100% on it after leaving Roc Nation, it’s something that I felt was necessary as well. I thought I’d really want to be able to have that relationship that I had with my other artists and do it for myself. And no one else could say, “Oh, you got to do this, or you got to do that.” I just want to take their vision and make it happen. The only way to really do that is to be able to have 100% control of what gets done and just be one-on-one with your artist.   

You mentioned you’re passionate about helping the next generation of artists.
There’s a lot of people that don’t take the time to develop artists. When you see [your client] have a dream and together as a team put it together and see it fully come to flourish – that’s the best feeling ever. To see them grow and see them live in concert where people are screaming, it’s another level. It just fills your heart, like “OK, wow, this is for real.” There’s no feeling like it. 

How have you seen the Latin market grow since you’ve been in the business?  
Over the last 20 years the music has evolved. Obviously, urban music has taken flight and has really impacted on a global level. A lot of other people have tried to be involved in it. And I think that’s amazing – now there’s so many different opportunities for artists and for our genre that we didn’t have before. I’m hoping that it continues to grow and it looks like it will. There’s so many amazing artists that keep coming in and doing music that crosses over. And when I [say] cross over, they’re not even crossing over language-wise, they’re singing in Spanish … and we see different people in different countries that don’t even speak Spanish singing in Spanish. I hope that we’re able to keep growing and, especially for Latinas, that can keep finding an avenue where they can become managers in this genre or any genre. As the years go by and the genres keep mixing together … the more we add these different workers to the workforce, it just enables everyone else to be better as a whole.   

What’s next for Paloma Mami and Ecko?
We’re lucky that next month – we started touring here and there – they’re both on festivals in Mexico next month in November, and both are planning on touring next year. So it’s exciting to really get back out there to have them really be able to connect with their fans again on a personal level, which is always [about] live music!