Creative Artists Agency
The litany of challenges this industry’s faced over the last two years, which in no way bears repeating, has made the season’s return to live even sweeter, especially for those bold enough to jumpstart the process.
“A day and a moment I will never forget,” says Jenna Adler, “was the first Hella Mega show at Globe Life Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on July 24, 2021.” The triple rock threat was the first major stadium trek out of the gate to finish with nary a cancelation and resulted in Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy storming to No. 3 on Pollstar’s 2021 Year-End chart with $67.3 million grossed and some 659K tickets sold, according to box office reports submitted to Pollstar.
For Adler, a veteran agent whose career began at CAA in 1990, live’s ineffable magic is something hardwired. “I never lost my passion for live,” she says. “When live was taken away from us – who could ever think this was even possible – fast forward to 15 months later, to be standing inside a sold-out stadium with 40K fans …”
In addition to Green Day, Adler’s power roster includes Doja Cat, Jennifer Lopez, Charlie XCX and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. She credits the building of her roster, in part, to her tenacious defense on behalf of her clients.
“A major part of success is being relentless and not backing down and pushing what we start to the finish line,” she says. “I know what I believe in and who I believe in and I’m willing to lay it all on the line to get it done – so fighting for that has been a big part of the success.”
When asked about navigating the future’s choppy water, Adler sounds far more collaborative-minded: “We need to be smart in the ways we guide our artists – this is not the time to be touring for the sake of filling time and transactions. We have to be patient, have honest conversations and play the long game. We have to be creative in our thought process, be conscious of consumer dollars as we put together touring packages, and have an open and collaborative mindset.”
As someone who walks the walk and talks the talk on diversity, equity and inclusion, Adler continues to work with Diversify The Stage, which launched in spring of 2020, and notes the importance of DEI “both on stage and in business.”
“When I started my career, there weren’t many people who looked like me that I could look up to as mentors, or as idols as an Asian-American woman,” she says. “That’s something I’ve worked hard to change. I want to be the person I wish I had 20-plus years ago – somebody a young woman can look at and help instill confidence that people who may look different than others in the industry can succeed.”
As for bringing it to the stage, Adler’s knocked it out of the park with one of the year’s hottest and most diverse bills (but good luck getting a ticket).
“The Yeah Yeah Yeahs just went up with shows and we’re going to sell out both the Hollywood Bowl and Forest Hills,” Adler says. “It’s all Asian American women on the bill with Japanese Breakfast (Michelle Zauner) and Linda Linda’s. Leaning into Asian American Pacific Islander month, I feel like it’s a big win.”
Though Adler cites several mentors, including Kevin Gasser, Rob Light (“who continues to give me guidance”), Benny Medina and her network of girlfriends, there’s two others who are special sources of inspiration: “My two sons. When we all have those days where everything is an uphill battle – they help keep everything in perspective. They are my biggest cheerleaders, my support system, my confidantes, and they are both my daily inspiration.”