2023 Women Of Live: Sam Kirby Yoh

Partner and Global Co-Head of Music | UTA

Sam Kirby Yoh, UTA | Partner and Global Co-Head of Music

Sam Kirby Yoh, in her role as Co-Head of Global Music at United Talent Agency, was already one of live’s most powerful and influential women. But as UTA went into a growth period in 2022 in the aftermath of CAA’s acquisition of ICM Partners, her impact on the live business is growing with it.

What’s made it especially exciting for the veteran agent is UTA’s role in amplification and resulting success of artists across the globe, she says.

And with a roster that includes such heavy hitters as Lil Nas X, LCD Soundsystem, St. Vincent and many more, her eyes are on the future, including debut releases and tours of new artists including d4vd, Jessie Murph, quinnie, Two Shell, The Dare and others.

Thanks to the addition of new agents and artists including J. Cole, LL Cool J, Kamasi Washington, Aly & AJ and DNCE, the agency’s influence has grown by leaps and bounds, as has Kirby Yoh’s. Among her 2022 highlights was booking Swedish House Mafia for one of the headlining slots at Coachella.

Kirby Yoh cites as one of her mentors the late Barbara Skydel, who started in the business in 1968 as an assistant to the legendary Frank Barsalona at Premier Talent and developed into one of the greatest booking agents of all time. “Barbara Skydel taught us to have grace in any situation,” she says.

Following in Skydel’s footsteps as one of the most powerful women in live, she knows there’s room for more – a lot more.

“There’s still a long way to go for gender equality,” Kirby Yoh says. “We need more action around the initiatives suggested by, for example, Diversify The Stage, Femme It Forward, She Is the Music, Women In Music, among others. Please take a moment to look up these organization as a start.”

Rising touring costs remain a challenge for Kirby Yoh in 2023, but with the crush of concerts and festivals hitting the calendar, costs be damned, don’t ask her to choose a favorite.

“I’m in awe of the courage and creativity of artists – there is no one best show, festival or live event,” she says.