Impact NextGen: Ollie Zhang

Ollie Zhang
Head of Artist Development


It does so often seem the college committee is the garden where the seeds of the future of the live industry are planted and so it was with Ollie Zhang, 88rising’s head of artist development.

“My time at UC San Diego truly set the path for everything to follow. Although my first role in music was in the time-honored college marketing program at UMG, it was working within the university concerts and events office that sealed my fate. Many of my closest friends in the industry today come from that shared experience,” he says. 

College is, after all, where we are supposed to find our true calling. At least that’s what they say. For Ollie, the path he’s on wasn’t the one he had planned. “I am the only son of Chinese immigrants who sacrificed everything they could to put me into college and set me up for success. They definitely did not intend for me to work in music. But, I was lucky enough to give it a chance. I won’t ever forget that,” he says.

Zhang says it’s been “exhilarating” to be in the middle of 88rising’s emergence.

“The entire journey of 88rising from its inception until now has been a tremendous blessing. I’ve checked off every imaginable bucket list goal – from throwing our own music festival to playing Coachella to touring around the world. It’s an honor to champion Asian artists across the diaspora that are breaking the mold,” he says. “I hope to stay at the edge where artists are re-invigorating scenes and re-writing the playbook – like what ISOxo and Knock2 are doing right now for dance music. Every artist at 88rising is actively making history. Their careers will impact generations to come.”

Zhang says 88rising founder and CEO Sean Miyashiro continues to inspire with his “masterful intuition in understanding artists and connecting cultures, and a relentless pursuit of creativity above all else.”

To the next crop coming out of college, Zhang says: “Get your hands dirty and don’t wait for gatekeepers to give you permission. But, it’s OK to ask for help. You’re not meant to do it all on your own.”