2024 Women Of Live Hall Of Fame: Cara Lewis

0 1

To understand why hip-hop groundbreaker Cara Lewis is in the Women of Live Hall of Fame, simply consider the bottomless well of iconic moments, names and tours. Rather than making a list, it’s easier to let the fearless force of agenting tell you herself.

“I was fortunate enough to witness and be part of so many history creating moments in this industry. Namely, my first name drop in Eric B and Rakim’s forever influential ‘Paid In Full,’ to seeing them receive their second nomination to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, to being the first and only woman to ever win the Pollstar Bobby Brooks Agent of the Year award in 2018, to seeing DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince winning the first ever Grammy for Hip Hop amidst protesting the event.

“In regards to booking, moments that stick out would have to be orchestrating Run DMC’s ‘Raisin’ Hell’ tour – the first ever full rap tour to hit the arena stage, and more than that, sell out on the onsale dates. Creating and executing the concept of Smokin Grooves, six acts per show, for three years straight, presenting in a festival environment as a way to get my artists out on tour.

“I would be remiss to not mention having the ongoing honor to be involved with Eminem and manager Paul Rosenburg since his very first show at House of Blues, to reaching such heights as being inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and performing at the Super Bowl.”

With mentors who include Norby Walters and Peter Grosslight, Lewis embraced diverse perspectives on how to make it happen for talent. Still her advice to rising executives offers a strong commitment to the fundamentals, “never take shortcuts, put in your time, always be sincere, and never take no for an answer.”

Lewis didn’t. During the eight years she spent moving up from receptionist to agent at Norby Walters Associates, she recalls, “It was a battle at times as a young girl in the music industry, not being taken seriously, having to face countless glass ceilings, but through hard work and perseverance, I carved my way.”

Migrating to WME, the New York-based force created and led their Urban Pop department. She did the same at CAA until 2016 when she founded her own company, Cara Lewis Group, which serves as a full-service agency handling branding, marketing, film & TV for many of the biggest names in music.

“I have nobody to answer to but talent,” she says. Beyond the inherent creativity to how she builds careers, there’s absolute pride in her acts. Whether Travis Scott’s 43-date “Circus Maximus Tour,” including a sold-out at on-sale SoFi Stadium play, a first for a rap act there, or Ice Spice’s breakout year, including collaborating with Taylor Swift and her Dunkin’ VMAs commercial as she readies for a 2024 tour, Lewis leans into artist development at all levels.

For Lewis, Erykah Badu’s 20th anniversary tour stands out in a year populated with stand-out shows and she also cites Bryson Tiller selling out all 41 dates upon onsale after a six-year live hiatus and Don Tolliver’s growing success as reasons her 2023 was so potent, as well as Khalid touring with Ed Sheeran for 21 stadium dates this summer. The power agent looks to the future with a robust desire for even more, including “the hope of Eminem going out on tour! And to bring back Smokin’ Grooves as a touring entity.”