Women of Live Hall Of Fame: Carole Kinzel

Music Agent | CAA

“She is the rock of the CAA Music Department and the brightest north star for all women in music. It is a privilege to call her my greatest mentor and friend.” — Shirin Nury, Music Agent at CAA

WOL: 2020 & 2022 | Impact 50: 2021-2023

Carole Kinzel, when discussing her illustrious career, cites working at a number of industry businesses that formed the substrate of the modern concert business. From Larry Magid and Allen Spivak’s Electric Factory Concerts straight outta Philly (where she went from selling tickets to concert promotion); to Phil Waldron’s Capricorn Records in Macon, GA; to CAA with Tom Ross and Rob Light leading the music division; and working closely with Goldenvoice’s Paul Tollett. There is, however, one ur-moment and figure who inextricably changed Kinzel’s career.
“I moved to Macon, Georgia, to work for Capricorn Records, which was a life-changing event for me,” Kinzel tells Pollstar. “I met Alex Hodges who was running Paragon Agency. Alex believed I would be a great agent, but I was reluctant. Alex was so persuasive that I agreed to join him in his new venture, Empire Agency, and that was the start of my career as an agent.”

“I recall like yesterday making a case to Carole she would be a great agent,” says Hodges, who runs Nederlander Concerts. “She exclaimed ‘no way’ would she be an agent. I’m proud to say that Carole relented and became one of the greatest of all agents.”

Post-Empire Agency, Kinzel moved to L.A., worked at ICM and then Triad. “I began working with many major artists, including Tina Turner and George Michael, which was a huge leap for me,” Kinzel says. “I happily ended up at CAA and the rest is history.”

But it’s not just history, it’s today and tomorrow. Her jaw-dropping roster is filled with Hall of Famers who, like her, transcend the vagaries and vicissitudes of pop and flash. “Last year was so great with Lana Del Rey, The Cure, New Order, The Smile, Tori Amos, and Dermot Kennedy to name a few,” she says.

At the same time, Kinzel is still nurturing young talent and helping build young careers. “It is also amazing to watch the growth of talent like Gracie Abrams, Mimi Webb, and other incredible new artists,” she says.

While Kinzel came up in the business at a time when executive opportunities for women in the live business were almost non-existent, she acknowledges both the huge progress made in terms of gender equality as well as existing challenges. “This is a very strong time for women in our business,” she says. “Some of our best agents and promoters are women and more are rising up every year. I would like to see more women in key leadership positions but hopefully that is improving.”

To that end, Kinzel is doing her part to develop talent. “I try to be a good mentor to my younger associates and give them the encouragement I was fortunate to receive in my early years,” she says. Developing relationships across our industry is the key, and hard work and attention to detail is equally important.”

“The qualities I admire most about Carole lie in the dualities she embodies,” says one of her mentees, CAA’s Shirin Nury. “She fights fiercely for her artists, but always leads with grace. She brings a positive outlook to even the most high-pressure negotiations. She manages to be the greatest teacher, an expert in her craft, while simultaneously remaining a constant student, pouring her entire heart into all that she does. A true pioneer and living masterclass in artist representation, there is no limit for Carole Kinzel. She is the rock of the CAA Music Department and the brightest north star for all women in music.”

One of the keys to Kinzel’s sustained success is the joy she has always derived from live performances. “The greatest highlights for me every year,” she says, “are always seeing my artists perform.”