This week we are joined at The Music Elk for episode 15 of series Motivational Mondays, by none other than Jake Huntley, who runs online label Tuvali and manages several artists. Let’s see what he has to say!
Who are you and what’s your background?
My name is Jake Huntley, and I was born in Cambridge, UK on the 8th December 1999. I started off my life a little closer to London before moving back to Cambridge in 2007. I was raised by a single parent my whole life and with her busy job in London, I bounced back and forth between my grandma’s home and my mum’s. I started playing football early in life and I got a lot of amazing opportunities there; that was my dream from as early as I could remember. I am fairly smart but I was never good at exams, I had problems with writing speed and exam technique and I wasn’t a popular child in school. I was bullied and made fun of at two different stages of my life, first in primary school for being fat, and then more recently at age 15/16 for trying to make it in the music industry. I wouldn’t change anything about my past, I believe it lead me to where I am right now, and right now I’m happy and loving life.
What made you initially want to get into the music industry? How did it all start?
I started DJing at around age 12, but I was never a music producer. I was incredibly influenced by the likes of Martin Garrix and Swedish House Mafia, etc. It was never a career path though – I did the classic DJing at a friend’s birthday party but never had any club slots, and that was all it amounted to. It started really when I joined some Facebook groups, most notably one called ‘The Future of House’, where I saw a post asking if anyone wanted to start a label. I messaged the guy and said I’d love to do social media as I had no idea about music business. From there I started getting more and more involved, in fact, I think I got the first 3 releases signed and when it came to cutting people out of the original team, I was one of 3 left. I made friends with a lot of people who have helped me out incredibly throughout my career and I have learned a lot from them – especially Dylian Fiallo of House Nation, and Moritz Rickmann of GalaxyMusic.
What does your job consist of on a day to day basis?
On the management front, just trying to get as many opportunities as possible for my artists; finding vocalists, remix opportunities, label scouting, business discussions, organising important things, etc.
On the label front, throughout the week I’m fairly free – the only things I actually really do are post-release day promotion such as sending our music to blogs, YouTube channels, SoundCloud reposts, etc. However Fridays are a sh*tstorm. I have to pitch 1 or 2 tracks to Spotify and Apple Music editorial teams worldwide as well as distribute tracks. I also have to write contracts and update all my Spotify playlists, especially the ‘Top Of The Week’ one, which needs new music weekly.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I think the Spotify playlist changes. Throughout the week I check for new music and undiscovered talent to support in the ‘Top Of The Week’ playlist. This is like a personal insight into what I’m liking the most that specific week. Since I like such a variety of music, you can get anything from hip-hop to jazz to heavy trap. I can then use that playlist for car journeys, day-to-day listening and gaming sessions!
What do you do when you’re not working, for downtime?
I travel, A LOT. That’s my favourite thing to do and now that I am no longer in education, as of a few weeks ago, I’ll be doing as much as possible, so if you have a sofa for me to crash on and a beautiful city to visit, hit me up. 😉
Oh, I’m also the best PUBG and Rocket League player ever. Fortnite is still a work in progress, I just don’t like it as much.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
I’d probably say ‘Superhero’ by Unknown Brain. I originally signed them to my old label ‘ILLICIT’ and then I started managing them. NCS showed interest in the track about a month in, and working together with them, we made the track a viral hit with 12 million plays on Spotify and over 30 million on YouTube. It’s still growing almost a million plays monthly on Spotify which is crazy, it still blows my mind.
Are there any tips and tricks you wish you had known when you started?
Don’t follow trends, create your own and try to go to as many public talks by your idols as possible, key times being Miami Music Week and Amsterdam Dance Event, but there are many others too, you’ll learn a lot from them.
What advice would you have for any readers looking to pursue a career in your field
For managers, don’t worry about money. Starting off in management is hard as there isn’t a huge amount of money involved, but please don’t let that stop you. If you keep at it, your road to fame will seem to pave itself.
For the label owners, PRIORITISE YOUR ARTISTS FOR GOD’S SAKE! You’re taking around half of the money from someone else’s work, PLEASE don’t see that as an opportunity to be lazy and get ‘free money’. Work hard for your artists and build a good reputation for your label so you’re not running out of demos being sent to you after a few months. Also, your image is everything; treat your artists and peers how you’d want to be treated and don’t be shady. I’ve seen lots of people fall through the cracks in the last few years and not bounce back.
What do you do on the days when you have no motivation and how do you overcome that problem?
I don’t force it, I wait it out in honesty. I’ll let the people closest to me know so they don’t expect me to do anything for them. For motivation, it sounds stupid but I’ll book a holiday so I have something to look forward to and then I have a week or so of just relaxation, it’s good for the mind. However if I’m low on funds though, or I can’t for any reason, I’ll simply find a beautiful place to watch the sunset, I’m super aesthetic like that. Plus, it seems to do the job for the time being.
Do you have any personal tips or actionable advice for success (in music or life in general)
After experiencing bullying and no one supporting my career choice, I’d like to take a moment to tell those that experience that problem DO NOT GIVE UP. I didn’t and now those same people that said bad things about me chasing a dream that wouldn’t happen all say things like ‘I always supported you’, ‘I never made fun of you’ and ‘I’m so proud of you for not giving up’. Bear with the pain, it’s just a short time. Jokes are on them ultimately as later in life when you’re touring the world or whatever, they’ll be locked up in an office working for a boss they hate and you’ll pop up on their Facebook feed and they’ll tell their new friends how they knew you and were best friends with you.
There’s a quote I pretty much live by, and it may be stupid to some but it may help a few people so here it is: “97% of the people who quit too soon are employed by the 3% that never gave up.” For me, that quote is so perfect, it motivated me because I’ve always feared being in a job I hate and working for someone else and not having freedom. It just made more sense for me to be part of the 3% that never gave up. It’s kind of ironic though as I don’t have any employees, oh well, maybe soon! Haha.
Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
My god, that is such a hard question. I literally listen to so much music and I don’t really have ‘favourites’, more so just favourite songs. If I’m going to talk about ‘favourite artists’, I guess it’s artists where I can listen to ALL of their music without stopping. Other than my own artists, those would be EDEN, BROCKHAMPTON, Illenium, Lauv, and DROELOE, but also shoutouts to KREAM, Jay Pryor and WATEVA, who are also on the come-up right now!
Any recent announcements and/or upcoming stuff you would like to announce to the readers?
This summer is going to be huge for Tuvali, we have between 1 and 2 releases dropping every Friday so stay updated. Follow my facebook feed to keep up to date with new stuff.
Thanks to The Music Elk for having me, it’s been a pleasure and I hope you all enjoyed this!
Make sure to Follow Jake here: