Simple Play Presents’ artist-management team of Reid Martin, Tavia Osbey and Max Bonanno has announced the launch of a new firm, MidCitizen Entertainment. With a roster including Big Freedia, Tank and the Bangas, Naughty Professor, Alfred Banks and more, the fledgling Mid-City operation places heavy emphasis on consistent, strategic touring regimens for those artists. Martin has worked in the industry for over a decade, including stints as tour manager for the Soul Rebels, helping found Gasa Gasa and managing Sweet Crude since their inception.
What is MidCitizen’s primary goal in the music industry?
In a nutshell it is to build sustainable international careers for New Orleans artists. My strategic place in the industry is to have a line on what is happening in New Orleans, but have the connections in the hubs of L.A., New York and Nashville to know what dots to connect for our artists.
How did the idea for MidCitizen Entertainment come about?
Tavia, Max and I, who started MidCitizen, were all already doing artist management for Simple Play Presents. When Ron [Simple Play founder Ron Richard] got a job as a talent buyer for One Eyed Jacks, we thought it made sense to split off the artist-management division since that’s what the three of us were doing exclusively, anyway.
What is your area of focus for your clients, specifically?
Our first goal is to get them established as a touring artist. In New Orleans, you’re not going to make it as a musician if you don’t have an incredible live show. The obstacle that I encounter more so than I would in other cities is I get artists who have an amazing live show who just don’t know how to make a great record yet. It makes sense that their focus should be on generating revenue from being a live performer. Everything else, we build around their touring career.
Is there a lack of infrastructure in New Orleans to help artists develop a well-rounded career?
One-hundred per cent. There’s Basin Street Records, but there is a lack of labels here. There’s a lack of booking agents. There’s a lack of management firms. What we do have here is the live music business. We’ve got all the promoters; we’ve got tons of clubs, tons of festivals. So that’s a great breeding ground for folks to cut their chops.
On a personal level, what do you hope to accomplish?
You can’t pay attention to the ebbs and flows of the music business. You just have to do what’s right by your artists. The goal is to build careers, so they can create music their whole lives. I don’t give two shits about what’s hot right now.