Hailing from Kentucky, music manager Ramya Velury had an insatiable love for music that inspired her to move to New York in 2010. A founding partner of music agency Equative Thinking (EQT), Velury in the short times she’s been in New York has made a name for herself through her deft management of a roster of artists that includes Tommy Genesis and AMRIT, among others.
In a recent phone conversation, Ramya shared her journey and some thoughts on how the music industry is changing and what it takes to succeed in the current environment.
Snobette: When did you move to New York?
Velury: “I moved to New York in 2010. It was always a goal to move here. When I moved to New York, I definitely had a moment where I was searching for a sense of community, there was so much unknown. Music then also became a way to connect. I think as a whole there is always a romance to being in New York when you’re from middle America.
“I always loved music, I used to do everything from creating playlists and even DJed my friends’ weddings using sites like Kazaa and Limewire to create mixtapes. I grew up in Kentucky my family is from India, they speak Telugu. I can understand it but I’m not very fluent and my accent is abysmal.”
Snobette: What was the path to your current role?
Velury: “Being in New York in the early ’00s at the height of the Tumblr era, there was this community of people you could just run into like Taz Arnold and A$AP Mob. I went to lots of live music showcases for bands like Matt and Kim and Ben Folds Five. I was really into punk rock, too. For school, I went to [NYU] Gallatin [School of Individualized Study] so I was able to make up my major. I was able to intern with Funk Master Flex and also got involved in nightlife, doing the door at Westway and Up&Down. At the time I didn’t know it, but a lot of managers started out in nightlife. After graduating I did lots of freelance and became a partner at EQT whose roster includes Goldlink, Masego.
Snobette: What skill set makes you awesome at what you do?
Velury: “Being resourceful, always being able able to think on your feet fast while being cognizant that as a manager you are proxy to the artist. The closest person to the artist is their management. A lot of people think that a label does management and labels as manager are kind of a new thing. It’s less hands in the pot but the push and pull of wanting to net as much as possible can create conflicts of interests.
Snobette: Are there any changes you would bring to music management or the music industry as a whole?
Velury: “Managers tend to think that they know everything. Sometimes it’s okay to ask for help. You need enough wisdom to know when it’s too much and you cannot do everything by yourself. I’ve seen so many managers get in a mess, because they thought they knew it all. I still ask the dumb questions all the time. There’s only so much a book, or online info can give you.The industry is changing in real time. What one deal looks like now, will not be the same in a year.At the end of the day you as a manager affect your artists livelihood.
Snobette: Currently which artist do you think has the dopest team?
Velury: Definitely Rihanna. Her team is on point, everything is perfect.
Photos by Mauricio Jorquera