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Meet Jason Owen, the Mega-Manager clients that are whose the Grammys’ Country Prizes

Nashville’s Sandbox Entertainment hosts Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay and minimal Big Town, and others.

There is a minute in the of Feb. 10 whenever supervisor Jason Owen allowed their head to “go here. evening” Could their customer, Kacey Musgraves, whom by 4 p.m. had already acquired two Grammy honors — for “Space Cowboy” and “Butterflies,” for country song that is best and greatest nation solamente performance, respectively — in Owen’s terms, “sweep this thing”?

Musgraves did exactly that, winning every category for which she was that is nominated what many give consideration to the essential coveted honor regarding the night, the all-genre record album of the season honor, for “Golden Hour.” Nonetheless it had been additionally a sweep for Owen’s very own Sandbox that is nashville-based Entertainment whose clients — which include Dan & Shay (co-managed with Scooter Braun) — took home most of the Grammys in the united kingdom categories.

For Musgraves, who Owen has represented since 2011, it ended up being “a reckoning,” he claims. “It stated a whole lot for Nashville and also for the future of nation music, to place a limelight on items that are believed never as conventional that deserve all of the attention on earth. It had been unique.”

And myself talking? States Owen, whom presently boasts tasks in development at Netflix and Amazon: “It ended up being single-handedly the most readily useful evening of my expert life. Definitely.”

When a couple had been destined to traipse through life together, it is Musgraves and Owen — he, an unabashed worshiper of most things Dolly and Madonna while growing up in Arkansas, and she, a Texas girl that embodies the nation glamour of the Barbara Mandrell utilizing the vocal majesty of the Linda Ronstadt (Harry Styles’ contrast). And it’s perhaps their mutual growth that is real-time fairly brand new landscapes that both received and bonded them to one another. “The work of a good supervisor is truly to permit the artist to help make the music therefore the art me go out and give them the opportunities,” Owen explains that they want to make, and then let.

But Owen is much more of the builder compared to a finger-snapper. From his very first administration customer Shania Twain, who he took in after serving in senior promotion, advertising and imaginative jobs at her label, Universal musical Nashville, to Midland, a neo-traditionalist band that unexpectedly topped the country charts, there’s strategy behind the step by step placement of the Sandbox work, specially because it pertains to the real time arena.

“I never pigeonhole because I don’t pay attention to music like that, and I also do not have,” says Owen. “There’s a spot for several, particularly with all the right documents plus the exact same is true of touring. Like Kelsea Ballerini has gone out with Kelly Clarkson at this time; Harry Styles and Kacey had been a combination that is magic and early with Katy Perry and Kacey, too. Neither she nor i needed in which to stay a particular lane of nation touring.” (At Sandbox, Leslie Cohea heads touring.)

Owen has constantly gravitated towards female artists, going back to their youth playing Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler and Dolly Parton. “ i believe latin mail order bride female acts simply possess this energy of superstardom,” he claims, recalling a household ski journey in 1990 during which he traded the slopes for MTV as he eagerly awaited the premiere of Madonna’s “Vogue” movie. “i might maybe perhaps not go out because I happened to be dying because of it,” he claims by having a laugh. “The artistic of this spectacle just always stuck beside me.”

Unlike many Nashville industry heavies, nevertheless, Owen didn’t start off in the songs company. Away from university, he decided to go to just work at brand New Line Cinema and line that is fine moving up to Spelling Entertainment. It absolutely was then that veteran label PR strategist Lauren Murphy (now Lauren Lewis) tapped him to simply take fee of promotion for Mercury Nashville. At the exact same time, UMG established a fresh label called Lost Highway. Positioning it self as kept of main-stream nation, it absolutely was house to records by Johnny money, Ryan Adams (Owen notes that Adams’ promotion ended up being go out of the latest York) while the newly signed Musgraves. “I utilized to stay for the reason that chair at Universal and would need to cope with the worst f—king supervisors. And I also had been, like, ‘I’m able to fare better than that with my eyes shut.’ And that’s just just what began me personally thinking about management. However it ended up being scary.”

Timing-wise, a change ended up being arriving at the Nashville music company whilst the 2010s approached.

Luke Lewis, a beloved figure in musical City, ended up being set to retire (he had been succeeded by current UMG Nashville president and CEO Mike Dungan) sufficient reason for his exit in 2012 came some doubt. States Owen: “I knew that i really could be kept here in a very good or bad situation.”

Owen wound up making their peers within the dust as Sandbox finalized Faith Hill, Dan + Shay, minimal Big Town, Midland and Devin Dawson (Twain left for Maverick in 2016). Their group expanded too, to 15 — “basically 90 % feminine,” Owen adds. “And the acts don’t really contend with one another. They’re all supportive and rooting for every single other.”

And there’s great deal to cheer on. Dan + Shay, whom saw a crossover that is massive in current months with “Tequila,” and also acquired a Grammy final Sunday, simply racked up 10 Academy of Country Music Awards nominations, as a duo or separately. Five a lot more of those ACM nominations visited Musgraves, whom, almost a year after “golden hour” was launched, is finally getting played on country radio, which had all but sat out of the period.

Owen’s destination when you look at the greater socio-political-economic balance of Nashville — an oasis of blue in a typically red state — is significant. Early this past year, whenever conservative talk-show host Mike Huckabee had been appointed towards the Country Music Association’s charitable board, Owen ended up being one particular vehemently opposing the move, in specific due to Huckabee’s history of slamming not only same-sex wedding but parenting that is gay. In a page to top CMA metal, Owen had written, I have a child and two on the way“As you may know. This guy has managed to make it clear that my loved ones just isn’t welcome in the America.” Huckabee quickly resigned amid the firestorm, with several crediting Owen’s clout for the action that is swift although he had been quick to indicate that lots of other top execs had been applying their very own force behind the scenes. He’s confident Huckabee’s views are particularly much the exclusion rather than the norm among their Nashville peers.

“Look, since 2002 once I relocated right here, we never ever felt any such thing but accepted and adored and normal,” says Owen. “There had been for a number of years — and most likely is still to some degree — exactly the same way to do things. And there are some of us who stray far from that way of thinking. Which will hopefully begin the noticeable modification.”

In terms of nation radio, Owen and Musgraves d have all of these people saying, ‘Where does this fit?’ Like, whom cares where? It’s brilliant.”

In a unusual example of “the business getting up aided by the art,” Owen is thrilled that the format is coming around to Musgraves, and credits John Sykes at iHeartRadio for leading the fee. “I’m happy for her and I’m delighted for all of us,” he says. “I think it provides her yet another layer of possibilities and things for all of us to perform. … We’re off to an extremely good start.”