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

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

There was clearly a minute from the nights Feb. 10 whenever supervisor Jason Owen permitted their head to “go here.” Could their customer, Kacey Musgraves, whom by 4 p.m. had currently 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 evening, the all-genre record of the season prize, for “Golden Hour.” Nonetheless it has also been 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 groups.

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 country music, to place a limelight on items that are thought never as main-stream that deserve all the attention on the planet. It absolutely was unique.”

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

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When a couple were 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 a Barbara Mandrell using the vocal majesty of the Linda Ronstadt (Harry Styles’ contrast). Plus it’s perhaps their mutual growth that is real-time fairly brand new landscapes that both received and bonded them to each other. “The work of a fantastic supervisor is actually allowing the musician to help make the music as well as the art me go out and give them the opportunities,” Owen explains that they want to make, and then let.

But Owen is more of a builder than the usual finger-snapper. From their very first administration customer Shania Twain, whom he took in after serving in senior promotion, advertising and innovative roles 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 since 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 using the right documents as well as the exact same is true of touring. Like Kelsea Ballerini is going with Kelly Clarkson at this time; Harry Styles and Kacey had been a combination that is magic and in early stages with Katy Perry and Kacey, too. Neither she nor i needed to stay in a certain lane of nation touring.” (At Sandbox, Leslie Cohea heads touring.)

Owen has constantly gravitated towards feminine artists, returning to their youth playing Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler and Dolly Parton. “ i believe female acts simply possess this energy of superstardom,” he claims, recalling a household ski journey in 1990 during that he traded the slopes for MTV as he eagerly awaited the premiere of Madonna’s “Vogue” movie. “I would personally perhaps not go out because I happened to be dying because of it,” he claims by having a laugh. “The artistic of the 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 work on brand brand New Line Cinema and Fine Line before moving up to Spelling Entertainment. It had been then that veteran label PR strategist Lauren Murphy (now Lauren Lewis) tapped him to take control of promotion for Mercury Nashville. During the time that is same UMG established a fresh label called Lost Highway. Positioning itself as left of conventional nation, it absolutely was house to albums by Johnny money, Ryan Adams (Owen notes that Adams’ promotion ended up being go out of brand new York) as well as the newly signed Musgraves. “I utilized to stay for the reason that seat at Universal and will have to cope with the worst f—king supervisors. and I also ended up being, like, ‘I am able to fare better than by using my eyes shut.’ And that is exactly what began me personally thinking about management. However it had been frightening.”

Timing-wise, a change ended up being visiting the Nashville music company once the 2010s approached.

Luke Lewis, a figure that is beloved musical City, ended up being set to retire (he had been succeeded by present UMG Nashville chairman and CEO Mike Dungan) along with their exit in 2012 arrived some doubt. Claims Owen: “I knew that i really could be kept here in a very good or bad situation.”

Owen wound up making their peers into the dirt as Sandbox finalized Faith Hill, Dan + Shay, minimal Big Town, Midland and Devin Dawson (Twain left for Maverick in 2016). His 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 other.”

And there’s great deal to cheer on. Dan + Shay, whom saw a huge crossover hit in present months with “Tequila,” and also found a Grammy final Sunday, simply racked up 10 Academy of Country Music Awards nominations, as being a duo or independently. Five a lot more of those ACM nominations went along to Musgraves, who, almost an after “golden hour” was released, is finally getting played on country radio, which had all but sat out the cycle year.

Owen’s spot when you look at the greater socio-political-economic stability of Nashville — an oasis of blue in an usually red state — is significant. Early last year, whenever conservative talk-show host Mike Huckabee was appointed towards the Country Music Association’s charitable board, Owen had been those types of 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 letter to top CMA metal, Owen penned, I have a child and two on the way“As you may know. This guy has managed to get clear that my loved ones just isn’t welcome in his America.” Huckabee quickly resigned amid the firestorm, with several crediting Owen’s clout for the quick action, although he had been fast to indicate that numerous other top execs had been applying their very own stress behind the scenes. He’s confident Huckabee’s views are particularly much the exception rather than the norm among his Nashville peers.

“Look, since 2002 once I relocated right right here, we never ever felt such a thing but accepted and liked and normal,” says Owen. “There had been for the long time — and most likely ‘s still to some degree — exactly the same way of accomplishing things. And there are many of us who stray far from that way of thinking. Which will ideally begin the modification.”

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

In an instance that is rare of 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 pleased 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 a truly good begin.”

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