Starting out in rock and metal bands as a teenager, Andrew took his passion for music a major step forward with a BTEC National Diploma in Music Technology. He has worked as a session guitarist for record companies and major producers, and is often hired for live work.
Andrew joined forces with Matthew Humphrys to set up 360 Artist Development – a company based in West Yorkshire that supports upcoming artists to launch and develop their careers. As a company partner, Andrew is responsible for all live work, bookings, performances, promoting artists, and promoting the business. He also works on the front line, playing guitar on client recordings and writing songs. No two days are ever the same; one day he can be booking gigs in Nashville, the next preparing accounts for Companies House.
In conversation with Andrew Beverley
How did the idea for 360 Artist Development come about?
I met my business partner, Matthew, through Gumtree and began writing songs with him. We quickly built a great working relationship, and our song writing started to improve massively.
Having both studied at music colleges, we knew the importance of training for a career in the business. On meeting talented singers that we wanted to hire for our own songs, we realised that there was very little out there to help propel them into the sights of record companies.
With our skills in vocal coaching, performance, production and song writing, we realised we could fill a gap and provide a valuable service to musicians using the expertise we had gained from college and the real world. Our first activity as a new business was to hold a competition to meet the right people, and it's flourished ever since.
Tell us more about the work you do with upcoming artists
Most of our clients are teenagers and young adults, and we have a growing number of mature singers joining us. Their ambitions vary from becoming better performers on their local music scene, to achieving record deals and chart successes.
We offer a wide range of services; from lessons in singing and performance, to a full year-long development programme.
During our year-long programme, clients receive experience in multiple aspects of the industry including live gigs, radio interviews, record company meetings, media training, and having YouTube videos made. The most attractive part of the programme is having a 5 track EP fully written and recorded for you.
We also work as songwriters, and clients comes to us from all over the world for us to work on songs for them or produce songs they've written.
How did you manage to get your business idea off the ground?
In the beginning it was about being personable, providing value for money and great songs to unknown artists. We didn’t have much in the way of funding for advertising, and we didn’t have the top-end equipment that we have now.
Soon we were signed by a media publisher and were commissioned to make an orchestral set of recordings and write for a theatre production. This gave us the funds we needed to buy equipment and advertise. From there our business has grown through word of mouth and internet enquiries.
What are the most rewarding aspects of what you do?
Seeing our clients grow and develop throughout their year with us - the massive improvement they make gives me an enormous sense of pride.
Hearing songs we’ve written being performed and released comes a close second. We had a single reach number 4 in the Amazon country charts in December 2013, which was an amazing feeling.
What lessons have you learned in the process of growing and developing 360 Artist Development?
The most important things we have learned are around dealing with people. Managing the expectations of artists - and often their parents - is the key to having great working relationships.
Although our artists have their own aspirations and views, we help them understand that the more they put in, the more they’ll get out. Helping artists and their families understand that there are no guarantees in this industry is paramount to a healthy working relationship.
We’ve also learnt from past experience that some clients expect things to be done immediately, or want us to work with them full-time, when that really isn’t possible.
What are your goals for the future?
We are soon travelling to the United States to build the exposure for two of our Country artists, and for 360 Artist Development. We’ll also be holding a much larger competition to find new talent.
In the longer-term we want to be able to open a purpose-built studio and rehearsal venue, and we aim to achieve a major label deal for one or more of our clients.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to students at Leeds College of Music who are thinking of setting up their own business?
Work, work, work! You cannot get a business off the ground if you don't give it 100%
Get the right people around you: finding the right business partner and/or staff is essential. Going it alone is a very lonely place to be when you are starting out. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and find the right people to fill those gaps.
Have some kind of financial security around you in the early stages, even if you have to start out part-time. Many businesses fail within the first year or two, and we would have failed too in our first year if we hadn’t had other financial interests.