How Caron Veazey Architected Pharrell's Epic Year

Austin Hargrave
Caron Veazey photographed by Austin Hargrave at Quixote Studios in West Hollywood, California on October 7, 2014.

PHARRELL'S RIGHT-HAND WOMAN

This profile is part of Billboard's Oct. 25 cover story package on the launch of Maverick, a new music-management consortium. You can find our full coverage right here.

TITLE: GM, I Am Other Entertainment

STAFF
: 15

CITY:
New York

COMPANY FOUNDED IN:
2011

KEY ARTISTS:
Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg, Bia, Maxine Ashley, Buddy and Leah LaBelle

ACHIEVEMENT

Implementing an epic clip for Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” billed as the first 24-hour music video. Guest cameos included Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and Steve Martin. “Our team took that chance on a wild idea several months after the song and Despicable Me II had come out,” recalls Veazey. “It grew socially and virally, inspiring people from every area of the globe to make their own version.” Next, she’ll work with Snoop Dogg on an album for I Am Other/Columbia.

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NEW ROLE

I Am Other joined forces with fellow Maverick Ron Laffitte in 2012. “Ron is the only one in the group that I’ve worked with previously. But I’m looking forward to working closely with all of them.”

NEW ERA

“The consortium feels like a co-op of great minds. The idea is to be part of a collective where you share ideas, you offer and receive support, and you have the ability through the group to cross-collateralize efforts and opportunities to benefit each of our artists. It’s strength in numbers.”

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MAJOR CHALLENGE

“How to cut through and make an impact. Obviously, it all starts with great artists and great music. But as the channels and the mediums for exposure shift -- for example, with streaming rising significantly -- audience attention spans can often diminish. The challenge comes in balancing the shift through all of the communications channels, the digital channels and the new tech opportunities.”

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Veazey started out in marketing at MCA Records before stints in artist development and product management at Sony, RCA and Island Def Jam. “The label was really the epicenter in those earlier days. Now it’s shifted to the artist and the manager. That’s not a slight to labels. But the manager’s role has become much more expansive.”

Earl Sweatshirt: 21 Under 21

KEY LESSON

“I can’t describe a lesson I’ve learned from failure because I don’t believe in the word. I believe that each step that one takes -- whether we deem it a success or not -- is a learning experience. And what we think at the time may be a ‘failure’ often leads to what we then call ‘success.’ ”

IF I WASN’T A MUSIC MANAGER...

“I’m not sure. Potentially somewhere in the ­healing arts space. Yoga, meditation. I love all things Zen.”

MYSELF, IN FIVE WORDS

“Passionate, ­committed, diplomatic, fair, grateful.”

MEET THE MAVERICKS: Guy Oseary | Cortez Bryant | Caron Veazey | Ron Laffitte | Adam Leber | Gee Roberson | Scott Rodger | Larry Rudolph | Clarence Spalding

This article first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of Billboard.