Mary Hilliard Harrington Joins Red Light Management Team: Exclusive
Red Light Management is beefing up its already significant Nashville presence with the hiring of Mary Hilliard Harrington in a senior management capacity. Harrington, who begins her new role effective in early January, brings four additional employees along as her team.
Harrington and Red Light founder Coran Capshaw already had a longstanding professional relationship. They co-managed country star Dierks Bentley and newcomer Tucker Beathard, while Harrington also ran one of Nashville’s top publicity firms, The GreenRoom, which handled PR for several Red Light clients including Lady Antebellum, Kip Moore and Bentley. As previously reported, Harrington sold the GreenRoom in September to two of her employees, and then took some time to consider her next move.
While Harrington says she and Capshaw have discussed formalizing their working relationship in the past, the timing “was never right. I had this other business that was obviously very time-consuming and such a major focus.” She took another look after selling The GreenRoom and decided “it made a lot more sense now.” Still, she says it was a difficult decision because, “I really loved being an entrepreneur and felt like I thrived in that environment, creating my own thing and then busting my ass to make sure that it worked. But Coran probably has a bigger entrepreneurial spirit than anybody I’ve ever met, so it never felt like I was going to go and have to work under another manager. He really doesn’t put any sort of restrictions on you, and I love that about him.”
Capshaw tells Billboard he had long hoped to bring Harrington aboard his team full-time. “In working with her in both her publicity firm and as a manager, I pretty quickly had that goal,” influenced by “her work ethic, her vision and her talents across the board,” he says.
Harrington says she and Capshaw have worked well together. “We complement each other in some ways. He is working on such a big picture scale in the music business all over the world. … He has so much going on and I am so focused on Nashville and the country format. I think he’s come to rely on me some for expertise there, and I can go to him and ask much bigger picture questions about my own clients. That has been really beneficial to us both.” In addition, she says, “He has been nothing but just really kind and thoughtful and generous to me since I’ve known him.”
Red Light operates eight offices, including Capshaw’s home base of Charlottesville, Va., but he says, “Nashville is very important to us as a company and me personally. I love the artists. I love the music. I love the work ethic and I love the people that I do business with in Nashville. I live in Virginia, but I come to Nashville about every week. I really, really enjoy it.”
“He’s in Nashville at least two to three days a week, which says that he’s making a really big commitment to this format,” Harrington says of Capshaw. “That feels good.”
In addition to Bentley and Beathard, Harrington brings management client Aubrie Sellers to Red Light, where she will also work with Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley on his upcoming solo album, due in the first quarter. Beathard, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter, is working on his first album for Big Machine Label Group imprint Dot Records. Sellers, the daughter of country star Lee Ann Womack, will release her debut album, New City Blues, on Carnival Music in January. The company’s other country star clients include Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, The Band Perry, Martina McBride and several more.
The new team will be based out of the office Red Light recently moved into in the Gulch neighborhood of Nashville. Harrington brings with her two staffers from her previous management firm and two new hires. Stephanie Johnson, who handles day-to-day management for Bentley, and Kevin Grace, who works on the digital and creative content side for all of Harrington’s clients, had already worked for Harrington. New to the team are Taylor Lee, who arrives from William Morris and will handle day-to-day for Beathard and Sellers, and formerly independent radio promoter Heather Young, who will now work all of Harrington’s clients to radio.
Capshaw says of Harrington’s team, “Mary Hilliard is really good at identifying good executive talent, so she’s got a good team already. I know them and I’m excited about them all coming in.”
Harrington’s husband, Ryan Harrington, is also a manager in Red Light’s Nashville division. And while she says they’ll now be working out of the same office, she adds with a laugh, “We will not be carpooling.”
In related news, Mary Forest Findley also joins the Nashville team at Red Light to represent nationally syndicated radio personality and Black River Entertainment-signed recording artist Bobby Bones. Findley arrives from BBR Music Group, where she had been vp of marketing.