Women In Music

Billboard Women in Music 2016: Cara Lewis Comes Back Strong After Departing CAA

Cara Lewis
Courtesy Photo

Cara Lewis

In a whirlwind year that began when veteran music agent Cara Lewis parted ways with Creative Artists Agency in November 2015, the famously tough and meticulous agent says she was given a mandate by her artists, who include established acts like Eminem and Pitbull as well as younger artists like Chance the Rapper and Bryson Tiller. "The thought of building another agency and dealing with the insane politics did not excite me or my clients," recalls Lewis. "Everybody unanimously agreed, 'You should start your own company.'" 

That led to the formation of the Cara Lewis Group, with a roster built on dedication, loyalty and relationships that extend back to her 20-plus years as an agent with William Morris Endeavor, which she left for CAA in 2012. In its first year, Cara Lewis Group booked more than 800 shows around the world, including Chance's 30-plus-date Magnificent Coloring World Tour; 70 shows for Travi$ Scott; a rare run of South American Lollapalooza dates for Eminem; and Tiller’s first headlining run, which took him from 1,000-2,000-capacity rooms in January to a two-night stint at the 6,000-capacity Radio City Music Hall by April.

"It's about artists, it's about imaging, and it's about the team," says the New York native. "You can have an incredible record, but it doesn't mean you're going to have the staying power unless everything you do around it is correct."

That also has included partnering with Marcie Allen's MAC Presents to deliver brand partnerships for her clients; working with MAC and Chance's management team, for instance, led to partnerships with Citi, Honda and Bud Light for the artist's Magnificent Coloring Day Festival in September. That event was booked and curated by Chance and his team and broke the attendance record at the Chicago White Sox's home stadium, U.S. Cellular Field, by selling more than 50,000 tickets.

"I love being an agent and building foundations that will forever be meaningful; I built two businesses with that mentality," says the 2016 Billboard Women in Music honoree. "Now I am doing it for myself and my clients."