The story goes that in 2016, Anthony Baca was managing another artist who’d received a message from a producer named Omar Davis asking if they could remix the artist’s track. Curious, Baca, now 27, dipped into the artist’s DMs and found the message from Davis, marked “11-year-old DJ/producer.”
“At that moment I was intrigued,” says Baca, a manager with Prodigy Artists. “I started going through all of Omar’s socials and was like, ‘No way this kid is this young’ — given there were hardly any pictures of Omar online.”
Then Baca came across Davis’ first mixtape and was “completely in disbelief this kid was making music this great,” he says. “I’m not even blown away at the fact they are so young, but that the music was competing with the people dominating that space.”
Baca reached out to Davis on Twitter, querying Davis’ legitimacy and asking if the 11-year-old had a ghost producer, or was buying tracks. “The response I got was to this day the most embarrassed I’ve felt,” laughs Baca. “They went in on me and cursed at me and said they will show me proof — and I believe they even sent a video of them working on something. Since that moment, I knew what Omar was destined for.”
In the six years that have passed, Baca has helped guide Davis’ career, with the artist — who makes bass music as Moore Kismet — blowing up powerfully in the electronic music space in the past couple of years especially and releasing their debut album, Universe, this past Friday (June 24.)
Their professional relationship was initially casual, with Baca offering Davis and their mother support and pro-bono advice on how to put on shows and release music. “I started off as more of a mentor,” says Baca. The idea was to teach Davis the “ins and outs” of the music business “so by the time they are a young adult they can know this industry like the back of their hand.” With that trust established, Baca was the natural choice to manage Davis once they landed a record deal. In the four years since Davis officially signed with Baca and Prodigy, Davis and their mother – lovingly referred to by the team as “Momma Kismet” — have become family. Baca calls her Mom.
“I’ve been there to pick them up and do the two hours to their house and back to L.A. just to get them to a studio session or meeting,” says Baca. “I’ve been there for them and Mom to help whenever it’s needed.”
Part of the job has also been helping Davis manage that fire in their belly — an obvious asset, but one that needed to be deployed carefully, especially when it comes to their online interactions.
“They experience some hate for being a POC and queer, and that really led to Omar coming back at people pretty strongly,” says Baca. “There have been a lot of conversations [about] just helping them understand the position they are in and making sure to fight back with positive reinforcement so they can be someone that can help change this landscape we are in.”
Davis has taught Baca some things too, such as what “pansexual” meant when they first came out. Baca admits it’s been “tricky” at times to “learn the ins and outs of the LGBTQ+ community, what each letter stood for, and even more.” Davis’ safety is always front of mind, too, when making decisions about where they can perform and protecting them from hostile or even violent crowds.
“Learning what cities we should be touring, and which offers we should look into to see if that is a welcoming part of the country [is crucial],” says Baca. “We take Omar’s safety very seriously.”
There’s also the tricky business of having a teen perform in an environment where the majority of the audience is typically under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Davis is still just 17, so there’s no alcohol on their rider, and Mom and Baca have taught them what to expect when mingling with the crowd at festivals like Coachella, EDC Las Vegas, Bonnaroo and Electric Forest — all of which they’ve performed at this festival season.
“We just had to help Omar understand that fans are there to have fun; it is their escape, just as performing is for them [Davis],” says Baca. “Every time we do go in the crowd, we make sure Omar is surrounded by one or two people, just in case they do get uncomfortable.”
As a young manager himself, it’s been a learning curve for both Baca and Davis as they navigate the music industry together. But having an artist as talented and ambitious as Davis as a client makes the journey easier.
“Sometimes I’m just in awe of what they want to do and create for the world. The hunger never stops for Omar,” says Baca. “But we have helped to still allow them to be the young adult they are. We want them to experience the world, do this for fun, and leave the business to everyone else.”