December Management founder Dijana Dokmanovic holds +10 years of experience within the music, sport and entertainment industry. In the capacity of Artist, Client, Project, Label and Account management Dijana has worked with/for some of the biggest names within the entertainment industry including, Universal Music, EMI Music, Warner Music, Sony Music UK, I.E. Music, AEG Live, Ministry of Sound, Coda Music Agency, Nike, Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Arsenal FC, FC Barcelona, Paris St German, The Araca Group, Relevent Sports to name a few .
Interview with Dijana Dokmanovic 2014
MSUEfest met Dijana Dokmanovic in London as she took a moment to tell us about her experiences in the music industry.
Tell us about yourself – what got you into this career?
Ever since I worked out as a child that an adult actually had to work in order to get money (haha) I knew I wanted to work within music, something that I loved. My house hold was very musical, my mother was very into our national music (Yugoslavian music, now known as Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia) as well as western soul music, Aretha Franklin and Motown mainly, and my dad was a rocker, very ACDC, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones etc.
When we moved to London, I attended Hurlingham and Chelsea school and became friends with some extremely talented and musical people, a lot of whom I remain friends with to date and continue to work with. In my early teens I really wanted to be a writer, write songs and lyrics this developed into me looking at the option of becoming an artist but I just did not have the ego for it, I preferred to be behind the scenes. Cutting the very long story short, in my later teens, I started hearing stories of how a lot of successful artists were bankrupt and broke, TLC for an example and I just did not get how…so I started reading up on the business and educating myself, mainly from a desire to understand how this was even possible, but also to ensure that this never happened to any of my friends, who were developing into artists. This is the point at which I decided that I wanted to be a manager.
Having a Bosnian mother the option of not going to University was well…not an option, so I found a course in Music Industry Management at BCUC, now known as Buckinghamshire New University. After graduating, I got a job at a music digital service agency called Trinity Street, here I entered the beast and really got to see what the industry was all about, it was an eye opener. My biggest client there was IE Music, I basically looked after the Robbie Williams’s online store and subscription account, and I learned a lot! After Trinity I moved over to Digital Stores / EMI, at this point I had built up some contacts and after seeing Miss Baby Sol perform at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen opening for Paloma Faith, I knew I wanted to manage her! She blew my mind! She said yes and so my management career began.
What interested you about MUSEfest? And having had one of your artists performing, how do you feel about it? What did you take from it?
I love and support all causes and organisations which concern themselves with empowering people by not disempowering others. MUSEfest I feel does just that. I feel it’s a great cause, run by great professional people and I was happy to be associated with.
What have been your biggest obstacles getting to where you are in your career today?
Finding people to work with / for who are as hungry and as determined as you are at the same point in time is hard. You can be on fire and ready, but the people you are working with maybe in another place. In terms of artist management as with everything in life, money can be an obstacle, throughout my management career up until this point and for a couple of years after I left DS/EMI I had worked alongside managing. Managing can be hard when you start out, as you need to work with people for a while before you see any return, sometimes years, and the return is not guaranteed.
What are your biggest successes? Proudest moments?
Setting up my own label and management company and releasing music! I also love the smaller moments like, getting Baby Sol played on Radio 1, when I was told ‘you’ll never get Radio 1 to play this’. Stinkahbell getting the first radio spin, getting Baby Sol to Glastonbury. Having Diplo reach out to release Stinkahbell, stuff like that I love.
On the more commercial side, having a top 5 track with Baby (her co-write and vocals on Redlights ‘Lost In Your Love’). Rolling Stones at British Summer Time Hyde Park, I was the merchandise manager for the festival while at AEG Live / Bandmerch, what an experience that was, I don’t think I have ever been as stressed! Setting the new merchandise sales record at ANZ stadium Sydney while on tour with LFC and MU was cool. Helping launch The Vamps International store and being a part of launching the retail campaign plus seeing the band grown was a good one too. There are many others, but they are all number based so I won’t bore you…lol
Who or what are your major influences? What do you get from them?
My family, my friends, my acquaintances, my mentors and books.
What do I get from them all? Invaluable life lessons either through my experiences with them, or through observing their words and actions. Books are great, everyone should read more!
What keeps you going, what excites you?
My ambition keeps me going.
Hot people excite me (JOKES! Haha). New ideas, opportunities and ways of doing things excite me the most, it’s all about forward thinking.
Do you have any advice for women working in the music industry?
Do not develop a chip on your shoulder because you are a female in the industry and it may be a little harder for you to get to where you want to be. Embrace it. Those who work the hardest acquire the skills to go the furthest. Dream, Believe, Achieve. I do not see myself as a female manager, I see myself as a manager in this industry, and the only difference between me and my male counterparts is our level of success to date.
On a general note, the best advice I could give to anyone is the understanding of ‘Opinion vs Belief’. An opinion cannot change a true belief, but a true belief has the power to change hundreds of opinions. Therefore whatever you are working on, if you truly believe in it, do not allow people’s opinions to sway you, no matter who they are, keep going and you will get there. As Oprah puts it ‘impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion’. LOVE her!
What is coming up next for you?
Finding and launching the next big thing as always!