Nashville's Sandbox Entertainment hosts Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay and minimal Big Town, and others.
There clearly was a minute in the nights Feb. 10 whenever supervisor Jason Owen permitted their mind to “go here.” Could their customer, Kacey Musgraves, whom by 4 p.m. had currently found two Grammy honors — for “Space Cowboy” and “Butterflies,” for best nation song and greatest country solamente performance, respectively — in Owen’s terms, “sweep this thing”?
Musgraves did just that, winning every category for which she was that is nominated what many give consideration to the absolute most coveted honor associated with evening, the all-genre record of the season prize, for “Golden Hour.” But it has also been a sweep for Owen’s very own Sandbox that is nashville-based Entertainment whose clients — which include Dan & Shay (co-managed with Scooter Braun) — took home every one of the Grammys in the nation groups.
For Musgraves, who Owen has represented since 2011, it ended up being “a reckoning,” he claims. “It said a whole lot for Nashville and also for the future of country music, to place a spotlight on items that are thought never as conventional that deserve all of the attention on the planet. It had been unique.”
And myself talking? Says Owen, whom presently boasts jobs in development at Netflix and Amazon: “It had been single-handedly the night that is best of my expert life. Definitely.”
When a couple had been destined to traipse through life together, it is Musgraves and Owen — he, an unabashed worshiper of all of the things Dolly and Madonna while growing up in Arkansas, and she, a Texas girl that embodies the nation glamour of the Barbara Mandrell aided by the vocal majesty of the Linda Ronstadt (Harry Styles’ contrast). Plus it’s perhaps their mutual growth that is real-time fairly brand brand new surface that both received and bonded them to one another. “The work of a good supervisor is actually latin women dating to permit the musician to help make the music plus the art which they wish to make, then I want to venture out and offer them the possibilities,” Owen describes.
But Owen is more of a builder than the usual finger-snapper. A neo-traditionalist band that unexpectedly topped the country charts, there’s strategy behind the step-by-step positioning of a Sandbox act, particularly as it relates to the live arena from his first management client Shania Twain, whom he took on after serving in senior publicity, marketing and creative positions at her label, Universal Music Nashville, to Midland.
“I never pigeonhole I never have,” says Owen. “There’s a place for all, especially with the right records and the same goes for touring because I don’t listen to music that way, and. Like Kelsea Ballerini is going with Kelly Clarkson at this time; Harry Styles and Kacey had been a combination that is magic and in the beginning with Katy Perry and Kacey, too. Neither she nor i desired in which to stay a particular lane of nation touring.” (At Sandbox, Leslie Cohea heads touring.)
Owen has constantly gravitated towards feminine artists, returning to their childhood playing Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler and Dolly Parton. “ i believe female acts simply possess this energy of superstardom,as he eagerly awaited the premiere of Madonna’s “Vogue” video” he says, recalling a family ski trip in 1990 during which he traded the slopes for MTV. “i might perhaps not go out because I became dying because of it,” he claims with a laugh. “The artistic of the spectacle just always stuck beside me.”
Unlike many Nashville industry heavies, nonetheless, Owen did start out in n’t the music company. Away from college, he decided to go to just work at brand brand New Line Cinema and line that is fine moving up to Spelling Entertainment. It was then that veteran label PR strategist Lauren Murphy (now Lauren Lewis) tapped him to take control of promotion for Mercury Nashville. During the time that is same UMG established a fresh label called Lost Highway. Positioning it self as left of conventional nation, it absolutely was house to records by Johnny money, Ryan Adams (Owen notes that Adams’ promotion ended up being go out of the latest York) therefore the newly signed Musgraves. “I utilized to stay for the reason that seat at Universal and would need to handle the worst f—king supervisors. And I also ended up being, like, ‘I'm able to fare better than that with my eyes shut.’ And that is just just what began me personally thinking about management. Nonetheless it had been frightening.”
Timing-wise, a shift ended up being visiting the Nashville music business once the 2010s approached.
Luke Lewis, a beloved figure in Music City, ended up being set to retire (he had been succeeded by present UMG Nashville president and CEO Mike Dungan) sufficient reason for his exit in 2012 came some doubt. States Owen: that I really could be kept there in a truly good or bad situation.“ I knew”
Owen finished up making their peers when you look at the dirt as Sandbox signed Faith Hill, Dan + Shay, Little Big Town, Midland and Devin Dawson (Twain left for Maverick in 2016). Their group expanded too, to 15 — “basically 90 % feminine,” Owen adds. “And the acts don’t really contend with one another. They’re all supportive and rooting for every single other.”
And there’s great deal to cheer on. Dan + Shay, whom saw a huge crossover hit in present months with “Tequila,” and also picked up a Grammy final Sunday, simply racked up 10 Academy of Country Music Awards nominations, as being a duo or independently. Five a lot more of those ACM nominations decided to go to Musgraves, whom, almost an after “golden hour” was released, is finally getting played on country radio, which had all but sat out the cycle year.
Owen’s destination into the greater socio-political-economic balance of Nashville — an oasis of blue in an usually red state — is significant. Early this past year, whenever conservative talk-show host Mike Huckabee ended up being appointed into the Country Music Association’s charitable board, Owen had been one particular vehemently opposing the move, in specific as a result of Huckabee’s history of slamming not only same-sex wedding but parenting that is gay. In a page to top CMA metal, Owen published, “As you might understand i've a kid and two along the way. This guy has managed to get clear that my children isn't welcome in the America.” Huckabee quickly resigned amid the firestorm, with numerous crediting Owen’s clout for the action that is swift although he had been quick to indicate that numerous other top execs had been applying their very own force behind the scenes. He’s confident Huckabee’s views have become much the exception rather than the norm among his Nashville peers.
“Look, since 2002 whenever I relocated right here, we never ever felt any such thing but accepted and enjoyed and normal,” says Owen. “There had been for a time that is long and most likely is still to some degree — the same way of accomplishing things. And there are many of us whom stray far from that way of thinking. Which will ideally begin the modification.”
In terms of nation radio, Owen and Musgraves d > have all of these people saying, ‘Where does this fit?’ Like, whom cares where? It’s brilliant.”
In a rare example of “the business getting up because of the art,” Owen is delighted that the structure is coming around to Musgraves, and credits John Sykes at iHeartRadio for leading the fee. “I’m happy on her and I’m pleased for all of us,” he says. “I think it provides her yet another layer of possibilities and things for all of us to perform. … We’re off to a truly good begin.”