Industry Spotlight - Steve Hutton


After graduating law school Stephen Hutton started Uppercut Management. His first client was Kid Rock. During their time together they sold over 14 million records and received a Grammy nomination. Other clients have included Big Kenny, Better Than Ezra, All That Remains, The Heavy, Jonny Pierce (the Drums), RX Bandits, etc. Stephen also manages songwriters and currently has three songs in the Rock Top 40. Stephen recently joined Primary Wave Music where he serves as Head of the Rock Management Division.


What inspired you to want to be a manager? 

Loving music and my desire to get deeper into it.


What was your first industry job and how did you get it?

Working for I.R.S. Records as a radio rep based in Chicago.  Mike Lembo recommended me to the famous Mike Bone, IRS’s president.


What determines your desire to work with an artist?

Everyone says this but it’s true – I have to start but loving the music.  I also have to like the artist – as a person and as a performer.  If I don’t get a buzz every time I see them play or speak with them – then it’s not for me.


In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?

When they’re singular.  Plenty of bands sound like other bands – I want an act that sounds like themselves.  And they have to write GREAT songs.


What is your greatest professional challenge today?

Same as it’s always been – finding a way to do the impossible.


How did your business transform over the last several years?

I recently partnered with Primary Wave to run their Rock Management division – so I went from a team of three to a team of 63!


Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now? 

Constantly changing.


What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?

Don’t work with an artist who you work harder then or care more about their music then they do.  


What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?

Work with someone who has done it before – learn from them and then add your own creativity.