Joyce DiDonato & Joel Thomas on the importance of the artist-manager relationship



“to have a team around you that lifts you up, that believes in you, that supports you and pushes you is very important” – Joyce DiDonato


Earlier this week, Joyce DiDonato and her manager, AH Director Joel Thomas, spoke to BBC Business Daily’s Ed Butler about the importance of a strong artist-manager relationship.

The pair spoke about the difference in managing singers at the beginning of their career to those already established, what artists need from their managers, the emotional side of management, the importance of nurturing artists, and not forgetting the human being.

Extracts from the interview are below, and you can listen to the full interview here (6 minutes 10 seconds in).

“The responsibility and the work of a manager changes quite a lot”

Joyce: “At the beginning of a career it’s about introducing a singer and getting them heard by theatres, helping them establish a long-term plan. So, there’s a lot of consultation about the kinds of roles singers will take on, which theatres you’ll appear in, the sequence of how you build from C-level houses to B-level houses, to top-level houses. The point where I am now – I’m in my 20th year – theatres are actually asking me what I’d like to do, so I look to Joel to advise the direction of my career in terms of legacy.”

What does Joyce need from her management?

Joyce: “It’s a very tricky balance to define, because I need to feel supported; there’s a real sense of isolation, being on the stage, and you do feel very vulnerable. And so, to have a team around you that lifts you up, that believes in you, that supports you and pushes you is very important. But at the same time, particularly for a singer, you have to understand that we don’t have any concept of what we sound like … I have to rely on Joel and my team to give me constructive feedback.”

“One has to remember that there’s a human being behind this”

Joel: “I think the role of a manager is very much to nurture and to take care of the artist. An artist of Joyce’s level, for example, the offers that come in for Joyce, we could block book her diary so she doesn’t ever have a day off, but one has to remember that there’s a human being behind this. We have to make sure that Joyce has enough time off in between engagements that she can go home and rest; as she says, ‘become unplugged’.”

“You feel a sense of pride for what [the artist has] just achieved”

Joel: “For me, when I take on an artist, I absolutely have to believe in them, but I also want the best for them. When you see an artist perform, you get a real sense of satisfaction when they have a success, and at the end of a performance, when they take their bow, you feel a sense of pride for what they’ve just achieved. To get up in front of 3,000 people and to perform at the best of your ability is really a huge accomplishment, and something that not everybody can do. I don’t think people realise how demanding it is.”

Listen to the full interview here (6 minutes 10 seconds in).

Share Article