Press Lives Matter: Kate Loesch, A&R at Warner Music Group
Written by Greg Harris
Our Press Live Matters have not only broken the voices of individuals who are paving their way throughout the music industry, but in many other avenues as well. In the process of finding some positive voices who find themselves speaking their truth on Modern Life Mag, we wanted to also highlight some of the positive women who are making a change in the industry as well.
On this path of finding cool chicks who are getting to the bag but also defining the game with their own rules, we run into the music lover and rule breaker, Kate Loesch, one of the newest additions on the A&R team for Warner Music Group. Being on the end where Warner Music Group is the major distributor for Atlantic Records, Warner Bros Records, Asylum, and others, Ms. Loesch will be implemented in a vital role to help grow their artistry and sound in 2018. Loesch has pivoted in the industry with experiences with UMG, Sony, and most recently at Epic Records where she worked with Jez Dior and Blac Youngsta. Her expertise and tastemaker touch has made one of the sought minds in today's rapid music industry.
We recently had a chance to talk to Loesch about her upbringing in the Tri-State area, her perspective on being a woman in the industry, what are some of her goals, and more.
How's Your Modern Life?
My modern life is pure chaos; I’m blessed to be where I am but I’m not satisfied yet. Much more to come.
What are three things you have to do when you first wake up?
Three things I have to do when I wake up are
1. Check my phone, anything that needs to be immediately handled I take care of while still in bed, any studio sessions; any new music someone sends me … I love waking up to new music!
2. Feed my cat, because she actually owns me haha
3. turn on music and start getting ready
Coming up in the Northeast, how was your upbringing?
I loved growing up in the Northeast. I grew up in Westchester, NY (suburbs) which is about 40 minutes north of NYC. My area is very privileged with a heavy emphasis on playing sports, I was kind of the athletic rebel. Both my parents worked very hard in the food industry, so a lot of nights/weekends I was left alone, I grew up pretty fast and learned to be independent. My parents always made sure I knew that there was a whole world outside of Westchester, and I was always drawn to that.
My mom is a huge hippie that followed the Grateful Dead when she was younger, so my childhood was heavily influenced by music. My first concert was BB King at 4 years old, I wore a tutu and danced on my mom's shoulders. By 3rd grade, I made my mom bring me to a Mary J. Blige concert and by 5th grade, she was taking me to Roc Tha Mic tour with 50 Cent & Jay Z. Growing up in the Northeast definitely helped shape my taste in music, I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else!
Growing up in this area, who were some pivotal artists you were listening to when you were younger?
Being from NY, I grew up on G Unit, Biggie, Ja Rule & Ashanti. But I was raised on Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith.
What song made you realized you fell in love with music?
That’s a tough one, but I would have to say it was “Jammin” by Bob Marley. No matter how sad or mad I was, I would put on “Jammin” and it was like my problems disappeared, or at least for the time, that song was playing.
I remember during a couple rough points in my childhood, where things didn’t make sense, and I didn’t know what to do with certain emotions, I would listen to “Jammin” and everything seemed ok again. That’s when I realized that music really does have the power to allow you to free your mind and I fell in love.
"Yes I’m a woman, yes it’s a male-dominated industry, especially hip-hop, but I’m me and NO ONE else can be Kate Loesch, and they definitely didn’t make me! Women have to understand that we’re not only the tastemakers of this industry but we are also the movie makers, and we need to act as such. Demand respect, don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings, don’t be afraid to be assertive, don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself."
Before you started to work with Epic Records, what obstacles you faced in your journey to get where you are today?
Before I started at Epic, I was in college and interned at UMG as well as SONY. Before I started interning in the industry, I went through a very low point in my life and actually dropped out of college. I took a semester off and decided to get my shit together, and that’s when I started interning. My only obstacle was myself to be quite honest.
Being a woman working in the music industry is a challenge within itself, how do you feel you go beyond measures to hold your own in this business?
As a woman in this industry, I know that I have to work 3x as hard as the man standing next to me. I recently had the honor of witnessing Julie Greenwald speak on a panel for Women in Music and she said “No one is going to throw me a layup, I have to basically do a backflip one-handed in order to score” and that really stuck with me because she’s exactly right.
But I think the trick is not to think about that so much, yes I’m a woman, yes it’s a male-dominated industry, especially hip-hop, but I’m me and NO ONE else can be Kate Loesch, and they definitely didn’t make me! Women have to understand that we’re not only the tastemakers of this industry but we are also the move makers, and we need to act as such. Demand respect, don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings, don’t be afraid to be assertive, don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself.
In what ways you feel like women have the influence to cultivate the music industry in today's time?
I believe that women are the majority of tastemakers and our voices and opinions are essential to the evolution and growth of this ever-changing industry. We’re in a male-dominated industry but a shift has begun where women are leading and actually coming together to make incredible things happen. Women’s intuition cannot be matched, we just feel things very deeply and at the end of the day, everyone just wants to be heard and felt. Women create that feeling and facilitate this type of environment, which only helps creativity.
Aside from being a woman, how else do you try to differentiate yourself when it comes to your work?
I don’t necessarily consciously try to differentiate myself – I just treat people the way I would hope to be treated. You either love me or you hate me, I’m a very passionate person and that comes thru in everything I do. I’ve never been drawn to the typical mainstream trends. I understand them, but I don’t necessarily personally enjoy them or feel the need to follow the pack. I walk to the beat of my own drum and when someone doubts me, it only fuels me more. I do what I want and I don’t easily take no for an answer, I just figure out another way to do it.
Before making the move to WMG, you've worked with the likes of Jez Dior, Blac Youngsta, and more at Epic. How would describe Epic's diverse roster and how do you think it's setting the bar for other labels?
I think that Epic represents every genre of music and with the help of incredible A&Rs like Chris Anokute (signed Jez Dior) and Zoe Young (A&Ring Youngsta) to Ericka Coulter who just signed a major act who you’ll soon find out and also works with Rick Ross, we are able to really cover the board.
I still go back to the importance of how you make people feel, I know a number of artists with other deals on the table but they chose Epic because we felt like a family. We fight, we laugh, we cry, we celebrate together, it’s a big dysfunctional machine of a family. Everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest to Camila Cabello & Meghan Trainor to 21 Savage and Blac Youngsta, very diverse but still a huge family.
Aside from your work at Epic, what are three goals of yours you want to accomplish this year?
Epic has been my family from the jump and always will be but as of the New Year I decided it’s my time to leave for growth and experience. I’m betting on myself this year; I hope to sign my first artist, increase my charity work and deliver an album.
What are three things you'd like to do to elevate your creativity?
I’d like to take more time to myself and do things out of my normal routine, instead of constantly being locked to my phone afraid to miss an email or call. I like to travel more, that always inspires me.
When it's all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered by how I made people feel; how I got shit done and how I overcame obstacles. That’s really it – you can’t take cool cars to heaven or hell!