This edition's newsletter features founder of 7Sharp and incredibly talented artist and producer manager Tim Larew - originally from Boston and now living in LA, he works with the likes of Tee-WaTT, Cousin Stizz, Cam Meekins, and more. We got the opportunity to talk to him about staying true to your intuition and learning to trust your gut, drawing inspiration from your surroundings, and the challenges that exist and continue to arise within the music industry.
You've previously discussed the importance of staying true to your core and learning to trust your intuition. How have you been able to adhere to and refine those rules as the goals you set for yourself scaled?
I learned to trust my intuition early. Once you take a bet on yourself and win, your confidence grows and turns into a beast you just want to keep feeding. Trusting your intuition feels good and natural. A number of people I look up to have always said that the only decisions they end up regretting are the ones where they went against their gut. Obviously, it’s not always that simple, and it’s certainly not easy, but I’ve found it to be mostly true. You know what’s best for you, what the right decision is, etc… and sometimes reasoning, overthinking, or outside opinion can get in the way of that. As long as you’re keeping your ego in check and strengthening your intuition as you grow, you should always be able to trust it.
Staying true to my core has been relatively easy because I have amazing people in my life who motivate me to stay on the right track and operate with integrity. My family, the crew that I work with, my closest friends, my girlfriend… all are role models in their own unique ways and have such admirable qualities. I’ve always felt like if I didn’t stay true to my values I wouldn’t just be letting myself down but my community as well. The whole purpose of life as I see it is to build, to add value, and to love. When I keep those pillars in mind I move in a way I know I’ll always be proud of. And if I mess up as we all do from time to time, I reflect on the how and the why, and do better next time.
We’ve previously discussed inspiration from movies across the board - from Studio Ghibli classics to the 1973 cult classic The Holy Mountain - how do you go about channeling this inspiration from outside sources to your day-to-day roles as an artist and producer manager?
I try to stay open-minded and on my toes every single day. I love diving into the inspirations and perspectives of others because if nothing else it creates a more well-rounded me and helps me understand others a bit better. I remember hearing years ago that The Holy Mountain was one of Ye’s visual inspirations for the Yeezus tour set design, which was one of the most stunning shows I’ve ever seen. The film was on my list for a minute for that reason – I finally got around to watching it this year and it was literally jaw-dropping. Extremely bizarre and unlike anything I’ve ever seen, but I love that. Those types of experiences help me look at film as a whole differently, taking into account the filmmaker’s intent and not just my personal relationship with what I’m watching. The same sentiment can be applied to any art form as well as any relationship I have with an artist or producer. If I understand where they’re coming from and their sources of inspiration better, I can do my job better. I truly just love expanding my universe. My biggest gripe with life is that there isn’t enough time to learn it all, see it all, do it all, but I try my best. And as far as Ghibli, I’m relatively late to it and still haven’t seen more than a handful of the films, but what I have seen is absolutely brilliant. The animation, the scores, the subtleties within the sound design that we’ve discussed in the past… I also recently watched a documentary on Miyazaki, one of the most celebrated directors within Ghibli and animation in general, and seeing his process inspired me on a whole other level.
There’s a realm of possibilities that exist for artists, producers, managers, and so on who are starting to carve out the beginning of their career and an equal amount of possibilities for someone who might be entering a new decade in their career - as you begin to soak up the latter, what challenges do you find yourself looking forward to facing?
It’s crazy to me to think that I’m almost a decade in. I had no inclination to get into the music industry prior to 2011 - like had not even considered it. I started a blog on a whim that summer to get into shows for free and within 6 months I had fallen in love with the underground Boston music scene, and the rest was history. I started managing artists two years later (8 years ago) and even then still knew virtually nothing about the music business. It took me a few years from that point to really get my bearings, and now as I’m entering my second decade in this space, I feel like I finally know what I’m doing. One of the biggest challenges in the early days – and for most people just starting out in any area of the business – was trying to figure out how to break in. I was so in love with the energy of the Boston scene and found myself facilitating anything and everything that I could, from writing about songs to bringing rappers on my radio show at BU to putting together events to producing music videos and so much more. But when I was about to graduate, I had no idea how to monetize what I enjoyed doing… I was a jack of all trades and a master of none. That led to a great deal of frustration as well as some much-needed humbling as I was not able to easily get a job out of college. Long story short I figured it out and was able to carve my own little lane, but with each bit of progress comes a new bunch of challenges. One main challenge I’m facing currently is how to scale in a healthy way. I’ve never believed in shortcuts, and I’ve never believed in working with people I don’t respect or admire as a means to an end. I also don’t buy into a lot of here and now industry trends – I’m just not built that way. So as much as I would like to grow my company and reach new heights weekly, I always choose to move patiently and calculatedly. The flip side of that, which is a challenge in and of itself, is not getting in my own way. When I was starting out and knew nothing about the industry, I made decisions and moved in a way that I instinctively trusted and believed was right because there was nothing to compare to and no one was watching. Now there is a constant feeling of pressure and of others watching the moves I make, not to mention the fact that I know all of the players and moves they’re making… so at times, it’s easy to lose sight of my own mission and compare journeys unnecessarily. It’s a challenge I’m overcoming, but a challenge nonetheless. I’ve found that the more you can immerse yourself in your own world, while also soaking up knowledge here and there, the more proud you’ll be of the world you create.