As part of our daytime programing, we’re excited to be hosting 411 Music Group CEO Kristen Agee. As a lifelong musician who shifted into the business side of music about five years ago – starting her own company in 2012 and growing it that same year – Agee’s story is a case study in how it’s possible to make a living from doing what you love. We sat down for a quick chat with her in advance of her attendance at the Conference in November.
Alberta Electronic Music: Hi Kristen. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Kristen Agee: I grew up in Oklahoma first got involved with music when I took up classical violin. I played in orchestras my entire life, and when I turned 18 I moved to LA. On my last day of high school, I just packed everything up and didn’t look back.
When I got to LA, I got into writing music full-time, I went to audio engineering school and learned about gear, and I started recording punk bands in a studio that I built in Silver Lake. At the same time, I was touring and played in a few bands. Then I shifted gears and started focusing on writing for film and TV.
AEM: How did 411 come to be?
KA: I kept finding people who were better than me – better at classical composition and orchestration, DJing, production – and so I just started working with all these different teams.
I was always very entrepreneurial and I always had that in my brain, as a kid, that I would run my own thing. It's still lifelong arts, I'm still producing – I just oversee everything on a bigger scale, as opposed to being in the studio – which I miss, to be honest.
AEM: What was it like, transitioning from an artist or creator's role to a more executive one?
KA: It had its faults! I didn't have any direction going into this. I just did it. I've just been figuring it out as I go. I was lucky to have good creative people around me.
There were definitely discouraging moments – like, what am I doing? – but on the other side of that, I kept pressing forward. Compare what I know now to what I knew 5 years ago, and it's just insanely different. It’s constantly evolving.
The bigger we get, the more pressure I feel. Our composers, artists, clients and such – we're trying to do the best work that we can.