River House Artists founder Lynn Oliver-Cline was recently announced as one of this year’s MusicRow Rising Women On The Row honorees. MusicRow will feature Q&As with each of this year’s six honorees leading up to the event. MusicRow’s Rising Women on the Row for 2018 also includes Faithe Dillman, Leslie DiPiero, Becky Gardenhire, Annie Ortmeier, and Janet Weir.
In 2016, Oliver-Cline launched River House Artists, a creative firm that includes label, publishing and management, with flagship artist Luke Combs. Combs has since celebrated a Gold-certified album and two Platinum, No. 1 singles. River House Artists manages Faren Rachels, Drew Parker, and in publishing represents Ray Fulcher (who earned his first No. 1 single with Combs’ “When It Rains It Pours”), Driver Williams, Rob Williford and Parker. Early in her career, Oliver-Cline joined Virgin Records as Director, A&R, before teaming with BMI in writer/publisher relations. In 2007, she became day-to-day manager for Zac Brown Band at ROAR. In 2010, she launched the band’s Southern Ground Artists as General Manager, overseeing all label, publishing and management operations. In 2014, she joined Thirty Tigers as VP, Marketing, spearheading album launches for Jason Isbell, Lucinda Williams, and more.
MusicRow caught up with Oliver-Cline to discuss her music industry career, and advice she has for industry newcomers. MusicRow Magazine’s sold-out Rising Women On The Row event will be held Tuesday, March 27 at Omni Hotel Nashville.
MusicRow: Luke Combs has been one of the biggest breakthrough artists in recent years, and his headlining shows at the Ryman Auditorium got an incredible fan reaction. Has this fast success changed his overall marketing strategy in any way?
Lynn Oliver-Cline: I don’t think people expected him to be such an entertainer, but it just comes naturally for him. Then his voice is flawless. It’s effortless for him and it’s fun to watch. He’s on the same trajectory he’s always been on, it’s just happening a lot faster than we thought it would.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when opening River House?
I think the biggest thing is just overcoming yourself and your own fear, and believing you can do it. This is all I’ve ever done, besides now being a wife and a mom. You worry about taking risks, and about the financial piece of it. Also, just finding the right fit. When you start your own company, you want to find the people you want to work with, and that’s not always easy to find either. Fortunately, we are good on both of those counts.
Who have been some of your mentors in your career?
First and foremost, I’ve learned the most about talent scouting from producer Matt Serletic. I did A&R for him for a few years and he discovered Matchbox 20 and produced Gloriana and Willie Nelson. I feel like I can identify that raw talent and take it to the next level because of him.
Also, he makes epic records. He always taught me to think globally. You always have to be thinking and strategizing for the future.
What career lessons did you learn from your time working with Thirty Tigers and with Zac Brown Band?
No one is better at sales and marketing than David Macias. He is truly the master of marketing and sales. During my short time working with him, I learned I wanted to be like him, I just didn’t want to put out as many records, which is why I started my own company. At the time, his model was very high-volume and I just wanted to do one or two releases per year. I am thankful that I was able to talk to him about that and do that.
What advice would you have for women who are just getting into the music industry?
You have to be passionate and you have to work hard, but don’t lose yourself. Be open-minded and flexible, because this industry is changing so fast.
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