Linda Neal of Journey Artist Management is a unique example of self-achievement. By strictly focusing herself within the mentioned disciplines, Ms. Neal is rapidly becoming one of the Music Industry’s most sought-after Entrepreneurs due to her impressive qualifications in our profession. She graciously withdrew from a very hectic schedule to discuss her past, present …and what appears to be an extremely bright future!
Mark St. John: Linda, it seems that you were born into and destined for a career in music! Please tell us about your achievements and family background within the Arts.
Linda Neal: My Grandfather – George Franklin Muns, was the Oklahoma State Fiddle Champion for 17 years running. He performed with Bob and Kitty Wells, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and many more. The Muns boys were a group of musicians that performed throughout the trails from Arkansas to Bakersfield. Grandpa used to say that he was a vagabond, because all he ever wanted to do was travel and perform. As luck would have it he turned my Uncles onto music and they -along with my Cousins, worked with several national acts.
My Mom also played various instruments herself and my Dad is California guitarist Renegade Watson. He played for and sat in with many bands doing session work back in the 1960s and ’70s. My Brother Anthony plays bass, and another Cousin of mine is platinum recording artist Jeanie Pruett -who sang a hit single known as “Satin Sheets”. I am the only girl within my immediate family that took a liking to music and secured my own endorsements from being able to play the guitar along with piano and keyboards. I write songs and even obtained a poetry award from poetry.com. Speaking of winning I also won 27 dance competitions by the time I was 13 years old, not to mention being voted one of the “Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executive and Professional Women” back in 2006 while owning several Booking Agencies.
I got my start within the music industry from Jiv Pos (who wrote “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Kills You” for The Notorious BIG) DJ Deuce 5, and the late Bill Chavis -who was the President of HighVolMusic. As you can see, I have worked both sides of the ropes with Hip Hop and Rock! On an executive level, there are many influences, but I’ve always looked up to Frank DeVille and Brad Lee. To have worked with such people and continuing with Sean Quigdeon (13 Grit / Pink Velvet Krush), Jeremy Thompson (Hell Bound Sinners), Michael Gunnz Hurst (Dirty Gunnz), and Kenny McGee (Julliet) is a privilege!
MSJ: You have and continue to wear so many hats. In addition to being a Musician, you’re also a Manager, Booking Agent, Publicist, Spokesperson, On-Air Personality, Dance Instructor, and Model. Did you choose to pursue these roles when you first began your career or did something capture your interest over a period of time?
LN: I graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2005 with a degree in Marketing that emphasized on Music. Prior to that, I was the Music Editor for my High School Newspaper who involved herself simultaneously with all forms of entertainment made available. I entered every Talent Show and participated in Public Speaking, Drama, Choir, and Jazz Band. If there was a Karaoke event to celebrate our end of the Semester, I was the only kid that showed up sporting a Gibson guitar and performed original material.
Other things like becoming a Model just fell into my lap. Mom was constantly being heckled when I was a Teenager by several Modeling Companies who wanted me to sign up with them. Music however remains my passion for the most part.
MSJ: Ambition can be either a blessing or a curse. Would you agree with that?
LN: Yes, definitely a little of both! I’ve had my fair share of Cheerleaders, but I also gained a lot of Enemies in this line of work. Everything comes down to attitude. Plans are fine, but they often change so it’s certainly wise to take things one day at a time while becoming the very best you can be!
MSJ: What are the most important and deciding factors that you look for prior to endorsing a product or signing an Artist for representation?
LN: Professionalism, seriousness, availability, but most of all the hunger to achieve combined with a natural God-given talent.
MSJ: Undoubtedly you have seen and experienced numerous changes within the Music Industry -regarding technology and social media to be more specific. Do you believe there are any other platforms out there which can be more beneficial than others?
LN: For me personally, I have always preferred using both Facebook and YouTube as the most effective promotional tools because it’s much easier to post whatever you like freely.
MSJ: Ever felt overwhelmed at multi-tasking or are you having fun because it’s a labor of love?
LN: Anything worth sacrificing or willing to bleed for is always both overwhelming and worthwhile.
MSJ: Of all your titles, which is your most favorite and why?
LN: I would have to say, Mom. My son is my greatest blessing and best achievement!
MSJ: So where does Linda Neal, along with Journey Artist Management go from here?
LN: We have a lot going on! 13 Grit have a new single out called “13” which I urge everyone to listen and buy. Julliet are currently in the studio working on an album. Please check out the phenomenal Dunn Sisters, plus the very talented Frank De Ville Greenfield with The Family of Funk. Our newest client Rob Chevelle has just released a new album with his band Lit Soul entitled “When Hearts Pull Daggers” plus other very talented Artists such as The Joe Davis Band, Lola Montez, Vinny Sky/Dead West, Six Gun Sal and Dustin Wilkins.
If you get an opportunity, go support my personal line-up of tribute acts such as Deja Crue – The Ultimate Motley Crue Experience. Mikki Seven and Noel Allison have been Godsends to work with! There’s also Bon Journey featuring Matt Muckle on drums and Kiss Alive who are based in Pittsburgh and Florida respectively.
We work alongside Paul Smash Cobb and Reliant Concerts which is undeniably one of the best in the business. Thank you Mark for spotlighting my family and I along with my fine list of devine Artists!