He’s the man behind some of music’s biggest stars — and now, he’s telling all.
Mega music manager Scooter Braun is interviewed in WSJ. Magazine’s Inaugural Style & Tech issue, and opens up about some of the pitfalls of the industry, as well as what it’s like working with A-list clients, including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Kanye West.
“I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that as much as I love them, they might never love me the same way,” said Braun of his superstar line-up. “They might f— me and be like, ‘Thanks for working your ass off. Bye.’ I thought it would never happen to me. It has once, and I know it will again from the people I love most.”
On May 22, a terrorist bombing killed 22 and injured more than 250 people at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England.
“Ariana, rightfully so, was distraught,” Braun said. “She was like, ‘I don’t think I could ever sing these songs again.’”
Braun said that after giving the star some space — and tackling the logistics of her remaining tour dates — Grande called him. “She said, ‘I’ve been thinking a lot, and if we don’t do something, everyone will have died in vain. So what’s your idea?’”
With Grande at the helm, Braun organized a benefit concert that raised more than $20 million for the victims and their families, quelling Grande’s concerns it was insensitive to hold the event so soon after the attacks.
Braun, in general, said he’s big on giving, telling WSJ. Magazine that every client deal must include a charitable component and that he encourages them to donate “50 percent quiet charity — you say nothing — and 50 percent that you show.”
Though things are now smooth sailing with Braun and Grande, he revealed she briefly fired him in February 2016. “It was nasty, but it wasn’t Ariana,” he told the publication.
On June 5th, the New York Times talked to Scooter Braun about how the One Love Manchester benefit concert came together so quickly.
In the days after a terrorist bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed 22 people and injured more than 100 last month, Ms. Grande struggled with how to respond.
“Everyone was traumatized,” Scooter Braun, her manager, said. “The tour was canceled.”
But after just a few days with her family in Florida, the singer, 23, sent a flurry of text messages to Mr. Braun about “how she needed to do something,” he recalled in an interview on Monday.
“‘Are you ready to perform?’” Mr. Braun said he asked her. “And she said, ‘I want to go back out on that stage.’” They decided to resume Ms. Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” tour in Paris on Wednesday, but not before staging a charity concert in Manchester. “Without the blink of an eye, her response was, ‘I’m in,’” Mr. Braun said. “Then we got to work.”
What followed were 10 hectic days of planning for what would become the “One Love Manchester” benefit show, held on Sunday at the Old Trafford cricket ground, just miles from where the attack occurred. The sold-out concert — about 55,000 people attended — featured emotional performances from Ms. Grande, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and more, and has helped raise more than $12 million for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. An average of 10.9 million people watched the concert, which ran slightly longer than three hours, on the BBC in Britain, making it the network’s largest live event on television this year there.
“Everyone put their head down and said, ‘We’re doing it for these families,’” said Mr. Braun, who booked the entire bill — Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher of Oasis also performed — in less than 24 hours.
“There’s been so much negativity and such a lack of leadership when we’re looking to have hope,” he said. “I think last night the city of Manchester became that symbol of hope.” Ms. Grande’s “courage in this whole thing has been extraordinary,” he added, while also singling out Chris Martin of Coldplay (“a saint”) for his passion throughout the process.
Still, there were obstacles in assembling a concert of such scale — and stakes — in under two weeks. The location was not secured until last Tuesday, with tickets going on sale just days before the show. (“One Love Manchester” was produced by the Live Nation subsidiary Festival Republic and Simon Moran’s SJM Concerts; it was streamed live by the BBC, Twitter, YouTube, iHeartRadio and other media partners.)
“It was up and down, and then just when you think you’ve got things together, the tragedy in London happens,” said Mr. Braun, who also works as a manager for Mr. Bieber and Kanye West, referring to the attack on Saturday that killed seven near the London Bridge.
“There was about 30 seconds to a minute where I definitely questioned if we were doing the right thing,” he said. But Ms. Grande’s team, with the support of the city of Manchester and the victims’ families, decided to proceed — with even greater purpose.
“This evil is going to be there, and the only way we can defeat it is if we choose to live our lives,” Mr. Braun said, calling the concert “a night I will never forget.”
The resilience of the fans, especially, provided a beacon of hope. After Marcus Mumford, of Mumford and Sons, started the show with a moment of silence and then told those gathered not to be afraid, “there was a roar from the crowd that just gave you chills,” Mr. Braun said.
That spirit lasted beyond the concert’s end, he added. As fans streamed toward the exits, they continued to sing “just as loud as they sang the entire night.”
Their refrain? “Manchester, we’re strong/we’re still singing our song.”
Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber no longer share a manager.
A source tells ET that Grande recently fired Scooter Braun as her co-manager, though the decision had “nothing to do” with Bieber. “Ariana always has and continues to support Justin,” our source says. “She did not think the relationship was working for her professionally anymore. It was time to move on.”
The source adds: “She thinks this is the best professional decision for her moving forward.”
Grande continues to work with her team at Untitled Entertainment, which includes manager Stephanie Simon — a relationship that pre-dated her involvement with Braun.
ET has reached out to both Grande’s rep and Braun for comment.
The news comes as Grande is set to hit the GRAMMYs stage as a presenter on Monday. Chances are high that Braun will be in the audience, as his first major client, Bieber, is nominated and performing at the show.
But the real question is whether Grande will be joined by her grandmother, whom she affectionately calls Nonna, during the festivities. See how Nonna Grande totally stole the show at the American Music Awards back in November.
Ariana Grande has made chart history as she is the first artist to reach No.1 on the UK Official Chart based on both sales and streaming figures.
The pop beauty reached the top spot with her new single, Problem featuring Iggy Azalea, at the weekend and was quick to update her fans with her exciting news.
She tweeted: “was too much to fit in one tweet! thank u so much UK, just heard the news today…. love u more than words.”
The stunning star has made history because as of this week, the Official Singles Chart now includes the amount of plays songs get on streaming services such as Spotify and Napster alongside physical and digital sales.
Problem had a combined chart sales figure of 113,000, which was made up of 106,000 sales and a streaming contribution of 6%, which came from 712,000 audio streams.
Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company, said: “Congratulations to Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea for claiming this landmark Number One. This is a big week for the Official Singles Chart – and we are delighted that it is such a big week for them too.”
Ariana’s manager, Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber, said: “Landing her first Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart is an incredible achievement and another benchmark in the continued global success of Problem. Thanks to the loyal UK fans whose incredible support has made this possible. This is your Number 1 too.”