March 22, 2018
Interview with artist manager, maria mot
Please could you start by telling us a bit about who you are, which agency you work for, and how long you have worked there?
My name is Maria Mot and I am an Associate Director at Intermusica Artists' Management, where I have been managing the careers of singers for the past 6 years.
How and why did you decide to go into artist management, and why opera?
My father was a soloist of the Romanian National Opera of Iasi. I was two and a half and I saw my first opera (La Traviata) and from that day onwards I was hooked. I grew up in the theatre, assisting in rehearsals, running around dressing rooms, even making my stage debut in a Christmas special. It was a magical time, so opera has always been an intrinsic part of my life. I became an agent a couple of years after moving to London at the advice of someone in the industry who to this day I remain grateful to. My father, who passed away before I became an agent, was my motivation and inspiration: he is to this day the most beautiful bass voice I have heard live. However because of the iron curtain and the communist regime as well as the lack of impresarios at the time he remains unknown. So uncovering talent is something that I hold very dear to my heart.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The success of my artists. Helping them create a legacy. As an agent your success is measured by the success of others. I get very nervous during the performances, but nothing compares to the pride I feel when I hear my artists sing a great performance, make fantastic music. That moment when they come on stage for their curtain call and I hear the public roar makes everything worthwhile.
Do you see any imbalance of gender equality in the opera industry, and how has this changed over the years that you have been working in the opera world? Do you think it is improving?
I have not experienced gender inequality first hand. I believe that the opera industry is mostly driven by talent and knowledge, and sex really doesn't come into play much. There was an argument to be made perhaps in the instrumental side of the business and I am including here the conductors, but I feel we've come leaps and bounds in the past years.
How has becoming a parent changed or affected your job?
I am still finding that out. My son is almost 6 months now so it's still a balancing act. I never really stopped working, I was answering emails almost immediately after being released from the hospital. I guess I am more focused and efficient as every minute of my day is counted for and I want to make sure both my artists and my son get the attention they deserve.
Is artist management a parent-friendly career?
I wouldn't call it parent-friendly or unfriendly. The long hours and the intensive travelling are not for everyone but again it's not easy for artists either so we just all make it work (as long as we have the right support system).
Do you think there is a good point in an artist’s career to start a family? What is your advice to your artists who are planning to have children alongside their careers?
One should have children when they feel emotionally and physically ready to. There is no key moment I can advise on and I don't think I should either. Parenthood is such an amazing gift and nothing really prepares you for it. All I can say is that in my experience I've always been very career driven and was always afraid of not timing right or having a child and losing career momentum or failing to balance it all. I really struggled to see how a child would be able to fit with my schedule. However now I know that although it's not easy, it is absolutely possible with the help of careful planning between my husband's and my own schedules. Having a child doesn't make you less driven nor takes you away from the prospect of success.
What do you think the biggest barriers are for parents entering the profession? Where do you think positive changes could be made?
Balancing the intense and long working hours, the "being on the road" as well as being available for jump in situations and the next big opportunity at a couple of hours notice and that is not something that the industry can help change. I mean it would be great to have day care centres in every institution but we all know it’s unlikely to happen any time soon. So these are all a fine balancing act, that are very personal to each individual. Organising the right support network around you is key.
Many women that we have spoken to have been advised that having children and a career is not possible. What are your thoughts on this?
I absolutely believe both are possible and it is rather rudimentary to think otherwise.. There are of course women who indeed chose not to have children. Either choice should be respected but for me one thing became even clearer: a child is not an impediment, it is a motivation.
How has your attitude to artists with families changed since you have become a parent?
I like to think that I've always been supportive to my artists having children. I am a great believer in having a family, a balance that helps to keep grounded, which is much needed in an environment that is so emotionally charged.
image © Chris Gloag