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Industry feature: Sylvie Barnett founder of Distinguished Talent Agency


Recent graduate student Sylvie Barnett recently launched the Distinguished Talent Agency, a boutique agency focused on independent electronic music. Sylvie had a vision a few years back while working with The Do Lab. Sylvie puts her heart and her soul into building these artists’ careers. She just hit off her agency with artists such as Thriftworks, Huglife and VibeSquaD. With her most starred work being with the artist Thriftworks, as featured on by Thump at vice.com, the Generate App and more. Also has she extensive experience working as a marketing director for 99 Art Collective out of Venice Beach, California. Sylvie has helped arranged tours across the nation on behalf of her artists and truly goes above and beyond for her artists and handles all her relationships with care when in negotiations, whether in the realm of licensing agreements or booking shows.

How long have you been working with artists?

I’ve worked in live entertainment for seven years and started representing artists for more than five years ago.

How did you get into the avenue of management / booking?

I was working for The Do LaB in 2010 helping lead the street team for Lightning in a Bottle and electronic producer/violinist Govinda was aiming to make a comeback as a live touring musician. He asked me to manage him. It evolved naturally from there. I moved on from artist management to focus on booking in 2012.  

What made you start Distinguished Talent?

I had a vision for branching my booking career out into other genres and types of electronic music. I created Distinguished Talent as a sister agency to Street Ritual in line with my favorite music that was more geared towards mainstream audiences. 

What has helped you along the way in your career, and how? Whether personal or professional? Self-development and reflection, growth, surrounding myself with good people and doing my research. 

What can you promise new artists that are interested in working with you?

That I will always be there for to support them in all facets and areas of their careers. I truly care about my clients’ careers and happiness. I work with the artist or the artist and their management to make sure each show is building on their vision. 

How do you set yourself apart as an independent booking agent? 

As a boutique agency, I offer my clients personalized attention. I am always there for them and am dedicated to their success. As a former musician, I understand what artists go through and can relate to the process. I use my experience as a musician as a backdrop to help offer any guidance or support that they may need. 

What do you look for in working with new artists? 

I love assisting developing artists with their careers. I’m very passionate about working with artists who are excited to have me on their team. Having a strong SoundCloud presence can also assist in the process. 

What genres are you focused on?

I primarily focus on various genres of electronica such as experimental hip hop, trap, house and future bass. Some of my current favorites include Flume, ODESZA, Kygo and Flying Lotus.

Where do you see the trend going?

I feel like the sounds used in future bass and experimental hip hop moving more into the mainstream. This is definitely a movement. Some examples of this are two of my favorite up and coming singers Tinashe and FKA Twigs. I hope this trend continues. 

What are you personal long-term goals? For your career and DTA?

I’m looking to sign more artists, and book out my clients at more shows. I’m excited to go out more now that graduate school is over. I love seeing my clients succeed like Thriftworks and Pumpkin; I really look forward to doing that for many more artists. I love helping artists shine and achieve their dreams. It’s pretty much my ultimate high.