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A TASTE OF RAINMAKERS:
MICHELE ANTHONY

Michele Anthony and Sharon Osbourne—who emceed the 2017 UJA luncheon honoring the UMG EVP as Music Visionary of the Year—have remarkably similar backstories: Each is the daughter of a prominent rock manager, and each has carved her own path to a wildly successful career. For her part, Osbourne snatched her father Don Arden’s biggest band, Black Sabbath, out from under him in a characteristically ballsy move, married bandleader Ozzy Osbourne and later became a TV star.  

When she and Michele first met in the early ’80s, Sharon recalls, “I felt this instant connection, because our lives are parallel. I’ve always respected Michele so much, because it would have been so easy for her just to live off her dad’s name, but she went through law school, and she’s a brilliant lawyer. She also very creative, has great vision and has a natural rapport with artists, which so few record-company people have. There are too many people in this industry who laugh too loud at artists’ jokes and really want to say something to the artists but don’t have the balls to say it. But Michele isn’t a kiss-ass—she’ll tell you exactly what she’s thinking.

“How many people do you know,” Sharon continues, “who leave running a record company after 16-plus years, then go into marketing and management of groups and become hugely successful at that as well? She was just like, ‘OK, I’ll work with my friends who I love, in regard to Pearl Jam and Ozzy.’ And then she said, ‘I’m going to go back to another record company.’ She can pick and choose whatever she wants to do in this industry. She’s got an amazing history.”

Anthony’s dad, Bronx native Dee Anthony (born Anthony D’Addario), started out his management career repping Tony Bennett and went on to handle British acts including Humble Pie, Traffic, Jethro Tull, Joe Cocker, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Gary Wright and Peter Frampton.

“I literally grew up with bands coming over from England and sleeping on our living-room floor,” Anthony recalled in an interview with Billboard, which has naturally made her a fixture of its annual Women in Music and Power 100 lists. “When I was 13, I’d go to the early show and the late show at the Fillmore East, and my dad would argue about the night’s take and then put it in my green-fringed suede bag. Because who would ever look for it there?”

“There are too many people in this industry who laugh too loud at artists’ jokes and really want to say something to the artists but don’t have the balls to say it. But Michele isn’t a kiss-ass—she’ll tell you exactly what she’s thinking.” —Sharon Osbourne

During summer vacations, Michele hung around her father’s management office, and Dee sometimes took her on the road with him; these experiences gave her a firsthand view of the way the business actually worked, as well as planting the seeds for her desire to nurture and protect artists. As Michele pointed out in Gillian Gaar’s book, She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll, “It was a unique childhood that really gave me an education in the music industry.”

She was also inspired by her mother, proto-feminist Harriet Anthony (née Cohen), who started as a jewelry designer for Zales, eventually becoming an executive at the company, while battling sexism every step of the way. She has since established her own jewelry-design business, with a celebrity clientele. Her mom’s example made a lasting impression on the youngster.

“My parents were divorced,” Michele noted, “so I would go on the road with my dad but then also watch the indignities that my mom went through in the workforce: getting sent home from work for wearing pants, or having her boss giving her his hotel-room key when they went on a business trip. So my mother and I would read Gloria [Steinem]’s articles in New York magazine, and those became guiding principles for me.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from George Washington, Anthony decided to go to law school, surprising her father, who’d expected her to follow in his footsteps. She got her law degree at USC and began her professional life in Los Angeles, joining Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp before moving to Manatt, Phelps, where she became a partner in the firm’s music practice. During her years at Manatt Phelps, she represented numerous high-profile acts including Ozzy Osbourne, the Eagles, The Go-Go’s, Kiss, Guns N’ Roses, Mother Love Bone, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, The Pixies and The Sugarcubes, as well as producer Rick Rubin.


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