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NEXT-WAVE MANAGERS: WILL HITCHCOCK (MORRIS HIGHAM)
7/8/19

Morris Higham’s Will Hitchcock joined the company in 2007, working with Marc Oswald during the glory days of Muzik Mafia, Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson. But the Belmont grad really hit his stride when he aligned with Clint Higham and went all-in on Old Dominion, the current ACM and CMA Group of the Year. In addition, the Bratt, Fla., native manages Warner Nashville 2019 launches Walker County and Ryan Griffin in an environment where “Clint empowers us to go do it. We’re given the reins to make it happen.”

When offered one of two acts—one with a major-label deal and a big producer attached, the other trying to build it on their own—Hitchcock chose the one whose music moved him. “They had created a sound on their own. They were writers, pitching their demos to other people. Some of those demos became the first songs Old Dominion put out.”

Though every label passed, Hitchcock and Team MHM kept working. First came touring, then “Break Up With Him” landed at SiriusXM; soon OD signed with Sony Nashville—and the #1s started rolling in. For Hitchcock, it was knowing OD had it, then trusting that streaming, satellite radio and live would matter.

Biggest hurdle?

Balancing how much the artists give access, and what things to keep for them. With social media, knowing what you should save for yourself can be tricky, but it’s necessary. Also, with Walker County, who’s coming in October, we realize there’s a lot of opposition for females, and there are plenty of women who are very deserving, but these girls are something different, and I think that matters right now. The difference, the musical attitude—it’s more than gender, it’s like Old Dominion—a sound.

Best advice?

Don’t be desperate. It’s okay to be picky and not take something just because it’s got a deal. Have faith in your gut. When you’re young, you get wowed by God-given talent—the big voice or the songs—but if they’re not driven, it rarely works. I’ll take the artist who says “I’m gonna make this happen no matter what” every time.