Frida Karlsson "International Tour Manager on the Rise"
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 13:37:41
"There's not a whole lot of sleeping involved," tour manager Frida Karlsson laughs of her very full-time gig working with Pitbull. Tour managing one of the world's biggest and brightest superstars proves to be extremely rewarding for Karlsson though, despite the lack of sleep. She oversees every aspect of his show from behind-the-scenes, and she's the one who makes sure that everything moves smoothly for "Mr. Worldwide". She's seen almost every corner of the globe with Pitbull, and she's become a premier international presence as far as tour managers go. Whether they're in Brazil or Brussels, she ensures that life is easy for the man on marquee and the fans have the time of their lives.
In this exclusive interview, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino spoke to Frida Karlsson about tour managing and so much more.
How do you approach each tour?
It's different for every tour. It depends on where we go. I advance everything from Visas to hotels and cars to what goes in the dressing rooms. I really touch every single side of the logistics. It's a lot of hours. I love what I do, but it's definitely time consuming. It's a 24/7 job putting everything together.
How do you keep all of those parts moving together?
It's about being very detail-oriented. I make sure not to miss the smallest detail. If I miss a tiny part, it has a ripple effect. I stay on top of everything. That's why I work so many hours. I have to make sure I cover all aspects of touring for my artists.
When do you start working on a show?
Depending on where we're going, I start advancing for shows four-to-six weeks out. I start with flights, and I make sure everyone's schedule works out as far as getting into the city. I make sure the crew is there one or two days before. Then, Pit lands day of. Sometimes, the band goes in the day before as well. I start with flights and travel and go from there. Each gig is almost a six-week process. The plan is to advance so it's setup and simple on day of. It never happens that way. The show day is usually really stressful, but it always works out. I make sure it works out. That's what I'm here for and what I do. It's been working out so I'm doing something right [Laughs].
How much do international markets differ from the U.S.?
We have been everywhere lately. We spent a day in India two weeks ago. We did a South American tour. Europe is easy because that's where I'm from. I feel connected to the people and the way things are run. South America was a culture shock. It was really different from what I used to. For example, in South America, everything is, "Let's do this mañana," whereas I want to get things done now. I find cultural differences here and there, but I work with it and make sure we get what we need. India was quick. Australia was similar to Europe. I do the same thing in each continent.
What's it like acclimating to each country?
If you look at it in terms of each individual continent, I feel it's very similar. I wouldn't say Germany is different from Spain or Sweden. If you say Germany versus Brazil, you're talking differences.
What are the big differences between managing a DJ and tour managing?
DJs travel with a smaller crew, and you're dealing with clubs a lot of the time rather than huge productions in huge venues. I'd say it's easier than tour managing a huge worldwide artist like Pitbull (internationally). The DJ I was tour managing, Sam Young (for the U.S.), didn't go out on the long six-week runs it was a gig here or there, and he'd go back to London. It's on a smaller scale.
What's your favorite part of tour managing?
You have to possess a strong passion for the music industry to be able to tour manage. It's not something I would recommend for everyone. You need to love music and know this is what you're going to do. My favorite part is knowing I contribute to a show fans come and watch. They get to see their idol. The energy is amazing. It's incredible to take part in that every day.