Behind every pop star, in the shadows, is a large crew who work around the clock. Their jobs are critical to ensuring the success and smooth operation of everything from press tours to world tours.
Aisling Quinn is one of the very few female tour managers in the famously male-dominated industry. Working with Mumford and Sons, Jess Glynne. Aisling is now tour manager for International singer and songwriter Bebe Rexha. It comes at a price though, there has to be an understanding there is no such thing as a personal life. “It’s so time consuming and your social life becomes non-existent,” she adds.
In fact, her job is so time-consuming that our correspondence is limited to emails, as she travels through the USA managing Bebe’s appearances on the award and chat show circuit including an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Cordon.
American born Bebe Rexha who has previously written songs including “The monster” sung by Eminem and Rhianna and for Selena Gomez and Nick Jonas is now embarking on her own singing career under the guidance of Aisling.
As a manager: “you’re the go-to person on the tour” she adds. Working in this highly stressful environment comes with the understanding there is no such thing as a personal life. Aisling believes it’s this reason that she has only met a handful of other female tour managers on the road, believing that woman reach a stage in this industry where: “they prioritise and being on the road is too hard to juggle with a personal life.” A personal life that she notes on the road consists of only a single phone call in the evening.
On the road, her day to day life is making sure the crew run to the day sheet and it runs smoothly. Aisling tells about backstage that: “the bigger production you work on the more exciting it is but it’s work.” A usual day of work will see her oversee the crew set up the backlines, the artists sound check which Is usually in the morning then monitoring: “the glam being done and organising any meet and greets or contractual promo that has to take place.”
There have been times that the stresses over the road have made her rethink her choices. She thinks about leaving it for an office job “all the time”. However, she realises how addictive the music industry is:“You can’t put into words what you’ve experienced in the industry for two reasons; one it’s not the done thing & two it’s just too hard to explain the life you’ve had”
A life that started in 2010. After a brief stint in TV production, she found a gig running VT footage from stage to stage and greeting VIP’s at Oxygen, one of Irelands biggest festivals. Moving into artist liaison with Mumford’s and Sons she was then offered a position as a freelancer in Australia for three years, before her move to London in 2015 as an assistant band manger. However, it wasn’t until 2016 though that she found herself on tour with Jess Glynne as an assistant tour manager. Aisling was later employed by Simon Cowell’s media company Synco to work on the X Factor and is now with Bebe Rexha.
While she understands how lucky she has been in the opportunity’s she has been offered, she is the first to say that it wasn’t easy: “I worked so incredibly hard to get to where I have”. Aislings hard work doesn’t stop here. The intensity of her job is further heightened when on the road touring. Stresses arise when un unforeseen obstacles get in the way: “A flight being delayed can put everything out of sync. There have been situations that you just think how is this going to be resolved but you just have to keep calm and sail through the storm.”
While her line of work is unusual and more demanding than most she has been able to experience and appreciate the world in a different way: “Being on private’s jets. Watching artists, I’ve grown up listening to from side of stage, I appreciate it all”
Subedit: Thomas Joa