5 Life Lessons from Fanny Axén
We had the pleasure of interviewing Fanny Axén from Stockholm, Sweden. She is a competent, committed and very experienced PR/ Branding and Music Manager, with over 10 years of professional experience working with some of the biggest European & a few worldwide names in the music business, she has been working with and getting praised by managers, artists and producers for the likes of Stefflon Don, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Jay-Z.
She also behind managing and building new artists on her own that caught the attention from people like the manager of superstar Steff London,Music Legend Craig Logan (managed Cher, Pink, Diana Ross, and running major record labels ) to Terral Slack, who is 1 of the guys that found and managed Drake. Capitol Records US, Atlantic Records, and Johnny Phillips at SJM Concerts ( promoter Bruno mars, Drake, Take that and more) and having her artists get interest and work with producers and songwriters as P2J, K.E, Akil King, Rymez, Chris Hanebutt, for the likes of Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Chris Brown, Stefflon Don, Jennifer Lopez to only mention a few.
She is a builder of high-performance teams and a natural team leader, mentor, and motivator who thrives in environments requiring a high-level strategist with dedicated focus on details. Which has really put her stamp on the map when it comes to PR and Branding especially for new artists out there.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank You for having me. I always knew seens i was a little girl that i would be doing something with music and working with talented people.
I started of as a Stylist & Image consultant and i started my own company when i was 19 years old, working both in London and Sweden.
My music journey actually started off working for my own Idol today grammy award winner and multitimes nominated international superstar Mohombi.
He really believed in me, my drive and Passion and gave me a chance working for him, i designed his clothes and styled him to start with.But i was coming up with different ideas and campaigns and connecting him to different kind of brands like the Pharrell owned fashion brand G Star and other big profiles. He saw my potential and drive and hired me as his own PR Manager after seeing how much i got done and believed in him. Mohombi became at one point one of the biggest new artists in the world getting signed by Lady Gaga producer Red-One and with his song Bumpy Ride being nr 1 on most charts all over the world, he also getting signed with Cash Money Records, and been doing collaborations with Birdman, Shaggy, Pitbull, Akon, Nelly & Craig David and more. He also co wrote & produced the 2 biggest hits right now Jennifer lopez new single feat Dj Khaled and Cardi B and J Balvin feat Beyonce Mi gente with over 2 billion streams.
I was also asked to work with this new group called Little Great Things were two of the boys in the group is the grandchildren of Benny Andersson from Abba and their mom is one of Scandinavia’s most famous names Nanne Gronvall.
The group was entering Melodifestivalen which is the biggest music competition in Europe and i was in a situation helping this young talented guys to find their own identity through clothes and everything around competition for them to be able to be confident on stage and put on the Best show. I Spend a couple of months with them basically helping them with everything around the competition.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
I got a few very interesting stories. But if i have to choose one i think i have to say putting together a show for Legend Ryan Leslie in Sweden.
I basically had to do everything on my own from getting the venue, selling tickets in 3 weeks, I also had my own 2 artists Jay Samson and Mikaela i managed at the time open the show for him.
Because of a lot of difficult people and situations i had to do all this without any sort of Promotion Budget, so i had to come up with Ideas using my social medias and network to make everything work, the person who booked him didn’t do it in the correct way but i had absolutely no idea planning everything around the concert and the artist showing up and i got left with everything. It was the craziest 3 days in my life but i told myself if i can do this there’s nothing i can’t do.
In the end we pulled it off with the help from my amazing friends. And not just that but i also had the whole crew of Mariah Carey coming to the show.
But i created great relationships with both Ryan and the Mariah team after seeing my hard work and not giving up so it was all worth it in the end.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Funniest mistake… I’m not sure its that funny but a big mistake i did is trying to be this person wanting to help everyone out with basically anything they needed, and that made most artists or promoters come to me me if they needed anything from booking an international artist, putting together music videos to getting sponsored by fashion brand and other brands, with artists and people i wasn’t even working with officially. I have created all my relationships completely on my own and i was there helping them out risking my own relationships and reputation with all this people for absolutely no reason, so i would more call it a stupid mistake more than funny , but i have learned so much from it and that the most important thing in this business is your relationships and your reputation.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I had one huge producer ,grammy winner that’s been working with everyone from Jay Z, Nicki Minaj to Justin Bieber asking me to represent him, after seeing what i’ve done with my own artists.
He told me that he never meet anyone with the drive and passion i have but also actually making things happen as i do.
So I think i have to say that what makes me different just be hearing what other people say about me, It would be my drive and always finding ways to get things happen.
I mostly been self employed never having to do things on my own so its 100 times harder then to work for a major label or something like that where you can make a call and because of the name you work for they will help you , no I haven’t been able to use a name to get our songs on the radio or book a show , i have to sell myself and my team.
Also Loyalty to the people i work with and i always takes risks if i believe in something i invest everything i got in it, no excuses. I see it for what it is i work with people’s Dreams and life.
I Also never want to do things the easy way instead i always think outside the box.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
A great advice i would share is try not to work too much with feelings and your heart, just see it as what it is a business. Not saying you should care about who you work with but just try to keep personal and business a bit separate, most times when you work with someone or something that you care to much about, like a family member or a really good friend, it’s always 10 times harder because you can’t always make the right decisions for their business instead you trying to protect them, and another thing is when u love something it takes more energy from u then when you only work to work if that makes sense.
I would also say make a long term plan for your Dreams, and then cut them down in shorter goals, is easier to not get stressed if you don’t look at the big dream all the time, instead seeing monthly or even a yearly plan will make you not thinking things is impossible.
And my last advice is try to focus on what you are best at, and try not to do everything on your own, create a team where everyone does what they are best at, that’s the recipe for long term success.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There is 2 very special people , my amazing friends Anette and Jason.
Anette been there from the start even in the hardest times never let me give up on my dreams, i can definitely say that i wouldn’t be where i am today without her. The second person is my friend Jason, he was the person who made me believe that there’s nothing i can’t do and opened my eyes when it comes to working on my own brand and not just artists and other people always. He has given me an opportunity that i could never dream of and im forever grateful to have a friend like that.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’m trying to be a good role model for young girls that wants to enter the entertainment business, everything today is about your social media and having millions of followers and the really young generation seeing this and believing that all is about that, or them saying i will do anything for my dream to come true and not understanding the sort of power a lot of this people in the business has and what they actually will ask you to do once your saying that you do anything. They are starting so early now aswell having instagram account s from ages 12 and sometimes even younger thinking it’s not about being talented or working hard to become successful anymore.
I’m trying to share my story and advice and the truth is i have actually personally worked with most of my own idols, like Mohombi, Ro James and Ryan Leslie m.m and anything i tell myself i am gonna do, i have actually accomplished so far, of course not with a few bumps along the way but i just don’t ever give up if i believe in something. I get company’s, press, fashion brands, artists and producers willing to support me in basically anything i choose to work with, not because i’m huge on social media but because they see my passion and hard work and say you don’t see good and loyal hardworking people often in this this business anymore and that’s why they support me in what i do. It really means alot to me to see messages i get from girls saying that my story inspires them and they want to go out and work for their dreams, and if i can do it they can.
Some of the best things i’ve done is also when i can make other peoples that’s not having a easy life dreams come true like i partnered up with Barncancerfonden and Fighter Hjälpen 2 Swedish companies that works with young kids with cancer and other illnesses. I arranged for around 50 kids from Astrid Lindgrens children’s hospital to come and spend a day together with their favorite group Panetoz and also being involved in there music video shoot, that’s still today one of the best days in my life seeing the smile and laughter on those kids faces meant the world, and seeing that you can really change people’s life through music, stil today i get messages from parents thanking for making their kids dreams coming true and making them smile. I also always had my artists perform at charities events to help raise money for great causes, and any chance i can to do something that makes a difference in someone’s life i will always do.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
Treat people like you want to be treated.
I just always believed in being a good person and never trying to get back at people who done you wrong, i have had a few of those experiences where people use you and don’t even have a problem trying to ruin your name when they dont get there way anymore, But my thing is i believe in Karma and if your good, good things will come to you in the end.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I think they same thing i said earlier about working not to much with your feelings and think of it as a business.
One example is managing your own artists it’s basically like having a kid you take care of everything around them and giving up your own life or at least that’s how i work im there 24/7 and in all aspects. And in the end they can just stop working if they want to and there’s nothing really you can do about it.
2. Another 1 is wrote about earlier stick to what your best at and let other people do the rest.
If your trying to do everything you won’t be able to do anything 100% instead everything might be 60% and you might not get the results you want.
3. Work on your own brand and name as much as the person you work with, cause if you stop working with them for some reason everything you worked for with probably don’t matter in the end and if you instead working on yourself no one can ruin it for you except you.
I learned that hard way not giving everything to someone whos not prefered to work as hard as you are.
4. Make sure you work with people that see the value in you don’t let anyone tell you your not good enough or try to change you.
They probably really want to do exactly what your doing or being involved in your projects and then when they cant deliver or doesnt work hard and get cut off they will try to ruin your name instead of working on themselves they will blame it on you.
5. I guess the last thing is something i have done as well as i wish someone might told me, but that is never ever go against you gut feeling, if you feel something will work and you are prepared to work for it it most likely it will work, and if someone tells you it won’t they are probably jealous or just wants you to give up.
So never let anyone doubt yourself.
I had a few of them experiences where iv done my work im hired to do and once i decide not to keep someone around and it could be for a lot of reasons they will do everything to try to take credit for what you done or even go as far as trying to make up lies and have people doubt you, and then if your a good person and loyal and also delivers no one will believe anything they hear about you and they will stay on your side.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If we thinking of the business scene that’s what we are talking about here. I would start a movement where all the biggest stars on social media that has over 100.000 followers would have to do or just say 1 good thing on their social medias everyday for 1 year. It could as an example be putting a video or a picture of them visiting a kid in the hospital, or giving food to a homeless, writing a positive status, giving a compliment or just supporting someone else, maybee giving away something that’s material and wouldn’t really matter to them to someone that it would change that person’s life. Really just something small but as long as its positive. I truly believe if more people could see the biggest stars do things like this regularly it would inspire others to do the same, cause the truth is in today’s society everything is about social media and the biggest instagram stars, and everyone wants to be and act exactly like they are doing and apparently they don’t realize that doing good things for their followers to see will make them follow in their footsteps and the world would have a lot less pain. In my mind this would be so obvious but it’s just not, seems they think it’s more important to show off a new car or bag then to do a good thing for someone else or actually all the millions of people that follows them that would see this and hopefully get inspired of doing them same, the world would definitely be much more happier than what it is today.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My instagram is @Fanny.Axen, feel free to follow me on there 🙂
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you !