Behind the Music 

Genesis Elijah

Posted 6th September 2022

As well as being an emerging Rap Artist, Genesis Elijah also works at Marshall as a Booking Agent. Find out more about his own music career, as well as his ambitions for the Marshall Live Agency.

Read time: 10 mins

How did you get into your role at the Marshall Live Agency?

I actually came here, on a panel day, with MOBO Unsung. There were various Marshall employees on the panel, all talking about various aspects of the music industry.

When it came to Stuart – Head of the Marshall Live Agency - talking about the agency, I asked loads of questions out of genuine interest and his response was “Do you want a job?” My first reaction was to laugh but then when the talk finished and everyone was hanging around, he come up to me and said, “No, I’m being serious. Do you want a job?”

From that, he gave me his card and told me to email him as soon as I could. So, I emailed him while we were still there, and we just kept that conversation going. He would feed me information about what it meant to be an agent and to see if it was something I wanted, or could do.

What does it take to become an agent for the Live Agency?

The basis of it really comes down to a phone! Obviously, it’s not as simple as that really but the foundations are based on communications and building relationships with people, it is relationship heavy.

As far as finding the artists you want on your roster, you need to have a rough plan or idea of what direction you are trying to move them in. You also need to know what promoters you need to connect them with, what the options are, and where they can go, you always need to be thinking five steps ahead. We have a great selection of artists and some incredible talent, but what is needed to take them to the next level, and who will help them?

It's that being able to successfully complete that process that makes someone a Live Agency agent. One of the main goals should always be to have your artist’s name associated with a specific promoter. Particular promoters may suit your artist’s style and often put on similar shows, so you need the promoters to start seeing your artist for who they are as a performer and including them in their other shows.  

What was the MOBO Unsung, and how did you get into it?

Essentially, the MOBO Unsung is a music competition. Every year there are hundreds of artists of all different genres who submit their music, and then that list is whittled down to just 10 artists who will receive support from industry professionals over the course of a year.

I don’t remember exactly who told me about it, but one year I sent my music in. It is one of those things where I don’t usually do them, but for some reason, I thought “why not?” The next thing I knew I got a call from a guy called Wisdom, who is basically the co-ordinator for the whole programme, and said, “Bro, you need to be a part of this!”

The whole thing sort of took place over a number of stages, where after you submit your music if you’re successful 20 artists are called back for an audition. It’s kind of like the X Factor, I guess, but the hood version! It was tough because out of the 20 artists, all of them deserved to go through. It then became down to performance and where they saw potential moving forward. I was lucky enough to be one of the 10 finalists that they picked so, that’s my MOBO Unsung story really!

What makes an artist stand out to you, what do you look for?

When I’m looking at artists, it’s quite a personal thing and that’s why we work as a big team, we all tend to go for artists we like the look of or we like the sound of, like I was saying earlier though it’s also about having that long term vision of what I see for them as a live act.

At the moment, for me, it’s not really about the numbers. There are acts that have small numbers, but I have seen them live, and they were crazy. I know if we can figure out a plan or strategy, then they will go far.

Despite numbers not being everything, if I’m offered an artist whose numbers are crazy, then that will have an impact and make me think that maybe I should work with this person because of the types of shows they’ll already be getting, and then thinking forward to how big we can take them.

It is nice having projects and grassroot-artists to build up, but at the same time, I would like to eventually get bigger artists to bring in the big tickets.

Once you sign an artist onto the agency, what happens next?

That’s when the hard work gets started!

Once you’ve signed, the first thing we do is build a strategy. We only really look two years in advance at any one point, so the first question we ask is – what are your plans over the next two years? Where do we want to be? We will want to know what you’re planning on releasing, so we can plan shows around you. We also need to establish your plans and what you want out of it, some artists will say they just want to do support whereas others just want to be performing at festivals. 

From taking on a small artist, you need to start thinking in levels, for example, if we can sell 50 tickets then how can you sell 100 tickets, and if you can sell 100 tickets, then how could you sell 1,000 tickets.

"Life is a journey of dizzying highs and crushing lows. It’s performing at Wembley, and then driving your Peugeot 207 home."

What are you hoping for in the future with Marshall and the Live Agency?

There are two things I get when I mention that I work at Marshall, “Wait Marshall have a Live Agency?” and “Wait Marshall, the guitar people?”

For me, and a lot of other people in the business, I’m looking forward for it to changing to Marshall being known for music. When you are talking about live music, Marshall will be the forefront brand you think of. Having that brand awareness on all sides of music culture is very important.

When I first came here, on the first day of the MOBOs, there were 10 artists. Out of the 10, eight artists didn’t know what Marshall did, or knew a little bit but not the full extent.

On my side of things, with R&B and Hip Hop, people have no clue who Marshall are. However, if I say Def Jam, that gets a massive reaction. So, my hope and dream is that R&B and Hip Hop artists will be as excited by Marshall as they are by Def Jam.

Being an artist yourself, do you have any particular career highlights?

I have a few.

One of the most prominent is what I consider to be one of the biggest turning points in my life in terms of me deciding to go forward and really pursue music. I did a remix of a song by Matt Goss, who was part of the band Bros, and then one day I got a call asking if I wanted to come and perform the song at Wembley stadium.

Even travelling there, I was still thinking that this wasn’t going to be something crazy, so I turned up, did my sound check, and that’s when it kicked in. I realised the stage was massive, the entourage was huge, loads of famous people around the room. It was so surreal.

Soon enough, it was showtime, and there were 12,000 people. The noise of 12,000 people is mad. I’m only used to 100, maybe 1,000, at a festival. This was the moment when I thought, “These kinds of things can be in your future if you want them to be”. I’m a big believer in visualisation and that was something I didn’t have to visualise; I was already there. Its kind I’ve changed how I pursue my music since then. It was definitely a highlight and something I will always talk about. Not everybody can perform at Wembley in front of so many people. This is something I can tell my grandchildren later in life.

Have you experienced any pushbacks or challenges in your career?

I would say that it is all pushbacks and challenges. Life is a journey of dizzying highs and crushing lows. It’s performing at Wembley, and then driving your Peugeot 207 home. I feel like for every high there is always a low to bring you back down to Earth.

I’ve only been comfortable financially for the last, maybe five years where I haven’t had to worry about money. Before that you are always living check to check. Yes, you have a show but when is the next show or project dropping? You are always waiting, and doing that constantly is tough.

I would say 85% of my life has been noes and 25% have been yeses. However, you only need one yes to change your life. I feel like part of the problem of being a creative is, that if you cannot deal with the noes, you will never be able to get to the yeses. You have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

What influences the music you create?

I think it changes over time. When I first started making music, I was influenced by artists I listened to, like Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube; that influence kind of stayed the same for a long time. The artist that I was interested in, affected the music I made. Maybe that is still the same, but now the influence comes from a different place. The music I make now, is really influenced by who I want to perform to and where I want to be. When I’m creating music now, I’m trying to visualise my performances, if I’m thinking that I want to be playing at festivals, I need to think about what type of music are festivals playing? What are the vibes like? I have spent a lot of time where there is music being played, I watch to see what the drop is and what is the audience’s reaction. What did they do and what did the music sound like. To me, this influences the vibe which I am trying to bring.

What song that you've written means the most to you?

There are two songs which mean a lot to me. The first is “Father’s Day” not for the song as much, but the video. It has my dad in the video and has my kids in the video as babies. That has been a song that has always felt right.

I have another song called ‘It Will Always End in Tears’, which is what my dad always used to say to me when I was younger. It also features my daughter singing on the chorus. It’s the only song we’ve done together, and I had to bribe her. Most of the songs I do nowadays is about legacy. What do you want your grandkids to know about you? What can they have of you? I think this song will mean a lot to my daughter later in life.

If you could describe your job at the Marshall Live Agency in one word, what would it be and why?


There’s so much happening all the time, it’s like a big puzzle. What happens is, that artists and managers are coming to us and saying we have this project, and we need a tour built around it.

At the moment there are no puzzle pieces at the moment, but that’s the exciting part! Your job is to find and put the puzzle pieces together to make up that tour, and just to make it a little more interesting, it’s all against the clock!

Another aspect that really adds to the job is being around artists and the music industry, I absolutely love it. You never know if the promoter is going to come through or the venue, but when you do, it is such a high.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to become an agent, what advice would you give them?

My advice would be you need to have fantastic organisation skills, you can never be too organised. There’s always so much happening – you’re looking after so many different people’s careers, you have to be on the ball. There are some opportunities you’ll never get twice. If you miss that call with a promoter, you may not get it again. Organisation is the biggest thing.