Ingrid Holder mobile is where the major deals are conducted. (Picture Shaka Mayers.)
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A pint-sized Ingrid Holder is the driving force behind some mega entertainers. But don’t let her stature or unassuming appearance fool you. She has the capacity and willpower of a person ten times her size.
She is a powerhouse at 105 pounds, commanding respect and enjoying good relations with artistes. And by the way, all the artistes she manages are males.
“I love working with anybody but I have never managed a female. I’ve been with Edwin since 1995, and three years with Leadpipe & Saddis. I guess I cater better with the guys. Maybe it has to do with the fact that for the past 26 years I have been working with krosfyah, an all-male band. They call me one of the boys,” said the owner and director of Live Wire Entertainment.
Ingrid, 42, has always had a love for entertainment. So when an opportunity arose for her to work “officially” with krosfyah – the band she was close to – she took it without a second thought.
“In 1993, when the secretary was leaving, Edwin called and said I think there is an opportunity for you to work even closer with the band. I was like ‘of course’. I wasn’t too sure what role I was actually taking on but I was all for it. At that time I had another job and I served them notice and the rest is history.”
After years of working exclusively with krosfyah she added Leadpipe & Saddis to her fold.
“Edwin is the one who introduced them to me. He heard their music by Peter Coppin studios and said he thinks I am the best person to get them where they should be. Condense was a fun song for them. But after Crop them where they should be. Condense was a fun song for them. But after Crop Over I sat with them to chart a course since they wanted to be taken seriously. The next year they release Ah Feeling A Feeling. They have great potential so I love working with them.”
It can get hectic especially during the Crop Over season. But Ingrid has grown accustomed to it.
“I call it corporate babysitting. I put my all behind everybody so no one feels left out. It goes from being a personal manager to checking on diet to what they plan to wear. The peeves of men are even worse than females sometimes. It also has to do with serious time checking. Men are very laid back when it comes to time. You always have to keep reminding them: ‘Don’t forget we have a 4 o’clock interview and 6 o’clock is TV . . . .Yeah, 8 o’clock is pick-up because we got to be on stage by 10 p.m.”
This Crop Over was especially taxing as she did worked also with People’s Monarch Damian Marvay. She dealt with him at the beginning of the season when his manager was off island.
So how did she manage at Soca Royale at Bushy Park week ago where The General [Edwin] was in both competitions and Leadpipe & Saddis in one?
“It was a very intriguing festival that was partially challenging. It was taxing dealing with Edwin, Marvay and Leadipe & Saddis. These are all artistes who were high in demand this season. In some cases all three were on the same event. But I am a time manager so I made it work. It ended up being a very exciting experience.”
She made sure Marvay felt like part of her team. He took even took part in the rituals they do before a performance.
“Usually before going on stage we all hold hands in prayer. For me that is very important in the strength and unity of a team. The guys encouraged Marvay along as the baby in the bunch.”
Ingrid admits that competitions calls for a different level of energy and thinking. She is adamant that “mediocrity is not an option”.
“Edwin is a ‘wow’ person. We always try to be different, to be imaginative. We always try to emulate something awesome. Leadpipe & Saddis are about having, fun so their personalities lend to their presentation. It is always a team effort.”
It was an early encounter with a United States pop group that led her to this career choice.
“From the time I got the opportunity to meet Pointer Sisters I knew then I wanted a life in entertainment. There were here for a show and a friend arranged for me to meet them. They were staying at Divi. I felt then I wanted to be a part of this. Not to be on stage but to be behind the scenes.”
But although she took the leap of faith and went all in with the career choice, at the time she was unsure how lucrative it would be. Thankfully over the years her doubts have turned to positivity.
“I never thought I would have gotten this far in music. But people around me inspired me, people like Edwin. We were always close. I was there to witness first-hand his successes in music. Then I saw krosfyah and what music and the industry had done for them too. I always stood close to them.”
Her only disappointment is that people still do not respect entertainment as a career. The one thing that makes her angry is when people – especially in Barbados – don’t seem to understand that artistes are professionals.
“People want favours not realising this is a job. These guys make a living from entertainment. So when you want them to ‘pass thru’ to make your event more successful it is their time, gas, effort and energy. The guys have bills to pay like anyone else.”
Ingrid’s expertise has spread far afield. Outside of Crop Over she works with the second biggest festival – the Barbados Digicel Reggae Festival – as artiste liaison. She has also done work with the Barbados Music Awards.
“For the reggae festival I work closely with the artistes in terms of picking them up from the airport and making sure their accommodation and time here is comfortable. If there are any logistical issues I am the one they call. I have worked with most of the reggae artistes before.”
The BIMAP graduate has acted as liaison with Sizzla and I-Octane as well. She is godmother to Dallas, the son of US singer Fantasia Barrino’s, with whom she has worked closely.
“Meeting people like Vivica Fox, Boris Kodjoe, Morris Chestnut, Cicely Houston and Joe Jackson was amazing. They are all people I have worked with through the Barbados Music Awards. But when you sit down and have conversations with them you see the other side of the glitz and glamour. It was a privilege to speak to them. They have their issues like anybody else.”
Quitting has never entered the mind of the girl who was born, raised and still lives in Maxwell, Christ Church. So much so that up to the night of Soca Royale she was approached by three other artistes wanting her to manage them, but she declined.
“I don’t mind helping them out in key areas. But I don’t want to add to my load. My hands are very full with the cast I have. My artistes are doing a lot of touring outside of Crop Over. It would be greedy of me to take on any more. I wouldn’t be able to give all I need to give to everyone. I am also working with Seth Xcel Bovell not only as a comedian but as a singer since he has released songs as well. Where I can I will help, but I can’t go beyond that.”
How does the very bubbly personality, who will celebrate her 43rd birthday next Thursday, find time for what matters most?
“I make time. I have to find that balance. I have a very beautiful daughter, Shaquille [Haynes] who WhatsApp me every day. She would ask: ‘Mummy are you okay?’ My daughter, my family and God keep me grounded and I make time for myself.”
Shaquille, a graduate of the University of the West Indies, is food and beverage controller at Oceans 2 Resort.
“I am very proud of my daughter. I am very happy with the woman she has become. For her 18th birthday I took her to see Beyonce. I have taken her to see Rihanna so she understands what I do. So she can appreciate the sacrifice and the time spent away from her. She is 23 now.”
If not managing artistes what would she be doing?
“I would have been an athlete. I used to run for my school Springer back in the day and I always loved it. I would watch Jackie Joyner Kersee. I admired her . . . .I aspired to be her,” said Ingrid, who can play the piano.
She says she has done nothing spectacular to “qualify” herself for the job she is passionate about.
“I do me. I don’t know how others do it. But at the end of the day it’s about the success of my clients.” (TTY)