Written by Duncan Jack Ellis
With editing by Michelle Sullivan
Photography by Nerissa Nortje
Creative Direction by Beatrice Hurst

Duncan Ellis is a a London-based artist manager, entrepreneur and creative soul. He is intelligent and ambitious, although is the first to admit that he has worked very hard to get to where he is today - managing a boutique roster of both critically and commercially successful artists.

The Manifesto invited Duncan to write an essay that would capture his world in 2014.

Music is a word that conveys many different meanings to me. It transcends sound, poetry,  people and is a complicated hurricane that consumes my life. I own a company called Scruffy Bird Management. We are a London based artist management company, which consists of a small roster, and I personally manage - Everything Everything, Lianne La Havas and Kodaline. I've lived in London for 13 years, although with all the travel that I do, I am starting to question whether I geographically live anywhere?  

My hope for this essay to take stock of where I’m at in 2014, and share a few stories from my time as an artist manager. There is indeed a fraternity among those who manage the careers of creative people. This is a nod to those of us who understand the highs and lows that accompany the insatiable beast that is the music business. There have been many days when I’ve woken up and thought “I can’t wait to get at the day, bring it on!”, although as I will go onto explain, this is also informed by some days where I’ve thought “how hard does it have to get?”

A love of music and ambition are probably the two qualities that most people know me by. It’s a delicate mix and I do need to be mindful of my system of checks and balances. I don’t profess to know all that there is about the business, I am always learning, and I never want to stop finding new ways to achieve results for our Scruffy family.