Giving Artist Promotion a Good Name
By Christine R. Walsh
Neyo (L) and Hartigan at the UPC tour at the DCU Center
Eight years ago, a fresh-faced and hopeful young promoter stood outside of a Fitchburg venue. He was one of the main forces behind a show that was about to go up and he had a lot riding on the gig. He was new to the business of promotion, so he was putting his reputation on the line. There was also the matter of the sizeable chunk of change he had put down, too.
The young promoter had been working with a booking agent; a shady character to say the least. The agent hadn’t given the promoter a single straight answer about the artist who was scheduled to perform and that gave the young promoter a bad feeling.
Minutes ticked by but the performance artist never showed. The promoter’s pride took a hit, as did his wallet. He walked into the night, vowing never to get back into entertainment until he knew the business inside and out.
Today, that young promoter is the mature, business-savvy Tim Hartigan, Directing Manager and Founder of International College Bookings Talent, or ICB Talent. The man can listen to a song and accurately predict it to be a hit or a miss in under a minute. He can be found driving to an unknown comedian’s Friday night gig or pouring over stacks of artists’ demo tapes, always in search of the next biggest star.
That vow he made to himself as he walked away from the failed show in Fitchburg inspired this guru of promotions to become the first licensed African-American theatrical booking agent in MA. Hartigan, 28, is extremely proud of this accomplishment, but maintains modesty amongst the bright lights of success.
“I’m very proud of my heritage,” said Hartigan. “I’m African American and Italian. When you’re first at anything positive in life, you have the opportunity to be a pioneer, a trailblazer.”
Today, Hartigan blazes those new trails in entertainment with determination and zest. He divides his time between serving his clients ~ people who are trying to break into comedy, music or even fighting on television’s “Ultimate Fighter” ~ and providing colleges across the nation with quality entertainment that gives them the most for their money. Hartigan has worked with colleges including Harvard, Stanford, University of San Francisco and BC, to name but a few ~ the list of his satisfied clients in academia spans from coast to coast. The schools call Hartigan to provide singers, hip hop artists and comedians and Hartigan works, sometimes 18 hours a day, to make certain that the shows run smoothly.
“I make sure the artist is there on time,” said Hartigan. “I want to make sure the college gets everything they pay for. I want my clients to feel comfortable and satisfied at the end of the day. If they’re not happy, they’re not going to come back and we can’t have that.”
Undiscovered entertainment artists vie for Haritgan’s attention and approval. Typically, Hartigan will review a demo tape, and if he likes what he sees, will seek out the artist and watch him/her perform live or in the studio. If the artist gets his stamp of approval, Hartigan will bend over backwards to represent him/her.
There’s a soft side to this fast moving man, however. Close to his heart are events that have a charitable component, and he’ll do whatever he can to provide the talent that will help such causes raise the most money possible. Hartigan keeps in shape through jogging and hitting the gym. He also recently took up bow hunting, a sport which he never thought he’d even try. But most of all, he loves spending time with his two sons, Timothy, 8, and Michael, 5.
“I hope they join me someday in entertainment,” laughed Hartigan when speaking of his children. “But whatever they want to do, I’m going to support them 100%.”
He also appreciates the company of good friends, a lesson he learned from his mother, who has breast cancer.
“She’s battling it,” Hartigan said with pride in his voice. “She’s battling it and she’s going to beat it.”
Despite a ICB Talent’s booming business and a supportive family, Hartigan does not intend to take a break from his busy schedule anytime soon. His next goal is to obtain the appropriate licensure so that he can start representing local athletes as well.
“The Worcester area produces some tremendous athletes and I am interested in representing them,” he said. “That particular license requires a great deal of knowledge of corporate law, but I’ve been speaking to my lawyer friends and hitting the books.”
The Tim Hartigan of today may be all grown up, but he understands that in order to be the best, he must never stop learning.
For more information on ICB Talent, including the impressive list of featured performers that Hartigan works with, go to www.icbtalent.com.