The creative director is a cornerstone of the music industry. Each offers a different perspective on making an artist’s vision a reality, and having that creative director will make all the difference.
The importance of the creative director is precisely why Jesse Rogg and Jesse Rose started Original Creative Agency (OCA). The agency was established in 2018 and is about changing culture and giving creative leaders the representation they rightfully deserve. “From the start, our mission was to give creative directors the resources to do their best work at the highest level, while ensuring that our clients get what they pay for by putting project coordinators in place,” explains Rogg. With 20 years of experience in the industry as recording artists, touring musicians, managers, label owners and creative directors themselves, the Jesses match their roster of 45 plus creative directors – which includes the likes of Adrian Martinez (Baby Keem, Bad Bunny), Joe Perez (Beyoncé, Billie Eilish) and Sage Adams (SZA) — with the right projects and stay on the job until it closes, to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
The Jesses admit, however, that founding the OCA was not an easy task. Everyone praised them for their brilliant idea during the agency’s first year, but they had to put in the painstaking work of breaking down what a creative director actually does—let alone why they deserve to be respected as the head of the project after the artists. Their frustrations and lack of days off proved fruitful, with the company now standing as a culmination of everything they’ve done together in the past. “The relationships we’ve built over the years are important to us and create positive momentum for our entire roster,” Rogg tells Hypebeast.
We are always mindful of organically reinforcing the client’s vision as opposed to pushing our agenda onto them, as it is their life and career at the end of the day.
In a few words, how would you describe your job to someone unfamiliar with the music industry?
Rose: Visual architects.
Can you walk us through a day in your working life?
Rose: Every day is completely different. One day I may be in Dubai working with Alicia Keys on her performance at WorldExpo, or at the Latin GRAMMYs in Vegas for Xtina’s performance. Some days there are meetings with new clients and visits to video or photoshoots, other days I am in the office working with our internal team. The beauty of this job is that it is constantly changing. As we work more and more for fashion houses, this now includes many more trips to Paris, New York and Milan for fashion week as well.
As former artists yourself, you have insider knowledge of this industry. Does it play a role in how you run OCA?
Rogg: Absolutely, having been artists themselves gives a real understanding of what makes an artist tick, their idiosyncrasies and the creative process. We come from a place of respect, which in turn creates a stronger bond between the artists and the creative director. We are always mindful of organically reinforcing the client’s vision as opposed to pushing our agenda onto them, as it is their life and career at the end of the day.
Rose: I think it quickly creates mutual respect — when we first meet an artist, we have an empathy that you only get from having lived that life. The life of an artist from the outside looks pretty rosy, but we know the work it takes to stay in that position, and that really means a lot to the artists we work with.
What’s the craziest project your creative directors have worked on so far?
Rose: We work with the creatives behind so many amazing moments in culture, so it’s really hard to pick the ones to highlight, but seeing Mike Carson work on Kendrick’s tour this year doing stage design and tour directing was pretty epic, especially the Glastonbury set. I also loved the work Ryder Ripps did for Tame Impala’s tour. Coming up with this drug company Rushium was very clever and it set the tone for the whole creative direction of the tour.
What are the necessary first steps a young person should take to enter a career in music as a creative director and executive?
Rose: A creative director’s job is to know how to create worlds using many mediums, so it really doesn’t hurt to go to art or film school to learn about many of the different parts that go into it. Take pictures, make videos on your phone, learn Photoshop – all this just to get a feel and idea of how it all works.
What lessons and/or work ethic did you gain first after working in the music industry?
Rogg: This business is not for the faint of heart, but we believe good things will come as long as you do your absolute best.. There’s a lot of mediocrity out there and it’s our job to create culture-changing moments that affect people on an emotional level .
Rose: You have to have a vision and work as hard as possible. But you also need to really enjoy what you’re doing, so don’t be afraid to stop and pivot if it doesn’t feel right.
What is one thing about your job that most people would find unexpected or surprising?
Rose: When I tell people outside the industry what I do, they usually find it all surprising. I think most people don’t know that there is an entire industry that works in a creative direction.
Is there a secret to longevity in this industry?
Rose: Keep making work that matters and choose work that follows your vision.
Creative directors are no longer in the shadows and are considered essential parts of the team that deserve recognition in their own right.
What are some habits you follow regularly to always maintain a good headspace for work?
Rogg: Strong note-taking is important! There are so many conversations that happen daily, and no matter how much you think you’ll remember the details, there will always be subtleties that you forget. We believe in creating processes for everything we do, so that we can optimize workflows.
Rose: Having a really strong morning routine for me is key; meditate, exercise, get your to-do list in order, eat breakfast, have 20 minutes to think. These things really keep you moving towards your goal because the routine keeps you balanced.
What does a day off look like for you?
Rose: Good question!
How do you see your job developing with the music industry in the next five years?
Rogg: It has been exciting to see an emphasis on “creative” in the last couple of years. More and more people understand that creative direction is not just about making things look cool, but that it actually creates tangible returns for our clients. Creative directors are no longer in the shadows and are considered essential parts of the team that deserve recognition in their own right.
Rose: I love the fact that we’ve moved beyond music into fashion, film, art, brands and technology. It looks like the future will see every company working with a creative director, and I guess that means over the next five years we’ll be working more and more in different areas.
Stay tuned for more features featuring music industry professionals – from executives to sound engineers, stagehands and more; the people who make the music world go round without standing behind a microphone.