I thought I’d take the opportunity of this blog to introduce you to my manager of 25 years. Her name is Diane Poncher. It is, without doubt, a fortunate artist who is able to join forces with a manager he or she trusts and respects. I consider myself to be one such artist. Let me give you a brief history of Diane’s career so far.
She was raised within the music and entertainment industry, as her father was Lennie Poncher, a renowned and successful manager who, during the 60’s and 70’s, handled the U.S. careers of such legendary artists and performers as Donovan, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Stevie Winwood, Jan & Dean, Brook Benton, Spooky Tooth and the Spencer Davis Group. Between 1967 and 1971, Diane learned the ropes of the music business by becoming secretary at her father’s management company (International Management Combine), and a Product Manager at Epic Records/Columbia Custom Labels (’71 – ‘75). From 1975 to 1978, she lived in London working, as Executive Secretary and Coordinator, for Motown Records International, whose roster included such notable artists as Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Thelma Houston and Junior Walker and the Allstars. While in London, she also worked as Tour Promotions Manager for Mervyn Conn Promotions, which promoted and organized UK/European concert tours for American country music artists, and which was largely responsible for the country music market in England. Diane returned stateside, and from 1980 to 1985, was working as Associate Manager for Bob Cavallo of Cavallo, Ruffalo & Fargnoli Management in Los Angeles. Clients included Prince, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Time, Appolonia 6, Weather Report, Ray Parker, Jr. and Little Feat.
It was during this period that I first met Diane. I was in L.A. with my then writing partner, Brian Fairweather, promoting our band’s (Q-Feel) single, “Dancing In Heaven”, which was getting strong airplay on the local alternative and influential radio station, KROQ. Diane introduced us to Bob Cavallo, who was looking to manage a new wave band such as ourselves. Although we didn’t eventually sign with Bob, we decided to officially link up with Diane, as we could see how much she believed in our songwriting, our ambition and the musical direction that we were forging for ourselves. So, with Cavallo’s blessing, Diane became independent at this time, in order to manage us exclusively.
Being in L.A. during the 80’s was a pretty magical time, and with Diane’s help and connections, we soon found ourselves collaborating and working with our musical idols and influences. Diane immediately recognized that the material we were writing – not only suited our own band – but was crying out to be recorded by all kinds of popular mainstream artists. She had the vision to see that we were traditional songwriters at heart, so she planned and successfully paved the way for me to ultimately regain ownership and control of all of my songs. And what an education I personally received during this time – writing with people such as Bernie Taupin, Maurice White, Hal David, Jon Lind, Diane Warren and Robbie Robertson, to name but a few. This truly was my musical apprenticeship. From this point on, Diane and I never really looked back – enjoying the success of two No.1 records in our very first year of linking up.
Diane also believed that I was gifted with a voice that connected directly to the emotions, and she encouraged and gave me confidence to become a solo artist. Presently, we have embarked on a new adventure – the forming of our own independent record label, IroningBoard Records, allowing me the vehicle to release my own work – on my terms.
Over the years, Diane has consistently given me un-biased feedback in all aspects of my career, and offered me a true shoulder to lean on through the good times and the bad. I genuinely feel that we are more a partnership than a management arrangement – and in my long experience in this volatile music industry, I know this to be pretty damn rare! I know that my songwriting has the very best possible support system it could have. And, to top that, she’s also blessed with a great musical ear …. and even plays piano!!!!!! In fact, come to think of it, we’ve even written a song together, and had it recorded by an international artist. Not bad …