We had the good fortune of connecting with Charles Driebe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charles, what matters most to you?
Working with great artists to create great music and live musical experiences is my goal. In order to do that I’ve had to keep the artists’ best interests at heart , handle the business so they could focus on the art, and encourage their artistic growth. With these guiding principles, I have been able to be a part of the careers of artists who have stirred their listeners’ emotions and changed their hearts and minds. Blind Boys of Alabama with band and producers Steve Berlin and Charles Driebe at FAME Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama Charles Driebe, Grammy winner William Bell, producer John Leventhal Blind Ambition Management client Cha Wa at Telluride Jazz FestBlind Boys of Alabama in The Nutthouse Studio, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, October 2020
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am the founder of Blind Ambition Management, a company that manages the careers of musical artists. Our company’s brand has always been to ‘over-deliver’ to our clients. As a result, we have represented most of our clients for many years. Many people assume that working in the music business is glamorous, and there are highlights (Grammy Awards, TV appearances, international travel, attending sold-out shows and music festivals, etc). But the day-to-day of my job is a grind. I have spent years working 10-12 hours a day, including nights and weekends. For me, it was rewarding because I was part of building the careers of some great artists and producing some great music that will last. I have a law degree and could have made more money as a lawyer, but I didn‘t love that work. In order to work so hard for less money, you have to love what you do. However, loving it is not enough by itself either – you must put in the hours.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta is more about people and neighborhoods than must-see tourist sites. Luckily, I have many interesting friends and live near great neighborhoods like Virginia-Highland, Inman Park, Candler Park, and Kirkwood. There are numerous great restaurants to check out near me, including Murphy’s – which is in the heart of Virginia-Highland and is run by my friend Tom Murphy. Then there is Buford Highway, with so many international cuisines to choose from – Vietnamese, Mexican, Malaysian, Colombian, Bangladeshi, etc. Prior to the pandemic, I would of course be taking visitors to see live music at places like Variety Playhouse or Eddie’s Attic. Hopefully, that day will come again soon. And Atlanta has more trees than anyplace else of comparable size. So I love to take visitors on a walk through the Fernbank Forest or around Stone Mountain (though I’m not too fond of the carvings there). Charles Driebe, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) in the studio Charles Driebe, Lou Reed Blind Boys of Alabama with Amadou & Mariam at Montreux Jazz Fest
Kathy Lanser, Charles Driebe, Sue Schrader of Blind Ambition Management
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Dad was a mentor in how to treat people, and modeled the value that doing the right thing was worth more than money. Mike Kappus was my mentor in how to conduct yourself with integrity in the music business. And my associate Ethan Langston has stuck with the company through these hard times so I want to give him a shoutout too!
Other: Our company doesn’t promote itself to the public so we aren’t very active on the internet/social media. Instead, we focus on promoting our artists on those platforms,