OUR WONDERFUL WORLD OF CREATIVITY
WHEN YOU ARE DEVOTED TO THE ART OF CREATION
ANYTHING COULD BE INSPIRING
J.B. MILLER - EMPIRE ENTERTAINMENT
Over the coming months, we will be sharing a glimpse of our magical world as we go behind the scenes and explore the infinite possibilities of the people and places we work with to make our events truly unique and one-of-a-kind experiences. As one of Ireland’s most sought after boutique wedding and event management companies, we are so fortunate to work with such passionate, inspiring and creative people in our world of weddings and events. We are delighted to share our journey of discovery with you as we speak to our friends from around the globe. Their unique vision and inspiring insights are a wonderful reminder of the masterful way they bring their work to life.
This edition of Our Wonderful World of Creativity series puts a spotlight on Emmy award-winning producer J.B. Miller.
President & CEO of Empire Entertainment, J. B. Miller has over three decades of experience as an executive producer of major live and broadcast events. We have been so fortunate to work with J.B. and his team to bring international headline artists to our events in Ireland and throughout Europe. We have built a great working relationship and a fabulous friendship with J.B. over the years. We have enjoyed many brainstorming sessions in his beautiful studio in New York and witnessed first-hand how his fascinating collaborations come to life.
We are so honoured that J.B. has taken the time to share some wonderful insights with us in this series. We hope you enjoy!
THE MAN BEHIND THE MAGIC
Since founding Empire Entertainment in 1993, J.B. has built a hugely impressive client list including Microsoft, Disney, Google, Samsung, PepsiCo, Time Magazine and has worked with artists including Aerosmith, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Jay-Z, Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder and Sting.
J.B. lives in New York City where he is training for a third-degree black belt rank in Tae Kwon Do. He is also a licensed aircraft pilot, an experienced sailor and drummer and enjoys skiing, paragliding, scuba diving and travelling the world!
1. J.B, we have been on some great journeys together bringing headliner talent in for our events over the years! We have had the privilege of having some of the greats from Jon Bon Jovi to Stevie Wonder perform at our client’s private events. We would love for you to share your experiences in bringing international headliners to our events....
Yes, absolutely! We have enjoyed many great experiences working with Olivia Buckley International on headline entertainment. One particular memorable occasion was when we brought an internationally renowned headliner to perform at Ashford Castle for a very special private celebration. As all of the arrangements and the identity of the artist had to be carefully kept completely confidential, we worked hard together to take extraordinary steps to preserve the client’s confidentiality, especially as there were a large number of people to facilitate all the logistics and production requirements for a large travelling party. Thankfully, your team worked in perfect unison with ours to successfully manage all of these workstreams and to keep it completely quiet and behind the scenes. That can often create extra stresses for an artist, who just wants to come and do their best. In this instance, the hospitality and efficiency of your team, and the way we were able to create a familiar atmosphere in which the artists and the touring entourage felt welcomed and integrated into the local community for the days that they were there, made all the difference. I even remember the artist doing an impromptu concert performance one night for the staff in the hotel that they were staying in, which was, in my belief, a desire to return the hospitality of those around us.
Our collaborations together have always been executed seamlessly and successfully with a huge level of attention to detail delivered every single time. It is always such a pleasure for us to work with your team as we know the level of professional knowledge and experience you bring to each event. There is no room for error when you are dealing with high calibre entertainment and we know that our artists are in good hands when we work with Olivia Buckley International!
2. Can you talk us through some of the stages of managing an artist, from the early stages of sourcing through to performance with Olivia Buckley International?
We typically work with Olivia Buckley International to discuss talent options based on budget, the nature of the performance that they want, the objectives of the project, and the demographics of the audience. From there, we generate quite a lot of proposed names and we work with Olivia and her team to assess availability, suitability, budget fit, production fit and many other factors before we arrive at the point at which we are ready to make a formal offer to an artist.
Empire then works to craft an offer based on discussions with Olivia and her team. We then enter negotiations with the artist, their management, their production manager, their tour management, their legal and accounting team, and often involve other parties like the record label and publicists. We work carefully with the artist and Olivia Buckley International to facilitate air transportation, visas, hotel accommodation, ground transportation, work permits and shipping of equipment, as well as all the production details such as staging, lighting, audio, video, band gear, labour, production schedule, and the integration of the artists' performance into the look and feel of a given event.
One of the most important things in success here is that there are no surprises for anyone. If we have all done our jobs correctly, the onsite experience should be smooth and consistent with everyone’s expectations, allowing us to focus on creating the best possible atmosphere to deliver a great performance and allow the artist to do what they do best. It’s a lot of technical and logistical planning behind the scenes, but because we work so well with Olivia’s team, the onsite experience always translates into pure magic.
3. What is the best advice you could give to someone when choosing a headline artist?
Think carefully about the experience that you want to create for your audience. Close your eyes and imagine what the best outcome looks and feels like when you are standing there in front of the stage and things are actually happening. It’s important to align that vision with an artist who specialises in providing exactly that. Finding a fit is the most critical component because if the artist is placed in a circumstance where he/she cannot succeed by doing what they do well, you will fail. Similarly, a client’s objectives and audience expectations must remain paramount in the selection of the artist, and the buyer should be uncompromising in terms of insisting that the artist is a great fit. Because we cannot adapt or adjust the buyer or the artist finding the fit, a natural fit is the most important criteria.
4. Was there something in particular that ignited your passion for the entertainment world through music and television?
I’ve always liked creating experiences and telling stories. Artists, whether they are musicians, performers, comedians or speakers, all deliver a crafted experience to an audience. But it doesn’t happen without hard work - it takes both creative and practical engineering. I found early on that I had a hunger to exercise both of those skill sets. Producing entertainment, whether it’s live, broadcast, virtual or another format, challenges me and my team every day to use these abilities to deliver the highest standard.
5. You must have an incredible black book of contacts! How did you build so many impressive connections with the top tier of the entertainment industry at your fingertips?
I have been diligent and consistent over the course of my 30+ year career about conscientiously building contacts and connections, maintaining and growing relationships, sharing information about our activities, and showing genuine interest in the development and works of my industry colleagues across all facets of the entertainment industry, and across all industries and sectors for that matter.
We have built an extraordinary database that codes all of these global connections over the years, which we are able to swiftly search and deploy in order to bring the best connections to any of our projects anywhere in the world. When we add in extended amplification like social media, and hierarchical communications efforts that leverage everyone in our company and our partner network, it’s not difficult to find a first-person connection for almost anything.
6. What makes a truly memorable and exceptional form of entertainment?
The very best forms of entertainment transcend the moment and take the audience on an emotional journey that, while carefully engineered and planned, is authentic and spontaneous. By planning and delivering an experiential story that evokes emotions, conveys information, and follows a narrative arc, we are able to capture attention, engage participants, stimulate participation and inspire everyone sharing the experience. When we align this context and planning with an extraordinary artist who knows how to hit the emotional notes, the result is a behavioural chain reaction that creates an energy that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
“There is no room for error when you are dealing with high calibre entertainment and we know that our artists are in good hands when we work with Olivia Buckley International.”
- J.B. Miller
“The very best forms of entertainment transcend the moment and take the audience on an emotional journey that is authentic and spontaneous.”
- J.B. Miller
We hope you enjoyed this special feature, make sure you keep an eye on our
social media platforms for more additions to our
'Our Wonderful World of Creativity' series.