Amanda Schupf is a born and raised New Yorker, mother, creative executive, entrepreneur and the founder of MAX - a boutique music management company that focuses on guiding the careers of producers and songwriters. It houses a consulting arm that helps creators, labels and publishers navigate the daily challenges of the music business. The MAX roster includes Mick Schultz (Jeremih, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Max Frost, Why Don't We), Mike Campbell (A Great Big World, Daya, Kaskade), Michael Tighe (Jeff Buckley, Mark Ronson, Adele, Liam Gallagher, Kiiara, Andrew Wyatt, Kimbra), Rami Jrade (Yungblud, Dreamers, 3oh!3, The Chain Gang of 1974), and Dani Poppitt (Zara Larsson, Excision, Illenium and Fedez). Amanda recalls coming to music, and what it means to be a fan, with her discovery of Hip Hop when she was in High School. She first heard A Tribe Called Quest’s “We Can Get Down” in the ninth grade and immediately fell in love with the genre. She would compulsively visit the HMV store on 86th and 3rd with her friends - purchasing cassette singles by the new recording artists.
One of three sisters, Amanda is deeply rooted in the cultural awareness that comes with growing up in New York City - in addition to her intrinsic love for hip hop, she is also one who appreciates contemporary art. These days her home is peppered with personal favourites by Albers, Alex Katz and Mr. Brainwash.
Amanda graduated high school, went off to a small liberal arts school in Amherst, Massachusetts, and not long after the relocation she found herself as a DJ at the college radio station. Each night and into the small hours of the morning, Amanda could be heard playing her favorite Hip Hop artists - Mobb Deep, Biggie, Tupac and early Neptunes productions. She subsequently found someone at the station who could teach her the turntables, and thereafter she would DJ parties and fully explore their record collection. For four years Amanda was the main DJ at Amherst. This particular pursuit continued after she returned to New York City as a graduate. Naturally, In her first year back home she bought turntables and started a record collection of her very own. During those first post-graduate years she took on various jobs (to pay the rent), and applied her spare time to learning Bikram Yoga. That’s right, Amanda is a certified Bikram Yoga teacher!
In 2003 Amanda entered NYU’s Steinhardt School of Continuing Education to undertake her masters degree in Music Technology. During her time studying she learned the art of engineering, binary coding, music theory and wrote her thesis about pro tools. She graduated in 2005, took up a job at Battery Studios and then another at Sony Music, where she worked with artists including Pharrell and Swizz Beats. It was a time of community and collaboration, all under one roof. Amanda was introduced to John Legend and hired to be an assistant at his label - Homeschool Records - where she worked on the Estelle project. During those years her curiosity for entrepreneurial life began and together with her fellow audiophile and friend Blake Douglas, they created Boutique Audio - a studio design company where they composed and built two recording studios for John Legend - one of which was featured in Architectural Digest. It was while working on the studio at Cherry Lane (Legend’s then music publishing house) that she met Rich Stumpf - who later became the President of Imagem. In 2010, Amanda joined the Imagem family (now Concord) as an A&R Manager. It was thanks to Rich’s belief in her, Amanda’s tireless work ethic and her curiosity for knowledge that led her to explore the business of music publishing. It was a time in Amanda’s life that she looks back on fondly, her particular highlights being respective ventures executed with Swizz Beats and Ludacris.
In 2014, Amanda departed Imagem and accepted a role as Head of A&R at Ingrooves Music Publishing.
Enter the producer and songwriter Mick Schultz. He is best known within music labels and studio houses for discovering, signing and launching the artist Jeremih, as well as his work with Rihanna on her critically acclaimed album ANTI - Mick produced “Desperado”. Amanda had worked hard to land Schultz a deal with Ingrooves but could not galvanize the support that she needed to execute. It was not yet time for their shadow future to manifest and Mick wound up signing with a competitor. A new door was opened when Amanda offered to continue helping him build his vision. That’s Amanda through and through. With her leadership spirit, she made the offer of continuing to grow with the producer and trusting that their collaboration would yield results with time.
In November 2016 Amanda brought Mike Campbell onto the roster. Mike is a singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and composer based in New York. He is one of the co-writers of the global pop hit “Say Something” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. Certified six-times platinum in the United States by the RIAA, “Say Something” reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 - winning the 2014 Grammy for “Best Pop Duo and Group Performance.”
During that time she continued with her role with Ingrooves, although the company began to deform and contort - they were without a CEO and had shifted their strategy from A&R to data-centric decision-making. Over the course of those months and years, Amanda gave birth to a baby boy and began to follow her intuition that it might be time to open up her own shop.
Then one day in 2018 Amanda got the call - a phone call from Ingrooves to say that she would no longer be working there. In the days that followed she knew that this represented something more significant - she had felt frustrated with the reckless waste of talent that she had witnessed and she knew that this was now an opportunity to focus on her business vision. She officially launched and named her company MAX - after her son.
For Amanda Schupf, the transition to entrepreneurial life was not an easy one. In the Autumn of 2018, Amanda made the personal commitment to sever the traditional ideas of what she thought a career in music would be, and she focused down on her roster.
Michael Tighe, Rami Jrade and Dani Poppitt joined the MAX roster in 2018. These new additions illustrated that her business grew when the buck also stopped with her. She enjoyed being the decision maker for her clients and helping them navigate the small steps of their long game. For Amanda, the large majority of decisions are easy because they are anchored by her first principle - Big Picture.
Amanda Schupf believes that the reduction of ego is vital to her being able to do a good job for her roster - no question is too small and no discussion is ever trivial. Her job is to facilitate the conditions for the roster to do their best work and experiment creatively - the right song can break an artist and therefore it’s her daily mission to have more artists try more songs. When asked about the guiding idea that she draws upon in her day to day management experiences, she says: “Put the music out. Don’t have it sit on a hard drive where it’s disconnected from life. Be open-minded and embrace a willing attitude to explore all opportunities, even if in the moment one presents itself it doesn’t feel like the ‘perfect’ fit. That's what's great about chance, you don't know what’s on the other side.”
Written by Michelle Sullivan