Many of our readers are involved in the music industry (or aspire to be), and because most people do not know what it’s like to be in the gritty music industry, we felt it necessary to highlight some of the up and coming administrative talents that industry has to offer. First on our list is Giuseppe Zappala, a prominent manager known for his work with Lil Tecca and WAV. He’s very knowledgeable and actionable, evident in his creation of GALACTIC Records, which is now an imprint under Republic Records. Giuseppe has paved the way for many young managers in the industry and is well-worth an introduction to our audience. Get to know Giuseppe Zappala.
Daily Chiefers: Hey bro, what’ve you been up to lately?
Giuseppe Zappala: Hey, just been working out of Miami. I’ve been here for like a little over a month now, like six weeks.
DC: That’s fire, it seems like you guys have a dope set up down there, I’ve noticed on WAV’s Instagram story. I’ve been wondering, where are you from?
Giuseppe Zappala: I’m born and raised in New York, so I grew up in the city all my life. I grew up around 96th, but I live by 55th and Park right now. New York is home base, I would say. And I’m in LA like once a month, if not once every two months. And yeah, WAV came down here. We got a videographer down here, so just trying to lock in with him before I get so busy with Tecca again- release schedules and all. I figured it’d be a good time for me to lock in with them.
DC: Miami is such a cool area. What are your thoughts on the music scene down there?
Giuseppe Zappala: I feel like it is culminating like a music base. Especially within the Latin sector of music, like every Latin major has a home base here in Miami. Spanish is my first language, so I’m kind of like dabbling in that scene.
DC: I had no idea Spanish was your first language. How long was it until you learned how to speak English?
Giuseppe Zappala: I learned Spanish when I was like two. I learned both pretty much at the same time.
DC: That’s cool, what’s your Spanish influence?
Giuseppe Zappala: My mom and my sister are from Spain and my dad is Italian, I was born in New York and I have that whole mix.
DC: That’s dope. So how old are you right now?
Giuseppe Zappala: 25.
DC: That’s pretty young compared to other managers of acts as big as Tecca. That’s notably rare.
Giuseppe Zappala: I feel like it’s a great time right now in the music scene. Now more than ever, there’s such an abundance of young people just being so successful and smart and just, you know, building their own brand and their own story. It’s awesome to see.
DC: That’s true. I’ve been noticing that. I feel like it’s only going to get younger and younger.
Giuseppe Zappala: There are just more resources at your disposal, especially even with these young kids that are obviously being inspired by Tecca or other artists that are recording themselves or producing. A lot more people are motivated to make music in this era.
DC: Yeah, definitely. The bar is just set higher and higher every year.
Giuseppe Zappala: Obviously there are many exceptions to the rule, but if you’re above a certain age, people will look at you differently as an artist.
DC: Yeah, it definitely becomes more of a challenge. So how’d you meet Tecca? I’ve been wondering for a long time.
Giuseppe Zappala: I found him on SoundCloud actually.
DC: And when was this?
Giuseppe Zappala: This was in July of 2018. I just listened to a song called “No More” that he did with his cousin and I was like, “yo, this is fire”. And then I was like, let me listen to a couple more of his songs. The tone of his voice to me is what caught me at the beginning, then I went through his SoundCloud. He had like seven songs at the time and there were like a couple more that really caught my ear. And then I went on his Instagram and there was this video of him doing the zoom challenge which cracked me up a bit. And I was just going through his Instagram and he just had such a great personality, he’s hilarious, so I just DM’ed him and he hit me back like five minutes later. And I booked a studio the next day and we met up at a studio in the city with his homies. It was like one of his first times ever hitting the studio and shit, the next couple months we spent developing the relationship. I think he trusted me a lot. So anything to do on the business end he’d talk to me about, then it got to the point where I was like, yo, I really want to work with you. He was like, “yeah, I want you to manage me”. It was just cool cause all that developed super organically. It’s still developing more til this day as Tecca and I do things outside, but I found him on SoundCloud to keep the story short.
DC: Organic relationships really do show, you know. It’s obvious when two people are really messing with each other instead of just forcing it.
Giuseppe Zappala: A thousand percent.
DC: You definitely seem to have that relationship with Tecca and with your other artists too.
Giuseppe Zappala: Yeah I try to keep that relationship with any artist, you know? And I’m not about to bs anything. So I’m also very big on being as direct and transparent with my artists that I can be, whether it’s about music or just giving them my thoughts.
DC: Yeah definitely, anything else is a waste of time.
Giuseppe Zappala: But yeah, man, it’s very simple. I just try and work as hard as I can. I don’t think I’m the smartest, the most intelligent, but very confident when it comes to the music business. I could do this shit all damn week if I needed to cause I love it that much. So, I just try to work, have good intentions, good energy with everything I do because I really believe that what you put into it is what you get out of it. Everything really comes full circle at the end of the day.
DC: I feel like they’re just like different breeds of people in the music industry and a lot of different types of people find success, but people who look at it like you do are after more than just money or success itself, you know? You’re about building relationships and I think those types of people are the most successful because all this stuff just happens naturally and the process of growing that relationship and pushing an artist further, growing their relationships with fans.
Giuseppe Zappala: Yeah. And I really think it’s about leaving a positive footprint and legacy for others to follow. Being somebody to learn from and get inspiration from too.
DC: You definitely inspired me as a manager, along with many other people on the business side of music. You’ve let us see the capacity that someone can do this at such a young age. It makes it easier to just work even harder and harder because you feel even closer to the goal.
Giuseppe Zappala: It’s very achievable.
DC: So you were managing WAV before Tecca?
Giuseppe Zappala: Yeah. So, WAV was the first artist I ever managed. My introduction to music was through DJ’s. I went to college in DC, GW (George Washington University). You know, we didn’t really do frat parties or anything. Everything was like a club scene. We’d go to the club when we went out and I’d just absolutely hate the music. So I bought a DJ set and I taught myself like the first couple months of school how to DJ. And then I just started DJing all the clubs in D.C. especially the college clubs. And then from there, I saw that there were a couple of promoters in D.C. that were booking artists just for after parties. And that was something that the college scene hadn’t really tapped into. So I started booking artists for after parties, throughout all the clubs. Not long after, I just started developing relationships with artists and managers. And dude, I knew artist management was what I wanted to do. And since I’m from New York, I’d be DJing up at the clubs in the city throughout the summers. And one night, I’m sure you know Skizzy Mars, who was hosting one of the club nights and you know, WAV came to New York because of Skizzy. He and Skizzy linked up, and Skizzy was the first person that ever really fucked with WAV. I was DJing at this club and WAV came up to me and he was like, “Oh you’re fire, you’re gonna be my DJ.” I think I was like 19 or 20. I was like, “Alright, just spit something for me”. And he went on a crazy freestyle and I was like, “You’re honestly like really raw.” And this was towards the end of the summer. I had gone back to school for my senior year and then nothing had happened like six months go by like WAV hadn’t released anything. Nothing had really happened. So I was like, “What’s going on? Let me try and actually like to help you.” The more and more I was doing the after parties and meeting artists or managers, I knew that was what I wanted to do, but this situation or opportunity kind of came up as well with WAV in an organic way. And then, I started managing him at the end of my senior year. My parents didn’t want me to do music, so I actually had to go back to school for another year to get like another major. WAV came and lived with me in DC for my first full semester. And that was when we dropped the first song. And I really didn’t have anybody that taught me any of that. So it’s like for me, I was like, I’m very grateful for WAV and obviously we still, you know, we’re still pursuing all of that. But like for me working with WAV, he really gave me that introduction to start learning about things that actually work. I didn’t really have a clue at the time, but like I was staying up, seeing people do like reposts or like they’ll do some kind of promotion. Then I emailed a bunch of writers and blogs and kind of learned just going along with it. I was doing everything with WAV as I did with Tecca.
DC: That’s a crazy story. It seems like it was meant to happen. I fuck with WAV‘s personality heavy. I can imagine how magnetic that was your first time meeting him.
Giuseppe Zappala: Yeah. You could tell he’s like so bright and he has great art.
DC: Yeah. It’s hard not to like him because he’s got that energy. I think that’s so special in artists and I believe that carries over with every interaction they have. Be it someone in the industry, a fan, or a potential fan.
Giuseppe Zappala: I think that’s so important. That’s something I’ve talked to Tecca about too. When it comes to an artist really wanting to achieve your goals and change, becoming a superstar- interacting with fans is super important. Obviously, music as a foundation is the most important thing, but there are so many other things that go into it. And that’s my jam. I’m just insanely competitive. Anything I do, whether I’m just playing video games or pickup basketball in the hallway, whatever it might be- I’m the most competitive guy there is. So it’s like I want these songs in stadiums around the world. And I think I express that to my artists and all my artists have those same ambitions too.
DC: That seems to be very important, being on the same page with an artist.
Giuseppe Zappala: That’s right. Well, I think it’s making sure I always put the artist’s needs first. Setting expectations between one another. You know? And the crazy thing with Tecca and I is, we both know that nothing’s impossible. He wants to be the biggest artist in the world, and that’s what we’re going to work towards.
DC: It’s clear that you guys both have that mentality. It’s like that Mamba mentality Kobe was famous for. What do you think it takes to get to the next level?
Giuseppe Zappala: I think it’s sustaining and keeping yourself relevant as much as possible while staying true to yourself. It’s obviously not easy, but yeah. Many artists that break, will have that one come up. Everyone has that come up, you know? And I think the artists have the longevity and that have proved themselves and had multiple come ups within their career because there are levels to this shit. There are defining moments in people’s careers that really elevate them to another level.
DC: Absolutely. That’s such facts. Well said. What do you think was like that first defining moment for Tecca? Like that first big move that was made.
Giuseppe Zappala: The first song that I properly helped Tecca release was “Count Me Out”, which we dropped on Elevator. Obviously, we did some marketing for that and I think the video had hit like 100K in his first week, which was just a huge, huge accomplishment. I think that’s the song that put him on most labels radars. A lot of people were reaching out to us after that. For me, it would be like the fact that every label laughed in our face throughout our whole come-up and we got on the Billboard Hot 100 independently. Getting on the Hot 100 with no label was pretty surreal.
DC: Sheesh, that probably completely changed the context and conversation with any label from that point on. That’s major.
Giuseppe Zappala: There are definitely so many great memories along the way. Defining moments. Whether it’s shooting the “Ransom” video, or when Tecca went on tour with Mosey. Just seeing all the fans that he has in real life. When he got his first number one worldwide new and trending songs on SoundCloud, that’s amazing. His first song ever to chart on any chart on SoundCloud. So I think there were like, you know, there are so many great moments and memories along the way then I think it’s important to remember those small ones. When you’re caught up with a hit song, I feel like you’re on such a high, maybe within the moment that you’re blinded. So I think it’s important to humble yourself too. And really remember those small moments too.
DC: Thanks for taking the time to talk, bro. It was great learning more about your journey with Tecca and WAV. There were definitely a lot of interesting points that you made. Hope y’all enjoy it down there in Miami!
Don’t forget to support his artists Tecca, WAV and newly signed, Guwop Reign. I’ve put a few links below if you’re not already hip.