How I ended up as my favorite artist’s road manager

Not everyone is given the chance to work with their ultimate idol. For me, that was singer-songwriter, Reese Lansangan. So when the opportunity for me to be her road manager came to my doorstep, I didn’t miss it for the world. Little did I know, it would open endless doors for me. An opening to know more amazing people, to more opportunities, and of course, a door to be a better person.

As a young fan, still grinding to get that degree, this could all be overwhelming. But I’m being honest when I say this became an opening for me.

It’s been a while since Reese’s tracks turned me into a self-proclaimed “Batang Lansangan” or a Reese Kid, but my fate changed on Valentines 2016. I decided to watch this free gig at a mall to see her. And hey, free stuff is the life blood of every student out there. As I watched Reese perform on stage, I couldn’t help but notice her manager fumbling over numerous tasks—from managing her merch table, to talking to the event organizer, and to entertaining fans.

That’s when I decided to skip the last two songs and help Reese’s manager. “Kailangan niyo po ng tulong?” (Do you need help?) I asked her. She accepted my offer and told me to hand the CDs to fans after giving her the payment.

Eventually, that supposed one-time, big-time stint became my regular gig night grind.

Being Reese Lansangan’s road manager opened endless doors for me. As a young fan, still working on a college degree, this could all be overwhelming. But I’m being honest when I say this opened endless opportunities for me.

Here are some lessons I have picked up from being my idol’s road manager for almost three years.

Her imperfections didn’t make me less of a fan. On the contrary, I love that I got to know her more.

So what does a road manager do?

I didn’t know I was a road manager when I became a road manager. I never really called myself anything until Miss Jmi, one of Reese’s managers, introduced me to someone as “Reese’s road manager.” That title alone left me startled.

After that introduction, I asked Miss Jmi, “RM na po ako?” (I’m an RM already?) Then, I proceeded to ask what a road manager does. It was like one big comic joke. Because basically, I’ve been an RM all this time and I didn’t know.

Sometimes, I’m still shy to say that I’m my idol’s road manager. Most of the time, it just really feels like helping and hanging out with her.

A road manager is someone who goes with the artists to gigs just in case the manager can’t; or when they need extra help with the small stuff. I take care of Reese’s merch, her stuff, sometimes her schedule and social media, and many more. Well of course, I also take care of her. And it’s the best job in the world.

 1. No one is born to love moderately

I first heard of Reese Lansangan in July of 2015. The moment she finished playing “A Song About Space,” I knew this girl was something. Her music calmed me down. It inspired me to make my own art. I was compelled to share her music to people because when I listen to it, I hear and feel magic.

I remember that I wanted Reese to become super popular. I wanted to share her music to people so badly that I came up with a project called #NotesFromSpace. This is where people would leave sticky notes with Reese lyrics on it and a link to her Twitter account. This small project I started reached not only Reese but also fans from Singapore.

This is where I learned that when you love, no matter what kind of love it is, it will ask you to give your all. Of course, their happiness is your happiness.

This is where I learned that when you love, no matter what kind of love it is, it will ask you to give your all. Of course, their happiness is your happiness. You’d do anything to support, to help, or to make your love felt. Be it buying them things, supporting them on the things they’re doing, being proud of them, offering words of comfort and affirmation, etc. Loving someone without asking anything in return but their happiness is love in its purest form.

2. Mistakes aren’t failures

I used to handle her online shop. I process the orders, pack the merch, and ship them. Then there came a month where I had a really hard time with school, friends, and even my own mental health. I had a back log of one whole month and people were asking for refunds because their order hadn’t been shipped yet. I really thought I was going to get fired after that. But when the team talked to me, I almost cried because they were so nice and understanding.

The real failure is when you don’t learn anything from your mistakes.

They told me to be more open and be comfortable with them. I was really shy and I kept apologizing for my shortcomings that time. When I expected screaming and angry faces, I got the polar opposite instead. That’s when I learned to always communicate with your team so the boat won’t sink with all of you in it.

This is when I learned that real failure is when you don’t learn anything from your mistakes. After messing up so many times, the team still welcomed and nurtured me. They didn’t look at me like I am lesser of a person because of it. A chance to do and be better, it’s something I’m super thankful for.

These obstacles made me a better person and taught me how to be professional. That’s something I can never learn in school or at home.

3. There is a line between being a fan and being a co-worker

Whoever said that “if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life” obviously hasn’t worked in their life. Work is work no matter how fun it is. Work is stressful, tiring, takes a lot of your time to the extent you miss on others things, and everything in between. But you love what you do, right? So it’s worth it. You don’t mind.

Work is stressful, tiring, takes a lot of your time to the extent you miss on others things, and everything in between. But you love what you do, right? So it’s worth it. You don’t mind.

When I work with the team, I always set aside my fanboy self. I make sure the tasks are done and it’s not mediocre. I contact these people, make sure the paperwork is done, get there before the call time, and let Reese have the time to breathe and practice on her own are just some of the things I won’t be able to do if I always squeal and panic like a fan.

However, there are also times where I use the fanboy inside me to work with her. For me to be able to share something, I must look at it in the perspective of a fan. “Will I like this? Will I buy this? How much will I pay for this merch?” And I have to be honest, sometimes, brutally honest. That’s what I’m here for.

4. Oversaturation does not kill admiration

To be honest, there are days and performances where I don’t sing along because I’ve heard this song so many times before. But there are nights, where I just have to close my eyes, put my hand on my chest, and breathe while she plays. It’s pure magic. There are days where I just don’t want it to end because the ideas are amazing or the jokes are too funny the laughs doesn’t run out.

I get to see her as who she is. I have seen Reese cry, stress over tech problems, be super tired in her sleeping clothes. That’s just something not everyone can see.

After seeing her discipline for what she does, the depth of her research and entire creative process, I only give more respect to this woman. I get to see her as who she is. I have seen Reese cry, stress over tech problems, be super tired in her sleeping clothes. That’s just something not everyone can see.

Her imperfections didn’t make me less of a fan. On the contrary, I love that I got to know her more. This made me a bigger fan boy that I already am. Why? Because I see her working hard for her craft and for her fans.

Working for Reese will always have a special place in my heart. No matter how demanding the job is, be it time or energy, I love what I’m doing. I’m more than willing to still give myself to the work that I’m doing. Because I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown a lot as a team player, as a person, and as a fan. I will always bring with me the things that I’ve learned and the memories we’ve made. Here’s to making more.

Art by Aira Ydette
Photos by Watson Vergara

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