Jasmine Collier is the type of tour manager who sees a challenge as a chance to grow, and has helped R&B talents Joyce Wrice and Kiana Ledé overcome obstacles on the road while gaining new fans.
“[Kiana Ledé’s] fans will be crying when she talks about her experiences because they feel really connected. We didn’t have much to work with – just keys and guitar – and she still killed it. If people came just for Ella Mai, they definitely left being a fan of hers,” Collier told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” she discusses the evolution of Joyce Wrice’s live show, the camaraderie between Ella Mai, Kiana Ledé and Lucky Daye on “The Debut Tour,” and juggling three acts at Day N Vegas. Read the chat below.
When did you start working with Kiana Ledé?
I started working with Kiana Ledé in 2018 as a tour manager. My tour managing turned into me becoming a day-to-day for her at the end of 2019 because I was doing more than the normal tour manager was doing for her. I stopped working on her team during the pandemic, but we’re still really good friends. I helped them with a few shows when shows came back this year.
What was it like being on Ella Mai’s “The Debut Tour” in 2019 with Kiana?
That was my first major tour and the most challenging tour of my life — not necessarily in a bad way. There were a lot of elements thrown at me. I was added on that tour at the last minute. The first stop of the tour was in Vancouver and our sprinter got broken into. That was not how I wanted to start. We had a lot of technical difficulties with our engineers, so we had to switch out engineers two or three times. It was challenging but, it taught me a lot.
What was a typical show on that tour like?
She was direct support and Lucky Daye was the opener. It would start with Lucky doing his set for 20-25 minutes. That was just when he was starting to pop. I think it was some of his first live shows too. That was really cool to witness. After him, Kiana would come on right before Ella. For Kiana, there wasn’t any in-depth stage design because as the support you get less everything. We had to ask if we could bring this or that because it’s whatever the headliner wants. It was a very stripped down version of her normal show.
She’s such an amazing performer that there could be no set design, lighting or anything and she’s going to light up the stage. She’s so captivating. She’s an amazing vocalist but she also works the stage well. She knows what to say while transitioning from track to track. Her fans will be crying when she talks about her experiences because they feel really connected. We didn’t have much to work with – just keys and guitar – and she still killed it. If people came just for Ella Mai, they definitely left being a fan of hers.
Which of her songs got the biggest reaction live?
Definitely “Ex.” That was her hit song at the time, and it was just in its prime. “Ex” is the crowd pleaser.
Is there one show that sticks out to you?
Atlanta is always the city that shows up. They love R&B music and they know the lyrics. They’re super-fans. Kiana loves Atlanta. We go to the strip club and eat good food. So, I’d definitely say Atlanta. New York, as well. Also, Arizona, because Kiana is from Phoenix. I think we did Tucson and Phoenix, and the hometown love was strong.
What was the camaraderie like backstage between Lucky, Kiana and Ella?
Everyone was in the beginning stages of their career, on their first major tour, so everyone was trying to get their stuff together. In the beginning, everyone was trying to get their logistics together. But, by the middle and end of the tour, it was fun. When we were in Toronto, we all went out to an after-hours Jamaican spot. That was really fun. There was a random, small city where we went bowling in. Obviously, when we went to Atlanta, we all went to Magic City together. In the beginning, it was business. It definitely grew over time. In the last city, we were all really tight like a family.
After that tour, Kiana headlined her own “Myself Tour.” What was that experience like compared to the first tour?
It was incredible. That was when her Myself EP came out. We hit the same locations we hit with Ella, so it was cool seeing her grow. People were coming up to us and saying they discovered her on Ella’s tour and that they were back. That was dope. We did a Europe tour after that. She’s one of the hardest working women I know. Before the pandemic, we had a Europe tour and a headlining tour that we did the planning and logistics for that we had to postpone.
What went into the “Myself Tour” creatively and logistically?
She wanted it to be aligned and cohesive with her Myself project. So, the laminates for the crew were pink. We kept a pink and luxurious theme, she had a pink backdrop as one of her main props. The lighting was more extensive. Everything we did matched that. We got custom tour jackets made for everyone, which were also pink. We were constricted a bit because it wasn’t a huge budget increase but for what we did, it was incredible.
How did the tour change you as a tour manager?
Everyone behind the scenes doesn’t get the credit they deserve. In general, I went into that tour not knowing anything about a tour of that size. I came out of there feeling a lot more knowledgeable. I gained a lot more tips. I didn’t know basic things. I remember calling one of her managers at the time asking, “What should I do with this?” He was like, “You’re the tour manager. You need to figure it out.”
My problem solving and ability to work under pressure got a lot better. New York is always a big show because the label executives come, the DSPs, brands, and everyone come out. When they showed up there, they hadn’t seen me for weeks and were probably looking for the same green tour manager they hired. But, I was like, “I’m good. This was fixed. We have this in order.” They were like, “Wow, it’s only been a few weeks and you have it locked.”
Moving on to your work with Joyce Wrice. What was the first show you saw of hers?
That’s actually funny because Joyce and I are childhood friends. I’ve known her forever. She would always sing for fun, and I’d always be like, “You need to take this seriously.” But she was very shy. She was getting buzz on YouTube, but she wasn’t trying to be in the spotlight. We went to college and music was just a side thing until she started taking it more seriously in 2013/2014. I was already working in music with other people. The first time I saw her perform was at this Jazz cafe in Culver City. She was doing that to get comfortable.
How has her live show evolved over the years?
It definitely has evolved (laughs). With a lot of this stuff, money is a big thing. I don’t think people realize how much money it takes to put on a good live show. You need money. In the beginning, it was her and her two friends dancing in cute outfits. There were no visuals or lighting. In the summer of this year, after the Overgrown album came out, we did a virtual performance with Moment House, and that was probably the most production we’ve had. There were floor-to-ceiling LED walls around her. There was a full band and two dancers. We had two crane cameras. There was an amazing lighting package. Going from the small stage in the Jazz cafe in Culver City to her doing this live stream with big production was really dope to see. Now, we’re incorporating a lot of dancing and our band is a lot stronger.
How has the rider evolved over the years?
Joyce’s rider has not changed. She has moments when she can be high maintenance, but she is very low maintenance. I have seen many riders. I’ve seen tour managers have their own riders. Her rider has been the same this whole time. I tell her, “Don’t you want to add this or that?” She’ll go, “Oh, I didn’t think about that.” Her rider is hot water, lemon, honey, throat coat, tea, vegetables, fruit, water, and Skinny Popcorn. I’ve seen other artists have riders that are two – three pages. They’d get weed, fresh pair of Air Force 1s, and one person I saw required a masseuse. I’ve seen some pretty great riders, but Joyce’s is very minimal. I think as she starts to tour and sees what the necessities are, she’ll want more stuff. But, she’s really simple when it comes to that.
What’s the most memorable shows she’s done?
Maybe London. We went to London [on October 29]. It was a small venue because our agent suggested we play it safe because COVID has drastically affected ticket sales. We sold out in less than 24 hours. The show flew by because she was having such a good time. The fans were packed like sardines in this little venue in London and they knew all of the words, she didn’t even need to sing. They showed up hours before. The line outside was crazy. We hadn’t done any in-person shows during the pandemic. So to know this album was put out in March and people in London already knew all the words shows they had been living with this album. She also opened up for Kaytranada right before that for three sold out shows in New York.
What are her “tour hits”?
“Chandler,” which is the intro to Joyce’s album, has always been a favorite of ours and it starts off the live set, as well. Also, “Kaytra’s Interlude.” It’s a very short song, but people love singing along to that song. Also, “Must Be Nice.” It wasn’t a proper single, so we weren’t as pressed as we were about the other singles, but, that song is nuts live. People love that song live.
Let’s move on to Day N Vegas where you worked performances of D Smoke, Victoria Monet and Joyce Wrice. What was that experience like?
It was great. I was challenged because I had D Smoke and Joyce on the same day on different stages. I had Victoria the next day. It was difficult juggling everything. Everyone had a different artist relations person. Everyone had a different location for their trailer. To make my life easier, I put everyone at the same hotel location and I just coordinated. Victoria’s manager is amazing and super involved. She was a help. With Joyce, I have a co-manager named Eddie who was also there and a big help. D Smoke has two managers who were there too. It was really intense for me, but it all worked out. Everyone was very supportive of each other. Joyce watched Victoria Monet’s set, and some of Joyce’s band watched D. Smoke. For people who don’t know, “advancing” is getting everything prepared for the day of. So, your arrival time, backline, guest list, rider or anything you need. Advancing three different people for a festival is time-consuming and can be confusing. I had low energy after the two days, but it was worth it. They all had amazing sets.
What were some of their different needs?
All of their setups were different. D. Smoke had a DJ and violinist, which is his wife. He’s mellow. He’s super easy to work with. It was cool. It was pretty minimal in terms of set up. His visuals were dope. I had the same guy do his visuals who did the visuals for Joyce. Joyce had a four piece band with dancers. Moving around with D. Smoke, I’m moving around with two golf carts, with Joyce, I’m moving around with 3 or 4 golf carts because I’m moving around with a [behind-the-scenes] photographer, regular photographer, four musicians, two dancers, choreographer, two engineers, a co-manager, and Joyce. Victoria was the most intense because she had a six-piece band, keys, drums, guitar, bass, two horns, dancers, total a crew of about 25 people. She’s also a mom, so she had to be a mom still. We did a two-hour soundcheck in the morning, a line check before the show, and then the show. It went up gradually with each act I worked with at Day N Vegas.
What do you have coming up for 2022?
I’m probably going to do a few more tours. I’m helping D. Smoke’s team with a tour. Joyce is going to be touring with Lucky Daye in the spring. Hopefully festival season is going to come back. I’ll be doing the same thing I was doing at Day N Vegas (laughs).