It’s no longer enough for top-tier musicians to have a stylist to choose their outfits or a photographer to snap good pictures for Instagram. These days, artists are seeking out creative direction with more frequency than ever, tapping people to oversee their entire creative vision.
Insert Original Creative Agency, which is the world’s first agency that strictly represents creative directors. OCA, as it is known, was founded by two former artists, Jesse Rose and Jesse Rogg, and is behind the creative directors of 90 percent of the top 1 percent of musicians. After establishing themselves with music’s biggest creative forces, Rose and Rogg are expanding the world of creative direction and adding in more clients in the culture, entertainment and fashion space.
In the past year alone, OCA has worked with clients like Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Steve Lacy, Nicki Minaj, A24, Cardi B, Machine Gun Kelly, Apple, Alicia Keys and many more, and in the fashion world they’ve just begun working with Humberto Leon and Sarah Bassett.
Rose and Rogg met several years ago when they were both music producers and Rose had an artist who was signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music label, “and I needed someone who came more from a music production standpoint,” Rose says. “I come more from the dance, underground house music world, and so I asked Jesse if we could produce this artist together.” They started producing artists together and a few years later had the idea to form their agency.
“When we started our company, Kanye was leading the idea of having a creative team, but also Beyoncé had a creative team as well. And so, our kind of job was like, ‘How can we give other artists a creative team and facilitate that for them?’” Rose says. “And slowly over the last five years, it’s just become more and more essential.”
“I know that the term creative director is a slightly nebulous term. It can mean many different things,” Rogg says. “To us, it really means to be the architect of the entire creative universe for an artist, or a brand, or whoever a client is, and to make sure that house gets built properly, and the story gets told properly and whatnot.”
They explain that while it may seem like a flex for an artist to have a creative director, it truly only is successful when the artist is committed and involved.
“There are just so many different touchpoints right now. Before you just had a magazine and you had an album cover and you had a video, and now you have all the different types of online and social media and just so many different platforms to make it coherent. It’s just super important,” Rose says.
Rogg notes that recently they’ve noticed an emphasis on live and experiential initiatives coming out of the pandemic lockdowns, with artists embarking on rescheduled tours. There is also a high number of brand partnerships and collaborations, which they note used to have negative connotations.
“I think that world is coming into its own in a sense that it’s not considered to be selling out anymore to collaborate with a brand,” Rogg says. “A lot of times brands provide opportunities and do things financially that you maybe weren’t able to do without them.
“Even more so, the right collaboration can actually excel someone’s career,” Rose adds.
“It’s funny because we started off knowing that in music, that there wasn’t an agency that just represented creative directors and, in our minds, we believed that there would be an agency in fashion or in other types of industries that would represent creative directors for that industry. And then, we slowly realized that there wasn’t,” Rose says. “So now we’re working with directors more from the fashion world, in athleisure streetwear, but then we’ve also been approached by apps. So it’s really interesting for us, we’ll just get to work across multiple mediums. And really the reason that people come to us is because they want to tell a cohesive story and I feel like that works for any company.”