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BIZ PRIDE: ELI GELERNTER

After graduating from Penn State, Eli Gelernter began his career as an intern at Wasserman Music. Working under Marty Diamond, he became a coordinator and senior coordinator before being promoted to agent earlier this year, representing such clients as RAYE, Wet Leg and FLO. Gelernter has been instrumental in developing and growing Wasserman’s Pride Festival business into a burgeoning, agencywide segment, and he’s responsible for securing headliners like Grace Jones and Idina Menzel on the lineup of this year’s OUTLOUD WeHo Pride.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

To me, Pride Month celebrations are all about creating safe spaces. My favorite part of booking our clients on Pride festivals is seeing queer folks of all ages, races and genders enjoying a show together as one.

What change would you like to see in the music industry in support of the LGBTQ+ community?

I’d like to see a removal of the unspoken assumption that there’s only a certain amount of space for queer artists to exist and be commercially successful. We need to get rid of rhetoric like, “X artist exists, so Y artist cannot.” That also goes for any minority or marginalized group outside the queer community.

How can agents better support their LGBTQ+ artists?

Allow your clients to express their queerness to you without expectations. Just like fingerprints, everyone’s queerness is unique. That goes for gender identity too. Call your clients, co-workers and everyone in your life by the pronouns with which they identify.

How can music lovers be allies?

Be loud about your support. Silence has never protected anyone.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, what unique perspectives do you have when it comes to the live music space?

As a queer person, I understand the need for celebration even in the toughest of times. I have a very deep thankfulness for my queerness, which I can express and share with my queer clients.

What are some of your favorite shows of those you’ve put on?

Having MARINA and Years & Years both headline OUTLOUD in West Hollywood last year was special. They both have a large queer audience, and those fans showed up—and out—for the shows.

What opportunities in the LGBTQ+ space have you secured for your clients this year?

The most impactful Prides to work on are the ones that exist outside major cities. Folks in L.A. and New York are more accustomed to going to safe queer spaces, but that’s not the case for people in every part of the country. Sometimes these Pride celebrations are the first chance queer people have been able to gather collectively and publicly celebrate their queerness as a community. Being able to book artists like G FLIP at Pride events in places like Missoula, Montana, and Pensacola, Florida, feels like it can touch people’s lives in a more impactful way.

That said, the bigger events are fun celebrations too. I booked a lot of the lineup at OUTLOUD in West Hollywood this year, including absolute icons Grace Jones and Idina Menzel. We also booked queer-friendly artists Cub Sport, DRAMA and Yung Bae at the event. It’s going to be amazing. Years & Years and Slayyyter playing Pride events in Chicago, and Cub Sport and DRAMA are also doing Utah Pride in Salt Lake City. There’s a lot to look forward to.

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