My name is MARK TOLLISS and I am the Sole Manager of the most talented, genuine and giving urban singer/songwriter/rappers that I have ever met …. LEO GOLDEN CHILD.
Fate plays a big part in life and the way I met Leo (Howard Richards) was just that.
I have been a professional singer / entertainer / compere / DJ for the last 25 years and still perform all over UK and Europe.
One afternoon, nearly 7 years ago, I was shopping in Marks & Spencers, Birmingham and was in the queue waiting to be served.
Tired after gigging the 2 previous nights, I was yawning when the cashier asked if I’d been working too hard … it was Leo.
I simply answered yes, I’ve been gigging for 2 nights and have another gig tonight !!! Leo’s response was something along the lines of “Gigging? What do you do? I am looking to do that too …. “ It turned out that Leo was not very confident about his singing and I told him that a lot of it was in the mind …. fear of being judged was not allowing him to let his full potential out and I offered to give him some vocal coaching.
From that conversation, I offered my help in any way I could. I wasn’t a Manager, had never wanted to be one and I had never overseen someones career but there was something authentic and warm about Leo which is why I offered to help him out.
Leo brought his Mother Patricia over to my house and we just got on like we’d always known each other.
We talked about the music he was creating, the sort of voice he had and wanted to aspire to and we got set to improving what was already there. For me it was easy, Leo had all the raw talent waiting to come out … throughout that period, it was just about finding the key to unlock it all and let it out.
For a couple of years after that, we didn’t see or hear of each other and neither of us can pinpoint how we got back in touch at all. We can’t remember a phone call, a meeting or even an opportune ‘bump into each other’ which is really strange …. fate again !!!
Since we got talking again around 10 months ago, we have talked pretty much every day and built the strongest bond together to the point he says I’m like the ‘Dad he never had’ … that means the world to me, and so does Leo and his family.
We have done so much together in such a short space of time and although we have worked very hard …. it has felt pretty easy too.
When Leo asked me to be his Manager, I said that I didn’t want to as I have a career of my own but would help out however I could.
Since then, I haven’t stopped making contacts, calls, emails, Twitter, Facebook, creating a website, designing flyers, getting bookings, organising and accompanying Leo on the Stay Positive School Tour, designing and ordering wristbands and just being a shoulder for Leo in life in general.
Many people in the industry that Leo was dealing with have said ‘Whose this Mark? He is doing so much for you. He’s doing more than a Manager would”.
Well that hit home and although I have had no real experience in Managing, I have such a wealth of knowledge about he industry and performing that I agreed and we have had the strongest relationship ever since.
I will say strongly now though … Manager is just a ‘title’ …. I am Leo’s friend first so as such, I am simply guiding a friend through a tricky industry.
I will never let Leo be misrepresented, misguided or be used to better someone else’s career so I guess I am also like his Guardian.
We give a lot back as you can see from the School Tour Page and Charity performances and I truly believe that you get out of life what you put in which is why Leo is now gaining some great offers for performances such as Osfest and performing with such named artists.
There have been so many good people around us at different times that it really gives us the strength to carry on delivering the message of Positivity for many, many years to come.
I am honoured to be Leo’s friend, Leo’s Manager, Leo’s Mentor and I will my not rest til Leo’s life, Leo’s music and Leo’s Legacy reaches as far as possible.
Thank you Leo and thank you to all of Leo’s supporters for welcoming me into the #goldenfamily with such warmth and affection ….. it’s been really beautiful and long may it continue xxxx