If Katie Vinten looks right at home in her new West Hollywood offices — and she does — it’s because the space is precisely the vibe she and her business partner, seasoned hitmaker Justin Tranter, were going for. “We wanted our physical structure as well as the sentiment around the business to feel like a home — and the minute you walk in, it feels like a place where you can truly be yourself, not a corporation,” Vinten says of the label and publishing venture they’ve christened Facet House. And while it may not be as spacious as the office she vacated as former co-head of A&R at Warner/Chappell Music, it’s perfect in their eyes.
“It may be small but it’s f–ing fabulous,” adds Tranter, who handled interior design duties himself. Whimsical touches include a faux rhino head wall mount, orange polka-dot chairs and diamond-shaped windows that allude to the company’s name. Artwork inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s last movie, “The Misfits,” adorns the walls as do painted “family portraits” of their diverse roster. How does Tranter describe his aesthetic? “Very chic but also distressed, really colorful but industrial,” he says. “It’s like my brain exploded.”
Vinten laughs. She can recall the exact moment she decided to walk away from the security of her “traditional role in corporate America,” as she puts it: When she found out that she was pregnant with her daughter. “Anyone who has experienced being a working mom in the entertainment industry knows you don’t usually say, ‘Oh, my God — now’s the time to leave this job and take a risk,’” says Vinten of cofounding Facet House in 2018. Both recorded music and publishing operations are housed under the same roof along with a studio complete with an isolation booth and sunlight streaming through the windows — all neatly packed into a 930-square-foot property built in the 1930s. “But there is never going to be a perfect time,” she continues. “And once I found out I was having a girl, I wanted her to know that her mom took a bet on herself despite all the traditional anxieties that come along with motherhood. I wanted her to know that anything is possible. And I wanted to come back from maternity leave and feel like I started the next chapter of my work life. I was, like, ‘Let’s go for it!’”
Vinten swivels in her chair and gazes around the room, smiling at Tranter’s decorative flourishes. “I felt like the riskiest thing would be to not challenge myself, to not make the jump,” she says. This is a woman who named the management company she launched last fall — just another facet of Facet House — Black Diamond Artist Management after she tackled the most difficult of all ski slopes as a beginner. She did it just to prove a point to her husband, Aaron, who also has an entrepreneurial streak: He’s the head chef and founder of The Athlete’s Table. (On a related note: Vinten named their one-year-old daughter, Quinn, after a fictional assassin; the couple also have a three-year-old son, Maverick.)
And Vinten has a lot to prove to the male execs in music industry, where getting pregnant is evidently still considered a career risk by some. “I have heard — at the executive level — where people are like, ‘Oh, good for her: She’s chosen to be a mom,’” Vinten laments in a patronizing tone. “Or: ‘Good for her: She chose to really dive into her work.’ Like that’s supposed to be better? And I’m, like, ‘Wow! It’s interesting that you feel that way.’” (Notes Tranter: “Professionally, Katie was the first woman I was ever able to work with because there weren’t any women to work with — because the industry is so misogynistic that those doors won’t open.”)
To be fair, Vinten’s mentor at Warner/Chappell, philanthropist and noted family man Jon Platt, who now heads Sony/ATV Music Publishing, was nothing but supportive, she emphasizes. “But I have experienced managers of some artists and even songwriters who were, like, ‘Oh, you’re pregnant? That means you won’t be working,’” Vinten says. “Fortunately enough in this new position, I choose who I work with. And if that’s how you view that dynamic then I’m not the person you should be working with. Because having children allowed me to find another level I didn’t know I had — and to dig deeper. I thought I worked hard before, but I’ve never worked harder in my life. So the joke is on the people that think [motherhood] holds you back. Because it couldn’t be further from the truth — and I feel like it’s my responsibility to show them.”
Vinten, who worked with such writers as Julia Michaels, Audra Mae (Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert), Captain Cuts (Walk the Moon, Halsey), Nick Monson (Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas) and Felix Snow (SZA, Kiiara) during her six years at Warner/Chappell, seems to have found the perfect partner in Tranter. The gender-nonconforming Grammy- and Golden Globe-nominated songwriter and producer strives to be a change agent for the music industry — “building a community for artists” and achieving ownership are just the latest examples. “If I hadn’t met Katie, this whole career would never have happened,” says Tranter, who Vinten started placing in sessions at the beginning of 2013. Tranter scored his first No. 1 in 2015 as a cowriter on Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and went on to credits on hits by Selena Gomez, Imagine Dragons and Fall Out Boy, among others. “I didn’t set out to be a pop songwriter, but she opened that door for me.”
Indeed, she’s opened doors for many diverse voices over the years, while also shattering a glass ceiling or two. Says Tranter: “How did Katie become one of the most powerful people in the music business? She works harder than anyone I have ever met, that is a huge part of it. And her instincts are amazing. Her creative ideas for combinations of writers and artists — the right people to put together — and what a song can do for somebody are all at the highest level. [All of that] creates a pretty magical, beautiful combination.” Of course, the same could be said for their partnership where Vinten is the embodiment of “a boss” and Tranter prefers to be thought of as “Grandma.” Meet the music industry’s new platonic power couple.