On November 18th I joined more than 700 artists, managers and music industry professionals at the Bloomsbury Big Top for the 2021 Artist & Manager Awards in association with SoundCloud.
Co-founded by the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the Music Managers Forum (MMF), the event was crowned by a final-hour appearance from Elton John and David Furnish to pick up their prestigious Artist & Manager Partnership Award, sponsored by PPL and I was sat at a fab table full of music industry acts and bigwigs courtesy of Music Mangers Forum General Manager Anneliese Harmon.
Marking an incredible lifetime of achievements in music, the joint award put special focus on Elton and David’s recent successes, including the award-winning 2019 biopic Rocketman, the best-selling memoir Me and this year’s number one single Cold Heart (Pnau Remix) (with Dua Lipa) and album The Lockdown Sessions. Attendees also celebrated the couple’s generous advocacy and charity work, particularly through the Elton John AIDS Foundation, their championing of young upcoming artists and their vocal role in demanding solutions to post-Brexit touring of Europe.
Elton and David’s award was presented by Rina Sawayama, who was also revealed as 2021’s Breakthrough Artist (sponsored by Spotify).
Other artists recognised on the night included Little Simz (Artist of the Year, sponsored by Amazon Music), Mogwai (Pioneer) and BICEP, who shared their award for Innovation (sponsored by TikTok) with their management team at This Is Music.
Three award categories for music management were collected by female winners, with Amy Morgan (September Management) receiving Manager of the Year (sponsored by YouTube Music) for her incredible record-breaking work with Glass Animals, and Grace Ladoja MBE (Metallic Inc) receiving the Entrepreneur Award in recognition of her bridge-building between music scenes in the UK and Nigeria.
Kayleigh Thorpe (Little Runaway Management) was revealed as the 2021 Breakthrough Manager for her astonishing work with Gerry Cinnamon.
The FAC and MMF also celebrated some highly significant industry successes, with The Black Music Coalition receiving their richly deserved award as Industry Champions from Alex Boateng (Co-President 0207 Def Jam), Joe Kentish (President, Warner Records UK) and Taponeswa Mavunga (Director of Africa, Sony Music UK). Karma Artists, also celebrating their 10th anniversary, were a highly popular choice as Writer / Producer Manager, while YMU Music Group were presented with the Team Achievement Award by Kurupt FM’s Chabuddy G for their range of groundbreaking inclusion initiatives, including a Mental Health and Well-Being programme for clients and staff.
Featuring show-stopping performances from Wes Nelson & Hardy Caprio, The Anchoress and Lucy McWilliams, the Artist & Manager Awards was presented by Capital FM’s Roman Kemp and featured a red carpet reception courtesy of luxury boutique jewellery studio A Jewellers.
Commenting after the Awards, Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive, Music Managers Forum and David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition said:
“Coming together again with friends and colleagues feels such a hugely positive and symbolic step forward. Tonight’s Awards was about celebrating music, talent, innovation and camaraderie across the artist and management community – whether that’s individuals at the start of their careers, survivors and legends, or those still standing after decades.”
The full list of winners were:
Artist & Manager Award 2021 in association with SoundCloud:
- Artist & Manager Partnership (sponsored by PPL): ELTON JOHN & DAVID FURNISH (ROCKET ENTERTAINMENT
- Artist of the Year (sponsored by Amazon Music): LITTLE SIMZ
- Manager of the Year (sponsored by YouTube Music): AMY MORGAN (SEPTEMBER MANAGEMENT)
- Breakthrough Artist (sponsored by Spotify): RINA SAWAYAMA
- Breakthrough Manager: KAYLEIGH THORPE (LITTLE RUNAWAY MANAGEMENT)
- Entrepreneur: GRACE LADOJA MBE (METALLIC INC)
- Pioneer: MOGWAI
- Innovation (Sponsored by TikTok): BICEP and THIS IS MUSIC
- Industry Champions: THE BLACK MUSIC COALITION
- Writer / Producer Manager: KARMA ARTISTS
- Team Achievement: YMU MUSIC GROUP