I’m hosting the #DigitalCultureAwards on January 20 2022!
Arts Council England and the Digital Culture Network are two platforms that I feel passionately about as they support organisations across the UK with creative recognition. Arts Council England are excited to present the first Digital Culture Awards – celebrating digital and tech innovation in arts and culture.
Arts Council England received over 400 entries and all the brilliant Judges have narrowed those down to a Shortlist of just 29. We’ll be announcing the Winners at this virtual event on 20 January 2022, and we all hope you’ll join us to celebrate all the inspiring work that so many UK wide orgs have accomplished in the past 2 years.
The event will be hosted by me and will feature appearances from our Judges and other inspiring guests, including Kanya King CBE, founder and CEO of MOBO group and Darren Henley OBE, CEO of Arts Council England.
Who are the speakers?
Our expert Judges talking about their category and announcing the Winners:
Digital Storytelling: Tom Burton – Head of Interactive, BBC Studios
Digital Inclusion: Andrew Miller MBE – Cultural Consultant, Broadcaster and Disability Champion
Data Driven: Rishi Coupland – Head of Research and Insight, BFI
Income Generation: Liam Darbon – Head of Omnichannel Trading, Tate
Content Creation & Distribution: Derek Richards – Head of Broadcast & Digital, The Roundhouse and Sarah Fortescue – Head of Distribution, The Space
Being Social: Adam Koszary – Head of Digital, The Audience Agency
Since 2019, the Digital Culture Network has worked with over 1100 organisations and individuals and we never cease to be inspired by the innovation and agility our sector displays. This has never been more apparent than over the past 18 months, where organisations have embraced digital technology to reach and engage audiences in the most innovative and creative ways and at an incredible pace, demonstrating the real opportunities that digital can offer to support our sector as we move forward.
So, to celebrate your dedication and creativity, we asked for submissions which outlined the very best in digital transformation, digital engagement and use of technology in arts and culture in England. We took entries from across 8 categories including digital storytelling, digital inclusion, income generation and emerging digital leader and engaged a host of amazing experts as Judges to shortlist across 2 rounds. The Winners in 6 categories will be chose by our Judges, but our two publicly voted categories – Digital Inclusion and Digital Storytelling – will be decided by you!
Public voting is open until 12pm (midday) on Friday 14 January – vote now!
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
Jasmine was delighted to be in conversation between Nadia Khan for a PPL session for women aspiring to be on boards, looking at obstacles women in the workplace face, from the gender pay gap to how we tackle systemic bias.
This session was a continuation of the Board Development Programme on which PPL collaborates with Women in CTRL.
Let’s face it, networking is an essential part of our jobs in television. Connecting with people, sharing ideas and exchanging experiences – it all makes for a happier, fairer and more diverse creative industry.
We talk about networking but do we prioritise it? Does it come naturally to you or are you a bit intimidated? Is it time for you to reach out?
On November 16th Jasmine sat on the Royal Television Society panel sharing hacks about networking.
Meet 3 of the best in the business – brilliant networkers whose work relies on their ability to build relationships across the industry.
Jasmine Dotiwala, Warner Brothers’ Andrew Zein and Simone Pennant of The TV Collective will be sharing their insights and anecdotes, giving you some dos and don’ts, and telling us how they managed to keep their networks alive in these last months of Covid-19.
You’ll also have the chance to network with your co-attendees in break out rooms at the end of the session.
Hosted by Daisy Church, Media Trust.
Access: This event will be closed-captioned. Should you have any particular access needs beyond this which we can reasonably accommodate please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Zein – Andrew’s role at Warner Bros as SVP Creative, Format Development & Sales has him responsible Creative oversight of the development and production of programming and the exploitation of all forms of content within the WB International Television Production division (24 production companies, across 14 different countries.) He is also responsible for driving creative development within international production, steering the business to develop locally created properties into global formats and fostering co-developments across the group.
Prior to joining Warner Bros, he was Managing Director of Tiger Aspect Productions, one of the UK’s leading independent television producers, for 13 years.
Jasmine Dotiwala – Jasmine has over 25 years of experience as a Head of department, manager, broadcaster, producer, director and columnist at brands like Netflix UK, Media Trust, Channel 4 News, MTV and more. In 2020 she moved into a role working with the Netflix UK Editorial & Publishing team. She continues to support Media Trust programmes.
In addition, Jasmine continues to report on ground-breaking arts and culture stories for Channel 4 news and Sky News. She also appears as a regular panel guest on Jeremy Vine on 5.
Simone Pennant MBE – Simone Pennant MBE established The TV Collective (TVC) over 10 years ago. TVC, is a networking resource that coaches, champions and connects TV professionals with a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background to paid opportunities in the industry and to each other. Last year, Simone through TVC worked with Channel 5 and successfully diversified its supplier base, and as a result, the broadcaster is now working with nine new production companies led by people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.
More recently, she hosted a series of networking events which aimed to build better relationships between BBC Two commissioners and senior producers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. Simone is currently collaborating with Channel 4 on their 2020 accelerator programme, where ten Indies have been matched with Commissioning Heads of Department for unscripted genres to work together towards a commission.
She is a member of Bafta, and a juror for both the RTS and Broadcast Awards. In 2018 was awarded an MBE for her services to the Media industry.
London’s Evening Standard newspaper in partnership with Netflix UK hosted a long 3 day weekend of screenings, seminars and panels full of the best UK talent across film.
Starting on Friday 23rd at Londons Picturehouse Central a lovely evening where ES Editor Emily Sheffield hosted and welcomed us to celebrate new up & coming writers of their writers competition to recognise diverse screen talent across the industry.
So many incredible speakers, actors, writers, poets and more gathered all weekend to share their journeys and skills with the gathered audience.
My favourite panels so far are the Sex Education cast, followed by cast and creator of Top Boy …Ashley Walters and Ronan Bennett shared the history of the now global brand and shone a light on their development training programmes with Netflix revealing that directors, producers and editors had come up through the ranks to now being fully fledged talents in their own right and thriving in the screen industry!
Stand out quotes for me were:
Creator Ronan Bennett says when he first took #TopBoy into pitch to the BBC they had a problem with the word “milf”. “I thought if u have a problem with the word Milf then the whole of TopBoy isn’t going to be for you”
Lead character Ashley Walters says he never expected #TopBoy to become the beast that it became over the past 12 years, how he’s taken the younger new actors under his wing and mentoring them as they come up and why he’s proud to be a part of the show.
“Like communities in Ireland where I’m from, or Hackney, when u come from a community that’s demonised/shown to have no moral centre,I wanted to present them in a humane way.I spoke to youth to find out what was important in their lives, hence the trainer’s narrative” Ronan Bennett.
“a big thing the pandemic taught me was to be grateful and happy to spend time with the people who i love. I spent months playing playstation”. Says @OAraloyin @topboynetflix
“Netflix have given us the freedom to tell the story at scale. As a storyteller at Netflix u can invest more into the characters narrative. Netflix has given us creative freedom, an amazing platform and the space to tell the story honestly” says TopBoy creator Ronan Bennett.
Other sessions that were brilliant were of course the ever effervescent Ricky Gervais and Stormzy’s MERKY Books talent imprint. A great weekend nod to the incredible talent across the UK screen industries. Great job everyone at Evening Standard and Netflix UK!
On Monday 30th August I was invited by Afronation Parties to join their red iconic tour bus which was travelling around the capital with an open top deck where South African Major League DJ twins were hosting an afternoon of music for friends in the UK before headlining their show at the docklands East Winter Gardens venue. What better than to mix business with pleasure, so I invited Channel 4 News to join us and hear all about the music genre thats been overtaking charts, radios, music festivals and parties!
finds itself in the global limelight more and more these days, gifting us different
sounds to the music space.
The Major League DJZ are twins, and are both cultural ambassadors of AMAPIANO- the latest music genre from south Africa, causing excitement with music fans. They spent a few weeks touring here this summer, with sell out shows across the country- and sharing the music with British fans. In the news piece for Channel 4 News they shared what the reaction of the audiences has been like across the UK.
My father’s ancestors are East African- Kenyan- and to see the journey of various genres of music from across the African continent is awesome to observe. The twins told me what it meant to them that amapiano from South Africa is an internationally recognised sound being played in countries like Canada, Belgium, Spain, Britain & what this means for the future of the sound.
We discussed what draws people to the amapiano sound, what makes the sound uniquely South African, why its been successful crossing over, and its history.
We talked about why most amapiano isn’t sung in English- and how much that might stop it becoming bigger, or its global potential. (South Africans can be put off by English language in their local songs)
There was a time when music stars would try and make music with American accents. Amapiano proudly embraces South African language- fans are singing along without knowing what the words mean…I finally understand the fans all across Asia who i filmed when on tour with Jay Z and they were singing along without always understanding what they were saying.
So many talented South African artists have worked tirelessly in creating and establishing the genre. but are they getting enough credit?
Amapiano, is still in its infancy stage but collaborations between SA acts and music stars from other parts of the African continent are happening, as well as European and American music stars attempting to make amapiano songs but have met with negative response because they haven’t always done it with giving credit to its originators.
MAJOR LEAGUE DJZ are actually producers as well as DJ’s. They were introduced to the amapiano sound whilst they were dj’s mainly hip hop originally. They were born in Boston/USA, because their family were in exile as their father was a politician. they then returned to South Africa as 4-year-olds.
The twins then promoted high school parties and now because they have dual nationality passports, are able to travel across borders more easily than other local SA acts might be able to.
Their parents met via their mutual friendship with the South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela! …and the twins recall being surrounded with music as kids as their dad had them play piano often.
Their name Major League came about due to their love of baseball from their time spent as kids in USA. In fact, their ” Major League Gardens” events brand is well known in SA, the experience see’s music with games, sports /skating /food/drinks.
The twin DJs are also known for creating unique BALCONY MIXES which is them djing on famous balconies across the world. How has the
pandemic impacted your music and other SA
music acts, and how did you all keep your sound going?
AMAPIANO’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL IMPACT
When amapiano first emerged, the music was Initially criticised and dismissed as inferior by the usual radio gatekeepers, but its township sound is now one of the biggest music genres in South Africa – the sound blew-up without traditional radio and media support. (It was shared initially via social media and Youtube and whatsapp instead of radio.
Amapiano has come from humble beginnings, to now being a staple sub-genre in South Africa thats taken the music world by storm,…but It’s not just the music that has fans excited, but also the dancing – see the Netflix film-JIVA and the millions of viral dances on Tik- Tok.
Another way that Amapiano has become popular is amongst young South Africans and social media influencers. They use amapiano songs in their videos and that’s how the music became popular.
Interestingly, amapiano has helped young black South Africans form their own identity. Amapiano acts have developed and created their own music business ecosystem and can perform live internationally and have a career without the traditional gatekeepers support.
There’s been news of constant conflict and political unrest in south Africa- yet amapiano has helped young south Africans deal with this by creating a distraction and focus to build a music business ecosystem pretty much like the grime music genre has done for young British black music acts.
The ultimate goal, the twins shared, was to take the sound to the world ”#pianototheworld” and win a Grammy!
On Tuesday 7th September I produced a panel for my RTS Futures Committee
Years ago, TV stars came from rigid, traditional, established routes which included showreels, auditions and agents. Today, the power of the internet and social media platforms are catapulting talent from social media to our TV screens.
Tik Tok, YouTube and Instagram are now developing their personal brands, creating their own content and fanbases and TV Commissioners are scrambling to sign them up. Come and hear from social media stars who are infiltrating British TV screens in this RTS Futures session ‘From Social Media to TV Screens’.
A national audience of young people joined Grime MC and host of his own TV show on Channel 4, Big Narstie, multimedia broadcaster on Capital Xtra and Sky Arts, Remel London, Snapchat stars Man Like Haks and Stevo The Madman, to hear about their very different journeys from social media to screen stars. Chaired by Navi Lamba, E4’s Digital Executive.
It was a fascinated conversation where numerous tips and insights into the world of influencers, and diversity and inclusion were shared by the panel. Some of the key quotes are below:
#ManLikeHaks says he was making videos originally for the adults and then his audience expanded to everyone who enjoys comedy and wants to be lifted up, his fans are from all across the globe. 5.5million snapchat followers!
‘All of us are the same on socials as we are in real life. sometimes in this industry u get a 3 year run, but we’ve managed to stay relevant and have longevity by finding various paths and staying on top of platforms and pivot to keep our audience engaged’ said @StevoTheMadMan
Big Narstie – ”Music is my main career, but TV found me cos I capitalise being at the right place at the right time! Making funny videos wasn’t the plan, we just made videos with our mates! I’m SW4 Lambeth Certified Lover Boy! SHABBA! ‘
”When i started doing music, my brethren told mum i was doing drugs cos they didn’t believe music could be paying, so there was doubt/people trying to hold me back.I had faith in what I was doing.I really believe in me! Music/TV was an escape from the life i was in’ Big Narstie
I still feel v underrated.There is pretty/light privilege,Im a dark skinned woman, theres a fear of putting me on TV. I am a well spoken, I can be road, but I know how to talk, to everyone,I can do the job well.Theres a stigma of viewers not ‘getting’ dark skin women Remel London
‘My degree never got me on TV, it was social media, i made sure i was everywhere, doing everything, i loved my time at @linkuptv -they taught me to shoot/market..I’ve presented for multiple brands but I still don’t have a seat at the table & am still on my journey” Remel London
‘I had to teach myself how to shoot, promoting myself as much as possible on EVERY PLATFORM, and understanding how every platform works, following the commissioners, include all your links, cos u cant rely on TV to promote you’ Remel London
Man Like Haks ”’we taught ourselves how to be experts on every app, its not easy, I have to do everything myself, its empowering to know that I can make my own sketches, theres TV shows that don’t get the number of views that we get on our social media platforms’
‘they tried to cancel me for showing my toddler saying an explicit word’ revealed Stevo TheMadMan
‘my social media comments have been taken out of context, then people have tried to cancel/confront me & i had to avoid twitter cos of the abuse but now thats celebrated’ Remel London
‘start locally, grow your brand w/platforms who connect to you, reach out to commissioners said Navi Lamba
”i didn’t get paid for 3yrs cos i knew it would come” @StevoTheMadMan
You can see every single C4 commissioners emails on 4producers & u can ask coffee & share ideas said Navi Lamba
‘you’ve built your platform, keep building it, when Channel 4 and the BBC aren’t interested in your snapchat & insta anymore they will dump you. Keep building & owning your own content & brand’ Big Narstie
Some of the key takeaways our panel has shared included:
BIG NARSTIE TOLD US TO Capitalise and be in the right place at the right time when opportunity comes calling and come to your dream with an open heart, and use your own teams and talent to help to promote you
MAN LIKE HAKS emphasized that you have to be self taught and become experts on every social media platform
REMEL urged you to promote yourself all the time on every platform and follow the right people and tags anyone who might be interested
STEVO warned us about cancel culture and urged us all to be brutally honest on social media.
Some questions the panel left us with:
Are you doing enough on social media?
Can you use every platform like an expert?
Are you willing to put in the work and take the negative responses as well as the positive?
For many more monthly informative panels about how to get into the TV industry, do sign up to our RTS Futures page for more free sessions and information about how you can be a part of the TV industry. rts.org.uk
I started by exploring the career journeys of an incredible panel of black women in the British music industry. They were Shauni Caballero (music publishing at the Go 2 Agency), Charlotte Richie (Director of Global Communications at Universal Music), and Ella-Bonai Gordon (artist manager and A&R consultant).
We touched on the panels career journeys, highs & lows, heard exclusive insights & provided the audience with the information that they needed to get THAT job & make their mark in the business of music.
In my second panel I was in conversation with A&R legend Richard Castillo @IAmRichCastillo exploring his career from Shalit Global, launching @ndubz, UMTV,All Around The World,Sony/ ATV,Universal Music Canada & Polydor Records, his current role as A&R @AtlanticRcrdsUK ,being a black exec & more!
It was a real pleasure to chair this debate on behalf of Debate Mate on March 24th.
They do great work across the industry – do check them out! When I was asked to chair this debate, I was amped and excited to hear what experts in the UK music industry from all across the musical landscape would have to say.
I have been in and around the
music industry and creative arts for over twenty years.
I’ve worked at Channel 4, MTV News International, MTV Base, MTV Dance, ITV, the BBC…. and I sit on numerous music industry committees, and I’ve been lucky enough to see the evolution of artists, platforms, genres and everything in between first-hand.
More importantly than that, I
am a music fan.
I am a listener, a watcher. I
sing and dance-along… like the biggest fan.
I love everyone from J Hus to Jay Z, Jill Scott to Usher, Linkin Park to Earth, Wind and Fire, Beyonce to Dinah Washington and more!
So the debate was a collision of the professional and the personal, and I think you’d agree, it has come at exactly the right time.
The main question is…..Do
artists have more power now than they’ve ever had before? Well – it’s
debateable for sure!
Lets have a bit of context…
The music industry has
changed dramatically in the last twenty years. The way we listen to music, and
the way we pay for it… are almost unrecognisable from the 1990s… and even
We’ve seen an evolution from
vinyl, through cassette, to CD, download and now stream.
But is this change good for
everyone? Does it empower all artists, or just those at the top?
Given my experience, our panel and audience today, we focused on the UK.
Each year there are 140
billion streams in the UK. The most streamed UK artist is Ed Sheeran, followed
by Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Lewis Capaldi and Harry Styles.
Drake tops the list overall
in the UK, ahead of Juice Wrld and Eminem. Globally, Bad Bunny comes out on
Mega artists, with mega numbers. as you’d imagine, get huge numbers, and with that – huge amounts of fame and wealth.
60,000 tracks get added to Spotify every day.
It now has 70,000,000 tracks available!
This means that more new
music is being produced and made available than ever before.
So surely this means that
artists have more power?
Well – maybe. But with lower
barriers to entry, comes more noise. The market is crowded.
To some extent it’s easier to
get heard (at least literally) but is it now harder to get noticed?
Today, are artists able to just do music?
Or do artists now have to be
a brand unto themself from the outset – focusing as much , or more, on
Instagram and brand partnerships… as they do on producing a track or writing
How does social media impact
different artists, different genres and generations?
So – on the proposition side
– artists can record and release music easier than ever before.
They can talk directly to
their fanbase like never before.
They have teams and
technology that are working hard to put them at the centre of the music
There are evolving models of
remuneration that may – only time will tell – see them receive greater
proportions and absolute amounts of money.
But are artists now beholden
to a new master – not the label as may have been the case years ago.
….But social media – the
fickle nature of hype, the transient nature of what’s hot or not.
Are you more useful for
selling Reeboks than records?
Other things for us to
consider…..Are artists now more afraid of being cancelled …..than excited about
Do they seek safety in
numbers and the security of social media – collaborating with other artists and
brands for commercial and not creative reasons?
Was yesterday a simpler time…
with fewer pressures and a more straightforward path to success – JUST making
good music that makes people feel something!
If musicians have more power
than ever before, and everything is getting better quickly, why do campaigns
and organisations such as Broken Record, Musicians’ Union, Keep Music Alive and
the Ivors Academy need to continue to lobby government, the tech giants and the
industry heavyweights so aggressively on behalf of artists?
As you can tell, I could wax lyrical about this all day. But given we had six experts waiting in the wings, you may as well also hear from them!
In Ryan, Hannah, Ben, Cliff, George and Kwame, we genuinely had six experts – including artists, managers, lawyers, producers and everything in between – debating a relevant and important topic
If you hear anything thats quotable or resonates with you, do share it on social media tagging us all. …. using the hashtags #DEBATEMATE and #ArtistPower
Also do tag DEBATE MATE on Instagram and on twitter its @debate_mate
I’d love to hear what you think too!
Huge thanks to Ben Sarhangian and Esther Mark and their team at Debate Mate for the honour of chairing, all the prep work and a fascinating, informative and entertaining conversation!
Enjoy watching the debate here – can you guess which side won? It was a surprise!
The association of UK independent and major record labels, the BPI, can announce a new series of events dedicated to exploring matters around underrepresented categories in the music industry.
Titled ‘BPI Equality Sessions’, each event will shine a light on inspirational figures who are making a difference in their fields and are paving the way for new generations to thrive in a more diverse and inclusive music business.
The first event of these regular events to take place will be ‘International Women’s Day: Women in the Music Industry’, on International Women’s Day itself – Monday, March 8th. The two-hour webinar, starting at 4pm, will celebrate the women that power our industry, and the BPI is excited to be able to host highly regarded speakers who will share their personal experiences.
The event is open to all currently working, or looking to work in the music industry, and attendance can be secured through this link here.
There will be a number of panels & keynotes, as follows:
Introductory Keynote: Where We Are Now – Paulette Long OBE – Co-Chair, BPI Equality & Justice Advisory Group and Deputy Chair of the UK Music Diversity Task Force: A reflection on the UK Music Diversity Survey – a lived experience.
Discussion Panel: Reaching Music Industry Heights
Liz Goodwin – General Manager, Atlantic Records UK
Maggie Crowe OBE – Director of Events & Charities, BPI
Pat Carr – Founder & CEO, Remote Control Agency
Taponeswa Mavunga – Director of Africa, Sony Music UK
Chair: Jasmine Dotiwala – Broadcaster and Journalist
The Jeremy Vine Show asked me to sing a Christmas song along with the rest of the show panelists for the final show week of the year.
Are you up for it the JV team asked me? Then came the email confirming that they had gone and chosen only the biggest Christmas song ever in history.
My heart sank as I read it. I was about to publicly murder my friends classic song.
But I do know as long as I tried my best thats all she would want to know and (hopefully) understand 😂
So of course I said YES to the TV show team, but also warned them that i have less than zero vocal ability. ”I’m tone deaf, can’t hold a note to save my life and notoriously horrible when trying to sing”.
They didn’t believe me, so here we are…Enjoy!
Merry Christmas! ( I am so sorry Mariah!)
Here is your comedy horror Christmas song 2020! Obviously this may be taken offline by the publishers and song writers and music labels cos I haven’t paid for it….but until it does, get ready to laugh in horror- MERRY CHRISTMAS 2020!
Launching this week – the first ever Official UK Afrobeats Chart celebrating the rise of Afrobeats, unveiled 2pm every Sunday
J Hus, Burna Boy, NSG, Darkoo & Ziezie are among the artists powering the rising UK Afrobeats scene.
Revealed: UK’s Official Top 20 Afrobeats Artists of the past 12 months + playlist of their biggest tracks
Young T & Bugsey’s ‘Don’t Rush’ crowned as the biggest Afrobeats track of the year
This week sees the launch of the first Official UK Afrobeats Chart – a new Top 20 weekly rundown spotlighting the fast rising Afrobeats scene in the UK, initiated by celebrated festival Afro Nation and compiled by the Official Charts Company.
Understood to be one of the world’s first official charts for the genre, the Official UK Afrobeats Chart is to be compiled using UK sales and streaming data from over 9,000 outlets, incorporating physical sales, downloads, audio streams and video streams.
The chart is described as a landmark moment for a genre whose growing influence on popular music culture is exploding across the globe – driven by a growing community of independent and major label artists.
The very first chart will be unveiled in a special ‘The Official UK Afrobeats Show’ on BBC Radio 1Xtra on Sunday 26th July from 1pm-3pm, featuring a range of hosts and artists from around the world celebrating the launch of the Official UK Afrobeats Chart.
The Top 20 chart will be published every Sunday thereafter at 2pm via a weekly Spotify ‘Official UK Afrobeats Chart’ playlist featuring the 20 biggest Afrobeats tracks of the week plus a bonus slot to spotlight a new release for listeners to discover. A weekly video countdown on the Afro Nation and Official Charts social channels, with the full chart published on OfficialCharts.com.
For presenter images for ‘The Official UK Afrobeats Show’ (Eddie Kadi, Shopsy Doo, P Montana and Danai Mavunga), please head here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1USViVXHfmmzKwgmmxr39w1oqKVB3To3E?usp=sharing
The rise of UK Afrobeats culture – from breakthrough singles to sold-out arenas
From the early breakthrough days of Fuse ODG and D’Banj, the wider UK scene that emerged with Mista Silva and Atumpan all the way through to the Mercury Prize-nominated success of J Hus, British Afrobeats has taken important steps into the mainstream over the past decade. It has taken big strides in the live arena too, as evidenced by Wizkid and Davido’s multiple headline nights at London’s O2 Arena, while 20,000 fans travelled to Portugal for Afro Nation last year.
New analysis from the Official Charts Company shows that in 2019, Afrobeats artists collectively spent 86 weeks in the Official Chart Top 40, a significant swing upwards from 24 weeks in 2017, while the number of tracks entering the UK Top 40 with either a lead or featured Afrobeats act more than doubled in the same period.
In 2017 just one artist from the genre broke into the Top 10: Afro Swing champion Kojo Funds, who collaborated with Mabel on Finders Keepers. Fast-forward to 2019 and the number of tracks achieving a Top 10 placing rose six-fold, spending 18 weeks inside the Official Singles Chart Top 10 across the year.
Global superstars embrace the Afrobeats sound – including the UK’s longest-running Number 1 single of the millenium
In more recent years, talents such as Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Not3s, Wizkid and more have picked up the mantle from the genre’s pioneers to influence music both within the scene and in the wider pop field. Nigerian singer-songwriter Wizkid found runaway global success in 2015 after being approached by Drake to deliver the Afro-influenced smash One Dance, now the UK’s longest-running Number 1 single of the millennium spending 15 weeks at the top of the Official Chart. With his latest album out now, Wizkid is expected to be a contender for early success in the Official UK Afrobeats Chart.
A deeper exploration of Afrobeats
However, the genre runs far deeper than those records that have crossed over into mainstream chart success, the development of the Official Afrobeats Chart aims to enable its deeper exploration. According to test data for the new chart, an average of 50% of Afrobeats Chart entries are independent releases – this is a scene with much more to come, with many grassroot acts and future hits yet to be discovered.
Revealed: The UK’s Top 20 Official Biggest Afrobeats Artists Of The Past 12 months
To celebrate the launch, a new Official Charts Company-compiled list of the ‘Official Top 20 Afrobeats Artists Of The Past 12 Months’ based on official UK sales and streaming data is unveiled (see table in appendix) with an accompanying playlist.
Embed the playlist from Spotify, Apple Music or Deezer, embed codes in appendix.
London rapper J Hus heads the power list – the 24-year old landed his first Number 1 on the UK’s Official Albums Chart with Big Conspiracy back in January. The album is on its way to gold-certified status with Top 5 single Must Be proving its most popular track, amassing over 38m UK streams to date.
Nigerian singer-songwriter Burna Boy clocks in in second place – while his biggest Afrobeats track of the period is Ye, Burna Boy also appeared alongside Stormzy and Ed Sheeran on the Number 1 single Own It which has racked up over 1.1 million combined UK chart sales to date. Hackney six-piece NSG place third on the ranking, their biggest hit of the year being Top 10 single Options (ft. Tion Wayne).
Collaborations are a theme of the genre’s most popular tracks among the British public – pairing up with stars of the wider music scene is working to bring the Afrobeats sound to a broader audience. 21 year-old Croydon/Congolese rapper Ziezie has reached the Top 40 of the Official Singles Chart three times since 2018, but a hit collaboration with Manchester rapper Aitch on Buss Down propelled him into the Top 10 for the first time back in October. Ziezie takes up sixth place in the list of Afrobeats’ biggest players.
The UK’s overall biggest Afrobeats hit of the past 12 months however comes from Nottingham duo Young T & Bugsey who finish in 7th place in the artists rundown – their track Don’t Rush found viral fame on Tik Tok through the #DontRushChallenge. The female creators of the challenge who span Congolese, Nigerian and Sierra Leonean origins aimed to empower women to embrace their beauty with and without make-up. Passing a blusher brush as a baton, the internet challenge saw women across the globe conquering quarantine boredom by transforming into their going-out looks and celebrating the diversity and pride of the African diaspora.
The Afrobeats community on the launch of the Official UK Afrobeats Chart
The Official UK Afrobeats Chart promises to be a rich celebration of a culture in full flight. Born from joyous celebrations across Africa, the Afrobeats genre represents the spirit of a people and a continent, welcomed around the world and a key component in the sound of modern culture – from the pioneering days of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, through dance and UK rave culture to the continued success of the genre throughout Africa and the world.
Global trailblazer Naira Marley says:
“Afrobeats has always been about culture. From day 1 I’ve always blended my language and background into my music that’s why so many people connect with it, especially the African diaspora. African music down to the instrumentals are very spiritual and makes people feel good. The genre is a force to be reckoned with, It’s about time there was an Official Afrobeats Chart, and be sure to see Naira Marley at the top!”
Nigerian singer and rapper Rema said:
“It’s a great thing to witness Afrobeats finally receiving the international success and recognition it deserves. Afrobeats is more than just a genre to me, it’s part of my identity, my culture, it’s in my blood and I’m honoured to be a part of the movement.”
South London female rapper Darkoo, whose track Gangsta (with One Acen) is the biggest female-lead Afrobeats track of the past 12 months:
“Africa to the world and back! It’s nice to see recognition of our music in the Official Charts, it’s a real game changer. We’ve gone from listening to Afrobeats on a more cultural level to now seeing it in a commercial space – nice to see!”
UK Afrobeats legend Mista Silva commented:
“I believe that the rise of Afrobeats has played a massive role in shaping the music scene within the UK & across the globe. For the last 10 years it has provided inspiration, confidence in identity, confidence in culture & pushed the boundaries of the music industry. It’s beautiful to see the growth & exciting to see where it goes.”
A Star said:
“Being the “King Of Afro Dance” I believe that through African dance, Afrobeats has impacted the world and the UK massively. Our culture has come and is now here to stay.”
Ghanaian superstar KiDi says:
“Big honour for me to be part of the biggest movement in music right now…..The Official UK Afrobeats Chart. It’s for Us, by Us and of Us!”
Lagos-born musician Ladipoe says:
“The UK Afrobeats Chart couldn’t have come at a better time. Everything we do is to move our culture forward. I’m honoured to be part of the most exciting thing in music right now. I hope to see even more genre diversity with time.”
British/Ghanaian singer-songwriter King Promise says:
“As someone who has seen Afrobeats grow and grow around the world, hearing the news of the Official UK Afrobeats Chart is an honour. Our culture has been making waves across the globe, and to see this opportunity for new, emerging and loved artists to elevate to new levels is a joy. Can’t wait to make a mark on those charts over the coming weeks, months and years ahead so stay tuned!”
Rising Nigerian favourite Oxlade, says:
“Afrobeats is currently one of the most exciting genres out there now, it’s an amazing feeling being part of the history and to be recognized by the Official UK Afrobeats Chart as one of the important people elevating this genre to the world stage, an exciting time for Africa!”
Beloved British-Congolese presenter, comedian and actor Eddie Kadi said:
“I am very proud and honoured to be a part of what will be a significant shift in the way our music is represented in the UK and we can now also begin to educate many others on the wider DNA of African music and culture, through the Official Charts.”
Music Manager Danai Mavunga said:
“Africa is the heartbeat of this entire world and has been influencing pop culture for centuries. This moment is long overdue and I’m super excited to see how far we go from here.”
Speaking about the launch, SMADE (Adesegun Adeosun Jr), Cultural Director and Ambassador for Afro Nation commented:
“It’s an incredible moment for our culture to see the launch of The Official UK Afrobeats Chart. For years, we have celebrated, danced, partied and united underneath the incredible sounds and artists making Afrobeats and African music their own, and to see our culture now recognised in this way is a truly powerful turning point. Providing support and empowering the new artists that will go on to be hugely important leaders in our culture, it’s another sign of the unstoppable popularity the culture has around the world, and I can’t wait to hear the songs, watch from the side of stage and dance together as we reach new heights.”
Mark Strippel, Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 1Xtra says:
“1Xtra has been committed to championing the Afrobeats scene since our formation and we’re excited to support the launch of the first-ever UK Afrobeats Chart. This is much-needed and long overdue. We’re proud to be a part of history.”
Kofi ‘Funkz’ Kyei, Artist Manager and Head Of Marketing at independent record label MOVES Recordings and one of the team responsible for the charts creation says:
“It has been amazing to witness over the past decade the sheer growth in African music being welcomed by the UK and the international market. A scene that defines a culture, a people and countless generations, its music has soundtracked underground culture for years, being the go-to sound in clubs, parties and communities in a way that’s shaped our very culture. For too long, Afrobeats artists have had to work tirelessly to get their voices heard and now African music/Afrobeats is finally being seen as a leading sound that global superstars turn to on a regular basis. The Official UK Afrobeats Chart will help open up the culture to new audiences, giving emerging artists the opportunity to be heard whilst celebrating the sound of a continent that has gone global. Its importance can’t be measured and I look forward to celebrating the biggest and best tracks each and every week!”
Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot says:
“We are delighted to be supporting Afro Nation in the launch of this new Afrobeats Chart. This fast-growing genre is having an increasingly powerful impact on the music landscape right now, both in the UK and further afield, through artists including the likes of NSG, J Hus and Burna Boy. We’re thrilled to be helping cast a spotlight on this success through the development of the genre’s own dedicated weekly chart.”
The weekly Official Afrobeats Chart is available for media licensing, please contact the Official Charts Company for more details.
Lockdown and Covid have us continuing life online with virtual meetings and panels.
Last month I brought together, produced and hosted a masterclass with four national TV / Radio names who shared what their lives as presenters / reporters are like.
Ade Adepitan, Jackie Long, Anna O Neill, Anita Rani and I discussed the life of a presenter working over across the different genres of TV production in this RTS Futures webinar.
How did they get their first big break, what personality quality do you need?, what’s a typical day like, how do you stay ahead of the game, what subjects do you need to study at college? and much, much more!
In June 2020 I was honoured to be asked by the Sandford St Martin Trust to say a few words to introduce Stormzy – the winner of their Trustees award 2020.
They decided Stormzy should receive this award not because he believes in God, but because of how this faith has informed his efforts to foster a public conversation and to build a sense of community that has united thousands of fans across cultural, class, generational, and religious boundaries.”
The winners were all announced during a special digital awards programme on 11 June.
In his acceptance speech,Stormzy said: “Every award I’ve ever collected, whatever achievement I’ve ever had, I’ve always been vocal about the fact that it’s not possible without God. He’s the reason why I’m here today. He’s the reason that I’m able to have a career . . . (but) a lot of the time I get non-believers saying, ‘Don’t thank God, this wasn’t God. This was all you,’ and I know this wasn’t all me. This was God.”
Here is what I said about Stormzy…..
Once in a generation comes along a cultural game changer.
This is a man from a humble background in Croydon, south London, who openly and proudly speaks about and raps about his faith and God.
He gives a voice to the voiceless and manages to headline Glastonbury!
This is a man who calls out injustices everywhere,from racist nightclubs, to bad politicians.
He is a man who champions and personally supports young black students at university.
A man who has created a book-publishing imprint for new black authors and shown that to be pro black, doesn’t mean you’re anti white.
He hasn’t just influenced young music lovers, but also slightly older music journalists like me!
This is a man who through his music, his activism and his honesty, brings people together and inspires them. The hundreds of young people from diverse communities across the UK that I work with daily at the Media Trust are hugely motivated by Stormzy!
This is a loyal man who has built a team around him of friends who he supports into positions of power to grow alongside him and always recognizes and salutes his team who play a huge part in his success.
He is a man who at any given opportunity celebrates and elevates all those around him.
Stormzy spoke to me exclusively on Channel 4 News about music and his own mental health…. and inspired so many others thereafter to speak up too.
This is a young man I’ve worked with and watched grow to huge success over the years, a man with strong moral value and integrity who holds others as well as himself accountable.
He’s a man who has changed what it means to be an all round music star, a man who is commutative and fearless when needs be, yet vulnerable and humble.
This is a man who unites communities and music lovers everywhere, from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and thousands of young and school-aged fans across cultural, class and religious boundaries.
I couldn’t be prouder that our home boy Stormzy, is the winner of this year’s Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award! Congratulations!
STORMZY- WE are blinded by YOUR grace!
You can watch it here – the Stormzy section starts at 56 minutes in, enjoy!
I’ve worked with some brilliant and some not so brilliant PR’s across the last 2 decades.
Most of them are true professionals who value a journalists time and work.
I value the healthy, professional partnerships very much.
Here are some of my top tips for making the two-way relationship a healthy thing.
PLEASE DO……appreciate that you have spent a very long time writing ONE press release on one client. Each time a Journalist writes or runs a story, we have done the same amount of work on each story, so please share widely on social media and respect the media’s time.
PLEASE DO ….respect that a journo’s job is NOT to do PR but to find interesting stories. Do not insist on ‘exact words script and messaging”. Our editors see through this and will simply scrap the story if it reads like an advertorial.
PLEASE DO give us a variety of angles on your client/story. Always answer why this is a unique story which would be of wider interest to a niche/broad audience.
PLEASE DON’T promise us an exclusive then give it to someone else. Automatic blacklist action.
PLEASE DO understand that every story a journo has green-lit by our editors, we have pushed your talent/story. So don’t then make life awkward for my producer having to chase you minutes before you join us on-air because you still haven’t delivered a crucial element to the story as promised.
PLEASE DO NOT promise things on behalf of your client that you can’t deliver and renege on once a whole camera crew has turned up- we will still scrap the story and be mindful of whether to work with you again.
PLEASE DON’T keep calling us about your story if you have our mobile number from a previous call sheet If all the peg-line info of interest is on your press release, and we are interested, we will be in touch.
PLEASE DO be careful about curating which journalists you send out your press release to. The minute we realise its a mass email we tag it as spam.
PLEASE DO remember that in the age of social media, journalists expect your talent to promote their story with us on their social media platforms. It shouldn’t need to be requested, its PR Journo relationship 101. Don’t argue about why we expect this? We do research, create questions, transcribe, edit and publish your story. The least you can do is promote it before and after.
PLEASE DO acknowledge that journalists have to take on research, balance and educational, informative content for our readers/listeners/viewers. We will choose which parts of your press release are of interest and use accordingly. Don’t call to moan that we didn’t use a bit that you thought would make your client more money.
PLEASE DO respect media timelines and deadlines. If we say we need a piece of video or music content by a day/time, don’t have us chase you for it. We are giving your client and your salary a boost. Work with us.
PLEASE DON’T promise that your client will talk about a range of subjects before actually confirming with them that they will.
PLEASE DO be courteous and polite to the whole media team, not just the presenter/reporter/writer. If my intern/ camera crew inform me you’ve been rude and hostile it means they may decide your client’s shot isn’t curated as beautifully as it might be.
PLEASE DON’T try and bribe us with free stuff. This is akin to selling your soul and none of your audience will respect you to be transparent if you simply take the check for advertorial style content.
PLEASE DO remember if you do one too many unprofessional things with the media, we simply delete your future emails. I had one PR company who would never ensure their talent were informed and ready for interviews with info that we sent across. Cue very awkward talent/ team moments when about to go live on air as talent states PR hadn’t shared vital info.
PLEASE DON’T ask journalists to ‘approve’ the final content. No explanation necessary.
PLEASE DO get to know your media. If I cover arts and entertainment I don’t want all your press releases about science, business and property.
I might read it but I’m unlikely to cover it.
PLEASE DO remember that everything you say is ON THE RECORD unless you say otherwise. Don’t fly into a frenzy when something you shared is out in the public if you didn’t specify it was OFF THE RECORD.
PLEASE DO establish a reputation as a PR journalists can rely on.
PLEASE DO remember that pitching journalists and pitching bloggers and influencers are different. Curate your press release to respect the worlds of both.
PLEASE DON’T expect journalists to wait hours for late talent. Our two way professional relationship relies on the fact that there is 2-way mutual respect for our time and expertise.
PLEASE DO understand that journalists are sent hundreds of emails a week and if we contact you we are grateful for the story, but we are also doing you a favour with all the work involved with your story. Respect our time and be courteous.
PLEASE DO call and speak to a journalist about their story if you don’t like the final version and let them explain their narrative if you want to grow as a PR. Manage your clients expectations and don’t expect puff pieces.
PLEASE DO understand that once most journalists have worked with a reliable PR repeatedly, we will trust you for stories and integrity and your press releases will hold more value with us. I have lifelong relationships with PR i trust and respect.
PLEASE DON’T inform us on arrival what to ask and not ask. Nothing winds up a journalist more and starts the interview with a bad vibes. Also don’t tell us not to use content at the end- ask nicely. We let you do your job, let us do ours.
PLEASE DON’T send on sloppy press releases, I receive press releases today that I have to send back for data, fact and grammatical errors. Check your work!
PLEASE REMEMBER that PR/ Media is a two way relationship that relies on each other. A great partnership can cultivate years of brilliant stories, content and good times. Respect each other’s skill-set and it’s a beautiful thing.
Last week Former Blue Peter presenter @Konnie_Huq shared her cultural tribes, gave us a audio reading of her 1st children’s book #CookiebyKonnie ,why girls into STEM subjects are cool, diverse characters in kids books,what life is like at home with hubby @blackmirror Charlie Brooker, and why West London rocks!
JASMINE WITH KONNIE HUQ
Then @BluebirdPicture founder Joelle Mae David who is also one of @BBCRadioLondon new Insta stars #GreaterLondoner named her cultural tribes….
Her organisation in Barking and Dagenham helps get diverse youth into the film industry.
JASMINE WITH JOELLE MAE DAVID FROM BLUEBIRD PICTURES
We heard from Anna Marie Benedict from last weekend’s #AfricaFashionWeekLondon talk to us all about the 2 day event in Covent Gardens Freemasons Hall, the catwalk shows, the celebrity show and why African cultures taking over pop culture!
JASMINE WITH ANNA MARIE BENEDICT FROM AFRICA FASHION WEEK LONDON
Finally we heard from singer-songwriter @RachelRoseOBwho was on @thevoiceuk perform for us live in the studio, share her cultural tribes, share how she was flown out to the USA to be in a movie and when she’ll be headlining @GlastoFest!
JASMINE WITH SINGER RACHEL-ROSE!
SO, IF YOU’VE READ THIS FAR, THEN SCROLL BACK UP TO THE TOP AND HIT THE LISTEN BACK LINKS AT THE START OF THIS POST- GO ON, YOU WON’T REGRET IT I PROMISE!
#TheScene Every week night from 8-10pm on BBC Radio London – Thursdays hosted my me!
I have always been a bit of a vacation snob.
Avoiding the idea of a GREEK ISLAND holiday Easy Jet vacation like the plague.
This June we had intended to fly to Mauritius then after back & forth conversations about a 12 hour flight being too long, I threw my hands in the air and jumped on Expedia to book a hot week anyway. I chose Greece and the island of Crete and kept my fingers crossed that my choice of hotel resort would not be regretted.
The Amirandes Grecotel resort was incredible!
I can’t say enough wonderful things about this spot. We spent 8 days there in a luxury sea view room-room 321-which I actually think has the best views of both the stunning hotel grounds and the ocean in a 180 degree panoramic view and the best view of the sunset from our balcony.
ON ARRIVAL GUESTS ARE GREETED WITH COCKTAILS!
The room was always spotless clean and we were gifted complementary wine and fruit platers.
BEACH SHADOW SELFIES ARE MANDATORY!
LOOK AT THE VIEWS!
I MADE THE MOST OF ALL THE FREE YOGA AND DANCE CLASSES!
THEY HAVE AN IN-HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER WHO WILL TAKE PICS IN THE STUNNING GROUNDS FOR 9 EUROS EACH! LOL!
THE AMIRANDES GROUNDS AT NIGHT ARE STUNNING AND MAJESTIC!
BREAKFAST AT THIS SPOT DAILY MEANS YOU START YOU DAY RIGHT!
The breakfast buffet was amazing with hot options, cold maze options, fresh fruit- the sweetest pineapple I’ve ever tasted…..a bespoke barista bar serving fancy teas and coffees and two live chef stations making fresh waffles, pancakes and omelettes. The staff are uber friendly and chat away with you like family!
The olympic pool was glorious. Huge with so many sun loungers, bespoke cafe and the adjacent white sofa loungers areas over looking the ocean were lush.
WALKING AROUND THE RESORT BRINGS CUTE SURPRISES LIKE NEON HIPPOS HANGING OUT!
The beach is private and has cute thatched umbrella seating, but my favourite were the loungers on the raised garden area. An opportunity to sit facing the ocean and enjoy the beach and waves without having the mess of the sand yet also having easy steps access to the ocean should it get too hot.
MAKE LIKE A FITNESS MAGAZINE MODEL AND FAKE LAUGH YOUR WAY THROUGH THE BEACH MOMENTS!
The beach attendants walk by constantly offering complimentary water bottles and water melon slices!
THERE ARE LOVELY SECRET SPOTS TO CHILL AND WATCH THE OCEAN ALL DAY.
THE GARDEN AREA WAS MY FAVE. LUSH LANDSCAPE GRASSY AREAS WHERE YOU CAN SUNBATHE AND CATCH A GREAT OCEAN BREEZE.
HAVING DINNER AL FRESCO AT THE MINATOUR RESTAURANT IS MAGICAL- THE DINNER SPOT HOUSES PICASSO ART!
The unlimited free water, restaurants on site, free yoga and dance and pilates classes and spa meant you could simply relax and not have to worry about leaving the resort if you didn’t want to.
PULLING FUNNY SELFIE POSES ON HOLIDAY IS ALLOWED!
One of our party was an 86 year old woman and although mobile there are numerous small sections of steps all across this property but with support she was fine and loved her facial in the spa. I had an aruvedic massage and it was heavenly and got into crevices of my body that hadn’t even been touched before.
MAKE LIKE SOPHIA LOREN AND BASK IN THE SUNSHINE!
The whole week was lush, relaxing, the staff couldn’t do enough for us and were genuinely friendly. The hotel guest clientele is classy yet inclusive. The type that prefer grey – beige resort wear and dressing up nicely for dinner. The restaurants are diverse with Italian, Japanese, Greek and Mediterranean on site.
There is also an amphitheater on site where nightly kids discos, dance shows and magic shows happen.
My favourite was the night that 3 tenors sang opera on the waterfront accompanied by fireworks- truly classy and romantic.