Many people ask where are the women in rap/hip hop /grime? Is it an old boys club? We’ve been asking questions like this for years ‘Why Did Grime Never Go Right For Women?’, ‘The ladies are as lyrically talented, bold and as feisty as the men, why aren’t they capturing the attention of the masses?’.
Here is the uber talented Nadia Rose speaking to me for Channel 4 News to kick start 2018.
Actually there are loads of women in grime and rap. There are women pushing and championing the culture daily. Aside from the ladies making the music, there are many in media championing the genre. Ladies like Hattie Collins, Chantelle Fiddy, Rebecca Prochnik and Hyperfrank who really helped push the mainstream press into covering it as a music genre and culture.
The artists are numerous and healthy. So many. Here are just a few talented women making and championing the scene.
Many who see the potential in female talent don’t always know how to sell it. Remember when London’s Lady Sovereign signed to Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records? Jay Z had begun searching for urban talent in the UK and signed Lady Sovereign in 2006. The video to her track ‘Love Me Or Hate Me’ became the first by a UK artist to achieve a Number 1 on MTV’s ‘Total Request Live’ show. So it can have impact, but really how would an American know how to sell a very British talent?
Similarly Shystie was one of the most prominent female MCs in the scene and released her major label debut ‘Diamond In The Dirt’ in 2004, which went silver. She is multi-talented. I recall her acting in our ground-breaking Dubplate Drama on MTV Base years back. She was fire in the booth and on screen.
JASMINE WITH NADIA ROSE FOR CHANNEL 4 NEWS.
When we were debating it at this years Rated Awards BBC Radio 1 broadcaster Charlie sloth told me ‘’For me I’m always on the search for that big female mc…I don’t even like segregating them…I think at the moment there aren’t as many as there should be, there are loads trying to do it..its not like football where they won’t get on…a lot of acts are crying out for there to be new and more females, look at Stef and Lady Leshurr , all it takes is for there to be more females who are as consistent as men. There needs to be more of a strong infrastructure around the females”.
Posty the founder of the Rated Awards and CEO of GRM Daily agreed ‘’The women in grime are also cultivating themselves, also in American hip hop there aren’t as many females as males , but one day there will be a UK Nicki Minaj- we now have Stef London. She’s beautiful, talented, has swag and style and looks like a star!’’
UK rap legend Lethal B feels positive abut the female journey ‘’There’s loads of girls coming through, Nadia Rose, Lady Leshur, Stef London, laughter and more…as time goes on there will be many more as there’s so much more out there coming…I’ve seen it!’’.
Will Smith is no ordinary Hollywood star.
When he has a new movie out not only will it be premiered globally but each global venue will be turned into a major road block for him.
London’s BFI on the South Bank had all three of it’s big screens taken over for BRIGHT this week courtesy of NETLIX UK.
Netflix were kind enough to offer me a small guest list so i invited magician Dynamo, MP Dawn Butler, music star Naughty Boy, MOBO CEO Kanya King,Interr Security CEO Roderick Arnold, Music and media man Richard Pascoe, SONY Music/ Columbia Records Head of Press Taponeswa Mavunga and more.
Roads were closed, spotlights lit up the sky, the black carpet was heaving with fans and celebs and a live DJ compered to the public cross gathered, as well as the champagne swiggers inside awaiting Will’s arrival. His plane was delayed and we were asked nicely by host Alex Zane whether we would mind waiting 20 minutes for him. Of course, no one minded.
The film was typical Will Smith action hero that saves the world. A good cop. Basically the same role he has played a few times. No hate though, we could watch him surrounded by elf, works, zombies and evil all day – so long as he kicks their asses! He did.
The after party was a typical NETFLIX uber exciting event off the excitement scale.
ACTRESS KAREN BRYSON AND HER HUBBY.
All the waitresses and waiters had pointy elf ears.
With DJ’s Nick Grimshaw and Clara amfo spinning the old skool hip hop and R&B and endless mini platters of food – truffle toasts, truffle nests, mini prawn platters, pasta, tender beef, eton mess, white chocolate lips and more , cocktails and champagne the guests had to be kicked out at 3am!
Thanks to the NETFLIX UK team for an amazing evening! You win the parties prize!
Last night Giggs hosted a select few – i say few- i mean 150 at a sit down dinner in the stunning art-deco location of Bloomsbury Ballroom in the heart of London, where friends, family and the industry congregated for a warm, love-filled evening.
When you get THAT text from Giggs inviting you to one of his infamous dinners you know it will be special and this night didn’t disappoint.
Jasmine with dinner host Giggs and Chip.
The ballroom was dressed like winter wonderland with snowy Christmas trees and sparking giant wrapped gifts.
Three long feast-like banqueting tables filled the hall and were reminiscent of Royal banquets of the past.
Pic – DJ Semtex.
The chef had a variety of caribbean food which was apparently delicious. Followed by apple crumble and custard.
I say ‘apparently” as soon as dinner was about to begin and guests were requested to be seated, it was time for me, to flee like Cinderella, to the O2 to watch my family Mariah Carey in her Christmas show.
Mariah looked and sounded hotter and more powerful than ever. Genuinely when it’s your pal, you’re always nervous for them to have a good show. And with all the keyboard internet haters who like to attempt to drag her regularly, its always a moment when she proves everyone wrong sounding stronger vocally than ever.
Her babies- #DemBabies and their cousin Jaden came out to sign carols too and we all had a lovely catch-up backstage afterwards, before i legged it back just as it struck midnight to Giggs dinner which by now had shifted one table out of the way and the dance floor was popping.
I’m sure i heard someone whisper Look What The Cat Dragged In, lol!
So many faces were celebrating their year in music. Joining the landlord Giggs were names like Chip, Winnie Harlow, JME, Jammer, Lethal B, Dave, Chris Eubanks JNR, Stormzy, journalist Hattie Collins, Record label dons Benny Scarrs, Glyn Akins, DJ Manny Norte, DJ Semtex, DJ Sarah Jane Crawford, Professor Green, Ironik and so many more.
At 2am the DJ was still smashing dancehall classics, but it was when they dropped Talkin The Hardest that it all really popped off!….we danced, hugged, celebrated everyones unity this year- hell- even Chip and Bugzy Malone hugged it out!
Great night Giggs and Mariah – two music acts that have featured heavily in my life – and both written songs about me LOL- LOVE U BOTH! – it was a movie!
Grime originator MARCI PHONIX – one of the founding fathers of UK Grime – is back with brand new music with his song ‘RIOT’. It’s a call to arms and is the first of several hard hitting social commentary singles and videos, taking on the police, the media and blasting fellow MCs for not tackling the real issues young black men face in 2017.
Marci burst onto the scene back in 2002 alongside contemporaries such as Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, JME and Kano. After performing at sold out venues across the country, he fast gained a reputation of being one of the fiercest MC’s in the industry, headlining events such as Sidewinder and Eskimo Dance along the way. This success led to collaborations with Skepta, Ghetts and Big Narstie, with his music being championed by all of the key media outlets of the time. Now he is back with a fire in his belly, an arsenal of new material and a message for the masses “Nobody’s Safe!”
The first installment is debut single ‘Riot’, which acts as a call to arms to disaffected youth across the board. RIOT VIDEO!
The controversial track and music video has been championed by Grm Daily, Complex and Spotify and helps deliver his message of alienation, frustration and the misrepresentation of young black men in modern day Britain. Certainly not pulling any punches on his return, Marci Phonix looks set to cause a stir once again in the UK Hip Hop and Grime scene.
Marci sat down with me for an exclusive chat.
Hey Marci, so for all the old school grime heads out there, can you explain… What took you so long?
Timing… I had to go away to learn what I know now. It’s easy to get caught up in the scene and just be like everyone else, I’ve never been on that. For me, there’s a big difference between spraying bars for hype and reloads like we used to do on pirate radio versus an artist that stands for something, an artist that carries a real message. I’m a lover of music but I kept on hearing the same old regurgitated sh*t on the radio/online. Falling into the same old trap… make a road banger and everyone falls in love, then hook up with the majors who don’t have a clue, giving you some fresh out of Uni A&R who doesn’t know his Slick Rick to his Fela Kuti (“that’s just that urban stuff init”)… gives you some p***yhole pop track that totally flops and what the roads originally liked about them is gone and they’re left with a washed up music career getting gassed on insta when they’re invited to some c-list industry event. It’s sad but we’ve seen it over and over again… I thought, it’s time for change! I’ve been gone for a few years now and these rappers are still just talking about the same old thing… designer clothes, drugs and getting girls, whilst the police are still kicking our mums front door off, killing us in the streets, following us around shops… someone needs to start telling the truth!
Let’s get straight into the grime scene shall we. Having established a foothold across the world over the last few years, do you think the culture will continue to influence other rap and street genres? And how do you see the music itself adapting to new trends and production styles and rap flows?
Grime music is growing bigger and bigger every year. We used to make Grime beats on the first Playstation, now Grime is heard in video games like FIFA 18 so it’s come a long way. We’re influencing the sounds on some of the biggest US Rap albums too nowadays; they look to us for the inspiration now. It’s funny cos we always wanted to be like them. Grime is a sound that comes from London, the minute we stopped caring about breaking the US and focused on where we’re at (UK), the US started f**king with us and that’s how it goes. Even though the drill sound comes from Chicago, I think the UK drill rappers that are blowing up here and heavily influenced by Grime culture too. Their rap flows are different but you can hear the Grime elements in the production and the hooks for sure.
With the turbulent nature of the world right now, perhaps a more political stance lyrically is the next movement? We’re seeing this approach more and more in hip hop (Eminem’s recent freestyle for instance) so it seems like we’re seeing a shift in that direction?
I’m not a part of any movement; I’m just about the truth. It’s all-good if artists want to make records tailored for the radio but for me, I just see that there are real life issues that need to be addressed. For instance you highlight politics, as much I backed a lot of the points Corbyn stood for in this past election, am I ignorant enough to think that someone in his PR team didn’t see the influence the hip hop acts in the US had on Obama’s campaign and thought let’s use that same strategy over here with the grime MC’s. Again, it’s banging that we’re even being considered in matters like this but I’m just tired of seeing our culture being endorsed when it suits and then spat out… You want the demographic that grime music influences to vote for you but then weeks later when they raid a trap house in south east London and the press link it to the west London Notting Hill Carnival (like you ever see crack heads in Carnival… most you’ve got is a few man bunnin a spliff) because it’s something that our culture is behind… where’s those same politicians standing by us then and condemning these horrendous claims!
We love ‘Riot’ by the way; you’re certainly not pulling any punches. Give us a brief break down on what it’s about. Do you feel like a bit of an elder statesman to the youth coming up now?
Riot is a song for the people, it’s a song for the youth that gets harassed everyday by police for no reason, I made this record to motivate and empower them. I’m not trying to be an elder statesman, I just say what everyone’s thinking, whether it’s liked or not has never bothered me, music is always been based on opinion. If the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and Katie Hopkins can say the sh*t they say and every other TV station will still endorse and broadcast their views… “In the name of entertainment” I feel it’s time to let this next generation coming up behind us know that in reality, this kingdom that we are in isn’t so “united,” especially with us!
You’ve been vocal in calling out fellow MCs for rapping about designer clothes, drugs, girls etc whilst as you say the police are still kicking down mum’s front doors. Do you think that artists have a duty to speak out about against the establishment and the way that young black men are unfairly treated by police, media and the like?
To me an artist should speak out of course, but they won’t because their scared. No one wants to upset the establishment! I’m all for celebrating achievements and nice things but these man would rather steer the youths to do whatever it takes just to buy an £800 pair of Balenciagas, copping a new C-Class coupe or even beef that guy over there just because he lives in the estate opposite the block your Mum is renting a 2 bedroom flat in… Rather than talking something sensible. And it just gripes me that these same man go on prime time television and starting dicking about on the screen talking about some random sh*t. Them times your boy is riding a sentence for carrying a shank on road to protect himself but there’s a white girl in Oxford who stabs her man and gets off! Nah they’d rather talk about how Drake or f**kin Nicki Minaj liked their picture on instagram. Them times we had music legends who just put it on the line… Marvin Gaye did it with songs like “What’s going on” James Brown, Michael Jackson, NWA, Peter Tosh, Rage against the Machine… the list goes on! These acts all had some balls to go against the grain and say what needs to be said.
Like our American cousins, we’ve had our own issues in the UK in recent years, namely the Grenfell tragedy and the riots following Mark Duggan’s shooting. Do you think that the issues of injustice and frustration that the community as whole feel in the aftermath of such events get a fair hearing in the media?
That’s not fair… you know that questions gonna rile me up! Like you said… Just look at the Duggan situation that police watchdog released a statement that said, “Duggan was probably throwing a gun away when he was shot” PROBABLY… PROBABLY!!! Like we’re living in some F**kin Minority report sequel. So now, for the police to lawfully kill you in the streets you have to look like your “probably” up to no good! Now look at the coverage the news and media put on the story when Duggan was some out and out bad man from Tottenham, round the clock reports saying how another black man is a gun yielding criminal who kind of deserved to get taken off road… his name is dragged through the mud and he isn’t around to defend himself! BUT when these prats say it was just “likely” that he had something on him (which really means by law that his NOT GUILTY… because no one ain’t going down for probably) not even a mention of it on the BBC evening news? Which leaves the general public with the ill-fed information and gives prejudice Britain another reason to think all black boys are gangsters and killers. I’m not surprised old white women still cross the road when they see me and my boy walking street together. I say as much as the press publishes the “suspicion/speculative” report… just as much publish the truth once it comes out! Ps. how many people died in Grenfell again?
Finally let’s talk new music quickly, when can we see or hear a follow up to ‘Riot’?
I’m getting ready to release my next single called “On My Wave” featuring Clue, one of my favourite street rappers in the UK. It’s a MADNESS, Heavy Trackerz produced it and I love it!!! Check out my socials and I’ll be updating everyone with new releases and shows dates…
Follow MARCI on: Instagram | Twitter | ‘Riot’ Is Out now on all digital outlets including Spotify and Apple Music
He’s one of the most influential characters in British music today.
JASMINE DOTIWALA WITH WILEY.
The sound that Wiley created in East London at the turn of this century – which eventually became known as Grime – has now reached global popularity. But whilst his peers achieved huge chart success, he has been known as the driving force behind the scenes. In his autobiography ‘Eskiboy’ released 31 October, he describes a life of underground creativity, drugs, pirate radio and a feud with fellow grime star Dizzee Rascal.
Here is Wiley in conversation with me, exclusively for Channel 4 News.
Who doesn’t want to work in the music industry? you? Then this is not for you. Go away and come back another time.
However, if this IS YOU- read on baby- your time has come!
Today a New BRITs Apprentice Scheme invites applications from young talent keen to work at a music company!
Talented youngsters will get the chance to kick start their careers in the recorded music industry thanks to a new apprenticeship scheme created by the BPI and funded by money raised by the BRIT Awards.
The BRITs Apprentice Scheme will give ten young people from England and Wales a unique, high quality, paid opportunity to work at a top independent record label or music company, learn about the recorded music industry, receive practical ‘hands on’ experience, develop relevant skills and make key contacts.
The scheme was devised by UK record labels association the BPI, which owns and runs The BRIT Awards and which also developed its charitable arm, The BRIT Trust.
Apprenticeships are an important way to help bring in new and diverse talent into the industry and are in line with the Government’s commitment to education, skills and training.
The scheme will be open to individuals aged 18 and over. Successful applicants will be matched with independent record labels and music companies who are members of the BPI. They will receive specialist training in either business administration or digital marketing.
The BRITs Apprentice Scheme will start in January 2018 and last 14 months up to the end of February 2019, and it is hoped will then lead to further employment opportunities in the industry. The successful candidates will also have an opportunity to experience working at The BRIT Awards.
The deadline for applications is 17th November 2017, and the BPI/BRIT Trust organisers are calling on interested applicants to apply as soon as possible. Full details are available on The BRIT Trust website here.
There will be six places for candidates in London and four outside, covering Wales, Birmingham, Norwich and Leicester. In London the salary will be £18k and outside it will be £15k to reflect lower living costs. The BRIT Trust will fund two thirds of each salary – leaving the participating companies to cover the remaining third (approx. £5k or £6k).
Ten music companies drawn from across the vibrant independent community – ranging from record labels and digital distributors to vinyl and CD manufacturers and streaming app services – have signed up to take on an apprentice. See Notes to Editors for details.
The Scheme will be overseen by the BPI, while its day-to-day operation will be provided by DiVA – the recruitment and training organisation specialising in business, creative and digital apprenticeships, whose experienced experts have a successful track record in delivering apprentices in the creative industries.
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said:
“Everyone connects the BRIT Awards with the best of British music and with dynamic young talent, so it’s right that, through its charitable arm The BRIT Trust, the BRITs brand should demonstrate the value of music by giving music fans with exciting potential a major opportunity to get into the industry they love. These apprenticeships are like golden tickets and will open up a range of opportunities for ten talented individuals who are passionate about working at a record label or in a music company.”
The Scheme will be funded via The BRIT Trust, which distributes money raised by The BRIT Awards and other industry events to promote education and wellbeing through music. The BRIT Trust has to date awarded millions of Pounds to range of charities and good causes, principally The BRIT School, which it helped to set up, East London Arts and Music (ELAM), Nordoff Robbins music therapy, War Child, Key4Life, and other to organisations, including the addictions and mental health charity Music Support.
John Craig OBE, Chairman of The BRIT Trust, said:
“It is a key part of The BRIT Trust’s mission to help young people through music and we have already done a huge amount of work through The BRIT School, Nordoff Robbins and other charities that promote education and wellbeing through music. We’re delighted to be able to support The BRITs Apprentice Scheme to give talented young people the opportunity and practical training that could help change their lives.”
Arit Eminue, Director DiVA, said:
“DiVA is delighted to collaborate with the BRIT Trust and BPI in the delivery of the BRITs Apprentice Scheme, which opens the gates of the music industry to the next generation of music talent.
“DiVA is a bridge between the creative industry and talent. We have a wealth of experience of apprenticeship development and delivery that supports workforce diversity, talent retention and skills development. We’re excited to meet and look forward to supporting the golden tickets holders in the development of their careers.”
The MOBO AWARDS 2017 TAKES PLACE AT LEEDS FIRST DIRECT ARENA ON WEDNESDAY 29 NOVEMBER and today in London’s YouTube headquarters they announced this year’s nominees.
At the modern tech visual building with huge TV screens showcasing previous MOBO AWARDS and an array of champagne, wine, mango mojitos, jollof rice and chicken served in martini cocktail glasses, king prawn platters, MOBO logo cupcakes, fruit kebabs and more, the industry celebrated it’s success’.
WITH MOBO QUEEN…KANYA KING! (I LIVE TO WRITE THAT QUEEN-KING LINE- IT MAKES ME SMILE! LOL!)
In the vicinity were R&B powerhouse Shakka, Nadia Rose, Birminghams Lotto Boyyz, Manchester’s Bugzy Malone, London’s J Hus, model and activist Munroe Bergdorf and more.
MODEL AND ACTIVIST MUNROE BERGDORF AT THE MOBO NOMS LAUNCH AT YOUTUBE.
SOUL SINGER SHAKKA WITH JASMINE AT THE MOBO NOMS LAUNCH AT YOUTUBE.
Performing onstage briefly were Nadia Rose and Lotto Boyyz – both acts i love and predict – should all go well in their destiny- should be huge!
I also bumped into So Solid legend Lisa Maffia and her daughter who is all grown up now!
NADIA ROSE PERFORMS AT THE MOBO NOMS LAUNCH 2017 AT YOUTUBE.
LISA MAFFIA AND HER DAUGHTER WITH JASMINE AT THE MOBO NOMS LAUNCH EVENT AT YOUTUBE.
KING STORMZY LEADS THE PACK WITH 5 NOMINATIONS – INCLUDING BEST MALE, BEST ALBUM AND BEST GRIME ACT
Stormzy has been on a steady crescendo of success since picking up the MOBO Award for Best Grime Act in 2014 and 2015, and Best Male in 2015. The MC references the moment he saw Krept & Konan win Best Newcomer at the 2013 MOBO Awards as the tipping point that pushed him to quit his job at an oil refinery and pursue a full-time career in music. He tweeted, ‘Krept & Konan just won a MOBO, I’m going studio.’
Fast forward four years from that moment and Stormzy’s debut album “Gang Signs & Prayer” has topped the UK Album Chart – becoming the first Grime album in history to reach #1. According to the OfficialCharts.com, it is also the biggest independent album of 2017 so far with over 220,000 sales. Stormzy has to date clocked up over 197 million views on his YouTube channel, 37 million of which are for the ‘Big For Your Boots’ music video directed by Daps.
AFROBEATS/GRIME/UK ACT J HUS SCORES 4 NOMINATIONS – INCLUDING BEST MALE, BEST ALBUM AND BEST SONG
After two years of solid underground appeal, East London rapper J Hus has broken through in a big way, picking up four nominations for Best Male, Best Album for “Common Sense”, Best Song for ‘Did You See’ and Best Video for ‘Spirit’. The 21-year old MC hit MOBO’s radar two years ago, which earned him a prestigious nomination in the Best Newcomer category and he followed up last year with a Best Song nod for ‘Friendly’. “Common Sense” – J Hus’ debut album – reached #6 on the UK Album Charts earlier this year and features the Top 10 hit ‘Did You See’, which has also amassed over 42 million views on YouTube.
As well as those amazingly strong headline stories, JORJA SMITH AND STEFFLON DON PICK UP 3 NOMINATIONS EACH – INCLUDING BEST FEMALE AND BEST NEWCOMER also SAMPHA EARNS NODS FOR BEST MALE, BEST ALBUM and BEST R&B/SOUL ACT
Hotly tipped R&B singer Jorja Smith picks up three prestigious nominations for Best Female, Best R&B/Soul Act and Best Newcomer. In the last 12 months, the 20-year old singer-songwriter from Walsall has featured on Drake’s hit album “More Life” and even supported him on his UK tour. Her recent garage-infused banger with Preditah ‘On My Mind’ earned her rave reviews from music press far and wide.
Rising rap star Stefflon Don makes her MOBO debut with three nods in major categories for Best Female, Best Hip Hop Act and Best Newcomer. Mercury Prize winner Sampha receives three nominations for Best Male, Best R&B/Soul Act and Best Album for his critically acclaimed debut “Process”.
I’ve worked in the music / media industry for two decades. It’s an incredible industry that we all feel blessed to work in, but everyone will tell you that working in music can be perilous for your health and well being. I’ve lost count how many musician friends are depressed, anxious, total wrecks at various times throughout their careers.
It’s time to talk about whether a career in music can – if you don’t have enough support- and a thick enough skin- sick!
The country’s leading independent music charity, Help Musicians UK (HMUK), today released the final report and findings of Can Music Make You Sick? and announced three key pledges for the music industry.
CMMYS headline findings
Music makers’ relationship to their work is integral to their sense of self. It’s how they define themselves.
People in the music industry need to believe in themselves and in their work, yet the unpredictable nature of the business can knock that belief.
Music makers can be reflective and highly self-critical, and exist in an environment of constant critical feedback.
A career in music is often precarious and unpredictable.
Many musicians have several different jobs as part of a portfolio career, and as a result can feel as though they work 24/7 and can’t take a break.
It can be hard for musicians to admit to insecurities because of competition and wanting to appear on top of things.
Family, friends and partners play an important role in supporting musicians, but this can also lead to feelings of guilt.
Musicians’ working environment can be anti-social and unsympathetic, with some people experiencing sexual abuse, harassment, bullying and coercion.
Musicians can find it hard to access affordable professional help for mental health issues.
As many musicians are self-employed, they can feel on their own when it comes to dealing with mental health problems.
There needs to be a drive to improve working conditions across the music industries and to enhance understanding of the challenges faced by creative workers.
More work is required to explore how discrimination, sexism and diversity impact on the working climate for musicians.
HMUK pledged to establish a Music Industry Mental Health Taskforce, to lead the drive for change across the industry as well as launching a landmark 24/7 mental health service ‘Music Minds Matter’ for anyone working in the music industry by December 2017 This final pledge combines clinical and therapeutic help, grant funding and bespoke legal, welfare, debt and benefits advice.
HMUK, who have been serving the music industry for 96 years, originally commissioned Can Music Make You Sick? in 2016. This is the world’s largest known academic study into music and mental health and was a survey of over 2,200 musicians —revealing that the music community may be up to three times more likely to experience depression compared to the general public.
The research provided crucial insight into the scale of the problem of musician’s mental health challenges, how this can be further impacted by a career in music, to find out how the charity can help and support those that need it most in the music community.
This new and final study, undertaken by researchers Sally Gross and Dr. George Musgrave of the University of Westminster and published by MusicTank, asked the music community how their working conditions have impacted on their mental health and general wellbeing and comprises semi-structured interviews of 26 respondents from a broad cross section of the industry. The participants stem from the initial 2016 survey.
As well as making the three headline pledges, today HMUK has revealed the key insights and recommendations from the report:
Research key insights:
Money worries – A career in music is often precarious and unpredictable. Many musicians have several different jobs as part of a portfolio career, and as a result get little time to take a break. Musicians can also find it hard to access affordable professional help for mental health issues.
Poor working conditions – Music makers can be reflective and highly self-critical, and exist in an environment of constant critical feedback. As many musicians are self-employed, their work can result in feelings of isolation when it comes to dealing with mental health problems.
Relationship challenges – Family, friends and partners play an important role in supporting musicians, but these relationships can come under huge pressure and strain.
Sexual abuse/bullying/discrimination – Musicians’ working environment can be anti-social and unsympathetic, with some experiencing sexual abuse, harassment, bullying and coercion.
Summary of recommendations:
Education – Discussion of mental health awareness should be embedded in curriculum in music education courses and wider discussion should be stimulated in the industry with working musicians.
A code of best practice – Allied to a commitment of kindness and tolerance, to act as voluntary demonstration of an organisation’s awareness of mental health issues in the music industry and an understanding of the challenges faced by creative workers.
A mental health support service for music community – professional mental health services that are affordable and accessible.
HMUK’s Three Key Pledges:
Building a music industry Mental Health Taskforce – with key partners and stakeholders, to be a forum for discussion with the industry to establish a code of best practice and duty of care within the industry
Deliver a nationwide support service – This will take the form of Music Minds Matter, the unique new 24/7 mental health service to launch December 2017, to be shaped and defined in partnership with the industry
Advocate for change across the industry – Ignite support in the UK and globally for Music Minds Matter with key industry partnerships and collaborations
Christine Brown, Director of External Affairs, HMUK said: “HMUK is uniquely placed to commission and share the results of this important, game-changing study. The charity granted nearly two million pounds last year to those that need it most in the industry, so it is a natural step to examine the key issues and make a call to action to help implement wider, lasting change in the industry, namely HMUK’s three key pledges.
“The British music industry is in rude health and has a world class reputation – but to continue the long-term wellbeing of the industry and its workers, we aim to create a constructive forum for discussion, partnership and collaboration.
“Through the new Music Minds Matter service, we are closer to providing the crucial support, advice and education the music community desperately needs. Together we can continue to chip away at the stigma, so that in the long term those working in the community never have to suffer in silence.”
Researchers Sally Gross and Dr. George Musgrave said: “This research is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the complex relationship between the working conditions of musicians and mental health conditions. The honesty and poignancy of our interviewees has made possible this important work, and informed the service provision being implemented by Help Musicians UK, and for that we are truly thankful. We welcome the new service Music Minds Matter and hope that this research can spark a wider debate both in the music industry about the welfare of those at its heart, and more generally about the challenging nature of precarious work.”
HMUK Trustee Baroness Judith Jolly added “This is one of the most ground-breaking and important projects that the charity has undertaken in its 96-year history. The HMUK Trustees are delighted and are in full support of this life changing research and the launch of the Music Minds Matter service. I call for the industry to engage with and support the report’s recommendations, especially at this time when there is a clear and urgent need for change.”
HMUKs summary reports of Can Music Make You Sick can be downloaded for viewing online here.
Both academic studies – pilot survey and report may be read in full here:
About Help Musicians UK
Help Musicians UK (HMUK) is the leading independent music charity. Since 1921, HMUK has provided help, support and opportunities to empower musicians at all stages of their lives.
HMUK’s mission is to create a sustainable future for all musicians and the industry. The charity works in partnership to transform the music industry through advocacy, campaigning, solutions and targeted investment for all those within it.
During 2016, HMUK’s Health and Welfare team experiences a 22 per cent increase in requests for help from musicians across the UK, and in total last year, the charity spent £1.9 million helping these musicians through direct and indirect financial support.
In July 2017, HMUK announced #MusicMindsMatter – a new campaign for music industry-wide support of a forthcoming, dedicated 24/7 support line and service for people working in music. The #MusicMindsMatter campaign launched with the funding platform at www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/MusicMindsMatter
The announcement of the campaign saw HMUK call for ‘arm in arm’ support from the industry and philanthropists to match its investment pound for pound, as a response to the tragic, untimely death of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington. The #MusicMindsMatter campaign will fund the ground-breaking 24/7 mental health service of the same name, launching December 2017, that will combine listening, advice and signposting with clinical, medical, therapeutic and welfare support for those who need it. Just doubling the £100k HMUK investment, with a minimum of £200k, will allow the mental health service to be sustainable beyond 2018. The charity can then continue to proactively raise money for the new fund, with ambitions to work with global partners in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to continue the campaign and underpin a global approach to the mental wellbeing of the music industry.
Kidzania is quite simply one of the best paid for educational theme parks for kids I’ve ever experienced. (I suggested we take a friend’s 8-year-old nephew there whilst he was in town from NYC).
With locations globally, the London one resides in the roof of Westfield London in White City and is a genius concept.
Visually it’s like a mini Vegas stylewise. With no windows or clocks you can forget the outside world and focus on this mini city for kids.
Even on entrance you are ushered into a red carpeted airport style gate and through “immigration” to arrive up escalators to a new young world.
Parents can accompany their kids or leave them there for a maximum of four hours. There are no security issues as each young person is tagged on entry so they are unable to leave without their parent or guardian.
Each kid is handed a fistful of kidzo’s cash. They will able to earn more in some jobs (like window cleaning) and pay for others (like a TV preseneters stint).
The city consists of every possible business type you can think of. Mini pop-up versions of a fire station, police station and hospital where kids can try a taster session of what it might be like to actually work there, why they are important and get hands-on with specific skills.
You see the firemen donning fire suits and rushing to an emergency.
Nurses are taught how to manage new born babies and police are catching criminals and keeping the city safe.
The fascinating thing is the canny marketing by your average high street brand. The chocolate factory is sponsored and led by Cadbury. The TV studio by Al Jazeera. The newspaper print press by The Metro.
Innocent smoothies teach ethical food sourcing. Disney teach animation with their characters attracting line upon line of eager queuing kids.
There are air conditioning technicians crawling through ceiling vents and absailing kids dangling from high walls.
Interestingly, when we took my friends nephew was that initially he wasn’t keen to try window cleaning, didn’t mind the bank, loved the animation. However he quickly changed his mind on the menial window cleaning when he learnt how much extra kidzo’s cash he could make.
Who cares about fake cash you ask? Well the brill thing is, at the end of the kidzania experience they can spend their fake cash on actual real stuff in the shop. A great life lesson. Work hard and buy what you like.
Each session takes between 20-30 minutes and it’s a good idea to get there really early as it can get very busy in the afternoon.
Each session saw enthusiastic kids engaging with practical tasks. The jealousy factor was great in me. Adults aren’t able to join in but we are able to act as extras. For example on the football pitch we can sit in the stands and cheer.
A truly fascinating way that young people aged 4-14 can experience a job, try lots of industries and get that employment gene kicking in early.
All kids should have to do this before actually being let loose in real-time work experience situations.
I can’t recommend it enough. I hear they occasionally do adult evenings with a glass of wine. I’ve signed up.
Here are my friends thoughts on it;
Six weeks school holiday is a loooong time to keep a child entertained. When my little person asked if he could hang out with Auntie Jasmine again it’s because he knows hanging out with Auntie Jas is always FUN.
I didn’t really know what KIDZANIA was when she suggested I take my favourite 8 year old there. Tucked away an a part of Westfield that I didn’t even know existed, it really was like stepping into another world. A world where where children learn about different occupations experientially – but that doesn’t really do this gem of an idea any justice. As we entered the check in zone, it was clear a lot of thought had gone into the experience. The boarding pass-like tickets and airport style departure lounge with the equally authentic long line to the check in desk built the excitement of travelling to a magical destination. My little man was gifted 50 kidzos to spend (currency not unlike Monopoly money) before we walked through the door an into a cute mini-world where children indeed came first. It’s also reassuringly safe as all children are fitted with an electronic tag meaning if they lose you in the way they usually do when they lose their minds with excitement, they can be easily found. It also means they can’t leave Kidzania without the adult they arrived with – so you can lose a kid without actually losing them!
It’s structured as a mini city with a supermarket, hospital, fire station, bank, university, dentist and sports stadium amongst the attractions. Children are paid for jobs and they can either use that currency to pay for activities or save it in the bank – ready to withdraw for a later visit. Big brands too have seen the benefit – Al Jazeera is the local TV channel, BA teaches about being cabin crew and Cadbury has a chocolate kitchen and Pokemon has an animation suite. But despite the glamour of the H&M fashion studio or the excitement of being in the back of a fire engine, the job my nephew chose as his favourite was … the window cleaner .. because at 12 kidzos for 15mins, it paid the most! And herein lies one the best ways to teach children about money. You have to work to pay for the things you want, but rather than being told, they experienced it for themselves. If my little one wanted to have a drumming lesson that cost 8kidzos, off he went to do a stint of window-cleaning to pay for it. Your time in Kidzania is limited to 4 hours which sounds like a long time, until you see the queues of up to 20mins for the most popular jobs which is like forever if you’re 8. Adults have to wait outside each attraction, so if jostling with parents taking pics through the window isn’t your thing there’s an adult zone tucked away on the upper level where you can take a moments break should you wish. There are tales from Kidzanias around the world that children have pursued careers after learning about it in this mini-city. For my little one, whilst he hasn’t abandoned his desire to be a marine biologist, for a career as window cleaner, as he excitedly recounted his day with his Dad, it was clear that that this was by far the highlight of his summer, earning Auntie Jas ‘Cool Auntie’ status. Result!
West coast legend Snoop Dogg has just collaborated with North London grime M.C, Ironik.
I’ve known Snoop since he gave me my very first interview in L.A outside a court that was deciding his fate after a murder case in the early Nineties.
I’ve known Ironik since he shot to fame as a 19 year old, initially as a DJ and producer, where he worked closely with the likes of UK stars Tinie Tempah and Chip, and then he made his debut as an artist releasing the video for ‘So Nice’ on seminal music station Channel U.
The video spelled the start of something big for Ironik and whilst being taken under the wing of the grime scene, his music often portrayed a softer edge to other acts tinged with R&B, Hip-Hop and UK Garage, something which clearly resonated well with music lovers and those discovering Ironik as his second release, ‘Stay With Me’ landed him a number 5 official chart position. From there on in his successes grew resulting in a further top 5 single, one top 10 single, a top 10 album, and over a million record sales.
The video led to him being taken under the wing of the grime scene but his music often portrayed a softer edge to other acts, tinged with R&B, Hip-Hop and UK Garage, something which clearly resonated well with music lovers and those discovering Ironik as his second release, ‘Stay With Me’ landed him a number 5 official chart position and from there on in his successes grew, resulting in a further top 5 single, one top 10 single, a top 10 album, and over a million record sales.
‘Tuff’ is exactly what it says on the tin. With a big reverberating bassline rumbling through the depths of this fresh joint, the pair drop the record as the first record from Ironik’s forthcoming album ‘Truth be Told’, set for release on the 22nd September alongside a live launch show at The Bull Theatre in Barnet, North London.
“’Truth Be Told’ is only my second studio album since my first ‘No Point In Wasting Tears’ and it’s definitely my best work to date.” says Ironik of the album. “I’ve been all over the world in the last two years DJ’ing in countries like Dubai, Japan and all over Europe and its undoubtedly inspired my music but there’s no place like home and whilst I reflect the influences I’ve had, the album remains a testament to being UK and homegrown.’
This weekend just gone, I was honoured to be awarded an honour at the very first BLACK MAGIC AWARDS.
I am sure they said it was for ”women of colour’ just because of my inclusion,(and for that i am very grateful and humbled), or else it would have been ”black women”.
The night saw 12 inspirational women honoured at the first annual Black Magic Awards, which took place at Hackney Empire. The awards were founded to celebrate the women who have contributed to the black entertainment, sports, business and community scene.
Hosted by entertainer Eddie Kadi and America’s Next Top Model contestant Annaliese Dayes, it was a night of true magic with performances from the likes of MOBO Award winning singers Rachel Kerr and Lurine Cato, 8-year-old viral dance sensation Princess K and a guest appearance from model Munroe Bergdrof and rapper Stormzy.
ACTOR CHUCK VENN, PR ZOE STAFFORD, HOST EDDIE KADI.
I was lucky enough to awarded the INFLUENCE AWARD and it was presented to me by model Munroe.
There had been a couple of online comments challenging my presence on the list of black women so i thought it best to acknowledge this is my speech with some context.
THIS IS WHAT I SAID;
Good evening everyone!
Thank you all so much for coming this evening. Its not often we all have an excuse to celebrate just women, and also thank you so much for having me.
It’s such a privilege sharing this stage with the rest of the ladies being honored here tonight.
I am here today, having the great honour to speak to you all, because I am good at surviving.
People tell me that I have succeeded despite the odds, but I correct them, and explain that being a woman of colour has always been my biggest strength – not hindrance!
Furthermore, whilst I am a woman of colour, I know many wouldn’t count me as a black woman.
So I do know just how blessed I am, to even be amongst the list of incredible women, being honoured here this evening.
I know that some people will feel that I don’t belong here. I also know from looking at a couple of comments online, that for some people, my being here is controversial. And I understand that.
Being of both African and Persian/ Zoroastrian heritage, I’ve never really been accepted as a part of any culture, but as a child growing up in Southall and Harlesden, where the Asian and white families mostly shunned me, it was ONLY the black community who welcomed me unconditionally – …so long as ….
I always said good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, as I entered and left my friends homes, that’s all their parents required of me- good manners! So essentially, that’s how you guys ended up, unknowingly, adopting me!
Every blessing I have had in my career in TV, radio, print press and more, has come via your teaching and influence, and my passion for your culture. That’s why at any given opportunity I give back.
You have the warmest, most welcoming ancestry, full of heart, soul and strength. It’s the reason the world gravitates throughout history, (past, present and future), towards black culture and it’s trends.
Throughout my career, I have been blessed to have been able to champion, so many of the women on this stage, and I want to thank them in turn for supporting me.
Sisterhood is a two-way street, and as some of you know, if we are friends-I am ride or die with my loyalty.
The women being celebrated here this evening are all incredible, groundbreaking leaders, who have moved the conversation forwards for future generations. And For that I salute them.
Actually being really real, this award means the world to me, as its not often we get recognized by mainstream awards ceremonies, but my feeling is, as all the trends start in this community, it means even more to know its this brand that has recognized me.
I dedicate this award to all the outstanding women who have supported me over the years, and to the women of our future, who will be even more spectacular!
Once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for adopting and accepting me as one of your own.
I will continue to shine a light on as much as I can, and fight for social equality, equal opportunities and justice for us all.
I’m so grateful to you and hope to never let you all down.
Finally, they say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. I was only ever trained in TV, never trained in radio, writing columns and more…but i am managing to do it all…but I say that…The secret of getting ahead is simply getting started….And Black Magic Awards – you have started on your road to greatness!
Thank you all for listening, have a great night!
Here is a list of all the winners.
• COMEDY – ANGIE LE MAR
• MEDIA MOGUL Sponsored by Palmer’s – VANESSA KINGORI
• THE TRIBUTE AWARD Sponsored by Palmer’s – JAMELIA
• SPORTS PERSONALITY – RACHEL YANKEY
• ACTRESS – ANGELA GRIFFIN
• TV PERSONALITY – CHARLENE WHITE
• BRAND – BIANCA MILLER
• MUSIC Sponsored by Palmer’s – MIS-TEEQ
• RADIO PERSONALITY – JENNY FRANCIS
• COMMUNITY CHAMPION – BEVERLEY DE GALE
• INTERNATIONAL STAR – EVE
• THE INFLUENCE AWARD Sponsored by Palmer’s – JASMINE DOTIWALA
My two fave moments were when my girl Angie Le Mar was awarded, the things that she has achieved and broken down doors for so others could follow in her footsteps are spectacular!
ANGIE LE MAR MAKES A SPEECH!
Another big moment was when Stormzy presented the last award of the night to one of his idols, legendary radio DJ Jenny Francis, who featured on an interlude on the rappers hit album Gang Signs and Prayer earlier this year.
STORMZY AND JENNY!
With over 20 years in the business, the Heart FM DJ, was honoured with the ‘Radio Personality’ award and the show’s organisers thought that there was no one better to present the award to her.
Hollyoaks’ Duyane Boachie“A childhood hero to so many of us, introduced me to R&B as a kid. 27 years of radio, more than deserved” the rapper tweeted to his fans alongside a photo of himself and the winner.
JASMINE WITH JENNY FRANCIS.
the Actress award to Coronation Street and Waterloo Road star Angela Griffin and Casulty star Charles Venn presented the Media Mogul Award to GQ Publisher Vanessa Kingori MBE.
Jamelia, Alesha Dixon’s Mis-Teeq’s, TV presenter Charlene White, England footballer Rachel Yankey, entertainer Angie Le Mar, music artist Eve and Beverley De Gale from the charity ACLT were also honoured on the night.
The Colour Network founders and organisers of the BLACK MAGIC AWARDS, -KOJO AND ANNIKA – did an amazing job, with a great buzz at the very first launch event and it will no doubt be a HUGE presence on the annual red carpet calendar!
“Despite their contribution and achievements, some of the women we honoured this year have never been properly recognised,” said Kojo Anim, Founder of The Colour Network. He continues, “However, rather than dwelling on it, we wanted to make a change and shine some much needed light on these amazing women.”
ACLT’S BEVERLEY DEGALE WITH JASMINE AND GIRLS I RATE FOUNDER CARLA MARIE WILLIAMS.
Others in attendance and gracing the black carpet on the night included; Actors Fab Santino, Femi Oyeniran and Adam Deacon, music talent The Katanas, Magic FM’s Angie Greaves, Big Brother personalities Deborah Agboola and Hannah Agboola plus many more.
“The evening consisted of motivating and encouraging words from the honourees and featured captivating performances,’ says The Colour Network co-founder Annika Allen. ‘It was an inspiring look for all women—especially black women who don’t get to see enough positive images of powerful women of colour in the media.
· Overseas earnings by UK record labels up 11% to £365 million last year.
· International revenues climb 72.3% this decade, adding to an overall total of £4.4 billion earned by British artists and labels since the turn of the millennium.
· Adele, Coldplay, David Bowie & Rolling Stones led the way driving UK global sales in 2016.
· Ed Sheeran helping to set up another stellar international performance by UK acts in 2017.
Music body the BPI announced at its AGM in London today that British recorded music exports have risen to their highest levels this century, growing by over two thirds this decade and contributing nearly £4.4 billion to the UK’s overseas earnings since 2000.
Figures compiled by the BPI based on an annual survey of its record label members reveal that overseas earnings from recorded music rose by 11.1 per cent to £364.6 million in 2016, up by £36.4 million from £328.2 million in 2015. This is the strongest performance since the BPI began its annual survey in 2000 and represents an increase of £153 million on the £211.6 million recorded at the start of the decade – a rise of 72.3 per cent since 20101.
The growth reflects the enduring global appeal of British music, with UK artists accounting for one in every eight albums purchased around the world in 20162 and the UK continuing to punch above its weight as the world’s largest exporter of recorded music after the US.
With Ed Sheeran’s album Divide ÷ currently enjoying huge global success and major stars such as Little Mix, Rag‘n’Bone Man, Jonas Blue and Stormzy breaking through internationally, there is every possibility that 2016’s strong exports showing will be added to in 2017, not least as a new Sam Smith album is expected later this year among other key artist releases.
Announcing the rise in overseas music exports Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said:
“With Britain leaving the EU, the UK needs businesses that are true global superstars. Music by brilliant British artists such as Ed Sheeran, Adele, David Bowie, Coldplay and Sam Smith is streamed and purchased the world over, boosting the UK’s balance of payments. The global digital streaming market represents a huge new opportunity. Government can help to seize that opportunity by making sure our artists can tour freely post-Brexit and that third countries robustly protect music rights.”
Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital at the Department for Digital, Culture, Sport & Media, said:
“This fantastic economic success is a huge testament to the UK music industry and the wealth of talent and creativity underpinning it. Not only is music a crucial factor in bringing international investment to our shores but it is also the introduction to British culture for many people around the world.”
Last year’s strong figures were fuelled by the phenomenal global demand for Adele’s 25 – released just six weeks earlier in November 2015 – as well as Coldplay’s album A Head Full of Dreams, which came out soon after in December 2015.
Another telling factor was the untimely passing of icon David Bowie in early 2016, which prompted a huge surge in demand for his repertoire of classic recordings. The Rolling Stones’ Blue & Lonesome, which was released in the last quarter of 2016, also performed notably in overseas markets for the UK alongside other titles by British artists.
The BPI figures reflect the long term investment in A&R by UK record labels, as they look to sign and develop outstanding new British music talent and promote it at home and around the world. UK record labels – ranging from the three so-called ‘majors’ Universal Music UK, Sony Music UK and Warner Music UK to hundreds of independent labels also represented by the BPI – typically invest on average around a quarter of their annual revenues into new music each year, comparing favourably with the ‘R&D’ spend of other industries, such as pharmaceuticals (13%) and the automotive sector (5%)3.
UK record company executives have become world-leaders in global digital marketing, supporting the dramatic rise in audio streaming, which in 2016 increased by 604 per cent worldwide. These new revenue channels combine with overseas earnings from sales of CDs, which remain remarkably resilient, vinyl and downloads to boost exports. The BPI data also includes income generated from PPL public performance royalties5, synchronisation (music for film/TV soundtracks and broadcast advertising), and other licensing income.
The contribution made by UK government funding to the success of British music around the world should also be acknowledged. Department for International Trade (DIT) funding of the Music Exports Growth Scheme (MEGS), for example, which the BPI manages, has made £2.3 million in grants available through the GREAT campaign to 150 mainly independent label-signed artists since January 2014. This investment helps UK acts to build their profile and fanbases in key overseas markets, and to date £10 of additional international earnings have been generated by the MEGS artists for every £1 invested6.
Government-backed international trade missions organised by the BPI with music partners such as the Association of Independent Music (AIM)7 and the Music Publishers Association (MPA)8 also play their part in promoting British music overseas. Recent missions include visits to growing markets such as China and India, with a trip to South Korea planned for later this month (24 Sep – 1 Oct), while the annual LA Sync mission9 and UK presence at MIDEM in France10 are key fixtures in the music industry calendar.
British music exports are strongest in North America and across Europe, although fast-emerging markets in Asia are becoming increasingly significant. The top five international territories for UK labels in 2016 were USA, Germany, France, Australia and Canada (see Notes for top 10)11.
BPI members are reporting gains in developing markets as varied as China, Turkey and South American territories, while India and South Korea also have the potential to become important overseas markets in future.
The great and good from the music world got together at the swanky Gore Hotel in Kensington last night, for a fancy dinner and then walked across the road to the Royal Albert Hall to enjoy a Prom.
MUSIC INDUSTRY GUESTS …AND FORMER ARTS & CULTURE MINISTER ED VAIZEY AT DINNER AT THE GORE HOTEL PRE LATE PROM!
Not just any old Prom, but a prom with a difference! This was Europe’s first majority Black & minority ethnic (BME) orchestra; & the youngest to take part in BBC Proms!!
In addition, we were also celebrating a new work commissioned for the Prom by BBC Radio 3, from composer Hannah Kendall, who recently has joined the PRS Foundation as trustee. We were all really excited to celebrate her Proms debut!
We were all gathered to celebrate The Chineke! Foundation, which was established in 2015, to provide career opportunities to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe.
Set up by the inspirational Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, Chineke!’s motto is: ‘Championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’.
At the Royal Albert Hall, we thoroughly enjoyed The Chineke! Foundation Prom:
Guests who joined us for the Prom and dinner beforehand included;
Peter Leathem (CEO PPL)
Jonathan Badyal (Universal)
Ayesha Hazarika (BPI consultant and broadcaster)
Richard Thomas (Richard Thomas Foundation)
Caroline Norbury (PRS Foundation trustee)
Vanessa Reed (CEO PRS Foundation)
Naomi Belshaw (PRS Foundation Grants and Programmes Manager
Hannah Kendall (composer) and members of her family
Kanya King (MOBO Awards)
Kevin le Gendre (BBC Radio 3 Broadcaster)
Gillian Moore (Director of Music, Southbank centre)
Chineke! is the brainchild of renowned bassist, educator, and activist Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, FRAM (Principal Double Bassist and co-founder of the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, Professor of Double Bass Historical Studies at the Royal Academy of Music), and is backed by key cultural organisations such as the British Council, Conservatoires UK and Southbank Centre.
Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE
The PRS Foundation have been doing some amazing work behind the scenes and have supported Chineke! in May 2017 through their International Development Funds to take the orchestra to the International conference ‘Classical NEXT’ in Rotterdam, where they opened the conference celebrating their championing diversity in the UK and showcasing the work of the wonderful UK Composer Errollyn Wallen.
Furthermore, Chineke! is currently being supported further for the same work, by Errollyn Wallen through the PRS Foundation’s Resonate programme, with a series of concerts in the UK through winter 2017.
Resonate is a fantastic new initiate from the PRS Foundation “Celebrating the best British orchestral repertoire of the last 25 years – a new scheme which invites orchestras from across the UK to perform and promote the best of British music written in the past 25 years.”
His BBC Radio One Rap Show is the biggest in the UK and sees’ his brand break new acts regularly.
JASMINE WITH DJ CHARLIE SLOTH.
His predecessor at the BBC was Tim Westwood, and where Westwood was regarded the British Funkmaster Flex, Charlie is more of a parallel to Charlamagne.
Westwood had worn the UK Rap Radio King’s crown for so long; other great DJ’s had come and gone, it was assumed he would hold the reigns forever, and then, came this cheeky banter filled, smiley, ridiculously loud man of many talents, Charlie Sloth, who made everyone sit up and gawp.
Determined to shine a light on all the various rap talent across the UK regions, rather than just focus on London, and incredibly savvy with his branding and internationally recognised ‘’Fire in the booth’’ (FITB) sessions, Charlie is HOT property in Europe right now.
His FITB moments have captured British ears, eyes and minds in their millions across the years.
Having cemented his reputation as a DJ, Charlie feels that now is the perfect time for him to make the transition to become an artist and producer in his own right.
Like his namesake Charlamagne is in The States, Charlie is the biggest name in national radio shows in the UK; every act is desperate to be aligned with him. More so, Like DJ Khaled, he makes music too and has his debut album ‘The Plug’ out this month, which features British names like Bugzy Malone, Stormzy, Ghetts, Giggs, Avelino, Lady Leshurr and a few American names like Jadakiss, Sean Kingston, Ace Hood and 21 Savage too.
Highlights include Aystar’s characteristic Scouse-accented narrative on ‘Therapy’, and ‘Kendrick Lamar’, which finds Cadet praising the Californian star and critiquing the genre’s stereotypical themes.
As a figurehead of the scene, Charlie found that many of his musical friends were eager to get involved with the project. The majority of the tracks were recorded in Tileyard Studios, while others were cut in the portable studio located in his tour bus. Every track was informed by Charlie’s vision – he was present for every single recording session, aside from a few exceptions with international artists who he interacted with via Skype.
Around a decade ago, Charlie’s comedy characters eagerness to make it in the hip hop world via skits, titled ’Being Charlie Sloth’, were a hit on Worldstar Hip Hop.
Now, he’s the biggest key influencer in the UK. With music, acting, clothing, property and more on this man’s resume, this multihyphenate, who is also the self-proclaimed ‘best looking fat guy on the planet’ spoke to me for The Source.
Your brand Fire In The Booth, has had plenty of big US acts through the door over the years, any highlights?
There have been so many highlights; we’ve had over 500 FITBs. Everyone of them has had its own magical vibe!
There are several FITB’s in the bag from new US acts, who are you excited about from The States at the moment? Any FITB’s lined up with any of them?
We have Young Dolph, 2 Chainz, Jay-Z, old school artists, so many artists. There is a long list!
What was it like working with 21 Savage, Ace Hood, Sean Kingston and Hardo for your album and how did these collaborations come about?
To have them on my album is a beautiful thing. I’m a massive fan of Hardo, and then I was like Yo, This record would be crazy. We spoke about it, 21 Savage jumped in and it happened organically.
You recorded many of the beats that would eventually make the album on tour out on the road. Many of these shows were across America, so which beats were written and made in the US and which cities and areas did you have the most affiliation with?
My favourite city is Atlanta. It’s a laid-back city with such a great energy and music-wise very inspiring. I met many artists in Atlanta, Sean Kingston, and a whole lot more. So it’s definitely ATL!
In recent years we’ve seen your station BBC Radio 1Xtra heavily champion rap and grime, do you think we’ll see some more championing of other black music genres like R&B and reggae which haven’t been as strongly supported on the playlist in future?
1Xtra has supported it for years now, and will continue to do so. It’s especially important for black music. We’ve got a afrobeats DJ, we’ve got a dancehall DJ. 1Xtra will always be that platform for support.
I’m curious to know your thoughts on radio in general, with digital sharing platforms dominating music, do you feel that radio is still as important for the hip hop, rap and grime scenes both in UK and internationally? And where do you see it going in the future? Any trends in people’s listening habits you can foresee?
Radio will always be important. Not only for Hip-Hop, Rap, Grime. When it comes to radio you got special DJ’s, you got personalities that inspire you.
You’re representing the UK at Red Bull Culture Clash this year and we’re seeing more and more American and Canadian artists asking for features from Brit artists. Is breaking the American audience still an important milestone for British acts or are you seeing a move away from that?
I don’t think it’s as important as people thought it was years ago. But I feel the UK artist will always want that. It shows how big and healthy the scene is if we’ve got the biggest artists in Canada and America, Jamaica or Africa wanting to work with our homegrown biggest artists and it’s only a matter of time until we become global.
You first became known in LA and rest of North America from your ‘Being Charlie Sloth’ shows. Will you ever look to recreate the character or any ambitions to do some more acting again?
You never say never, and you never know what the future holds. “Being Charlie Sloth” is a massive part of my career, you never know what is coming in five years from now.
Can you touch on why the UK rap and grime scene seems like a bit of a boys club? It feels like the girls music championed on socials as much as the boys share each other’s fan bases?
Between female and male artists there’s a huge, huge gap. There are so many more male artists than there are female artists and for me personally, I’m always trying to find the next female artist, there’s incredible talent. I think the problem is just the ratio.
That said, which girl MC’s are on your radar right now?
Of course you’ve got Steff London and ones who are already out there, the last one who really got my attention right now is Banks.
SPREADING THE LOVE
You’ve always championed UK music from outside of London and always seen it more as a national thing, are there any scenes popping from other cities right now, what’s the next city/scene to blow and why?
When you see how everything’s changed even in the last two years, Manchester artists came through; people are listening to JayKae, artists from Birmingham. The next city which is gonna have a massive boom is gonna be Liverpool.
Moving on to a more serious area, Knife crime, is a topic of much concern with young people in the UK right now, what are your thoughts on what can be done within the music scene and how artists and people in the scene can try to tackle the issue?
To me it breaks my heart. For me personally, mothers and fathers have the responsibility for their children. Parents just need to take responsibility. Secondly, the local authorities need to make sure that there is some form of entertainment or social activities. But when you look around, there is no real social activity. There just needs to be spent more money on that.
Are you still matching your hundreds of very colourful jackets and trainers? You’re like the Imelda Marcos of hip hop!
Yeah! The hat matches the jacket, the jacket matches the trainers! When I stop doing that it means I’m old. Fashion is a big thing for me.
“I wanted to make this album as diverse as I possibly could,” says Sloth. “I come from the world of urban music, particularly grime and rap, but I wanted to make sure all the different aspects of what I represent were featured on the album.”
“I wanted to try to be as different as I could,” he continues. “I didn’t want people to listen to the album and think, ‘This was obviously made between 2015 and 2017.’ I wanted it to have more of a timeless feel. There’s no record on this album that sounds the same, or even that you could pigeonhole into the same sound.
‘The Plug’ tracklisting:
1. ‘Take What’s Ours’ (feat. WSTRN)
2. ‘Take It All’ (feat. Avelino & Mic Righteous)
3. ‘Running’ (feat. Ghetts & Abra Cadabra)
4. ‘UPS’ (feat. Fredo)
5. ‘Pull Up On You’ (feat. Lola Rae)
6. ‘No Noise’ (feat. Skinz & K Koke)
7. ‘Angelina’ (feat. Lil Kesh, Olamide & Not3s)
8. ‘Therapy’ (feat. Aystar)
9. ‘Pressure’ (feat. Ace Hood, Bugzy Malone & Silverstone)
10. ‘Wake Up’ (feat. Giggs)
11. ‘Gang’ (feat. 21 Savage & Hardo)
12. ‘#FameGame’ (feat. Bugzy Malone)
13. ‘No Pictures’ (feat. Bugsey & Young T)
14. ‘Kendrick Lamar’ (feat. Cadet)
15. ‘Liars’ (feat. Clue)
16. ‘Think About Me’ (feat. Wolfie)
17. ‘Look Like’ (feat. JMC, Jadakiss & Stormzy)
18. ‘Real Hard’ (feat. Knytro)
19. ‘What I Can Do’ (feat. Sean Kingston, Spice & Lady Leshurr)
20. ‘We Dem’ (feat. Giggs & Potter Payper)
21. ‘Did This on My Own’ (feat. Nafe Smallz)
22. ‘Walk Away’ (feat. Donae’o & Konshens)
J HUS SPEAKS TO JASMINE DOTIWALA ON CHANNEL 4 NEWS.
East London-born musician J Hus’ story and music personifies what it is to grow up as a young person in a British city in 2017.
Momodou Jallow was brought up by his single parent mother and is one of the hottest propositions in British music today.
He’s been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize next month, as well as nominations in the past for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2015, and his inclusion on the prestigious long-list for the 2016 BBC Sound Poll.
This week I made a feature with our Channel 4 News team about the controversial 696 Form. You can watch the TV feature here;
The 696 form is a form invented by THE MET POLICE in the early noughties, after some violence at garage gigs in London.
Since then, its been used by police forces across the UK, and stopped many acts from performing to live audiences, thereby stopping career progression and young musicians making a decent living.
The form asks for ”genre” of music info, and only affects music that is performed with a DJ or MC and recorded backing track, usually impacting just grime, rap, hip hop, reggae and basement genres.
Artists like So Solid Crew and Giggs, amongst many others, have been affected over the years. Even incisive black festivals like AFROPUNK, where names like Nadia Rose was perfuming last week were made to fit in the form this year with a fear that it could have also been cancelled.
JASMINE WITH NADIA ROSE WHO PERFORMED AT AFROPUNK.
Now for the first time, an MP and Minister for the Arts has stepped in to try and scrap or reform the form.
JASMINE WITH MP/DCMS MINISTER MATT HANCOCK.
MP and MINISTER FOR THE DCMS – Matt Hancock – department of digital, culture, media and sport told me the following.
Why did you decide to write an open letter to sadiq khan about the 696 form?
I’ve been worried about 696 for some time but there’s a real problem for live music venues coming under pressure. The more and more evidence I got that this form is not just difficult to fill in, it stops people putting on live music in the 1st place, before they come to fill it in. so there’s evidence that it’s a barrier. It stops people putting live music on…I love live music. I think grime scene is brilliant and I want to do everything I can to support it and I think ending 696 is part of answer.
What’s your main concern around the form, the impact on our economy or is it stifling young talent?
I think it’s both and the two increasingly come together. The eco depends on our creative industries and music is one of our best industries. It’s an amazing export and sells around the world. Also for young people their way into the world of work so it’s not either or. ending form 696 would help our economy but more importantly it would make sure that London would be more vibrant.
Do you think your involvement can change anything; with respect, do you have the power to change anything?
We don’t have power to end 696 – the mayor of London does so I’ve written to mayor of London to request that he ends this form . He’s got power to do it, it’s in his hands and I hope that he takes the action that’s necessary.
For many people they think the form is racist- do you think its racist?
Well the form definitely puts off people from black and min ethnic backgrounds from putting on music and I know that it has that impact and when u talk to ppl it’s mostly people from black and min ethnic backgrounds who are concerned about the form, and who tell me that they haven’t put things on ’cause they didn’t want to fill the form in. and I think that making sure that everybody has the chance, to put on their music and support live music from every community, is a really important part of Britain and making sure we have best diversity we have.
So you do think its racist?
What I would say is that it does disproportionately affects people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
The reality is that British black artists tell us that when they perform at festivals with mostly a white audience they don’t have to fill this form in, but if its to a black audience, they do. So clearly there’s a race agenda?
There’s no doubt that grime is disproportionately made by people from minority backgrounds and I’m not going to get into the use of the more extreme language around this, but I do understand where people are coming from and what I’d say it has a disproportionate impact on people from minority backgrounds.
If you were in power would you scrap the form completely or what would you do to change it?
I think mayor has responsibility to of course look after policing in capital but also to make sure that policing is fair to everybody so yes I think he should end this form.
Have you spoken to The Met about this yourself?
I’ve seen the response from the Met and frankly I don’t think that it justifies the blockage that’s in place because of this form.
Finally, Mayor Sadiq Khan did respond to your letter saying to let the MET Police do their job, but ultimately this isn’t just a London issue is it, with police forces all over the country having their own version of the form, it’s a nationwide issue therefore deserves a government response?
I’ve been very disappointed by the Mayor of London’s response and I’m writing him again, and it may be true in some other cities there is a similar problem, we’ve got to look for the evidence. I think that the evidence in London is clear and that’s where action needs to be taken.
Next I spoke to grime artist P Money who drove us around South London whilst telling us his own experience with the 696 form.
Here’s what he told us.
I’ve been in this game for 12 years and I’ve performed all other London, Leeds, Nottingham, Manchester, Southampton even Scotland, Cardiff.
The vibe at my shows and festivals is quite a mixed vibe – you have so many people from diff places. Sometimes I get people from Wales come down to London. It’s like a strong following. I feel like I know them. Like long distance friends.
Personally I think the 696 has been set up to stop events, raves parties from ethnic backgrounds, because I haven’t witnessed it in any other type of music where it’s from black orientated sounds and the crowd as well. Grime started off like that, it’s changed now and I haven’t really witnessed what we go through in any other sort of genre or types of raves.
The proof that I got is when you try to put on a grime night it was told no. When you put on a night and you give it a different name it gets the go ahead.
To get away with putting a night on you have to not mention grime. Sometimes you have to mask a guest as a special guest and not actually say their name because of fears that they might not pass the 696 form. Sometimes we list a whole load of music, r & B, hip hop make it as if there’s a whole load of music being played to get the go ahead but we can’t actually say it’s just a grime night.
It makes me feel annoyed and kinda angry . If feel like we’re targeted, because it doesn’t happen in anything else, it only happens with us. So I feel like we’re targeted. Grime artists, fans, and supporters. It makes me feel like we’re casted out.
A lot of my peers and artists that I know have felt like it can be a race thing. Most of the artists are black, most of the fan base at first were black as well, when this was happening on a regular basis, so we do have reasons for why we feel like that.
Last year I was booked to do festival in Leeds, and I was told they’re pulling me and two other acts off the line up. They were DJ’s and they were pulling us off line up. They didn’t have any explanation. They refused to tell us why. They just said they’re pulling grime. I didn’t see any reason why. I have performed in Leeds a number of times. There was a whole load of acts at the festival but they only wanted to pull us off.
It almost makes you feel like a criminal. What have I done? Why is this being done to me? What have I done that’s so bad? Why am I being taken off the line up? This is my only way of earning money. I don’t have a 9-5 job. This is my job. You’re not giving me any explanation whatsoever. The festival organisers have no choice.
I always challenge these decisions. Even when they take me off the line up in Leeds. I demanded a reason. I speak to whoever is in charge. But still they don’t have to respond they abuse their power. What can u really say to police? They make you feel hopeless. The moment u raise your voice a bit, they paint you out to be a criminal that you’re doing something wrong when you’re just trying to get answers. And a lot of my other peers feel like that. We tweet about it. Not once will we ever get answers.
I’m always fearful of repercussions, because if they have power to stop you from doing a show and now you’re challenging them, there’s nothing stopping them from doing that at any show. They can paint you out to be against them. As if they’re their job is to protect people. If you’re against them they can stop all your shows. It’s scary knowing there’s someone out there with that power that can just do that.
It affects young people. This is the young music of today. Some people grew up with hip-hop. This is what young people listen to today. This is what keeps them occupied. It makes them feel good. We educate people. You’re affecting a lot of people. I’ve flown to Bosnia and have no problems performing there.
I can only see where the police are coming from if they say safety issue, if they have an advance warning that something is going to happen. Something can happen anywhere. You don’t know where something can happen. You are assuming something is going to happen at a grime festival. That’s wrong. It’s not about safety. It should be for everything then.
If you’re gonna give us the 696 form then you need to give it to everyone. Beyoncé should fill out a 696 form cos who’s to say there isn’t gonna be a fight at her concert? There are thousands of football hooligans – we don’t have grime hooligans.
When the minister wrote his letter to the Mayor it made me feel better. But we have got a long way to go. Even a minister can write a letter and be dismissed. Someone with more power than me is on our side but even he’s being dismissed.
If I could give a message to Sadiq Khan. I would say that he needs to come to our kind of festival. See what they are destroying. You’re going to turn people against you . You’re going to turn people against the police. People are looking for any excuse. You’re taking music away from people. I don’t understand since when did music hurt people. Don’t blame the music. If a fight happens it’s the people who are to blame not the musician. It’s not the musician teling people to fight. Sadiq needs to be in the mix and see what’s really going on.
If the form was scrapped. It would mean the world to me. It’s how I earn my money, how I pay my mortgage, how I look after my son. Everyone else doesn’t have the same worries.
It’s only a matter of time for someone who feels so strongly whether it’s a protest, whether it’s a riot. This is how these things happen because of miscommunication and misunderstanding. At the moment it feels like they’re not trying to understand us at all. The 696 form would be a massive progression to actually understanding and building something,. Between fans, festival goeer and met police who claim they’re only watching out for our safety.
When I perform at Reading and Leeds festival, I’m not asked to fill out a 696 form. If I perform at Oceania nightclub there’s no 696. If I perform in Croydon, where there’s black kids, it comes up automatically. That alone makes us think you’re targeting black people.
It affects us socially. You’re segregating us. You’re stopping black people having fun. You cancelled our rave. You’re against us. Music brings people together. Doesn’t matter what colour you are. it’s backwards to wanna stop that. When I’m onstage I see thousands of people singing together, why would you wanna stop that?
I think it’s crazy that festivals like afropunk are having to fill out a 696.
I highly doubt that Ed Sheeran has to do a 696 form.
They say it’s safety I just think the rules they apply to our events should be applied to every single event if it’s about safety.
With enough of us all uniting to speak up about this and come to a fairer way of dealing with it nothing will change. Thank to Jonathan Badyal for his support in pushing through this issue with Government.
JASMINE WITH JONATHAN- A FRIEND TO POLITICIANS AND POP STARS.
Wizkid performs at his London listening party. PIC COURTESY Paul Hampartsoumian.
At London’s east end venue The Curtain, last night, hundreds of afrobeats fans gathered for a VIP listening party for the prince of the genre – Wizkid’s new album titled ‘Sounds From The Other Side”.
Disturbin London DJ – Siobhan Bell warmed up the crowd nicely, PIC Courtesy Michael Tubi.
/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Screen-Shot-2017-07-11-at-13.50.07-570×297.png” alt=”” width=”570″ height=”297″ class=”aligncenter size-medium wp-image-5917″ /> BURNABOY JUMPS ONSTAGE TO PERFORM WITH WIZKID.PIC COURTESY Paul Hampartsoumian
PIC Courtesy Michael Tubi.
Female and male fans were dressed to impress in glamorous outfits and sharp suits to Nigeria’s finest perform a few tracks froths album past, present and future.
PIC COURTESY Paul Hampartsumian
”now i’m not saying Wizkid is performing just me but….hey Wiz can you see me behind your shades?”.
PIC COURTESY Paul Hampartsoumian.
Joining him onstage during the very hot, energetic set were the UK’s very own Skepta who Wiz stated ”without this man much wouldn’t have been possible, i thank him so much, he also mediated the get together with Drake so thank you my brother Skepta!”.
SKEPTA AND WIZKID PERFORM AT THE CURTAIN.PIC COURTESY Paul Hampartsoumian.
Also onstage and in the house were comedian and host Eddie Kadi whom Wiz acknowledged as well as DJ Semtex and DJ Abrantee who Wiz thanked for the support. He also thanked a missing Tim Westwood.
Capital FM’s DJ Abrantee. PIC Courtesy Michael Tubi.
PIC COURTESY Paul Hampartsoumian.
AFROBEATS CHAMPION/ DJ NEPTIZZLE. PIC Courtesy Michael Tubi.
Henessey cocktails and jollof rice boxes – with chicken and veg options – as well as donuts were distributed so the crowd went home with satisfied stomachs, taste-buds, ears and hearts.
PIC COURTESY Paul Hampartsoumian.
At the end of his set both the crowd and Wizkid were done!PIC COURTESY Paul Hampartsoumian.
July 4th is always a busy day for events. Aside from Independence Day it seems as though everyone decides this date is good for a function.
So this July 4th just one, I started at the Music Publishers Association to moderate this years keynote speech at their AGM. The key-note speaker this year was the unparalleled music genius Naughty Boy – Shahid Khan.
JASMINE MODERATES THE MPA AGM KEY NOTE SPEECH WITH NAUGHTY BOY. PICS COURTESY RICHARD PASCOE.
The 200 strong music publishing staff in the audience had a real treat as NB broke down his career from producer to artist, and then from artist to publishing label and then the future….
Naughty Boy, is an Ivor Novello and MOBO award winner, who has penned and produced tracks for the likes of Sam Smith and Emile Sandé, amongst many many others. He is described as a world-class songwriter/producer of the highest calibre.
STAFF FROM THE MUSIC PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, DOWNTOWN MUSIC JASMINE, NAUGHTY BOY AND HIS MANAGER RIKI BLEU.PICS COURTESY RICHARD PASCOE.
The NB brand, has taken the music rulebook, and ripped it up, and done things every step of the way – as Sinatra said- his own way.
For those that aren’t familiar with his now legendary first big breaks, he dabbled with Bollywood songs, won £44.000 on Channel 4’s gameshow Deal or no deal, won £5000 via the Princes Trust, set up a studio shed in his parents back garden, met a girl called Emeli Sande, produced Bashy’s Black Boys hit, made ‘Diamond Rings’ with Chipmunk/and the rest is history.
NB AND JASMINE BACKSTAGE PRE-INTERVIEW WHERE HE GIFTS HER A GLASS SLIPPER!….FULL OF..ARMENIAN BRANDY!..PICS COURTESY RICHARD PASCOE
His artistic success as a song-writer has been phenomenal with the likes of Beyoncé and Simon Cowell picking the phone to him and he was also one of the last people to work with George Michael.
As if thats not all impressive enough, he’s also collaborated with artists such as Rihanna, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Leona Lewis, Wiz Khalifa, JLS, Cheryl Cole, Jennifer Hudson, Gabrielle, Jess Glynne, Professor Green, and Tinie Tempah.
These huge names from across the globe are calling him, fundamentally due to his songwriting and producing skills. During the interview he revealed how he and his song-writing teams work together, support each others careers, how he safeguards and promotes the interests of the writers signed to his label and how the way he works has changed as a result of that journey.
He’s what we call a modem day digital disrupter. As well as moulding his own career, he’s successfully discovered and nurtured artists with sustainable careers during turbulent times in our industry, and continues to identify the creators and artists of the future.
He has his own publishing company –NAUGHTY WORDS- and has learnt much around publishing via older mentors in the game.
A music publisher is responsible, for ensuring the songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. They also secure commissions for music, and promote existing compositions to recording artists, film and television. NB shared what his biggest and worst publishing experiences have been to date.
Earlier this year he signed a worldwide deal with Downtown Music Publishing, and also established a joint venture with his publishing company, Naughty Words.
The Internet killed the music industry for a while – then a few years later squished it up and re-birthed it….with things like crowdfunded platforms to make music, and to sell it…look at the grime scene…NB revealed excitedly that the internet has certainly been his friend.
We’re in a new Internet age – music Spikes don’t come from just old skool traditional methods. This whole area is a new highway, NB discussed new ways of highlighting and bringing attention to his artists songs.
Last week a new BPI report GENERATION Z-MEET THE YOUNG MILENIALS, showed that young people are happy to pay for music…which will come as a relief to spotify!
We finished the interview with future looking fun where NB confessed he has music sound tracks for films as well as a Naughty Burger chain coming soon. ”it will be the unhealthiest burger that ever existed”. Thats naughty.
With NB’S obsession with cats- big and small- he has a gorgeous ginger cat called Barry who lives and engages with music stars in his studio and who is chauffeured on occasion for a blueberry facial at Harrods. The good life!
MANCHESTER ACT BUGZY MALONE SPEAKS TO KISSFM’S RUDE KID.
Then we all bundled into the car to head to Covent Gardens Relentless Studios to hear Manchester’s grime star Bugzy Malone talk us through tracks from his new album. KISSFM DJ Rude Kid moderated a chat where Bugzy told the crowd about the working conditions around his new album KING OF THE NORTH and also played us his new video for BRUCE WAYNE.
BUGZY MALONE, JASMINE AND BBC RADIO ONE BROADCASTER CHARLIE SLOTH.PICS COURTESY RICHARD PASCOE.
The crowd was fed by delicious caribbean food from DUB PLATES KITCHEN and then we all rolled out for the final destination for the evening….
Our last stop was as super nightclub TRAMP for the FIRST ACCESS ENTERTAINMENT summer party thrown by uber don music lady Sarah Stennett.
Stennett, whose stellar 20-year music biz career as a lawyer, A&R executive and artist manager has seen her become one of the UK’s leading executives and launch/develop the careers of artists including Ellie Goulding, Iggy Azalea, Jessie J, Zayn Malik and Rita Ora.
SINGER RAY BLK SUNG HER HEART OUT AT THE FIRST ACCESS ENTERTAINMENT SUMMER PARTY.
The party was popping before 9pm with a super cool crowd of young starlets, models, fashionistas, hip hop crowd and Soul singer Ray Black smashed it with a powerful set of her hits.
A photo booth and the best R&B DJ’S meant we were all dancing hard and having fun till the early hours.
A great day of celebrating the music industry in London town!
Congratulations on your journey so far- how’s the ride been from Tottenham, North London to national focus?
Thank you! its been a crazy journey so far and it’s all happening so fast… There is a lot more work for me to do though and I’ll keep on pushing and hopefully people continue to like what I do.
2016 saw you break through with numerous big moments from awards and viral singles, what would you say was your first big break?
Man’s first break came with me doing the Black Box Freestyle and then Krept & Konan reaching out and jumping on the remix. Its been mad since then.
Abra Cadabra | BL@CKBOX
You’re a Tottenham lad, what is it about Tottenham that breeds so many great music names?
Tottenham has a lot of talent and us younger people sometimes get forgotten about – Kush and Poppy & Legz, for example. But Tottenham has nurtured and will continue to nurture the best.
Tottenham’s also a hotbed for activism after the infamous riots and social housing communities. London has recently seen attacks and the Grenfell Tower disaster, but music acts far and wide like Akala, Low-key, Lily Allen and more have spoken about rights for working class communities. What do you make of it all? Does society care less about poor people?
Of course I think society cares less about poor people. They don’t give a damn about us.
This past election saw more young people than ever all across the UK become interested in voting and politics, what do you think has happened in recent months to make that happen?
It’s all in the campaign, LOL.
Rap music has always been political with Americas first rappers talking about their social conditions and the system. In 2017 should music stars still speak about politics?
Yeah, but everyone should speak their own opinion.
Why does grime love Jeremy Corbyn?
He rates and respects young people.
ABRA CADABRA – IMAGE Vicky Grout.
Your award winning single Robbery grew in popularity from word of mouth, the grime music scene has shown how they are powerful without a music label, what are your thoughts on signing to a major vs being an independent artist?
I think each situation can work for different artists – If you’re doing your ‘ting proper and independent and making dough you would only sign to a label if they can prove that they can change the whole situation and make you more money than you’re making and I wouldn’t even call my kinda music grime. There’s no one way to define but I’d categorise as my own sound…… differontos.
Abra Cadabra ft. Krept & Konan – Robbery Remix
Your appearance on Belly Squad’s Banana Remix saw you exploring the Afrobeats/rap axis…you clearly love experimenting and are open to new sounds…what other musical journey might we see Abra Cadabra take?
Man does every style, haha. I like melody so I’m always trying to new stuff… I just like experimenting with new sounds. I’ve got some stuff coming soon which will definitely surprise people. My latest sound I got with Danzey, another up and coming rapper from Tottenham. It’s called ‘Stay’ and I released it on my own channel. It briefly touches the Afro swing audience.
You’re cited as being one of the most exciting MC’s in the UK right now…(fusing afrobeats and rap, riding the murky UK version of drill), what way are you and your peers generally pursuing new directions?
We do a lot of collaborations with artists and producers so we are always bring new sounds in and trying new stuff. So man is always into new stuff.
You’re a MOBO best single winner, how important are the MOBO AWARDS to British black acts and what brand points does MOBO give you that no other UK awards do?
When man won the MOBO that was just weird, in a good way, coz I grew up watching it and thought that it was another world. So when I was a winner, it was another madness. The MOBO’s are so important, as they are part of the handful of award shows that has always supported and celebrated black music alongside Posty’s Grm award. Without them we wouldn’t be making the strides we are now. Every artist who does what we do wants to win a MOBO. Manz looking forward to this years MOBOS – it’s gonna be crazy.
The GRM / Rated Awards are also big for the grime generation, how has the GRM brand impacted your music and exposure?
Big up Rated Awards always . That was the first award I ever won. I was so shocked when my name got called out as the winner I jumped on Posty. It feels like so long ago when I made that infamous speech . Winning that award made me feel like I’m definitely on the right path. A lot of people reached out after that win.
USA / UK
Many American artists are taking an interest in the U.K. market, with names like Drake featuring Giggs on his More Life playlist. If you could collaborate with any American name this coming year, who would it be and why?
It would have to be…… it’s a difficult one… let me think about it and get back to you in 2 working days loool
British rappers used to really care about making it in America, do you still?
I think now we just believe in ourselves more now and we know that we are sick at what we do and we don’t need approval anymore. Obviously man wants to have success in America, like every artist does, but one step at a time.
What makes British acts so cool and innovative?
We are just real and don’t change for anyone and I think people respect that.
Whats coming next for Abra Cadabra?
Lots of stuff happening. I’m gonna be dropping more videos over the next few months, you’ll see some more collabs also. I’m gonna continue performing live at all these festivals over the summer. Go subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to stay updated. But big shout outs to Fais and Wize – two people that play big parts in my career who are the unsung heroes and I’d like to end by sending my condolences to Uncle Ounto who recently lost his brother to knife crime.