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Rising Star: Meet Sony/ATV sync and licensing coordinator Angela Mastronardi

How did you break into the music industry? Good old-fashioned grind. I knew from my early teens that I wanted to work in music. I did what I could at that age and focused my education choices towards subjects I ...

"It shows young women that they can be successful": The Music Week Women In Music Awards highlights

The Music Week Women In Music Awards, held in association with UK Music, AIM and WIN, has only been around for four years. But, in that short time, it has firmly established itself as a must-attend event for the entire industry, and become the most inspirational awards out there.           And the 2017 ceremony was no exception, as a record crowd crammed into our new venue, The Brewery, to revel in Alice Levine’s witty hosting and a succession of brilliant winners. There were star artists (a sweary Imelda May, an even swearier Sharleen Spiteri, plus an uplifting Ray Blk). There were big name presenters (Strat-winner Sarah Stennett, previous Outstanding Contribution winner Emma Banks, Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson). There were awards for campaigners (Pamela McCormick) and companies (Proper Music). And there were gamechanging women both firmly established (Jo Dipple, Sas Metcalfe, Rebecca Allen) and on their way up (Grace Ladoja, Clara Amfo). But, most of all, there were amazing, hilarious, serious and inspirational speeches that illustrated the depth of female talent in the modern music business. So sit back, relax and enjoy the highlights from the biggest and best Women In Music to date..Outstanding ContributionJo Dipple SVP, public affairs, Live Nation Entertainment“Women are the backbone of business and public life and the representation of women is very important. Few businesses get it right. Those that do, reap the benefits; the trust of all their staff and economic success. Leaving men to chase mammoths and fight fire is great, but who’s going to build the house or get the village to work? And frankly, what if I turn out to be a good mammoth hunter? Every report shows that better representation leads to better results. Even if you don’t care for us ladies – as if! – think of the balance sheet and your bonus: we’ll make it bigger. Women at the top are entrepreneurial, we are classic disruptors. Those who fear disruption won’t get it. Those who don’t fear it are the future.”“For nearly a decade at UK Music, amongst ministers, MPs and civil servants, Jo Dipple Was the UK music industry. She is a powerful voice for an industry that sometimes finds it difficult to sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to talking to government.” – Tom Watson, deputy leader, Labour PartyInspirational ArtistSharleen SpiteriTexas“I’ve been sitting here today and listening to all the speeches and seeing everybody here, and I’m in that quandary where I’m torn… Because I think, ‘Why the fuck are we still fighting so hard?’ Whether it’s race or sex, why are we still fighting in this day and age? It’s a fucking disgrace. The one thing I will say is, thank you Music Week for this lovely award and to all the people that I’ve ever worked with, but I thought every woman getting an award here today wasn’t getting it because she was a woman. I thought it was because she was fucking amazing at what she does. To everyone who’s won an award, well done, and thank you very much.” “Sharleen is hardworking, loyal, passionate, she’s a self-starter. She’s also a champion of other artists, she’s managed people, helps people, writes songs with people… She’s an all round good person.” – Emma Banks, co-head, CAAThe Company Award: Diversity in the workplaceProper Music Group“I’m proud to be picking this up for our company. I know from the good work at UK Music and their diversity survey that happened recently that we actually found out that we were punching way above the weight of many when it comes to presenting a diverse workforce. There’s 104 staff at Proper and we represent 17 countries. There’s a 50-50 split between the men and the women in the company. To top that, there’s five key departments and three of those are run by women. We are proud of the fact that our diversity has not come from a position of trying to just tick the balance quota from HR, but because each person that’s been given the job has genuinely been the best candidate. There’s a strong sense of fairness and respect for cultures, and people are given the right opportunities to help make Proper the success that it is today.” – Kameil Sattar, head of digital, Proper MusicInternational Woman of the YearSas Metcalfe Chief creative officer, Kobalt Music“I’ve been in the music business since 1982, so I’m an old bird. But I have to say that it’s been an amazing career. I have had no women mentors in the business, but I do intend to be there for all the people that are coming up through the ranks. I started at Kobalt in 2001 working with Willard [Ahdritz, founder and CEO]. I was very inspired by the idea of building a new company with a new transparent approach for songwriters and artists. I’m proud to say today we’ve built an incredible company and we have some amazing talent signed to us.”“Sas continues to make a huge difference in the career of artists. She’s a leader, she’s brave, strong and supportive. But what differentiates her is her innate ability to identify a hit and spot a new writer early on who will go on to develop as a writer with a string of hits. She is passionate, she’s committed, and she’s still as passionate and committed as the first day I met her.” - Sarah Stennett, CEO, First Access EntertainmentMusic ChampionClara AmfoPresenter, Radio 1“I am so lucky to do what I do every day and I still can’t quite believe it. I grew up in a world that essentially told me I shouldn’t be here. I’m a young black woman who is the daughter of two people who came to this country in 1969 with 50 quid between them. In theory I shouldn’t be here, according to statistics. I’m really proud of all the women who pushed me through. There’s this massive cliché that women hate each other but it’s women who have always been my backbone. It was a woman that brought me in the door at Kiss, took a chance with me. It’s women who’ve always had my back. My incredible agent, my incredible friends. And my Mum, who still doesn’t quite get what I do for a living, but that’s why I love her. At the end of the day when I go home, I’m just her daughter and, to people who listen to me, I’m Clara off the radio. So to have an award that celebrates both of those people really means a lot.”CampaignerPamela McCormick Founder/director, Urban Development“Over 17 years, we have made it our mission to provide the skills, confidence and networks to enable young people to dare to dream – to believe that a career in the music industry could be for them. And, it’s not just a dream, our work provides a pathway into the industry that these young talented individuals may not ordinarily have access to. We know that a majority of our children aren’t getting the music education they should and that music education is already being cut from some cash-strapped state schools. The fear is that extraordinary kids from ordinary backgrounds won’t get what we took for granted. The music industry would be a poorer place without the Labrinths and Adeles of this world.”“When asked to name a piece of music that summed up her career, Pamela chose Running Up That Hill. She describes it as a song about striving and wanting to progress. She’s never standing still and always campaigning for the greater good.” - Selina Webb, EVP, Universal Music UKRising StarGrace LadojaCo-manager of Skepta/founder and director, Metallic Inc“It’s a great honour to be here today for many reasons, because I never had any interest in being in music, it wasn’t a goal of mine. So to be celebrated in this industry is really amazing. I really want to thank Skepta, who’s the most incredible human being I know. He’s the true man about equality, diversity, inclusivity. He gave me so much support in his journey, he allowed me to be myself and express myself, I never once felt unequal to him and that’s a great thing to feel. I had no real knowledge of the music industry but I understood culture and the community and values and change, and I understood the future was a massive part of Skepta’s journey. It wasn’t traditional, we tried to set a new paradigm for music and I think we’ve successfully done that. You can have that independence, you don’t have to be restricted by an industry that wasn’t championing something that’s so important to us.”New Artist Ray Blk“I strongly agree with one of my favourite authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, when she said that we should all be feminists. That’s why I think awards ceremonies like Music Week Women In Music are really important, because they continue acknowledging the achievements of all the women in this very male-dominated industry. It shows young women that they can be successful and don’t have to be afraid of their ambitions, that we can chase our dreams without the fear of intimidating men, and that we can be a boss without the fear of being called a bitch. The more of us there are as female artists or executives, the more we can attain equality and inspire and give hope to those who will come after us. Thank you.”“Ray is a fantastic example of DIY culture, showing that, with drive, determination and tenacity, you can reach the very top, and you can do so in the way you want to.” - Kanya King, founder/CEO, MOBO AwardsBusinessWoman of the YearRebecca Allen President, Decca Records Label Group“I firstly need to thank all my artists over the last 18 years because, really, I’m a fan of theirs and I want to do the best by them. That’s the most important job I do, to look after the artists that I represent. I’ve been really fortunate in this business to not only be surrounded by some incredible women, but equally I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by some incredibly liberal men and that’s really important in this business. I have to dedicate this award to each and every individual person at Decca because they are incredible – they’re a young, vibrant, innovative, dedicated, determined bunch of people and if I could have each and every one of them stood with me today, I would, because I owe everything to the work that they do and the passion that they have for our label.” “She’s the embodiment of Businesswoman Of The Year – she’s compassionate, she’s so sweet, she has steely determination. She is ambitious, she is infectious with her excitement, passion and enthusiasm for what she does.” – Imelda MayStory By: Music Week Staff

Hitmakers: The Darkness reveal the story behind I Believe In A Thing Called Love

Dan Hawkins (guitar): At that time, we were rehearsing in crappy places across London, but we didn’t have much money to do it, so we used to play in each other’s bedsits. On that day it was at mine and Frankie’s flat in Hampstead. We used to write on acoustics, then amplify it. We were sat round a table trying to come up with world-beating rock songs. In my head, it went something like us trying to write the silliest, most ‘80s chorus and Justin going, ‘Well if you want silly and ‘80s, what about this…’ Justin Hawkins (guitar, vocals): I remember us saying, ‘We can’t do that!’ And then going, ‘It’s fun to play though isn’t it?’ We were trying to justify it to ourselves really, we knew when we were creating it that it was not of its time. But we didn’t know if it was timeless or just stupid. Frankie thought the riff was upside down, which says more about him than the riff!Frankie Poullain (bass): Justin had this intro that was so strong it stuck around. If it hadn’t been for that riff, the song would have probably been tossed away. It gave it such a strong foundation, it was such an original riff and it worked as an intro. It was thinking, ‘This riff has got legs’. Riffs are so important, and if you’ve got an original one… Riffs are a black art. Dan’s usually the riff master, but on this occasion it was Justin. DH: We had two elements that were really big, obvious and stupidly catchy. To be honest, I didn’t really like it, it wasn’t like the other stuff we were doing at the time, which was more like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.JH: It wasn’t something we wanted to have to nurture for it to exist. We didn’t want to toil away at something that was supposed to be fun to play. It was always throwaway, right up to recording it, I don’t remember spending any time on the lyrics or anything. Whenever management came to rehearsal, it was always like, ‘That’s the song’. We said, ‘Is it really? Is it not this one?’ Bands don’t necessarily know, we always thought it would be Love Is Only A Feeling, because we’d spent a lot of time on it and were really proud of it. DH: It wasn’t surprising when it became a hit, there was so much momentum behind us, we’d had a No.11 hit and we knew it would be the next single. That’s when the major labels stepped in and things were starting to catch fire. It was obvious what would happen next.JH: As soon as the song was in our live set, the clapping started happening. It was so obvious that everybody who heard it was into it. Some people pretended they didn’t like it, but they were just lying. They did like it! It’s the wisdom of crowds.DH: The clapping in the video came from people doing it spontaneously in pubs and clubs, we latched onto it. I had to fight really hard to get some of the keyboards Justin had put on there turned down. When people go back and remaster albums, I’m looking forward to delving into that one. There’s some incredibly ‘80s keyboard work on there. Pedro [Ferreira, producer] did a great job. It was recorded in the tiniest little studio in Willesden, called 2Khz. We recorded everything in a little cupboard, almost. It shows how much you can do with not very much…

Smoking Thrills: Cigarettes After Sex on their global touring success

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The Aftershow: MOBO founder/CEO Kanya King

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Masters of the universe: Where do record labels fit into the future of the biz?

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