Our latest Rising Star is 2-Tone Entertainment/2TE Records A&R Jack Duckworth. Read his story here...
How did you break into the industry?
When I was 15, a friend and I set up a dance label and started curating our own events to showcase the roster we had started to build. Within a year we were hosting a room in one of London’s biggest clubs every week, the name of which I won’t mention as they never knew our real age… I joined Starwood Management as an assistant, helping on projects such as Philip George, Kideko and George Kwali. From there, I went on to Go-Artist Management as a manager working closely with Shift K3Y, Chris Lorenzo and the rest of their roster. I met Shaurav D’Silva at ADE and he later asked me if I wanted to join the 2TE Records/Warner Bros team.
What are the qualities essential for good A&R?
Not just to know what sounds good, but to understand each step of the process. From finding an artist who has a solid team, to closing a deal, then nurturing and amplifying their vision. You have to know where you are going to take an artist in the next few years, not just the next few months. Be confident in your own taste and know when to be critical.
How significant is the current boom in the UK scene?
Massive. It’s great to see so many subcultures rising up. The urban scene is getting the recognition it deserves and I hope there will be a similar rise for the exciting new underground dance producers that have been making waves. The consumption of music is more aggressive and exciting than ever. Streaming and digital are only going to get bigger, badder and better.
What’s the hardest part of A&R?
Competitiveness is at an all time high, but I think it’s adapting to the new era of streaming. To be successful, you have to have a thorough understanding of the marketing and digital sides of the industry. Music and trends are moving much faster, so you have to be on top of everything, whether that’s in the studio, online or at shows.
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
Joining the 2TE/Warner Bros team and signing my first artist, Blinkie. I am still only 20, but Shaurav and the team have been very supportive and have taught me a lot already. My main focus now is building the label, signing exciting artists and getting quality music out there.
What would you change about the music industry?
I would like to see more women in A&R and in executive positions. I would like to think that with the new energy and understanding that the young generation brings it will happen, but we all need to take responsibility to make sure it does.
JACK'S RECOMMENDED TRACK: