This week’s Rising Star is Benjamin Akpojaro, A&R manager at Reservoir Media. Read on to hear how and why he’s causing a stir in the industry…
How did you break into the industry?
I started out as a writer and producer, making music with my older brothers and then attending Bucks New University in 2013 where I studied music management. In my head, I was still a producer when I landed my first and only internship at Reservoir. I fell in love with music publishing. I worked for free, working weekends whilst I learned what publishing was about. I was fortunate to have an MD in Annette Barrett who is a real nurturer, not only of talent on the roster but also in her team. I started working with a bedroom producer, hustling, going to gigs and networking. This led to working alongside the team, setting up sessions for our writers and then eventually signing writers myself.
What excites you most about music?
The potential for amazing music when creatives get into a studio together. A lot of my time is spent setting up writing sessions and I genuinely love it. Seeing music your writers have worked on being performed live, getting released, charting, radio, videos... How songs can come to life is fascinating and every single part of the process excites me. It all comes back to the song though, and that is why I love that part the most.
What were you nervous about before working in the business?
The first few times I wanted to go into the boss’ office and get her to believe in something I believed in and take a risk. You build yourself up and get really passionate, then you have to communicate that to someone more experienced than you and hope they believe it too. Absolutely terrifying.
How could the biz improve?
I’m shouting out for more people from minority ethnic groups in positions of influence and power. The UK has such a rich blend of cultures and backgrounds and our artists, writers and industry would benefit from more diversity among our leaders to showcase this.
What’s one thing no one knows about publishing?
It’s fun and incredibly creative! Often I encounter artists and writers who see publishers as another means to a pay cheque. A good publisher can be a creative’s greatest ally. I know so many fantastic A&Rs who love getting stuck in and going the extra mile to seek out brilliant, fruitful opportunities for their writers and are working to ensure they feel the value we add everyday.
What is the key to a perfect song?
Simplicity is king. I won’t claim to know the formula to the perfect song but this I’ll stand by. Simplify the message, simplify the delivery and make it easier to absorb and easier to enjoy. Genius doesn’t have to be complex.
BENJAMIN’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: