The music industry pays tribute to First Access Entertainment CEO Sarah Stennett
“When Sarah and I first met a few years ago, I quickly knew I wanted to work with her. She has a strong track record of developing world-class artists coupled with a dynamic business acumen that allows her to spot and deliver activations across a range of entertainment properties. I look forward to our continued partnership.”
Len Blavatnik, founder, Access Industries
“Sarah is one of the most committed, talented and loyal executives in the music industry. She is a complete visionary, who has always challenged the status quo, tirelessly pushing boundaries to get the very best for her artists.
Her energy, enthusiasm and dedication is unparalleled and the support that she provides to both her artists and her amazing team is outstanding.
Sarah’s track record speaks for itself. She has established herself as a true pioneer in the industry and, as such, completely deserves this award.
I am delighted to have worked in partnership with Sarah over so many years. We’ve had many conversations that start with, You cannot tell anyone what I’m about to say!, not only sharing secrets, but so much laughter! I am proud to call her my friend.”
Jason Iley, chairman/CEO, Sony Music UK/Ireland
“The first time I met Sarah was when she was working with Jessie J. All I can remember about that meeting was laughing my head off and leaving her office feeling like, Wow! I just met a huge star - Sarah Stennett! I’ve never witnessed a more passionate, driven, gutsy person.
If Sarah believes in someone, the level of determination to champion, protect, support and ultimately deliver that artist is unrivalled. I have a lot of respect for her perspective, which is often different to the majority. Her realness is legendary. One word sums her up: unique!”
Laura Lukanz, EVP, artist & producer development, First Access Entertainment
“Sarah’s a very gifted artist manger – it’s in her DNA. She has a natural understanding of the industry and really embraces the hard work that’s needed for an artist to shine in today’s crowded entertainment space.
Everyone who knows Sarah knows that she’s hugely ambitious for her artists and her endless determination and passion helps them to realise their vision. She’s a class act and it’s no surprise that her artists love her.”
Max Lousada, chairman/CEO, Warner Music UK
“If Sarah takes on an artist, her drive to succeed on their behalf is relentless, no stone unturned, no spin unspun. She will hustle, she will excite, she will inspire, she will rally the troops, her power to persuade is second to none.
I have been lucky enough to be part of the whirlwind of the Sarah Stennett story for over 15 years. We have broken many artists on a global level and believe me it took 10 million emails, 100,000 phone calls and blood, sweat and tears. Sarah has had many success over the years, including Ellie, Rita, Iggy, Jessie J and Zayn.
She is brilliant, she is a force of nature, she is highly lovable and slightly insane. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of The Strat award.”
Cassandra Gracey, executive vice-president, UK & Europe, First Access Entertainment
“Sarah has built a fantastic company completely on her own terms and it can’t be luck or coincidence that she is associated with so many strong female artists.
She is extremely smart, totally driven and hard working and there is never a dull moment when she sweeps through your company like a whirlwind of powerful energy. The music business needs forward thinking executives like Sarah Stennett!”
Rob Stringer, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment
“One day in early 2001, I was out shopping with my younger sister Jem, a then-unsigned artist and producer. Jem said she had to meet her lawyer, Sarah, for a quick coffee and that I could come along. I sat there listening to this confident, straight-talking, personable woman and found myself feeling incredibly inspired.
Two weeks later, my sister suggested that I should be involved in her management and that was it. Within days Sarah offered to set up a business with me, to nurture and guide me and to help financially until we could find our feet with Jem. I quit my job and have never looked back.
My favourite memory of Sarah is actually not that long ago, when she actually fell asleep whilst talking to me on the phone. She was really tired, in the US and mid-sentence, and I was waiting for her to finish and heard nothing. So, I’m like, Sarah, Sarah, hellloooo?
And all I hear is this gentle sound of her breathing in and out, in and out. It was a very sweet moment, as there was something very gentle and vulnerable about that sound, and these are not words ever used to describe Sarah! It was also very reassuring to know that even Sarah sleeps sometimes!”
Chloe Roberts, EVP, operations & resources, First Access Entertainment
“I admire Sarah greatly. The first time we properly worked together ended up being a global smash – Iggy Azalea’s Fancy featuring Charli XCX. It was a brilliant way to kick off our relationship.
I could see from the start, Sarah’s the kind of person that, when she decides to go for something, she goes all-in.
She has a formidable drive to deliver for her artists the world over, and a keen knack to spot opportunities that have very slim margins for error - yet succeeds time and again. I have no doubt these are the reasons she’s so prolific with so many acts.”
Ben Cook, president, Atlantic Records UK
“Sarah has always been instinctive at signing and nurturing artists. Everything starts with her A&R ability, but what really sets her apart is the way she gets things moving.
She throws all her energy behind every project. Sarah absolutely deserves this award and it’s a pleasure to work with her artists and team.”
David Joseph, chairman/CEO, Universal Music UK & Ireland
“Sarah started work at the firm I was then a partner at in 1993. From the start, she carried a great energy and a clear passion for music and, more importantly, the business of music.
Together we founded SSB Solicitors in 1995. She then really found her stride developing a great reputation as a champion of new talent and a great deal-maker. Sarah has always engaged with people from the executives to the new artists to the songwriters/producers crafting the music in the studio.
This made her especially insightful when helping many artists establish their careers. There are many examples, including, in the early days, her helping [Girls Aloud, Pet Shop Boys and The Saturdays’ producers] Xenomania become a songwriter-producer powerhouse.
This story continues. It soon became clear that she had uncommon A&R and business acumen and this led to her transition from lawyer to manager and music industry entrepreneur.
She was the first to hear the potential of demo recordings like Do It Like A Dude (Jessie J) or Fancy (Iggy Azalea).
This led her to establishing herself full-time as a very successful manager and music executive. I remember many wonderful evenings dancing around the photocopier with assorted music people. The office was always alive with people, drama and music.
Our loss as lawyers is the industry’s gain. Long may she reign!”
Paul Spraggon, partner, SSB Solicitors