Welcome to the second edition of Six Questions With..., a new, short and sharp interview with a live music figure. This feature forms a regular part of the relaunched Music Week Live newsletter. Email email@example.com if you would like to take part or put someone forward for inclusion.
This week's Q&A is with James Morgan, one half of Morgan Pochin, producers of hit albums for Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe and Collabro. With Parkinson's UK, Morgan Pochin is hosting the Symfunny No. 2 fundraising event at the Royal Albert Hall in London on April 19.
What was your first job in music?
We first started out as performers - I was a conductor and Juliette [Pochin, pictured right] a singer, so firsts for these would have been conducting at a society wedding in Knightsbridge and Juliette played the dog in a Janacek opera. As producers, our first job was making the debut album for a young, 21-year-old Welsh girl called Katherine Jenkins.
How long have you been in your current role?
Our production and writing partnership has been going for 18 years now, and we’ve always performed as well.
What is your favourite thing about working in the music industry?
You never get bored. Every job brings new challenges; you are constantly working with new people and coming across new music you hadn’t heard before and of course, nothing beats the buzz of performing to a live audience.
What is the one thing you would like to change about the live business?
Going to see a a big name is getting crazily expensive. There is plenty of money being made, whatever people like to tell you, and experiencing your favourite band live is becoming a luxury for the well off rather than accessible to all. In classical music, we still need to do better at making concerts more accessible - reaching out to new, younger audiences in a way they can respond to rather than expecting them to read programmes or attend boring pre-concert talks.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
In 2014 we staged Symfunny No.1 - a gala concert of music and comedy at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of Parkinson's UK. Following my diagnosis with Young Onset Parkinson’s the previous year, we decided it would be a great way of raising money and showing the industry that despite the diagnosis, we are very much working and open for business as usual! So many of our friends and colleagues gave their time and talent for free, Alfie Boe even flew over from the USA to sing. It was a very emotional night for us and remains the only gig when we have both genuinely laughed and cried. Conducting 350 performers singing ‘have you ever had to take a shit on a train’ with Armstrong & Miller was a particular highlight!
And what is the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Too difficult to choose! Can we be cheeky and say we’re hoping it’s going to be Symfunny No.2 on April 19 at the Royal Albert Hall this year?