interviews

Nadia Khan & Lethal Bizzle on their relationship, representation and their vision for the industry

Nadia Khan and Lethal Bizzle have forged one of the most inspirational partnerships in music. CTRL Management & Women In CTRL founder and Women In Music Award winner Khan has made her name campaigning for an equal future, while Bizzle ...

Outside Organisation founder Alan Edwards reflects on working with David Bowie

Alan Edwards, founder of the Outside Organisation, spent 35 years as David Bowie’s publicist and now works with the estate. Here, to mark the arrival of the new Moonage Daydream film, he recalls their “intense and exciting” working relationship… Can you recall your first meeting with David Bowie – what impression did he make? “It was in 1981 at the Carlton Towers in Chelsea. I had a brief meeting with David and Coco [Schwab, long-term PA]. But my first proper and much more extensive meeting was at his office on Fifth Avenue in New York in, I’m guessing, 1981. The meeting actually went on over a couple of days and he was forensic in his questioning. But at all times he was charming and friendly. David was very interested in the people I knew, who I’d worked with in the punk world, who were up–and–coming journalists – people like Tony Parsons and Dylan Jones. He wanted to know how I approached media, what I thought about certain publications and how best to generate good coverage. He wanted to know my ideas – he wasn’t one of these ‘stay in your lane’ type of artists who just wanted a publicist that merely followed orders. He absorbed ideas and information from everyone around him and then decided on a strategy. He was very clear but also decisive and flexible.”  In what ways did he surprise and inspire you? What did you learn from him?“David had an enormous influence on me. He really was a teacher and he loved to share knowledge. For instance, he particularly enjoyed recommending books. He turned me on to so many writers that I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise. I remember when, during a break on tour, David took a few of us to the Vatican. It was a small party including Coco and myself. David was passionately explaining each painting and how the Medicis financed them and so on. Passing tourists thought he was an art historian. he was so low-key and even academic. They had no idea he was David Bowie, the rock star!” How would you describe your relationship with David Bowie over the years?“Working with David was intense at times but very exciting. You never knew what new project was going to be around the corner. One day he called up and asked me to attend a board meeting in his place at the influential art magazine Modern Painters. Another time he asked me if I could collect an art student from King’s Cross Station and drive him around for the day. We had a hilarious time screeching around in my old Merc buying medical equipment. It was only later I realised that the artist was Damien Hirst and he was putting together a display at the Pharmacy. Something extraordinary was always about to happen when David was around.” The important thing to him was to move on to the next adventure, which he did at the speed of light Alan Edwards Was he good at analysing his own work and cultural impact? “David was deeply media savvy – he absolutely understood and enjoyed working with the media. He was interested in all aspects of communications, from television and newspapers to the internet, of course. It wasn’t a chore to him. When doing interviews, he prepared like the consummate professional he was and always had questions; Why are we doing this? Couldn’t we do that publication? How big is that magazine’s circulation? It brought out the best of you – you always had to be switched on as a PR. He loved the art of writing and journalism and he had great relationships with many journalists. David was always a believer, endlessly optimistic, totally positive. He could see further ahead than everyone else, sometimes so far ahead of the curve the rest of us couldn’t see what he was getting at. But now and again some project wouldn’t work, and he would be brutally honest with himself. He wouldn’t instigate a blame game. He would just self–assess very quickly. The important thing to him was to move on to the next adventure, which he did at the speed of light. There would be no recriminations or long, sulky periods.”  Can you reflect on the experience of working on the final album in 2016? “The Blackstar campaign really felt like it was something significant from the very beginning. Of course, it ended up being so important. None of us knew then that it was going to become part of rock history. I often think back to my last meeting with him not long before the release of that record and smile at some of the stories we traded.”  You continue to work on the catalogue – how important is that in building on his legacy? “I would say David is the UK’s most influential artist of all time. I always think if I came back to life hundreds of years from now there would be Bowie recitals, holograms, new books, reissues and retrospectives. I think he is part of the canon of the culture of the human race. Working with David could be challenging – his ability to switch styles and change atmospheres took some keeping up with. There’s so much wonderful work in his catalogue, and I know Guy Moot [Warner Chappell CEO] and Bill [Zysblat], Tom [Cyrana] and the team at RZO will ensure that his legacy is carefully preserved and constantly reimagined.” Subscribers can click here to read our Moonage Daydream feature with Brett Morgen, Guy Moot, BMG's Fred Casimir, and more. Our exclusive online Bowie Q&A with Guy Moot is here.

Busy 'Body: Management firm talks new era & global outlook

Everybody’s Management team have spoken about the ambitions for the company ahead of their 25th anniversary next year. The firm, which was founded by Adam Tudhope, has represented artists including Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling and Keane.  In 2020, Mumford & Sons parted company with Everybody’s after 13 years. It followed the successful campaign for 2018 US No.1 LP Delta. “We’ve been in the business for so long now, I started managing Keane in ’98, just as a friend to begin with,” said Tudhope. “So it’s inevitable that some relationships will have come and gone.  “[But] we’ve managed Keane all this time as well as Tom Chaplin’s solo career and their other side projects, which is extraordinary.” The current management roster includes Keane and Chaplin, alongside Polydor-signed Baby Queen (managed by Babs Thornton), Jack Garratt, and rising stars The Flints and Sarah Kinsley. Music Week can reveal that hugely experienced former Island managing director Jon Turner has joined Everybody’s as MD, following two decades at the Universal Music label. “I was in the major label system for 25 years,” he said. “I did 20 years at Island, it was a lot of fun – but it’s great to do something different.” Everybody’s recently held a party at its new offices in Highbury to introduce the team. “It was a chance to mark the fact that we have started a new era,” said Tudhope. “We’ve got a bigger team than we used to have and, especially with Jon joining, that gives us a bit more capacity.” As well as the firm’s core music management  business, Everybody’s is taking on individual projects, such as partnering with US-based Mick Management on The Backseat Lovers in Europe. “Not everything we do has to be a 10-year relationship,” explained Tudhope. “We can do some project-based work – particularly to help out US managers, but not exclusively.” During the pandemic, the company took a bold step by launching its own Everybody’s Music label imprint with distribution by AWAL. “It was actually born out of quite an altruistic impulse during lockdown,” said Tudhope. “At this stage, it is specifically about working with brand new artists to help them with their first releases.” The King, the debut EP by singer-songwriter and management client Sarah Kinsley, has over 40 million Spotify streams across its tracks. Kinsley, who recently graduated from Columbia University, has 440,000 followers and 9.4m likes on TikTok. “TikTok embraced Sarah,” said general manager Beth Warren. “She’s a very natural, creative young woman, and she just happened to capture the imagination of people on social media. “It’s not a marketing tool for her, it’s really just her personality, it’s what she feels like at any given moment. [The EP] kickstarted what’s been an amazing year and a half for her.” “Playlists and viral moments on social media to us are like bonuses, they’re great and of course you capitalise on them,” said Tudhope. “But they can’t be at the centre of your plan.” Baby Queen has 764,000 followers and 17.2m likes on TikTok, as well as 1.13m monthly Spotify listeners. Colours Of You, which featured on Netflix series Heartstopper, has more than eight million Spotify streams. Baby Queen supported Olivia Rodrigo in July.  “She’s fantastic live, and she connects with every audience she plays to,” said Turner. “She’s finally been able to show that this year [following the Covid live shutdown].” Tudhope pointed out that touring was  not the only area affected by the pandemic, which closed off almost all global travel. “Another thing that people have slightly underestimated about Covid was just being in market [internationally],” he said. “The force of an artist’s personality can create a great deal of impact, whether it’s going in to do a radio interview, press, a TV performance, or even just being there and hosting an aftershow.  “The artist has to be there in order for those moments to happen. We’ve really missed that.” Tudhope noted that Everybody’s has always taken a global view for its artists. “We’ve always felt like if there’s something brilliant, why not expose it to some other markets in the world right from the beginning, really, and start to build things?  “When Babs and Baby Queen came to us,  that was a big part of how we started to restructure the plan. It was to concentrate on quite a large body of work she already had with Polydor, and developing some new markets.” “Our ethos in general is that we want to consider artists as global artists, whether that be touring or recordings,” added Warren. While Everbody’s is hands-on with acts, the company still believes in label partnerships. “When you need that extra boost, there is naturally that next step where you need the infrastructure and the passion of a full team of people around you in a label,” said Turner.  “We’ve had fun being our own label,” added Tudhope. “But I think Jon’s right, there comes a point where, especially if you want to have a global career, you need that other energy to join you and just do it.”

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