Rising Star is our monthly column in which we meet the industry’s brightest new talents. Here, Anushka Gantumur, executive, creative, Europe, BMI, talks us through her music business journey so far…
How did you land your role at BMI?
“Luck and hard work. I was always passionate about music, but when I was younger the music industry didn’t seem like a career path that existed unless you were a musician, so I studied international relations. I was inspired by my mother’s diplomatic work showcasing Mongolian artists in Europe so I focused my thesis on the way countries influence the world through promoting their culture, and during my final year studying I found a BMI internship, which was a great way for me to get my foot in the door. I’ve found that the key to succeeding in this area is persistence in learning, relationship building and dedication.”
You were part of the team behind the BMI Impact Award, which was first won by Raye in 2019. Can you talk us through the process of creating it?
“The BMI Impact Award was created to recognise artists who have impacted the industry through their groundbreaking artistry, and we felt there was a need to celebrate songwriters, musicians, artists and producers who were not only commercially successful, but also pushing the boundaries of songwriting or production. We also felt a need for more recognition of diversity and inclusion, and as a woman of colour in the business, I’m so proud that we’ve honoured artists like Tems, Arlo Parks and Raye with the award.”
What does your usual work day look like?
“It consists of meetings, calls and creative work. Most of my time is spent on administration, like song registrations, royalty discrepancies, working with our US teams and talking to new writers and producers. It’s not always glamorous, but it’s one of the most important parts of the industry because those we work with rely on what we do to make a living. I’ve also spearheaded events such as Speed Dating For Songwriters, BMI 101 presentations, sponsoring writing camps and I’ve pitched BMI affiliates for opportunities with bespoke partnerships and performances at Lollapalooza, SXSW and more.”
You’ve signed and developed artists including Joel Corry, Omah Lay, Dylan, Zak Abel and more. Is there one artist signing you are most proud of?
“I’m proud of everyone I’ve signed, but I’m most proud of the relationships I’ve maintained. During lockdown, I made a point to reach out directly to many who had to sign up online to connect with BMI, and I’ve since established incredible connections with Tems, Amaarae, Libianca, Asake and Fireboy DML, to name a few. Our roster of Asian women like Beabadoobee and Rina Sawayama are also killing it at the moment!”
Finally, you have worked extensively with producers and companies working with Afrobeats artists. In your opinion, what has been key to the genre’s growth around the world? And how do you see it developing in the future?
“Growing up in London, I was exposed to amazing music, so I knew it was a long time coming for Afrobeats, Afro-pop, Afro-fusion and Amapiano to explode in the way they have. The key to Afrobeats’ growth is a combination of factors including social media and the increasing popularity of African culture. Afrobeats is full of life and it resonates with people all over the world, so I believe its future is bright, especially given that the Grammys have added it as a 2024 category. I’m excited to see how it evolves in years to come.”