This month in Rising Star, we talk radio, promotions and music industry pathways with All Ears plugger and The Pit London founder Alfred Afari...
Where and when did you get into the business?
“I began throwing events at 16 with my friends. I took a break for a few years then revised the idea with my friend DJ Darkstepper and we started a radio show. As the show got bigger I was approached by All Ears to become a radio plugger. Three years later, I have worked on dream campaigns such as AJ Tracey, Kano, Jorja Smith, Denzel Curry and more. When I started The Pit with Darkstepper, I was working in security doing admin. I hope people understand that nothing is impossible and you never know where the opportunity will arise. The industry needs to do more when connecting with people from minority and lower socio-economic backgrounds, I was surprised how few there were in the boardrooms, as opposed to among the artists. The tide is changing, but more could be done through things like mentoring and letting people understand that there are more routes to working in music as opposed to being an artist or A&R.”
What’s the most exciting thing about working in music?
“Connecting with artists. To me, music is a very magical thing and to be able to be part of that magic, whether through promo or A&R, is something that really excites me. I like helping an artist achieve their vision. I had the pleasure to work on Kano’s last album, Hoodies All Summer, and I set up a viewing of his Trouble video at Pop Brixton with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. This was incredibly fulfilling as it allowed Kano to showcase his message as he intended, and I could see it resonate with young people in real time. It will live with me for ever.”
I like helping artists achieve their vision
How do you want to help artists get exposure?
“I like to work with artists on how they would like to be perceived and work out a plan to achieve that. That can mean making sure they are being interviewed by the right type of presenters or getting played on specialist shows. I also want to help elevate them by making sure they hit playlists at national and community stations and reach audiences they may not normally connect with. I am currently working with new grime supergroup Norf Face [JME, Capo Lee, Shorty and Frisco]. I set up an interview with the Student Radio Association, which allowed the group to connect with regions across the UK and helped the student radio network launch a new podcast feature interviewing bigger artists. Although national radio is great for exposure, nothing beats artists connecting with presenters on the local level.”
Can radio keep up with DSPs and social media?
“One way we have been aligning with streaming is making sure tracks are premiered on the radio at the same time they reach DSPs. This prevents the artist from showing a preference. Radio continues to play a pivotal role in an artist’s career and is not to be taken for granted. I will often look to DJ Target’s amazing Target Embargo feature on 1Xtra and advise artists to line up releases on streaming from 7:30pm when Target usually plays the Embargo track. We would also advise the video drops at the same time to allow for the artist to make as much noise as possible.”
What’s your ultimate goal?
“To have my own festival and record label, showcasing alternative hip-hop and R&B artists of all levels. I believe that these areas are criminally underrated despite all of the amazing talent out there.
I will not rest until my records are taking over the charts!”
ALFRED’S RECOMMENDED TRACK:
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