This month in Rising Star, we meet Ginelle Appau, music editorial lead at Apple Music UK, to talk new artists, Black music and more...
How did you land your role at Apple Music?
“I spent the first five years of my career working in New York at a digital marketing agency. While I was there, I could see that Black British music still had more room for growth, so I decided to launch a media platform called Brits + Pieces (BRAP), dedicated to celebrating Black British culture. Music formed a large part of the platform – specifically a series called BRAP Live, which showcased rising talent like UK R&B artist Mychelle, East London rapper Frenzy, and Esther Durin, who recently starred in Little Mix’s The Search. I moved back to London in 2020 to join the Apple Media Services Development Programme. Taking that leap and moving back to the UK was one of the best decisions of my life. After 12 months, I landed my dream role at Apple Music.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
“Supporting emerging talent and being a part of their journey from the start. In 2020 I worked on the launch of Apple Music’s UK R&B playlist – it’s a scene that I’m incredibly passionate about. In 2021, some of the stars – Jvck James and Kali Claire – were picked as local Apple Music Up Next artists. I also really enjoy helping to build content for Black music for our playlist The Agenda. It’s been fun working on the video series The Agenda Live, and working with Dotty and the Apple Music 1 radio team, too. In 2020, we launched Blackout Radio, a series that explores Black British music culture, and celebrates the contributions made by fearless Black British artists and producers. My favourite so far has to be the UK Garage Special that aired last summer, when Dotty celebrated UKG and 20 years of So Solid Crew’s track 21 Seconds. I also love live music so I feel very privileged to be able to see my favourites live and to work with legendary artists.”
Persistence and patience are key
Tell us the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far...
“Persistence and patience is key. Focus on building strong relationships by being your true authentic self, always.”
What will be the top stories in UK Black music in 2022?
“We’re going to continue to see the success of UK rap. UK R&B has also been a hot topic for a while – shout-out to everyone spotlighting artists from this scene. It feels like we’re on the brink of some real breakthroughs. Then there’s the growth of Black-owned brands contributing to the Black music scene. From GUAP to DLT, Daily Paper, and Gal-dem, to name a few – the Black music ecosystem in the UK is being cemented. A monumental date in the Black music calendar was Wizkid playing three nights at the O2 in November / December. It’s testament to the fact that artists from across the African continent have made their mark on the scene in the UK. I’m sure we will continue to see the success of these artists globally and hopefully more collaborations with talent in the diaspora.”
And finally, what are your hopes for the industry this year?
“A full return to live music, and for all the people who work across the sector to thrive.”
GINELLE’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: