Rising Star: Never Fade Records' Orna Lyons

Orna Lyons: “The best thing young people can do is push boundaries

The biz's brightest new stars tell their stories. This week it's the turn of Orna Lyons, artist manager and label manager at Never Fade Records'.

How did you break into the music business?

My first job in the industry was in the digital section at Pivotal PR, a radio promotions company. It was a great introduction to the business and I got to meet lots of managers and work on campaigns with major labels for the first time. It was brilliant experience and I still work with some of the people I met there today, including James Barnes who I now work with. The music business can be tricky to break into, even more so if you are not from the UK and have zero contacts. This is why I recently started a music based podcast called What Do You Do, where I’ll be speaking to people in the industry about their roles and how to get started in music.

What’s the best thing about your job?

There are so many things! I love putting out music and every part of that process, from listening to demos, helping to create the assets and then putting a plan in place around a single, EP or album. We’re a small team at Never Fade and the way that the music industry has evolved over the past few years has really worked in our favour. We’re putting out more music every year and racking up hundreds of millions of streams across our roster in the process. I truly feel that there is no limit to what an indie label can achieve, which is exciting.

Young people should push boundaries

What’s your proudest achievement so far?

My proudest achievement is running our monthly club night, The Never Fade Sessions, which is held at The Social in London. The night is now in its fourth year and has evolved into a really lovely space for both up-and-coming and established artists to perform to an audience that really listens and appreciates the music. Over the years we’ve hosted hundreds of acts and have had lots of very special guests perform for us like Newton Faulkner, Nina Nesbitt, Ward Thomas, Devin Dawson and Gabrielle Aplin. We’ve also brought The Never Fade Sessions to festivals such as The Great Escape and Barn On The Farm and this year we are hosting a stage at Boardmasters, which is a great partnership for us.

What should young people do to make an impact in music?

The best thing young people can do to make an impact is to push the boundaries and to challenge the traditional models of releasing music. Some of the most innovative campaigns I’m seeing are coming from young people who might not necessarily have tons of experience or even understand every aspect of the business, but are being clever with marketing techniques and taking advantage of the fact that there are now fewer barriers to entry.

What’s your one wish for the music industry?

I hope that albums continue to remain relevant in this playlist era and I’d also love to see more women in all areas of the music industry, particularly in leadership roles. 

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