VP OF RADIO, WARNER BROS RECORDS
How do you feel about joining the Women In Music Roll Of Honour?
“Very grateful. Especially this year. I wish we didn’t need to divide the industry into sub-sections, but there have been some uncomfortable headlines recently, so it feels good to be part of something that truly celebrates women’s successes.”
How did you get into the music biz?
“I studied literature at Leeds University, and because I loved music and wanted to get to gigs for free, I got involved editing the music section of the student paper there. After graduating I moved to London and got a temp job that evolved into a permanent position, as press assistant at Warner. After a couple of years, I moved into promotions and have moved up through the ranks since then.”
Did you have a mentor or role model who helped or inspired you in the early part of your career?
“Not one in particular as I was so lucky with the people I worked with and around, I still am. Early in my career, Ginny Luckhurst was a wonderful first boss. Pete Black helped me move from press to radio and is still a friend and a sounding board. Anyone working in promotions can learn a lot from Sarah Adams. Andy Prevezer always has my back and wise words. John Reid was my first MD and really supportive. They set a high bar that has echoed through my career in terms of support, advice and good times.”
What do you consider to be the biggest achievement of your career?
“It was a lovely surprise to win Promotions Team at this year’s Music Week Awards, the Dua Lipa campaign has been so much fun to be involved with. Dua is a force to be reckoned with and that level of talent, drive and success is really exciting and infectious to be around. The main achievement for me is really about the people I’ve got to know through my work. The artists, musicians, broadcasters, creatives and people behind the scenes. It’s a unique career perk that I don’t take for granted.”
If we’re doing our jobs right, we can help shape culture and influence change
The gender pay gap figures for the music industry made for sobering reading. How far away is parity of opportunity and remuneration for women in the UK music industry?
“The pay gaps I’ve read about in the industry are about a lack of women at the top of organisations. Warner is making headway into this, working on development opportunities for women across the company. But in terms of the industry as a whole, I really don’t know how far away parity of opportunity is, and I change my mind about its progress every day. Some days I witness something truly egalitarian that simply wouldn’t have happened even two years ago and I’m really optimistic. And then I witness something depressing – tokenistic gestures, not just within the music industry but across other industries too – being made to fulfil a quota or an agenda within this conversation. If we’re going to do this, we need to do it properly.”
Have things improved during your career? What more needs to be done?
“It’s improved in the sense that the problem has been identified, verbalised and a conversation is happening, but it’s really just started. Even more action is what is needed. No one’s expecting this to be solved overnight – but the solution to the gender pay gap is creating greater opportunity for women to move into the higher ranks of the industry, not just talking about it. And that’s not just a change that will benefit women, it will benefit everyone. Also, we are in a position of privilege in that, if we’re doing our jobs right, we can help shape culture and influence change. We need to be signing even more artists, men and women, with positive things to say, we need to be hearing more of them on the radio, and we need to be hearing and reading their opinions. We can help provide the role models so that the next generations don’t need to spend time working this stuff out, and they just know it implicitly.”
The issue of sexual harassment in the entertainment industries continues to dominate the news agenda. Is the music biz doing enough to tackle the problem?
“I don’t feel qualified to comment on whether the industry is doing enough. I do know that music companies are becoming much more aware of the issue and stepping up. This is a really important conversation, that’s just begun and that will lead to much needed change.”
What advice would you offer young female executives about enjoying a successful career in the music business?
“Be yourself, speak up, be confident, be kind, be curious, have fun and find the right work/life balance.”