In the latest edition of Music Week we proudly present this year’s expanded Music Week Women In Music Awards Roll Of Honour. Here we speak to new inductee Negla Abdela, head of digital at Ministry Of Sound…
How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour?
“It feels great to be named alongside so many amazing and game-changing women, a lot of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with along the way.”
How do you look back on your early years getting into the industry?
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind but I look back with a lot of fondness. Starting out as an intern, I had no idea where that opportunity would take me, I was just eager to learn and get stuck in. Learning to show up as my true self and being confident in my abilities had always been a big challenge to overcome; especially in such a male-dominated industry, but I’ve always worked under amazing women who paved the way and showed me how much I could achieve.”
Did you have a mentor or role model who helped you at that stage?
“I’ve never had a mentor at work but my sister Nemat [senior marketing manager at Columbia Records] has always been a role model for me. Watching her navigate the music and media industry when she was starting out showed me how much hard work and hustle it takes to succeed, and I learnt a lot from her which really helped me prepare for my early roles. Seeing her working in TV and music marketing showed me that those doors weren’t closed for me, which is why representation matters – you can’t be what you can’t see.”
Representation matters – you can't be what you can't see
Negla Abdela, Ministry Of Sound
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement?
“It’s always nice to get a No.1 single or album, it’s the icing on the cake of a good campaign and the best reward for the hard work that goes into achieving it. This year we had our first No.1 single at the start of lockdown with Saint Jhn and Imanbek’s Roses and it felt even better because of the unprecedented times we were in.”
What advice would you offer young female executives about enjoying a successful career in music?
“Work hard but also work smart, be strategic with your career choices and always set goals and targets for yourself and your progression. Building your network and finding your tribe is very important, especially when starting out, as that’s your support system in the music industry. Try to surround yourself with like-minded people with similar aspirations; those are the people who’ll keep you motivated during hard times and celebrate you when you’re winning. Lastly, don’t let anybody set limits for you of what you can achieve, if you believe in yourself, your ideas and your ability, you have to keep pushing forward and find different ways to get what you want.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“As an intern, I was told to figure out what my ‘thing’ was and to make myself the go-to person for it. More recently, I was advised to identify my purpose and bring it more into my day-to-day work, the two don’t have to be separate.”
2020 has been a year of unprecedented change in the music business and, indeed, the world itself – what’s the biggest lesson you’ll take away?
“That sometimes you have to slow down to get clarity. There have been fewer distractions, which has really allowed me to focus on what’s important and ignore all the other stuff that’s not relevant or helpful. This has had positive results in my personal life, but also in my work and the campaigns we’ve executed this year.”