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 Whitney Boateng, booker at Metropolis/Live Nation and co-founder of #TheShowMustBePausedUK, about her journey through the music business...
How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour?
“Extremely honoured, grateful and shocked. There are so many previous inductees I admire and I discovered many women who continually inspire me from earlier editions, so it is overwhelming.”
How do you reflect on your early years in the industry? What challenges did you face?
“I didn’t actually know what I wanted to do, I just knew that music excited me. I feel grateful to have had my journey, because I have learned so much from every job, they’re all important. I’ve enjoyed every job that I’ve had, so I have been very blessed in that regard. I’ve had different challenges and hurdles at different stages, but the one that has remained consistent is not being listened to and being ignored. Many times I have been in places of work and have been mistaken for a fan or a runner, there’s an ongoing assumption that a young black woman wouldn’t be in the positions that I have. I also found getting into the industry quite hard. Although I come from a musical family, I didn’t necessarily use nepotism to get a job. I find that it is a battle of who you know. Networking is key, but I wish that there was a fairer way for women trying to get into the industry to get a job.”
Did you have a mentor or role model who helped you?
“I’m fortunate to have been blessed with different people to help me. My first mentors are my brothers [Atlantic’s] Alec and [Universal’s] Alex Boateng, They are the sole reason for my love of music and they are able to give me words of wisdom when I need it. [Ministry Of Sound/Renowned Management’s] Zeon Richards, who was my first boss, has been an instrumental part in my growth, Akua Agyemfra [Bea London/#Merky] has also been a very huge part in every step I’ve taken, as have Char Grant [BMG], Charlie Ogbechie [Urban Development] and Tobe Onwuka [#Merky]. Having mentors is key, even if they don’t necessarily know they are mentoring you. There are so many people to look up to in the industry.”
This industry is a battle of who you know
What advice would you offer young female execs about a successful career in music?
“My first piece of advice would be to always be bold – your ideas are good enough, your voice is strong enough, your opinion is needed. As hard as it may get, try to be firm when necessary, and try to be confident. I would also like to encourage young female executives to enjoy their hard work at all levels without comparison, your personal win is just as important as the one that everyone else is shouting about. Run your own race, the industry is fast-paced and many times I have felt that I was not on the same level as my peers, but that’s OK, your journey is being moulded and it’s going to form in its own time.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“‘Don’t be afraid to fail’. My best lessons came from the things that didn’t work or the things I did wrong. I tell myself I won’t get it right all the time and that is completely fine, learn from it and bounce back.”
What’s been the biggest lesson you’ll take from 2020?
“This has been a year of uncertainty. It has reminded me that life is constantly changing. My biggest lesson in relation to the business, especially live, has been that we need to be ready to adapt. Live has taken quite a hit, but I am proud of how we’ve all adapted, not just in my part of the industry but the music business as a whole. 2020 has taught me to always stay on my toes and to make sure that there is always a plan B.”
PHOTO: Louise Haywood-Schiefer