Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2023: Daisy Greenhead, communications director, Sony Music UK

Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2023: Daisy Greenhead, communications director, Sony Music UK

During this year’s Women In Music Awards, we inducted game-changing industry executives (including one posthumous award) into the Roll Of Honour, in association with TikTok.

They join the pantheon of previous honourees, including some of the biggest names in the business, from Emma Banks, Sarah Stennett, Rebecca Allen to Kanya King, Stacey Tang, Charisse Beaumont and Mary Anne Hobbs, who have been selected since the awards began in 2014. The Roll Of Honour aims to highlight the breadth, depth and variety of individuals who are trailblazers in the music industry, with their activities consistently benefiting women, or focusing on empowerment/gender disparity.

Following the Women In Music Awards ceremony, Music Week is running Q&A interviews with all of this year’s Roll Of Honour inductees.

Daisy Greenhead has firmly established herself as a valuable part of the structure at Sony Music since joining in 2015. 

As part of her role in strategic communications, Greenhead has been instrumental in redefining corporate communications at Sony Music. Her initiative to introduce Premium Days for the entire workforce displayed a dedication to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, whilst she has also worked consistently with the leading mental health charity Mind, as well as being a Women's Aid domestic abuse ambassador. Greenhead has also been involved in Key4Life, a rehabilitation programme aimed at helping inmates transform their lives once released.

After spending four years as chair of the charity committee at Sony, Greenhead became instrumental in setting up the What If committee, an internal employee resource group of which she is now co-chair – which amplifies the voices of Sony Music and The Orchard's workforce. The What If model has seen successful implementation in Sony Music offices situated across regions including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Spain, and has also become an umbrella committee for various social initiatives, such as the Race and Equality committee HUE, the LGBTQ+ Freedom committee and SWIM (Sony Women In Music). 

Greenhead’s dedication to advancing the support of women has also garnered wide recognition, notably through her initiatives to implement self-defence training for all staff members, and her vital role in driving forward Sony Music's policies on premature babies, paternity leave and, more recently,a childcare funding programme aimed at supporting families and increasing the representation of women at all levels of the business.

How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour?

“I always find the WIM Awards a joyous occasion, hearing from so many brilliant women across the industry, so it’s great to be involved this year.”

How do you look back on your early years getting into the industry?

“I started my career as a runner in entertainment TV and spent the first few months sleeping on people’s sofas while we travelled to different cities across the UK for filming. The hours were crazy. As a runner you’re doing a hundred things a day, from the sublime to the ridiculous, so the philosophy was always to say yes and then figure out how to make it happen later – a lesson that has served me well. Once I had my foot in the door, an opportunity came up in the PR team, but I always knew I wanted to end up in music. When I made the move across to Sony Music, I couldn’t believe a job existed where I could go to endless live shows. My journey wasn’t linear, so I didn’t realise the huge variety of roles that exist within the industry. I think that there is still an education piece that needs to be done to help demystify the industry for those who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of the music business.”

Did you have a mentor at that stage? 

“Not at that time, but I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing bosses throughout my career. Jason [Iley] has been enormously supportive since I joined Sony and continues to put his trust in me. I’m immensely grateful for his allyship.”

What qualities does a comms director need? Are there any misconceptions about the role and what it actually entails? Your career is a testament to the fact that it is – or can be – about SO much more than comms but intrinsically related to establishing the culture at a company…

“Music is all about people and relationships, so having the ability to communicate openly and honestly seems like an obvious skill, but it’s not something that comes naturally to everyone. No one likes having difficult conversations, but it’s necessary if we want to see change. The broader role of PR and comms has also evolved beyond recognition in recent years, in the way people now consume media and the increasing demand for authenticity in an online world, which is so often saturated with misinformation. The need for effective communication became particularly clear during the pandemic years, when everyone felt disconnected on many levels. There’s also been a huge shift in terms of what resonates, and people are far more socially aware than previous generations. The values that artists and companies hold matter, and often they need to be about actions, not just words.”

No one likes having difficult conversations, but it’s necessary if we want to see change

Daisy Greenhead

You’ve also been involved in some other key projects, including working with Mind on mental health issues. 

“I’m lucky that I have been given autonomy and the culture that has been set by Jason means that ideas can come from all corners of the business. The internal committee, What If, is where a lot of great initiatives have started, including the early work we did with mental health charity Mind in 2017. But what makes this a real success with wider impact is having support and backing from leadership and Jason [Iley] was ahead of the curve when it came to the mental health conversation, he didn’t just want us to throw some yoga mats down and tackle it at surface level. It’s really something that has evolved over several years and now artists, managers and employees have access to a wealth of resources including an in-house director of artist and employee wellbeing, advice on finances and how to manage the increasing amount of pressure put on artists. It feels like a huge leap in the right direction.”

The Key4Life rehabilitation programme – can you tell us a bit more about your work on this, and why it is so important to you personally?  

“I was introduced to crime prevention charity Key4Life and immediately connected with them and felt that I had relationships that could help. Many of the men I met in Brixton prison were interested in getting into music and were really talented. Initially we worked together on an informal basis, mostly asking execs to give their time and advice, but later on the Social Justice Fund board decided to fund their At Risk programme, which supports marginalised men at risk of going to prison, through music workshops, football, equine therapy and mentorship. As that relationship developed, DJ Semtex and Ferdy [Unger-Hamilton] also supported them in releasing a five-track EP, featuring Fred Again. It was one of the best projects I’ve been part of and is a reminder that talent can come from anywhere.”

What advice would you offer young women about enjoying a successful career in music?

“My advice would be the same for anyone entering the industry. Never be afraid to ask questions and be thoughtful and deliberate in everything you do. It’s also important to look outside of your immediate sphere and educate yourself on external factors that are affecting artists and the wider business. I think ultimately, if you are willing to work hard, it will be recognised.”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had?

“Just because someone is not the loudest person in the room doesn’t mean they don’t have brilliant ideas and insights. So, talk less and listen more.”

Is there a young woman artist whose music you're excited about right now?

“Mette is amazing! I’m sure there are huge things to come for her.”

Finally, what's your biggest lesson from 2023 so far? 

“From a personal perspective, having spent the past four months on maternity leave, I’ve learnt the value of feeling supported by my team and company. I can’t overstate the difference that can make to women. Offering generous Parental Leave packages and policies like childcare funding contributions – which Sony Music UK introduced in 2022 – can genuinely be the difference between a woman returning to work or leaving after having children. Fifty percent of our parent community are benefiting from the childcare support initiative.”

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