Artist & Manager Awards to honour Central Cee manager Bello, Cookie Crew and The Flight Club

Artist & Manager Awards to honour Central Cee manager Bello, Cookie Crew and The Flight Club

The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the Music Managers Forum (MMF) have revealed three more recipients for the upcoming Artist & Manager Awards. 

The ceremony returns to London’s Bloomsbury Big Top on the evening of Thursday, November 23. 

In recognition of his phenomenal success with Central Cee, the award for Manager Of The Year will go to Bello, sponsored by PPL. Central Cee became the first British rapper to achieve one billion annual Spotify streams and broke UK chart records with Sprinter, his No.1 collaboration with Dave, alongside festival appearances at Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds.

Central Cee’s partnership with Bello goes back to 2019. The UK rap star’s reputation was cemented through a succession of track releases and mixtapes, including 2022’s UK No.1 with 23. Bello built an independent team, before signing a joint venture agreement this year with Columbia in partnership with Sony Music UK

Central Cee recently collaborated with Drake for On The Radar.

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive, MMF, said: “We are delighted to recognise the phenomenal successes of Bello with Central Cee and to award him as our Manager Of The Year. Building an uncompromising independent artist business on this scale and with such cut-through is an incredible achievement, and Bello is already laying the foundations of even greater global accomplishments. With thanks too to PPL for their sponsorship of the award, it’s an incredible backstory that we look forward to celebrating on November 23.”

Bello is already laying the foundations of even greater global accomplishments

Annabella Coldrick

The FAC and MMF are also recognising two influential UK pioneers of hip-hop: Debbie ‘Cookie’ Pryce and Susan Banfield aka MC Remedee & Susie Q aka The Cookie Crew. The Pioneer Award is sponsored by TikTok. 

Initially formed in Battersea, The Cookie Crew laid a path for UK hip-hop, issuing a string of commercially successful singles and releasing their acclaimed debut album, Born This Way, in 1989. Follow-up Fade To Black featured productions by the likes of DJ Premier & Guru, Black Sheep and Daddy-O, while they toured with Public Enemy and De La Soul, and supported Bobby Brown at Wembley. They also recorded with Danny D, Roy Ayers and Edwin Starr.  

A trailblazer for Black female music executives, Debbie Pryce has gone on to build a successful career in the industry, developing expertise in press, promotions, marketing and live, before taking on her current role as director, label management at The Orchard. Susan Banfield went on to have a successful career in the education field and served as a vice principal in primary schools. 

David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition, said: “The Cookie Crew changed the course of hip-hop. Emerging from South London in the early 1980s, they rapped about their own experiences, broke down genre barriers and won the respect of their US counterparts. They opened a door through which countless others have travelled. Debbie and Susan are true gamechangers, and the FAC are honoured they will be picking up this Pioneer Award.”

The Cookie Crew changed the course of hip-hop

David Martin

Finally, FAC and MMF revealed that Samuel Ademosu & Ruth Gyaniao, aka The Flight Club, will receive the award for Producer/Songwriter Manager. 

Ademosu has built a successful management business in less than a decade, with recording and publishing interests, and a roster that includes J Hus’ longtime collaborator TSB, Grammy-winning P2J, artist, producer and songwriter duo DameDame*, songwriter & producer Ari PenSmith, engineer/mixer Adam Lunn, and DJ Taylah Elaine.

Collectively, The Flight Club’s clients have contributed to tracks for Burna Boy, Dave, Jorja Smith, Stormzy, Doja Cat, Gorillaz, Kali Uchis, Headie One, Chris Brown, Snoh Aalegra, and many more. In 2021, The Flight Club signed a joint venture with Warner Chappell Music.

Annabella Coldrick said: “Our Producer/Songwriter category has recognised some of the UK’s most influential and innovative managers, and Ruth and Samuel’s achievements are clearly deserving of that elevated company. In less than 10 years, The Flight Club has built a globally recognised roster that’s synonymous with a new wave of cutting-edge creatives and music makers, and whose impact on contemporary music culture is undeniable.”   

As previously announced, in recognition of lifetime achievement, Duran Duran and their longtime manager Wendy Laister will be picking up the Artist-Manager Partnership award (sponsored by Hipgnosis Songs) at the ceremony.  

Other categories will include: Artist of the Year, Breakthrough Artist, Breakthrough Manager, Entrepreneur and Industry Champion. 

At last year’s sell-out ceremony, winners were Becky Hill, Bose Ogulu, Tim Burgess, Martin Hall, Carl Cox, Beabadoobee, Callum Reece, Groundworks, Krept & Konan, ABBA Voyage, Red Light Management and Music Declares Emergency. 

The Artist & Manager Awards are headline sponsored for the second year running by BeatBread, the music funding platform.


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