'Keith looked at me thinking, 'What is she on?': Rolling Stones manager Joyce Smyth stars at Women In Music 2018

'Keith looked at me thinking, 'What is she on?': Rolling Stones manager Joyce Smyth stars at Women In Music 2018

When The Rolling Stones starred on the cover of Music Week back in May, we heard the story of how an why they continue to be the biggest and most important band on the planet.

Since 2011, Joyce Smyth has been steering the ship as the band’s manager. Amidst glowing tributes from the band, including a clapping Mick Jagger, their team and a beaming Universal Music UK chairman and CEO David Joseph, Smyth picked up the Businesswoman Of The Year trophy at the Music Week Women In Music Awards 2018.

Along with her fellow winners, Smyth is profiled in the new issue of Music Week, out now. Described by Joseph as “truly brilliant”, Smyth rocked the crowd at last week’s bash with one of the best speeches on a day packed with gems.

Read it in full below.

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All hail our Businesswoman Of The Year @therollingstones manager Joyce Smyth #womeninmusic

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“My last prize was the Latin Cup in the Sixth form! No surprises it was something as unhip as the Latin Cup, because my beloved family will tell you that I am the most non-rock‘n’roll person that you can possibly meet.

“To illustrate that, and this is a true story and I am ashamed of even telling you really, but about two years ago, I sat backstage before one of the shows with the adorable Keith and I said, ‘Oh god Keith I am just so pleased you’ve put back Moonlight Mile on the set list.’ ‘Oh why is that?’ he said. I go, ‘Oh it’s my favourite!’ He says, ‘Oh, why is that?’ I said, ‘Well, it reminds me a bit of a Robert Frost Poem, Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening. It’s so lyrical, it’s wintry, it’s about loneliness, it’s got that wonderful winter life. You talk about a head full of snow and head full of snow.’

He just looked and me and thought ‘Look girl, what is she on?’ In my case, it was what am I not on! Anyway, my road to The Rolling Stones, started with The Sound Of Music and a lot of David Cassidy. So to all of the many wonderful women here, that’s where it all began. I never thought in a million years, my path would collide with theirs. The fact that it did is down to a wonderful woman mentor I had, as a very young lawyer, Marie Stacey.

“She threw a huge file at me, it weighed about a tonne, remember no digital in those days, it was called something awful, like Rolling Stones, reorganisation and corporate affairs or something. I ploughed into the thing, I thought, ‘I well bloody don’t understand a word of this,’ but one just has to plough on.

“She was the one who also introduced me to the late, great Rupert Loewenstein, I don’t know how many of you in the room remember him, he was the original business manager and original man of wealth and taste, the sort of guy who would take you out for a treat to a very, very fancy restaurant, and then send back, one after the other, three bottles of wine. I was thinking, as a prosecco woman myself, A) what a waste, and B) I’ve already gunned down a lot, not realising it was corked or whatever.

I am the most non-rock‘n’roll person that you can possibly meet

Joyce Smith

“Anyway, I am truly, truly thankful for this award. I’d love to thank Bernard Doherty for being so kind as to put me forward. I will say to all the women here, it’s probably incumbent on me, as probably the oldest winner here, to offer any support and assistance that we all of us can because should all work together. There is a lot more to be done but there is so much talent in this room.

“I want to close by reminding you all of what Marie Stacey this great mentor, told me back in the ’80s and it was very good advice. She said, ‘Always, always remember, however senior you may get, you’re only as good as the team.’ I think that is a very important point. Secondly, she just said, ‘Never worry when you cock up and make a mistake. The bottom line is, you haven’t made any decisions until you’ve made a mistake. Therefore, you will learn from those mistakes and make better decisions.’

“I would add simply to that, ladies, we’ve all got to band together on this, don’t sweat the small stuff, but get across all the detail and take advice from other women who have been in the industry longer. Thank you, I am truly honoured.”

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