The outgoing MPA boss picked up the Oustanding Contribution award in recognition of her phenomenal service to the UK music industry. In the first of a series of Women In Music winners' speeches on musicweek.com, here we present Dyball's speech in full.
Taking in everything from friends and family, to putting the MCPS out to tender and gatecrashing the BRIT Awards, Dyball's speech was punctuated with thunderous applause and laughter. Read it in full below.
Jane Dyball stars on the cover of the new edition of Music Week, out now. The issue features an extensive interview with Dyball, as well as conversations with each and every winner from this year's show. To subscribe and never miss a music biz story, click here. Relive the best moments of the fifth edition of the Music Week Women In Music Awards here.
And now, over to Jane Dyball...
“You can see just by looking at that video that people seem to associate me with partying. I have done a bit of work as well! Nevertheless, this award has totally mystified me.
“You’ll notice the absence of celebrities [in the video]. Where’s Bono? Where’s Chris Martin? I do not have celebrity friends; I do not hang out with celebrities.
“I’m not going to go into politics, but I have seen lots of lovely people, lots of friends here, where there are tables with one man with a table of women. You need to take those women to the BRITs, you need to take them to the Ivor Novellos… It’s going to be quite expensive, mind, those tickets don’t come cheap.
“My story is a very ordinary story. I started by being behind the scenes for 30 years. I have really done nothing to write home about, it’s been quite strange. I started off by listening to records and typing up lyrics, that was my first job in the music industry. I couldn’t believe somebody would pay me to do that, but they did. Not much, I have to say.
“I then made the rookie mistake of suggesting things that could be done and then having to do them. I don’t seem to have learnt from it, I’ve made that mistake throughout my career. Sometimes it hasn’t felt like work at all, sometimes it’s felt like banging my head against a wall. I’ve had some hysterically funny times in the most serious situations, and other times I’ve had access to the most glamorous events and felt totally miserable.
"Sometimes it hasn't felt like work at all, sometimes it's felt like banging my head against a wall. Failure is good, when you get to my age you can tell anecdotes about it..." Outstanding Contribution winner Jane Dyball #womeninmusic @the_MPA— Music Week (@MusicWeek) November 9, 2018
“I’ve had plenty of failure. At the time, it’s really painful, but without it you don’t grow. So, those of you who are youngsters here, don’t be afraid of failing, failure is good. When you get to be my age you can tell anecdotes about it.
“The extent that I’ve been successful is because I’ve surrounded myself with amazing people. I’ve always tried to hang out with people who are smarter, funnier and nicer than me. I like hanging out with people who can be persuaded to do the most ridiculous things, whether it’s gatecrashing the BRITS – I’ve got a trick for that – or putting the MCPS business out to tender. You can’t go through life doing things like that by yourself; you have to have a team of people around you saying, ‘Yeah, go for it.’ It’s lovely seeing so many of those people here. I’m delighted the MPA team are here. I’ve never worked with smarter, funnier or nicer people. It’s very hard leaving such a brilliant team.
“I’ve had loads of previous teams and without them I wouldn’t be here. They’ve made me look much better than I am. In so many cases some of my colleagues have become my very best friends, it’s that kind of industry. You know who you are, thank you for the cider, for the support and injections of sanity. Every now and then you need to be reminded that it’s only the music business. Half the people on my table were telling me to drink more and half of them were telling me to stop drinking, so you might think I’m either very sober or very drunk, depending on how successful they were…
“Before I chose a team or even had one to choose, I had a lot of mentors. We’ve talked a lot about mentoring here and elsewhere, we have a mentoring scheme at the MPA. My trick is to find someone you admire professionally and latch onto them, hope they don’t notice you, try and suck as much knowledge out of them as you possibly can. Hopefully, by the time you’ve done that, they won’t have noticed and you’ll be friends. A lot of my mentors in the music industry, both men and women, have been very patient with me in saying, ‘Do you fancy a coffee? Shall we go for a drink?’ I really believe that you learn by pulling knowledge. It’s up to senior managers to share knowledge. When you’re young, don’t forget that you can try and pull as much knowledge out of people as you possibly can.
Sometimes it hasn’t felt like work at all, sometimes it’s felt like banging my head against a wall
“My family have been amazing, they’re nearly all here. Hello mum! My sister, Angie and my lovely little twinnies, Caitlin and Andrew. It’s a very good career move to have twins; it’s only one maternity leave. If I had to thank anything for my success, it would be that.
“They’ve had to put up with my continual absences, but then they get roped into helping me out. Whether that’s my attempts at putting on festivals, helping out at the MPA Christmas lunch or AGM, or being forced to do karaoke with me – and several of you in the room will have been forced to do that. On the plus side, they’ve had to learn to cook. I don’t think I’ve cooked them any dinners. But it pays off. The other week they cooked beef wellington, credit where credit’s due. Of course, they’ve had a lot of access to free tickets so don’t feel too sorry for them.
“It’s been a long day and some of the things I wanted to say have been said by others so I wont repeat them. When you look at awards ceremonies, usually somebody will say, ‘I’m very humbled by this award.’ It always mystifies me how you would get an award and feel humbled.
“I actually did win an award at school, but my sister, who’s here, did most of the work. It was a school project that she did and I don’t know if I’ve ever admitted that before, I got the prize for it! An early guide to plagiarism.
“So, I don’t know, it does seem mysterious to me. I think there’s a significant risk that I won’t feel humbled at all and this is just going to go straight to my head…