interviews

Rising Star: Meet Drop The Ego artist manager Sof Petrides

This week, Sof Petrides tells Music Week about her Drop The Ego management company and reveals how to maximise artist relationships... How did you get into music? “A lot of hustling, networking and just showing face! I started getting into ...

Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2020: Sara Lord

How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music RollOf Honour? “It’s about bloody time... Kidding! No, I’m really chuffed. Having been in the business for over 25 years, I’m honoured to be included this year, at a time when it feels like the scales are properly tipping to loads more women playing major roles in the business and getting recognised for their achievements.”   How do you look back on your early years getting into the industry? What challenges did you have to overcome?  “My main challenge was that I was a crap typist and the wonderful Helen Ward didn’t know where to put me, as it seemed all the entry level positions for a young woman required serious secretarial skills. Luckily I got through the door at Sony Music for a week’s worth of temping, answering the phone in the video department, and managed to stay there for over a year, listening and learning a lot. Once I’d decided management was for me, I honestly can say that I just worked bloody hard and got on with it and didn’t reflect too much on normally being the only woman in the room. Sometimes that can work to your advantage.” Did you have a mentor or role model who helped you at that stage?  “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, role model No.1: Lady Emma Banks. The rest of us will always be miles behind her. Killing time together in various shitty backstage areas on a Jimmy Nail tour of the north east in 1994 or 1995 was not only incredibly glamorous, but also the start of a brilliant friendship. Soppy, but she just inspires me!”    I didn’t reflect too much on normally being the only woman in the room Sara Lord   What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far?  “Specificity is tricky. Toploader sold well over two million records. I’ve been on tour all over the world, I’ve met some incredible people and had a lot of laughs, but most recently I would say helping to set up [music and creative industries network] The Cat’s Mother with [fellow 2020 Women In Music Role Of Honour inductee] Natalie Wade from Small Green Shoots last year has been a true highlight. Seeing the impact that something so simple is having on young women who need and deserve a helping hand to get into the music industry is really satisfying.”   What advice would you offer young female executives about enjoying a successful career in music?  “The clue is in the question: properly enjoy it. It is a wonderful world full of some bonkers people and if you are passionate and want to work hard then, regardless of your gender, go for it!”  What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?  “‘Nothing good ever happens after 2am’. My Dad used to tell me that.He definitely tried to disprove it and I have had a bit of a go at disproving it too but, ultimately, it is probably right.”  On so many levels, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented change in the music business and, indeed, the world itself – what’s been the biggest lesson/revelation you’ll take away from it?  “That without being able to connect with lots of other people while watching live music, the world is a much shittier place.” PHOTO: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2020: Afryea Henry-Fontaine

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 Afryea Henry-Fontaine, marketing director, Motown UK/EMI Records and co-founder, The Black Music Coalition & The Debrief... How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour? “I’m so excited about joining this incredible list of women. The Women In Music Awards have been a highlight each year to attend and connect with women making waves within our industry so I feel incredibly proud to accept this honour!” How do you look back on your early years getting into the industry? “Tenacity is the word that springs to mind. I always say the music industry requires hustle. The biggest challenge for me was actually getting an opportunity and breaking in – there were many positions where I worked for free, crazy unsociable hours and paid my own way just because I wanted the opportunity. The key for me was networking and not being afraid to ask to shadow people and show my keenness to learn. Also, I quickly learnt it’s not about just stepping into an opportunity to take – what are you bringing and what can you contribute. Ultimately, it’s about humility, never compromising yourself but also understanding that sacrifices and hard work are essential components for having a long-standing career in this industry.” Did you have a mentor or role model who helped you at that stage? “I didn’t have a specific mentor but I constantly researched women who looked like me, who were achieving success. To be honest, there weren’t many especially here in the UK, but women like Fay Hoyte [EMI], Lorna Clarke [BBC], Debra Lee [BET Networks] and Sylvia Rhone [Epic] became incredible inspirations that the hard work would definitely pay off.” What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far? “It has to be my first ever album campaign for Krept & Konan’s The Long Way Home. It was a labour of love. Two incredibly talented artists who had built solid independent campaigns for their previous releases so I was so invested in delivering for them and pushing the boundaries. I was still quite junior at the time so was learning so much within the process: from managing the label/artist relationship, videos going over budget, booking my first national outdoor campaign to navigating the new streaming chart. There were many challenges along the way but I remember how proud I felt when we hit the No.2 spot. I cried!” What advice would you offer young female executives about enjoying a successful career in music? “Seek out mentors who you admire and allies who can offer you different perspectives. It’s important to learn from women and men that you respect and revere. It’s been life changing for me to have incredible role models and allies within my industry who were committed to helping me to grow and challenging me to expand into my potential.” What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? “It’s so important to understand that failure is not the polar opposite of success, it’s an integral part of the process in order to attain success. Lean in and learn from your failures rather than run from them.” On so many levels, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented change in the music business and, indeed, the world itself – what’s been the biggest lesson you’ll take away from it? “The biggest lesson for me has been to never doubt using your voice to ignite change. Speaking up and standing firm on your beliefs is essential. So many have raised their voices this year, and collectively we have engineered one of the greatest culture shifts within our industry. The biggest revelation has been how imperative allyship has played and will continue to play a pivotal role in lasting change in our industry and society as a whole.”

Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2020: Zac Fox

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Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2020: Erica Day

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Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2020: Jackie Davidson MBE

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