In our latest edition of Rising Star, we meet the label's junior A&R manager Cannelle Bencherqi, who reflects on her career so far and talks the art of A&R...
What are you excited about in the industry right now?
“I’m fascinated by the young musicians who are taking control of their careers and breaking their music on social media platforms like TikTok. These are the type of artists with sharp minds that I get so excited to talk to – I want to pick their brains on what the rest of their project looks like, so we know we can help grow their talent!”
Did you have any idea what the industry would be like before you got into it?
“Not at all, but I’m glad to have found my way in. My personality probably wouldn’t fit the corporate mould of other industries. Working in music is fun because everything revolves around art and artists, so the more creative and outgoing you can be, the better.”
How would you define the art of A&R?
“It’s a balance between having a belief in your gut while questioning the structures in place. You also need to be looking at new ways of doing research, and trusting new talent with major projects to give them a chance to break through. It’s about taking ideas from scratch and crafting them into a finished product. It gets you closest to the music and that’s what I find magical.”
Having other women on your team is so important
Are there enough opportunities for women in A&R?
“Opportunities exist, but it takes effort, confidence, and assertiveness. It requires more work for people to take you seriously. That’s why having other women on your team is so important, so you can feel heard and stay motivated. Labels, managers and publishers should hire more women interns, so that once they make their way up, there are enough of us at all levels to support and look out for each other. I’d also love to take part in an all-women, industry-wide A&R mentorship programme if there was one, so maybe that’s something that can be initiated.”
You worked on Ed Sheeran’s = record. How do you A&R someone so massive?
“It’s all down to trust. Over the past decade Ed Sheeran has developed a close relationship with his A&R and co-president of the label Ed Howard, who brought me into the mix a few years back to help. Ed Sheeran is a genius, but even he can benefit from advice or support. He trusts the tight team around him to get his music to its full potential.”
CANNELLE’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: Winnterzuko – Trotski