BY LEWIS HALL
IMAGES BY MAYA BOND-WEBSTER
I attended an “Industry Take Over All-Dayer” at the Arnolfini in Bristol with photographer Maya Bond-Webster, which had multiple keynote and workshop summaries. The aim of this event was to advise prospective artists, music managers, or just to get people more interested into getting involved with and producing music, along with many other interesting topics; and I will detail a few of the things that I learnt at this occasion.
I attended a workshop, a keynote session, and then hung around to check out some of the upcoming talent making a name for themselves. Firstly, the workshop was hosted by Kwame Kwaten, founder of Ferocious Talent, accompanied by a panel of management experts that discussed everything about management. The main issue people seemed to be having was “at what point do I get a manager?” and this was a fair question considering the position of many of these artists; they were at a point where they felt that managers were too expensive, yet they had hit a point where they could not produce their own music, schedule events, do PR, and respond to contacts all by themselves anymore considering their growth. Main piece of advice was to get a manager that takes a percentage of your earnings, as 20, 30, 40% of nothing is nothing, so if you’re not making money then they are not making money – rather than handing them a set salary, this is a good way to see that it’s in their best interests that you do well.
The keynote discussion was around decoding the word ‘Urban’, however, I found that it was more of a discussion around political correctness. Something I was unaware of was that the word ‘urban’ had been used to describe ‘black music’ as they put it, and that this was perhaps an insensitive term that could be changed. The room was split, some wanted to change the description to ‘black music’, but it seemed that most agreed it should be called something else, just not “black music” – perhaps keeping to ‘hip-hop’, ‘R&B’, and ‘rap’. My take on this was that it shouldn’t be changed to ‘black music’ as this might impede others who are of different ethnicities to perform the style of rap, rhythm, speech, and delivery that is considered ‘black’ or ‘urban’ music; it also might limit black people to perform only that style of music, as if they should only perform within their own sub-genre. The jury’s still out on this one, but it was an interesting discussion nonetheless.
Finally, I raved to some new artists on the block making a name for themselves. First act was a reggae band by the name of ‘Splitz P’. I wasn’t usually one to indulge in reggae music, but the atmosphere of this live performance was amazing! It would be great to see these as a headline act someday. Lastly was a young 18 year old black rapper by the name of ‘Yizzy’, he was confident, charismatic, and did not doubt himself for a second. The lyricism was impressive, speed and delivery I could not fault, and considering his age I was blown away by how professional his performance was. At that level already, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be hitting the top of the charts in a few years’ time. The entire event was thoroughly enjoyed, and I certainly learnt/ discovered a thing or two; on another note, if you’re interested in getting involved with music through singing, writing, DJ’ing, or managing etc. Keep an eye out for events like this which will definitely give you a great insight into how to get started.