MungzMedia | 2016 Year in Review


2016 turned out to be a great year for the UK music scene with loads of releases, videos and shows keeping us entertained throughout the year. Here at MungzMedia, we've decided to round up our highlights of the year so apologies if we do miss out some of your highlights!


Music


When we look back on 2016, it will be safe to say that it was the year of the projects. And not any old projects, but well thought out, timeless music that reminds us what it means to be British. Our album of the year goes to Made in The Manor by Kano for its originality and maturity of lyrics and content that you usually won't find in Grime. Skepta's Konnichiwa broke barriers throughout the world with its unapologetic-ness. A special mention goes to NAO, who released her debut studio album 'For All We Know' winning herself, deservedly, BBC Sound of 2016. Other notable mentions include Giggs - Landlord album which sent the night scene rocking with anthems like 'Whipping Excursion'. 


VIDEOS


2016 produced some pretty stunning visuals, so it was hard to pick a few to highlight but the first mention has to be the video for Mist - Ain't the same.  - As music videos go, this is probably the epitome of flashy video. The UK isn't known for its flashy, yacht having, jet flying videos but Birmingham artist, Mist came through with other ideas with this release via LinkUpTV. Another great video to hit our screens in 2016 has to be Skepta's visuals for Man. Unapologetically himself again, Skepta crawled the streets of Tottenham with his associates, spraying walls, police cars, you name it, in what could be called a visual revolution of our music. In a time of unrest and confusing, the video for Man was a breath of fresh air for the next generation. Our final pick for best video for 2016 goes to Elf Kid - Reload That. Released in late December through ASOS Supports Talent, Elf Kid's - Reload that sees him travel to Ethiopia to shoot one of the most iconic Grime videos to date. Filled with scenes of Hyena's roaming, vast african plain lands and playing drums with village elders. Everything right, is in this video and it gives you the sense of "wow, is this grime?" Which we need more of in 2017. In terms of originality, creativity and execution. Look no further than Elf Kid's - Reload That.


AWARDS


2016 is probably the year of recognition in terms of UK Grime. With so many great albums coming out of the scene. It was interesting to see where the awards would go. Surprisingly but not unexpected, Skepta took home the Mercury Music Award for Konnichiwa and his contribution to music throughout 2016. It's hard to argue against the impact Skepta had in 2016, connecting Grime to the world but Kano would of also been a deserved winner of the prize Dizzee Rascal first brought back to the estate in 2003. Kano did however, take home Best Album at the MOBO's which was well deserved and a special mention goes to Craig David. Craig David made his long awaited comeback and it wasn't one to disappoint. Whether it was collaborating with people's champ, Big Narstie, or tearing up the raves in Ibiza, Craig David had a busy 2016. Collecting a MOBO for Male Act of the year, Craig David cemented his comeback with a piece of recognition to go with it. Here's to more prestigious awards from the underground to the mainstream. 


EVENTS


2016 came with a bang and boy did that bang stay! It was a great year for live events this year with a host of iconic and monumental shows taking place in 2016 throughout the world. Here's our picks of events of 2016. Dizzee Rascal returned in Summer 2016 with Boy In Da Corner LIVE! Only problem was, it was in New York! Cue, Autumn and Dizzee Rascal alongside Red Bull announce that BIDC, will be performed in its entirety in Stratford, East London. Cue Pandemonium. Dizzee Rascal performed his legendary Boy In Da Corner for the first and probably last time ever in London during 2016, selling out a packed Copperbox Arena. Filled with Nostalgia and a sense of relief, this show turned out to the the highlight event of 2016 for us. What more do you want as a Grime fan? Dizzee Rascal, Boy in Da Corner, East London, all rolled into one night? Sounds perfect to me. The other notable mention for amazing event in 2016 goes to Skepta's Konnichiwa at Alexander Palace. Skepta headlined his album tour in London performing to a sold out crowd in his home town of North London. The night featured Red buses, pyrotechnics, Nike tracksuits and became a celebration of what it means to be from Inner city London in 2016. If you missed out on these 2 great shows you can always relive them online but what is for certain, we will look back at these 2 shows as some of the most iconic in the UK.

The Ultimate Seminar 2016 Review


Another freezing Saturday morning was met with hundreds of budding musicians, artist managers, label owners, PR’s, you name it, queuing up for a jam packed day of insight, inspiration and advice from some of the best in the music industry.

Devised by Cre8ing Vision and sponsored by Island Records, RCA, Polydor, Ministry of Sound, PRS, Casio, Arts Council, BMI, Odd Child Music and Virgin EMI, The Ultimate Seminar is Europe’s only free major music seminar with a series of panel discussions chaired by renowned and credible industry leaders.

The day started off with ‘Knowing Your Business’ featuring Simon Aldridge, Kienda Hoji, Simon Long, Obi Asika, Michael Hyland, Michael Baskerville, Chris Cooke and and Tommy D. It focused on the need to understand and learn the business elements of the ever growing music industry. Simon Aldridge spoke about “Record companies are like oil tankers - it’s difficult to get them to change direction" when dealing with labels as an Artist.

The panel agreed that Artists need to create a brand. it's not just about making money from your music but creating other sources of revenue. Echo Talent’s, Obi Asika continued to explain why “Spotify has a negative effect on breaking new artists. Streaming makes music throw away, it is still possible to break as an artist but it’s much harder”. It was a great start to a long day with a bit of honesty from industry professionals on the struggles facing musicians trying to earn a living in the music industry. 

The day continued into the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ panel featuring Mel Rudder (Atlantic Records) Kim Frankiewicz, Chimene Mantori, Zeon Richards, Kevin Benz, Jonathan Quarmby (RAK records) and Lucy Francis (Spilt Milk). The panel discussed the importance of Radio with suggestions that “Radio has been majorly important in previous years in terms of breaking artists in the UK”. It focused on how the industry is growing and making the most of opportunities presented to you. Zeon Richards mentioning that you need “200,000 downloads from Spotify before you're taken seriously”. 

The stand out anecdote from the School of Hard Knocks came from Kevin Benz, who echoed “If you're not in the room then you're not part of the deal” which seemed to resonate with the crowd. 

Entre Nick Raphael. Nick Raphael, President of Capital Records UK joined Kwame Kwaten for an intimate ‘ Be Inspired’ panel. Nick Raphael is responsible for A&R’ing acts such as Sam Smith and signing Liam Payne. Nick explained how he initially wanted to be a footballer but went on to sell Pizzas to earn a living. He went on to explain how his introduction into DJ’ing taught him about the music industry. 

Nick DJ’d at his local club in Leeds for many years before being recognized as one of the hottest DJ’s in town and his club being voted ‘Best Club Night’ continuously in magazines. This generated Nick, a huge following and a reputation for having the ear for good music. Nick explained how his professionalism built him a reputation and soon record labels were in touch. Nick continued to explain how he tried to sign a young Jay-Z to then London Records. After being advised not to sign Jay Z, he kept a good relationship with Jay Z and Dame Dash and eventually was able to sign Jay Z to a 3 album deal at London Records in the UK. How’s that for success? Nick explained how “I went from a laughing stock to the next big thing after the Jay Z situation. It was the turning point.” 

On went the day and next up was a ‘Creative Breakers’ panel featuring Shakka, Rude Kid, Cadenza, Marina Mansour, Rachael Campbell, Tre Jean Marie and chaired by BBC’s Nihal Arthanayake. The panel discussed the need for brand awareness. Marina Mansour explaining, “Brands are looking to tap into an audience and an artist’s credibility”. 

One person who knows about tapping into an Artists credibility is Rachel Campbell, PR to Stormzy who explained how “Stormzy does things his own way. He has proved everyone wrong and paved a way for Independent artists”. Shakka went on to explain how “There's nothing more valuable than your reputation. Don't make a bad name for yourself in the industry” and “There’s no blueprint on songs.

 You have to maintain self confidence in the whole process” which both sat well with the audience of emerging artists. The emphasis of the panel was on individualism and knowing what you want as an artist in the industry. Knowing that before reaching out to brands, work on getting your audience. Your value to brands is your audience.

The day ended with Capital XTRA DJ Manny Norte hosting a ‘Breakthrough Artist’ panel featuring rising stars six-piece indie rock band Young Kato; rapper, songwriter Nick Brewer; MC Yungen and singer-songwriters Mabel, Ray Blk, and Starling.

The artists spoke on the important of management. Ray BLK explained how “Management is very important. Make sure your manager is like your number 1 fan. Everyone has to have the same vision.” And Nick Brewer touched on how his management has left him the space to excel. “The ability to focus on music and giving my manager the role of the business side has helped in my career”. 

The panel continued to discuss the importance of funding as an Artist with different avenues such as PRS and PPL but the anecdote of the night came from Singer-songwriter, Ray BLK who bellowed to the audience “Take advice when you're too head strong. Use the knowledge from people around you.” And she was right. 

If you are trying to break into the music industry, use the knowledge around you and seek guidance and one of the best ways to do that is to attend The Ultimate Seminar.

2016 proved to be another inspiring and amazing day of music seminars and industry insight from the best in the industry. Thanks Cre8ing Vision, thanks Kwame Kwaten, thanks to all panel members and we already can’t wait for next year!

NME Lifehacks 2016 Review

NME life hacks is a careers event designed by NME and Create Jobs to give a chance to network with industry professionals, interact with guest speakers, panel discussions and get hands on with workshops.

NME Life hacks kicked off with SBTV Founder Jamal Edwards detailing his rise to success, involving the infamous story of receiving his first camera on Christmas which he then went on to start filming his family, friends and eventually musicans. 

Jamal spoke on the inspiration behind his success detailing struggling to deal with the financial pressure at the beginning of his journey. " I had to make do with what I had, When I first started, I learnt off YouTube tutorials, spending hours researching how to edit and render and export files."

The conversation leads on to finances and how managing your tax, is really important with Jamal explaining “Your finance is very important, get them in line and even if your business is not big, you can always see where you can make cuts”. After a few questions from the audience, the panel moved on to ‘Building Brand YOU’ with Hannah Beesley – Social director at Iris Worldwide, Fashion Creative director, Alex Stedman and Microsoft CMO, Paul Davies. ‘Building Brand YOU’ was focused around the skills needed to maximise your brands online presence, engagement and ultimately sales of products.

Alex Steedman explained how “Just being good on Instagram isn’t the end, you need to understand the business side as well” which resonated well with the audience whom many had personal brands but were aiming to become a sustainable business. Paul Davies touched on “Getting started is the hardest thing to do. Understand what you want to be known for.” Which was a great point on identity and sticking to your guns. 

Many brands, artists and creatives alike are willing to compromise their art or craft for the security of a job but knowing what you stand for and understanding your brand from the beginning will mimise the chances of this. It really hit home the need to have an identity and for your audience to know that you won’t change because you can’t but because you don’t want to!

The evening moved on to an interesting panel with TopMan Creative Director, Gordon Richardson, who spoke on the importance of work experience and internships in the creative industries. 

Employment in the creative industries is at an all-time low however, there are steps in place such as work experience, internships or placements which offer you the hands on experience that employers all crave. Gordon explained “You can learn the industry very quickly, there’s loads of people to help you and there is more space to mistakes and learn from them, rather than in a job you will be under pressure straight away.” Pretty true isn’t it?

NME Life hacks closed with a panel discussion featuring Artist manager Dumi Oburota, Brand manager, Phil Kemish, Fashion Designer Holly Fulton and Comedian Heydon Prowse focusing on ‘ What I wish I’d known in my twenties’.

To end the night, NME introduced surprise guest Tinie Tempah to perform to celebrate what was a truly inspiring creative careers event! NME Lifehacks was a great opportunity to gain advice, network and ultimately learn skills and techniques to get your foot in the door from professionals in the Industry. 

Roll on Next year!

Dave East : Kairi Chanel Mixtape Review


David Brewster Jnr, known to the Hip Hop world as Dave East is a rapper from East Harlem, New York. East is highly regarded as one of the current top rappers in Hip Hop. His style of rapping and his lyrical ability is what sets him apart from today’s popular rappers, those who are part of the new wave sounding change of Hip Hop. Unlike the current pool of rapper East remains one of a few that spit about real life in a graphical and raw form using his clever word play and his intelligence to tell a story that is biographical to his life journey.

The rapper is signed to legendary New York lyrical phenomenon Nas’s record label Mass Appeal Records. In various interviews, East has spoken about drawing influences from rappers such as Cam’ron, Raekwa, Jadakiss, Diplomats to name a few. Nas also happens to be one of his rap Idols.  All the above named rappers hold legendary statuses within the genre, and are highly respected lyricists. Those legendary rappers have co-signed East as a rapper, solidifying his status in the game! 2014 was the year Dave East caught everyone’s attention with the release of his Black Rose Mixtape. The industry took notice of the young lyricist!

Fast forward to his latest release, an album titled Kairi Chanel. East decided to name his album after his daughter Kairi Chanel. If you listen carefully, you can hear him referencing her before and after her birth.  

Kairi Chanel features female vocals from Jazzy Amra and Sevyn Streeter. Dave East does not disappoint with his features, with collaborations from legends and respected rappers such as 2 Chains, Fabulous, Cam’ron and Beanie Sigel!

S.D.E features Cam’ron, one of his Hip Hop influencers. The language used in this song is very explicit, some might even take offense to it but its Raw and Real! Both Cam’ron and East talk the street lifestyle and the rich life. The song sounds very much like The Diplomats Anthem, with sound effects, a very harsh solid beat, you can feel the emotions in both their voices!

Keisha is a very interesting song, one that many rappers or rich men often speak about. The song relates to a girl named Keisha, whom East had a few encounters with that did not end very well. A very attractive ‘Video Vixen looking’ type girl from Jamaica queen. A well-known fraudster, who would occasionally meet up with men for pleasure, and once they would fall asleep, she would proceed to rob them of all their money and jewelry. Keisha managed to rob East on two occasions, both when he was asleep, waking up to $15000 cash gone and all his jewellery too! East refers to her as a Scheming B****! In the bridge of the song he repeats ‘I can’t believe that this bitch robbed me, if I catch her I ain’t trying to hear I’m sorry’.

The album is heavily Hip Hop influenced, his lyrics are very graphic when describing situations and speaking about his past lifestyle. His language is very raw as East does not hold back on any profanities, no subjects are off topic! Dave East is a blend of thought-provoking, wit and self confidence reminiscent of the golden era of Hip-Hop.

This album is definitely targeted to real Hip Hop fans, but it does feature a song titled From The Heart which features the amazing vocals of R&B singer Sevyn Streeter, one for the ladies to jam too! 

Hitting all the right notes : The #UltimateSeminar Review!


Let me In!

 

Even a freezing saturday morning wasn't going to stop the hundreds of the UKs next up and coming singers, songwriters, artist managers, label heads + more for what was a genuine masterclass of the arts we call, Music. 

The Ultimate seminar,  brought to you by, Crea8ing Vision Ltd has been hosting the event at the University of Westminster for the past three years. After a hectic start to the day beginnings at 8.30am, the building was rammed with with eager musicians and future and present pioneers hoping to catch the best seat possible for the next 8 hours of music filled lectures

The Seminar

 

The Ultimate seminar kicked off with what you could call a quite heated debate about streaming and revenue for established and up and coming avenues. Amongst the panel were music lawyers, Mark Williamson of Spotify , talent agent, Obi Asika and chaired by PRS membership development director Myles Keller. The core of the debate became Obi Asika arguing that platforms such as Spotify were detrimental to the evolution of artists due to their poor support with income streams which led to a ovation as the first panel came to an end. It was a great start to the day, showcasing the distrust of the new generation to big companies such as Spotify. It was a win for the artists, if small but it was surely something to fist pump about.

The seminar continued to a special and very informative one on one with Virgin EMI A&R Glyn Aikins whose responsible for signings acts such as So Solid Crew, Daniel Bedingfield during the rise of Garage and Urban music in the UK. Glyn Aikins, told the story of how the legendary  So Solid Crew - 21 Seconds video cost around " £120,000" to create, which was unheard of for black artists earlier in the nineties.  Alongside Kwame Kwaten, who explained how many labels refused to even give black musicians a music video in the eighties. It resonated with the audience, many of whom were from different backgrounds. It was a welcome reminder of the tough conditions faced by urban musicians before us, and to not take these opportunities for granted. Grab, it by the neck. Glyn Aikins continued to explain the early the role of an A&R, the importance of generating a good ear for music and the tough nature of being able to find and sign good long term acts in todays music industry. 

So far so good

It was so far, so good. The Ultimate Seminar was hitting all the right notes and it was only midway through the day. As the day went on, with a music business panel including Jo Carrington, A&R for Sam Smith and and a one to one with legendary song-writing icon, Fraser T Smith, we reached the managers forum moderated by Hattie Collins of i-D magazine alongside Kwame Kwaten, founder of the Ultimate seminar and manager to Laura Mvula, Dumi Oburota, Tinie Tempah's manager, OddChild Music founder Marc Williams and Buck, Rapper, Giggs' manager.

Buck explains how he searches for new talent #music #musicbusiness #ultimateseminar

A video posted by @mungzmedia on

The managers forum focused on taking the right steps to ensure an artist has the best possible chance to fulfil their potential. This includes not going into the music industry expecting to make loads of money as stated by Kwame Kwaten. Marc Williams explaining the drive shown by Labrinth in his younger days, working day and night in the studio, even rushing to the studio on christmas day. " A talented person with no drive is like a Porsche with no engine - Looks great but it's going nowhere! " he told the audience. 

It was the blunt reality of the extremes some go through to get to the top. It's not an easy game. The managers continued to give insight into developing talent and the steps artist managers should take to make strong connections with labels, artists and the audience ultimately. The one thing, the panel were to the audience was, honest. Which you could say, is the key trait of being a manager. No wonder they were on the panel.

Last but not least

 

The evening ended with the Artist breakthrough panel including up and coming acts such as Kojey Radical, WSTRN and The Staves and moderated by Dj Manny Norte. detailing their rise into the music industry. The artists panel reflected on the hard work required to stay relevant as a newcomer in todays music industry, signing to major labels not being the be all and end all and the belief that anything is possible. It could someone from the audience sitting on the panel for Ultimate Seminar 2016. It's true, it could be you next year, what you waiting for?

A photo posted by @mungzmedia on

Overall, The Ultimate Seminar was an amazing day of knowledge driven master-classes in music. The panel was excellently chosen with experts across various fields with vast years of experience. All involved should of taken away a great deal of insider know-how, industry secrets and ultimately confidence to continue working hard to achieve their dreams.

It is really great to see the likes of Kwame Kwaten, producer, songwriter, artist manager and co-founder of Crea8ing Vision Ltd, not to mention Live UK Music business awards 2013 manager of the year giving so much back to the new generation. It was everything you could ask for as a up and coming musician, well expect the record deal. But if it's one thing the day should of taught the newcomers, it was that do not expect anybody to take you seriously if you do not take yourself seriously. If you want to see change, do something about it. 

See you next year!