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 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.
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?
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!