Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’ve been a manager for quite some time now, nurturing and developing careers for a range of talented creatives in the industry, including artists, producers and songwriters. I run JD Management and our current roster includes prolific songwriter Wayne Hector, multi-faceted artist Samm Henshaw, the wonderfully creative duo WESLEE, the incredible songwriter and producer Josh Grant and the versatile songwriter Emma DD. We also have a couple of other creatives in development.
What is your greatest career success to date?
I’d say my biggest success/achievement is what I’ve built with Wayne Hector. I’ve been blessed to have worked with him over the years and our growth together has been really humbling and exciting.
What has been the most significant challenge you’ve encountered in the industry?
The lack of opportunities for women generally across the industry is something I’ve had to deal with since I joined the business, and more specifically the lack of opportunities for black women. I have seen privilege afforded to others that was not extended to myself, and I have been overlooked for things as a result. For this reason I’ve taken it upon myself to promote and encourage diversity/inclusion in the industry wherever I can, so that things are fairer, regardless of your gender and regardless of the colour of your skin.
Who gets your Women’s Day shoutout?
I’m fortunate and blessed to know all 4 of these wonderful ladies:
Sylvia Rhone, who has paved the way for so many black women with what she has accomplished, she’s powerful, she’s a woman of integrity, and is an encyclopaedia of the business. She’s a real trailblazer and an inspiration to many, including myself.
Dyana Williams is a pioneer and an award-winning powerhouse who I’m grateful to call her a friend. She’s helped me to understand the importance of my voice and how I can instil inspiration into others myself.
Ethiopia Habtemariam has had an incredible journey and it’s amazing to see her recent promotion to Chairman and CEO of Motown Records.
Shani Gonzales has an incredible business mentality with limitless A&R skills and knowledge. She’s a real dealmaker and has an amazing eye for talent across all genres.
We have some of powerful black women in America and it would be amazing for the UK business to follow suit.
If you could change one thing about how the music industry operates to improve the experience of women, what would it be?
It would be great to see an equal and level playing field. I feel that opportunities should be open to all and based on merit before anything else, and in conjunction with this, it’s important for us to pay women correctly so we can reduce the gender pay gap. It is time for us to nurture women behind the scenes in creating music; we should shine a spotlight on the female songwriters and female producers out there, and provide them with the right opportunities to grow and build successful careers.
Hopes for the future?
I’d love to see more women in more influential positions across the various aspects of the industry – whether it’s publishing, producing, DSPs, songwriting, radio plugging, managing, booking, or elsewhere.
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