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ARTIST & MANAGER AWARDS 2023

24 November 2023

Central Cee surprises his manager Bello. Duran Duran talk movingly about their partnership with manager Wendy Laister. Nia Archives and Louise Latimer (Self Esteem / Big Moon) pick up Breakthrough awardsOther winners included Tinie Tempah, The Cookie Crew, Jorja Smith, Forever Living Originals, the band formerly known as easy life, The Flight Club and the CMS Select Committee Hosted by Doc Brown, the ceremony featured exclusive performances by Baby Queen and Tara Lily Full details below

Duran Duran and their manager Wendy Laister were the headline winners at last night’s (November 23rd) 2023 Artist & Manager Awards in association with beatBread which took place at London’s Bloomsbury Big Top.

Hosted by Doc Brown, the prestigious event is organised by the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and Music Managers Forum (MMF) and – uniquely – celebrates both the creative individuals who release music and perform shows, and their entrepreneurial partners who help them build a business

That spirit is encapsulated by the hugely successful 22-year association between Duran Duran and their manager Wendy Laister (Magus Entertainment) who received the joint award for Artist & Manager Partnership (sponsored by Hipgnosis Songs). Founding members Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor and Simon Le Bon paid a warm and heartfelt tribute to Wendy’s “grace, intelligence, tenacity and loyalty” with Nick describing her appointment in 2002 as “the best decision we’ve ever made, and our longest relationship with any manager. Wendy is a force of nature, she doesn’t give in.”

On receiving the Award, Wendy gave praise to the band, to their wider team and to Duran Duran’s passionate and dedicated fanbase. She also spoke candidly about her own journey in management since 1993, and for the music industry to support female music managers.

“Over the years, I’ve witnessed remarkable progress, and women have risen to prominent positions, both in front of and behind the scenes, but there is still work to be done,” she said. “This should be a place where talent knows no gender and where diversity is celebrated. As managers our role is to empower artists, to guide them, and to ensure that their voices are heard.”

Earlier, the Awards had been graced with a surprise appearance from one of the world’s biggest contemporary artists, with Central Cee taking to the stage as his manager, Bello, was crowned Manager of the Year (sponsored by PPL). The award was presented by Natalie Wade, Director of Music Industry Engagement at PPL, and Shauni Caballero, Senior A&R Manager at Sony Music Publishing. Both paid testimony to Bello and Central Cee’s incredible journey, with the UK rapper now reaching major international success. Sprinter, his collaboration with Dave, is fast approaching 500m Spotify streams and was recently declared UK Song of the Summer by The Official Charts Company.

“We take pride in being disruptors, game changers and never taking “no” for an answer,” said Bello after receiving his award. “The minute I heard the first verse from Cench and clicked onto his page, I saw a star and I knew exactly what he was capable of achieving…The last two years we’ve done over 150 shows all around the world, we’ve got two projects, we’ve released EPs, and countless singles. I’m the worst at delegating and not the best at finding people to hire, so we’ve always had a small team. But that’s also had its benefits as our vision has never been diluted.”

Winners for the tightly-contested categories of Breakthrough Artist and Breakthrough Manager were revealed on the night.

Nia Archives was recognised for a stratospheric 12 months where she received a Rising Star nomination at the BRIT Awards, flew the flag for UK Drum & Bass all around the world, and will soon bring her UP YA ARCHIVES show to Manchester’s Warehouse Project. Nia was joined on stage by her manager, Tom Cater.

The Breakthrough Manager Award, sponsored by Amazon Music, went to Louise Latimer, the hugely respected co-manager of Self Esteem, The Big Moon (who were in the roomto support) and Gently Tender. In 2023, Louise took Self Esteem (aka Rebecca Lucy Taylor) to new creative and commercial heights, culminating in a huge hometown show at Sheffield’s Don Valley Bowl in September. Rebecca is now starring alongside Jake Shears in the current West End run of Cabaret.

Throughout the ceremony a wide range of established and upcoming managers and artists were awarded.

The Cookie Crew – Debbie Pryce and Susan Banfield – received a long overdue Pioneer Award (sponsored by TikTok) from DJ Semtex who outlined the duo’s place in the Hip Hop pantheon and how their trailblazing albums Born This Way and Fade To Black changed UK culture. Debbie and Susan spoke eloquently about their experiences as British female artists working in America at a foundational moment for the genre.

Similarly, Rosemary Okogwu delivered a hugely personal tribute to her son – Tinie Tempah, the Entrepreneur of the Year for his fast-growing Imhotep empire – highlighting his extraordinary range of extracurricular successes from artist management, music and TV production, food, fashion and event promotion.

Also taking to the stage, led by Jason Flavien, were the team from Forever Living Originals, the self-proclaimed “home for the free thinkers” and umbrella for SAULT, Cleo Sol, Little Simz, Chronixx and Inflo.

Paying tribute to the collective’s impact and influence, close collaborator Jack Peñate, who presented their award for Team Achievement, said, “Forever Living Originals represent genuine independence and joyously soar above any preordained structures and expectations. Your recognition tonight is undeniably deserved and we are all lucky to witness this truly great British team lead the way and inspire bravery, ambition and focus to all generations, and it’s frightening to think it’s only just the beginning.”

Other hugely popular winners were the band formerly known as easy life and The Flight Club. Despite a long and public legal battle with the easyGroup corporation, easy life have used their status and platform to advocate on behalf of the wider artist community – speaking out on issues including the costs of post-Brexit touring and onerous merchandise commissions. For this, frontman Murray Matravers received the inaugural Artists’ Voice Award on behalf of the band from their manager, Attention Management’s Jo Howath.

Meanwhile Shani Gonzales, MD, Warner Chappell Music, presented the award for Producer / Songwriter Manager to Samuel Ademosu and Ruth Gyaniao of The Flight Club. One of the UK’s most dynamic and innovative management businesses, the Club’s roster currently includes J Hus’ longtime collaborator TSB, Grammy-winning P2J, and artist, producer and songwriter duo DameDame*. Collectively, The Flight Club’s clients have contributed to tracks for Burna Boy, Dave, Jorja Smith, Stormzy, Doja Cat, Gorillaz, Kali Uchis, Headie One, Chris Brown, Snoh Aalegra, and many more.

As the Artist of the Year, Jorja Smith could not be in attendance, her award was picked up by Maverick Sabre – who has known Jorja for many years, and collaborated with her extensively. Maverick also paid tribute to their manager, Zubin Irani.

Finally, and fittingly, the ceremony also recognised the work of the Culture Media & Sport Select Committee and their dogged support of UK artists, songwriters, musicians, producers and managers, particularly on the issue of streaming reform. Following the Committee’s intervention, the entire industry is now involved in Government-led discussions that aim to deliver benefits to all UK music makers. Represented by Kevin Brennan MP, Damian Green MP and Julie Elliot MP, the Committee received their award from FAC Board Director Brix Smith.

In their joint opening address, FAC CEO, David Martin and Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive of the MMF, stressed the uniqueness of the Awards and the importance of recognising both artist achievements and the behind-the-scenes work of their teams.

“These awards are special,” said Annabella. “They celebrate the partnerships at the core of the music industry: the creative individuals who release music and perform shows, and their entrepreneurial partners who help them build a business. They are the only awards that do that.  For the MMF, this is a night where managers can also receive the flowers; where their work and role is recognised, and where we can shine a light on the people behind the talent.”

“From our perspective, this ceremony is about artists recognising their peers,” added David. “I am so delighted we can celebrate such a diverse range of talent, from those who have sustained a career over decades, those who are redefining the metrics of success and those who champion causes that the FAC are fighting for.”

The full list of winners at the 2023 Artist & Manager Awards in association with beatBread is as follows:

  • DURAN DURAN & WENDY LAISTER – Artist/Manager Partnership (award sponsored by Hipgnosis Songs)

  • BELLO – Manager of the Year (award sponsored by PPL)

  • JORJA SMITH – Artist of the Year

  • NIA ARCHIVES – Breakthrough Artist

  • LOUISE LATIMER – Breakthrough Manager (award sponsored by Amazon Music)

  • TINIE TEMPAH / IMHOTEP – Entrepreneur

  • THE BAND FORMERLY KNOWN AS EASY LIFE – Artists’ Voice

  • THE COOKIE CREW – Pioneer (Award sponsored by TikTok)

  • FOREVER LIVING ORIGINALS – Team Achievement

  • THE FLIGHT CLUB – Writer / Producer Manager

  • CMS SELECT COMMITTEE – Industry Champion

The Artist & Manager Awards were headline sponsored for the second year running by beatBread, the pioneering music funding platform that enables artists to access growth capital while maintaining control of their careers and ownership of their music.

Launched in November 2020, and already a highly valued Associate Member of the MMF and partner of the FAC, beatBread has firmly established itself as one of the best ways for independent artists to source funding to further their careers. The company provides advances on streaming income for both catalogue and unreleased repertoire, empowering artists and giving them complete choice of their distribution, marketing and promotion partners. beatBread advances range from as little as $1,000 to as much as $3M per artist.

To date, the company has supplied funding to more than 800 artists and labels across multiple genres, six continents and a broad range of career stages.

Artists and managers who want to explore what their capital options might be can do so quickly and easily without any obligation, simply by answering a few questions at www.beatbread.com.

Earlier this year, beatBread launched its Investor Network, a platform that enables distributors, industry insiders and qualified investors to bid on fractions of an artist’s deal, allowing artists to leverage the best possible terms to finance their careers as a result.

www.amawards.org

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