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From Snoop Dogg to Stormzy – a night at Warner Music UK…

Last night saw a phenomenal panel of top music gurus assemble at the incredible offices of Warner Music UK in High Street Kensington for our May masterclasses.

Hosted by the inspirational Alec Boateng (or Twin B), the panel told the audience about their career paths, their work highs and lows and their secrets of success.

Alec grew up with Dizzee Rascal, doing stints at both the Ministry of Sound and Sony, before ending up at Atlantic Records. He said “to know you’re involved in something that lasts forever (ie music) is quite special & magical. I find it really inspiring to see the people I work with flourish.”

Second in line, was Guv Singh, who grew up in Derby, saying “I always wanted to put raves on. I built a crazy network of DJs, MCs and beatboxers whilst I was working in the marketing department at Arcadia.”

“The best thing about my job is doing events like this. But the worst is travelling all the time. Not getting to see family. No sleep. No social life. It looks good on Instagram, but it’s not.”

Next up was Nathan Tettey, who has music in his blood, growing up with his super successful music-business cousin. “My mum wanted me to be an investment banker, but I wanted to be around creative people. I’ve always loved rap music and wanted to apply the creative process that was going on in the USA to the UK. I started my working life in film but then randomly got headhunted to work on music videos. Now I help people make content; help artists to visualize what’s in their head in the most imaginative way possible.

“I love seeing everything come together after all your hard work – the positive reaction off the back of working really hard”.

Jackie Eyewe started her working life writing for Live Magazine in Brixton, becoming editor after a year and a half. She loved working there, learning and writing about music. After a three week stint at Sussex University following pressure from her parents, she says: “I realised I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be in London. I wanted to be with the action. I love having my fingers in all the pies.” She moved to Bauer media where her role was to come up with creative ideas to help sell their brands. Jackie is now Marketing Manager at Atlantic Records looking after artists like Rita Ora and Miguel.

Last, but by no means least, we were joined by former MTV consultant, Arfa Butt: “My Dad was a musician, I grew up having jam sessions in my house. I went to study media and film at College, but like many people I knew it wasn’t for me. My parents wanted me to to go, but my heart wasn’t in it. When I was 20 I went to New York which was the best decision I ever made. Sometimes you have to move away from your comfort zone to truly learn about yourself”. Having worked as a consultant across all 17 MTV channels for ten years, Arfa is now a consultant on the Mayor of London’s new Sounds Like London campaign.”

The panel gave us their personal ingredients for success:

  • Jackie: “I care so much. I feel I have to care this much for things to go right”
  • Alec: “My measure of success is if I’m happy, I feel useful and I am being the best version of myself that I can be”

Arfa said: “Its’ about relationship building, honesty, authenticity. Never be afraid to ask questions. Never be afraid to learn. Trust your intuition”

  • Guv: “I’m a relentless worker. I’m a visionary and I see opportunity in everything. It’s just about how badly you want it. If I see someone else doing something epic, I think ‘they’re human, they live and breathe like me, we have the same amount of hours in a day – if they can do it, so can I’. You can go as fast as you want or you an go as slow as you want”
  • Nathan: “Being collaborative – but at the same time being myself.”

We touched on the hot topic of diversity in the music industry. According to Nathan:

“You don’t see people of our cultural background in the creative industries. I understand that’s who am I. I just feel like – everyone has their own stories to tell. I’m just telling mine.”

Alec’s view was:

“When you feel like you’re on the outside – it pushes you to work harder. To try to prove that I have a reason to be where I am. You need to be as loud as you can with your success. You need to be amazing. That’s your job. And then you’re loud.”

On the subject of balance, Guv said: “the hardest challenge in my life is finding a work/life balance. If I take day off, my empire might crumble” But according to Alec: “I find a sense of purpose in my faith. I need to have slept and eaten. It’s important to me to get a good balance.” Arfa agreed, saying: “You don’t need to hussle 24/7 to be a success. You need to take time out and learn to delegate.”

After the panel discussion, we enjoyed some food, drink and networking. A huge thanks to Warner for hosting and to our esteemed panel for their wise and inspiring words:

  • Alec Boateng, Co-Head of A&R, Atlantic Records UK
  • Arfa Butt, Music & Talent Director/Consultant MTV
  • Guv Singh, Director at Mersh Entertainment & Marketing Director of Bounce Revolution
  • Nathan James Tettey, Founder, Dirtywork London
  • Jackie Eyewe, Senior Marketing Manager, Atlantic Records