Simon, thanks for agreeing to talk to us!
How are you doing?
Doing well Derek, always busy and finding myself working harder than ever these days. No signs of slowing down !!
You are a music industry manager with lots of experience, how did it all start?
I got into the music industry in the late 80’s (wow 30 years just flew by !!)
I started a company called B&H management which was set up as an agency to look after a select few session musicians and find touring, recording and TV work for them. My father was a session trumpet player and my brother Gavin was a session drummer who had just finished working with the band Level 42.
I represented Gavin and a few of his colleagues from ex 80’s bands like Japan, ABC, Spandau ballet and a few others.
I designed a catalogue which held the CV’s/bios of the 12 or so musicians I was looking after and sent this out to as many management companies, record labels, publishers etc as I could find, in fact anyone who was happy to receive a free catalogue I made sure to send one out to them.
The process of gathering CV’s and sending out catalogues seemed to take about a year, but it was soon to start paying off when one of the very first calls I got was to work with Rock legends Pink Floyd.
From here, work seemed (Thankfully) to snowball and more and more touring and recording work flooded in. Also the numbers of session players I was looking after grew very quickly as well.
30 years later, we represent nearly 6000 players and have been fortunate enough to work with some of the biggest artists in the world:_
George Michael, Elton John, Beyonce, Spice Girls, Dave Stewart, Blur, Take That, East 17, Seal, Tina Turner, Go West, Neneh Cherry, Pet Shop Boys, Mike Oldfield, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Human league, Robert Miles, Spiller, Kylie Minogue and many many more.
As my experience in recording, TV and touring work grew, and my contacts within the industry increased I felt I wanted to get closer to artists than just supplying a bass player, so decided to dip my toe into the murky world of artist management.
With lots of musicians who turned out to be writers and producers that I represented, the two worlds (session hiring and artist management) seemed to sit very nicely along side each other.
I started to develop artists, trying to keep a clear vision, and identify gaps in the market for artists and bands I felt were not only brilliant, but felt I could deliver them a recording contract and hopefully a career!
Lots of artists I developed never got off the ground, some got deals but quickly for one reason or another got dropped and some decided to move onto other management companies. The key for me was always belief, hard work, great songs and lot’s of luck, the rest was down to a tail wind and, you would hope, some kind of loyalty from your artist
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to work (at various stages of their careers) with:-
East 17, Peter Cox, Brian Harvey, Mica Paris, Heather Small, Shooter, SW1, Donna Air, Crush, Roll Deep, Artful Dodger, Mark Hill, Full Intention, Michael Gray, Nina Jayne, Cheryl Cole (Tweedy) Jamie Benson, Dina Carroll and a few others.
What’s the easiest and most difficult part of your day to day job?
The easiest part of my job is always remembering how fortunate I am to be working in an industry I love, and how a job that is more of a hobby never feels like hard work. The most difficult part is always, in the face of adversity, maintaining a strong unbreakable belief in your artists, You have to be prepared to go the full distance and beyond !
Tell us about the artists on your roster right now.
Right now I am managing the career of Heather Small. You will remember her as the front woman from the band M-People, with hits like, “Moving On Up”, “Search For A Hero”, “Sight for sore eyes”, “One Night in heaven, “How Can I Love You More” and later her huge solo hit “Proud”.
Heather is 25 years into her career now, and works harder and is more focused than many of the newcomers that surround her. She is an incredible artist to work with, a work ethic that can keep me on my toes, and hundreds of live shows very year.
I am developing a new and very exciting new artist called Luna Nixx (watch this space) We are one demo in and already a number of labels knocking on the door.
I also manage an incredibly talented young producer called DALiEN, who writes, produces and has a phenomenal eye for visuals (photos, artwork & videos etc) He is a one stop powerhouse !
Do you think social media has changed the landscape of music today?
Yes of course. When I look back a few years ago when MySpace was the only real tool to showcase your artist on line, we have come a huge distance since those days, Thankfully I spent many hours learning about the design techniques of MySpace and built and promoted many an artist’s site. I have consistently tried to keep up to date with the current crop of available online tools for promotion, and where I consistently try and encourage my artists to get as active as possible across all sites, I invariably end up doing a lot of the promo myself, which is fine as I quite enjoy it. It’s a real labour of love, but the content and consistency is kind of expected these days, so my attitude is roll your sleeves up and get on with it.
How do you listen to new music?
Soundcloud, Spotify, Youtube, recommendations, MP3’s I get sent on email, artists websites, radio, and whatever other formats I can find.
What do you look for in a new artist?
Something unique, usually in the voice, the look, the songs, but they always have to be driven and dedicated. They have to want it more than me and constantly drive me to be better and deliver their vision.
What is your favourite era for music?
My musical background (probably from my fathers influences) goes back to the 40’s and 50’s jazz, the 70’s U.S. jazz funk, the 80’s electro pop, the 90’s brit pop, the 2000’s pure pop right up to the Urban influenced rap music which we are currently enjoying… A pretty eclectic musical taste you might say!
Tell us a little about Royalty Rescue.
A couple of years back, the phrase Neighbouring Rights seemed to become the buzz-word in the industry, I have to admit at that stage I had no clue (probably along with many others) as to what this was. I quickly researched it and decided this might sit alongside my session agency and my artist management roster as a service I could offer my clients. Once I had fully got my head round what these royalties were and where they were generated from, I set up Royalty Rescue. A year down the line I have signed some of the biggest musicians, producers and estates in the world. It’s a fantastic opportunity to work with some of your childhood heroes along with guys who are working with current artists.
What do you look for in a potential artist?
Talent, a USP, dedication, hard work, a hunger to succeed, and hopefully a nice personality.
What’s the plan for the next 18 months?
To continue to source and sign more musicians and producers to Royalty rescue, and increase the roster to over 200 clients
To continues to source and develop- new talent
To record a new album (first in 20 years) with Heather Small
To break Luna Nixx world wide
To continue to grow my label Radar music which is distributed by Sony / The Orchard and to find and sign new talent to this.
Check out Simon’s sites at: