From celebrating 20 years of grime to career advice from industry experts, it’s fair to say 2021’s Industry Takeover All Dayer was a great success…
Words: Jamela Conteh
Photos: Tyler Barclay (ShotByTyler)
At the weekend, inside Protein Studios, a large yet cosy workspace and events venue, located in the heart of east London’s Shoreditch, around 200 young people – myself included – gathered to gain insight into the music industry from today’s most influential Black music culture leaders, as well as witnessing performances from underground talent. Whether you are an artist or someone who wants to work behind the scenes this event was one you could not miss.
As an aspiring music journalist that has been working on getting more insight into the industry as well as perfecting my craft over the last year, I wanted to attend the event in hope of meeting editors, journalists and musicians that may either commission me or inspire me to write about them. This also happened to be my first UD event I have ever attended and I did not know what to expect. However, I was not disappointed and I can happily say this will not be my last.
The day started with a panel called ‘How To Steal My Job’, hosted by Broadcaster and Journalist, Jasmine Dotiwala. During this panel Jasmine spoke with Shauni Cabellero (Director G93/Publisher), Ella-Bonai Gordon (Artist Manager & A&R Consultant) and Sharlotte Ritchie (Director Global Communications, Universal Music Group) about the highs and lows of their careers and how to make sure you get the information you need to get the job you want in the business of music. As they all have extensive CV’s, this panel was very useful for someone like myself (normally when people discuss roles in the music industry it’s rare, in my experience, to hear from those who work in such roles).
A gem I picked up from this panel was the importance of networking with the panellists, including the host expressing multiple times that most of the jobs they got were because of who they knew as well as how many doors can open up for you by word of mouth. This stood out to me as I came to the event on my own and made a promise to myself that I will use my time there to meet new people and network – and I did exactly that. I spoke to many people and have stayed in contact with three other creatives who I am now in a group chat with on WhatsApp where we share creative content as well as job opportunities.
Each panel was followed by multiple performances from upcoming artists from different genres. I enjoyed all the performances but the two that I LOVED were from Symworldd and Amber. Symworldd stood out to me as she was the only female rapper that performed in the showcase. She had us all on our feet dancing with her exciting energy and badass confidence. Amber has a strong and soulful voice that I do not hear much from artists today. I believe that someone like her is needed in the music scene here in the UK.
Other highlights on the day included conversations with Hardy Caprio about his musical journey so far, the highs and lows, and about being a successful artist in this industry. The second panel “The Mavericks: Carving your own path in the music industry” gave insight on how to make a name for yourself and create your own path. This included speakers, Irene Agbontaen (Designer and Creative consultant, Founder TTYA), J2K (Creative director and founder, Crep protect), Poet (Podcaster and presenter) and DJ Target (Co-music Lead BBC 1Xtra, DJ, author). The third discussion was presented by UK music licensing company PPL, titled “Get played, Get Paid”, where the speakers spoke on the importance of music licensing, publishing and how to ensure you get paid for your work. Those in conversation included Davina Marchant (Artist Manager to Tion Wayne and A&R), Gaika (artist), Leo O’Brien (Member Development Executive) and Wale Kalejaye (Music Lawyer, Associate, Music Group Sheridans).
Overall, I have to say that panel four was my favourite panel of the day. This was hosted by Hattie Collins, an author and journalist (who actually let me know about the event). Speakers included, Jahmek Power better known as Jammer BBK (producer, MC, grime pioneer), Yemi Abiade (Contributing editor, TRENCH), Raj Kathwadia (writer) and Shakira (founder, GirlsOfGrime). This TRENCH curated panel touched on the history of grime music, the start of it all from the 2000s to now and how it has impacted the UK music industry that gave London a new global identity. As someone who has lived in London their whole life and lives Black culture, I feel like it was important for me to understand and acknowledge the beginning of how rap music took off within the UK. This session was very insightful and I enjoyed every minute of it. I felt inspired by each person on stage as they all do things within my field. The work Shakira is doing with her brand ‘Girls Of Grime’ is absolutely ground-breaking and necessary as there are not many spaces in music for Black women behind the scenes.
In summing up the event, I’d say it’s extremely important for these events to keep taking place. It gives many young people, from all walks of life but with one love for music a chance, to meet new people, showcase their talents and be in spaces and rooms with people they would not normally come into contact with in their everyday lives.
I look forward to attending more future UD events and I left feeling excited about my own future in the creative industry.