Keep quiet – he doesn’t know he’s won.
The MBW Young Executive 2015 supported by Google Play Music is Laurence Abrahams of SSB Solicitors in London.
Before we examine some of the 27-year-old’s career achievements, let’s remind ourselves how he won.
Laurence (pictured above with client George Ezra) was one of hundreds of professionals nominated for the MBW Young Executive accolade by peers and colleagues over the past two months.
He then made a 15-person shortlist, whittled down with help from the MBW Advisory Board and other senior figures from around the global music business.
From there, MBW asked more than 150 leading executives from all corners of the globe to vote for their No.1.
Those votes flooded our inbox. There were some superb runners-up.
But one name just kept appearing again and again.
Laurence Abrahams joined SSB in July 2010 as Associate Solicitor.
SSB is a highly-regarded entertainment law practice which represents many multi-platinum artists, including Adele.
2015 has been a particularly big year for Abrahams. In June, SSB co-founder Paul Spraggon made him a partner in the firm.
“Laurence has made tremendous progress as a lawyer.”
Paul Spraggon, SSB
“Laurence’s contribution to our growth and success made this appointment not only logical but a real pleasure,” Spraggon tells MBW.
“He is a big music fan who loves people and working out deals and strategies for his clients.
“He has made tremendous progress as a lawyer. I am looking forward to watching him grow this practice and make a real difference out there.”
Abrahams now works closely with artists including Frances, SG Lewis, MK,Disciples, Kiko Bun, Dua Lipa, Jordan Rakei, Whilk & Misky, Spring King, Ben Khan and Petite Meller.
He’s also become a close ally – as the picture suggests – of a certain George Ezra, whose debut album, Wanted On Voyage, registers as one of the biggest new artist LPs of recent years, having sold more than 1m copies in the UK alone.
The co-MD of Ezra’s label, Sony‘s Columbia UK, is Alison Donald, who – alongside Mark Terry – signed Ezra to a low-pressure development deal back in 2012.
“I find Laurence personable and passionate. He always acts in the best interest of his clients.”
Alison Donald, Columbia
“Laurence is extremely tenacious but also fair and reasonable,” says Donald of Ezra’s lawyer.
“He is not afraid to take a long-term strategic view when making a deal and always acts in the best interest of his clients.
“I find him personable and passionate; all-in-all a pleasure to deal with – most of the time!”
Abraham’s talents don’t just stop at representing performers, either.
Another milestone in the SSB man’s career came in October this year, when his client Insanity Group struck a major JV label deal with Sony.
Jason Iley, CEO & Chairman of Sony Music UK, tells MBW: “Laurence is one of the most entrepreneurial, smart and innovative deal-makers in the music business.”
“Laurence is one of the most entrepreneurial, smart and innovative deal-makers in the music business.”
Jason Iley, Sony Music UK
He adds: “Laurence’s artists trust him implicitly, which is no surprise because he always gets them the best deals!”
Adds Insanity boss Andy Varley: “Laurence is an outstanding young executive.
“His passion and determination coupled with his personable approach make him a real stand-out.”
Abrahams’ work has impressed leading figures beyond the world of record labels, too.
Mark Gillespie’s Los Angeles-based Three Six Zero Group manages artists including Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean and DeadMau5, plus a string of up-and-coming acts.
“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Laurence,” Gillespie tells MBW. “He maintains a great balance of being a tough negotiator and solid deal-maker at the same time.”
“Laurence has made a significantly positive impact on the music business this year.”
And Guy Moot, Managing Director, UK, and President of European Creative at the world’s biggest publisher, Sony/ATV, comments:
“I strongly believe Laurence has made a significantly positive impact on the music business this year through his unique approach of bringing an A&R perspective to being a music lawyer.”
There you have it.
Laurence Abrahams: a super-sharp legal eagle with the heart of a music lover.
And a very deserving winner of MBW’s Young Executive 2015.Music Business Worldwide