In the coming days and weeks, you’re going to see us relive (and relive) the highlights from a wonderful A&R Awards in London last night (November 1).
Something about the UK-focused event, presented by MBW in association with Abbey Road Studios, isn’t like other awards ceremonies.
It’s different – proudly so.
For such a fiercely competitive, risk-heavy sector of the industry, the room last night brought the best out of people.
For one evening, arms were laid down; rivalries were, if not forgotten, then muted – and a community celebrated each other, respectfully.
One of the biggest moments on the night saw Korda Marshall becoming the second ever recipient of the A&R Icon award.
The gong was handed out by Max Lousada, who took over as Warner Music Group’s global CEO of recorded music last month.
Lousada joined forces with Marshall at Mushroom Records in London over 15 years ago.
Their professional relationship then continued beyond Warner’s acquisition of Mushroom in 2003 until Marshall ultimately left Warner, having taken the Warner Bros UK label to new heights, in 2008.
You can read Lousada speech from last night in full below.
The A&R Icon award is a lofty accolade but Korda Marshall is one of the few people I fell genuinely deserves it.
Just think about some of the acts he signed and worked with: The Wedding Present, The Blow Monkeys, Ash, Garbage, Muse, Paul Oakenfold, Gnarls Barkley, Foals, Temper Trap and most recently Morrissey, to name just a few.
What all of these acts have in common is they’re unconventional, they’re uncompromising and they’re creative.
They’re successful on their own terms.
For me, that really sums up Korda -the independent spirit that’s in his DNA . It’s how he signs acts, it’s how he breaks them, it’s how he champions them and its why he gives his act the right amount of support and freedom.
“Korda showed me you can dream big without selling out.”
And that’s how I come to know Korda, back in the ’90s when I was running an independent label Rawkus Records and Ultimate Dilemma.
When you’re 23 you feel like you’re cool and indestructible and I had interests from various big names and labels, all of which I dismissed – it was too corporate, too established, they were too slow.
And then Korda just turned up, unannounced and without any ceremony. He knocked on my little door, in my little office in Truman Brewery to talk about Mushroom Records – about how he could support my artists, my staff and me as his deputy.
We talked about music, we talked about culture, we talked about artist development. And in that very first meeting he showed me some of the truths that have stayed with me throughout my career.
He talked about ‘enjoying the artist’s journey’; ‘it’s not a sprint it’s a build’; and ‘there’s going to be lots of ups and downs – and we’re going to have to win the ones and the twos’; ‘it’s about celebrating the artist’s difference – their uniqueness, rather than trying to get them to conform’.
He showed me you can dream big without selling out. And most of all that being independent isn’t about where you work, it’s about who you are and what you do.
That’s something Korda has demonstrated every step of his illustrious career.Music Business Worldwide