A&R Advice: ADELE
Adele currently works at Relentless Records as an A&R [artists and repertoire]. We met at the Sony building where she explained what an A&R is, “You are a part of everything because you signed them, it is a lot to do with how you see it. I think a good A&R is someone who has an instinct for music and art, and has the business acumen. It’s about closing deals which is something people don’t really talk about.” Already on her roster at Relentless is Nadia Rose, a deal with Link Up TV as well as working alongside Bryson Tillers A&R to help market him over here. “I’ve tried to just sign things that I like with the things I’ve signed so far on this level.” Before working as an A&R she worked at BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and started running her own business Ego Music Management. “I worked with Westwood at 1xtra, that was one of the best times. You’re a part of curating, pioneering something. And I learnt a lot from Westwood. You are working with someone that’s great and had 25 years experience in what they’re doing, and trusts your judgment”. Adele’s always managed to find talent. Prior to Relentless, she managed to sign ‘Wet Dollarz’ by Tazer after hearing the single in Barcelona, despite the track’s Notorious B.I.G sample. “You had to talk to Puffy’s team, Biggie’s family… and everyone said you’ll never clear that because it’s Biggie and they don’t clear anything. Then we finally got that cleared”. With all her success and experience, Adele gave us advice for those wanting to get involved in the music industry.
MUSIC INSUDTRY ADVICE
1. "You have to learn as much as you can. Things in music change constantly, so make yourself worthwhile and try to stay as relevant as possible. In music, I feel like the people that stand out are the people that know the art of music and know what people are going to like. You have to be open to constantly learning about music, especially in the digital age where things are always changing.”
2. "Try and see something through, be an expert in something. If someone talks to you, they know they can find that information out from you, they trust your judgment. Consistency is one major thing you need to have whether it’s within the company or within your own PR company, magazine, YouTube channel, whatever. Focus on being consistent.
3. "Get some skills that people might want to pay you for. Demonstrate something so [people think] 'Okay I want this person around because look what they’ve done, look what they can do and look what they can bring to the table', to make a living in an industry where everyone is willing to so much for free. Watch ‘Empire’, this is not ‘Friends’.”
1. “Get to know the logistics of what you are doing. Following trends is great, being up to date with everything online. But to really stand out I don’t think you should be following what everyone’s doing. Trust your own instincts.”
2. "If you want to be an A&R really understand management, understand the legal side, understand music law. If you want to be taken seriously you have to show that you can actually broker deals yourself and obviously know music as well."
3. "Scouting and managing your own artists is good because you’ll learn so much. If you become an A&R the skill set is so transferable. I think young A&Rs, try and manage something, try and promote something. Proactivity, that’s your key. You have to learn as much as you can.Try to learn about radio, the internet and learn how these things play off each other. Marketing also has to be on point for whoever you’re going to sign. Some artists might not be marketable and then what? Then some artists just very marketable because of their personality, their aesthetic.”
ADVICE FOR NEW ARTISTS
1."If you’re an artist the best thing to do is to use all the platforms, every single one of them. If you build up an audience for yourself people can see the reaction from the public. We’re in such a visual [age], where you can market yourself and see the reaction form the public."
2. “[Having] A dynamic work rate and so you get better and better. That’s how it should be if you want to break and build a massive fan base for yourself. It’s just some people just have the work ethic in them and some people don’t. And you want to get an artist that wants to be successful.”
3. "You should just aim to be a great artist, a record deal is not for every single creative person. I feel like if you’re doing great art and great music A&Rs will find you, people will talk about you, your friends, the internet will talk. I personally don’t try to force it. I always say that if it’s good enough it’s gonna find me, because I like looking and listening to music and I’m still a fan."