Being an A&R at an Independent Record Label — women in music

What is A&R? The day to day + TikTok signings.

4 min readJun 27, 2020

What we talk about.

What is A&R? The day to day + TikTok signings.

This week I chat with “sissy-in-law” Jelly and Ophelia who join me from a sofa in lockdown together. So much amazing love between the two of them.

Sign new artists — speaking to managers, lawyers, agents, work with your A&R scout to find new artists and keep those conversations going. Coming up with deals.

Marketing meetings

✨ Working out PNL (profit & loss)

✨ Keeping track of the current artist

Record making process: go through tracks with artist, choose songs that may make up an EP, if they need to work with a producer or a songwriter.

✨ Then once the track is finished, working out who should mix

✨ Also helping with the direction of the project — looking at photos with artists, etc.

It’s about keeping the conversations going.

My guests.

Jelly Denniston | A&R Scout @ Communion Records

Instagram: @jellydenniston

✨ Also presents and produces Soho Radio show — Lend Me Your Ears (every other Sunday evening, 8–10 pm)

✨ Also, bassist in Marika Hackman’s live band

✨ Went to Uni Leeds, in 3rd year did student radio

Ophelia Conheady | Head of A&R at Marathon Artists

Instagram: @OpheliaBenbow

✨ Played drums when younger, in a few bands

✨ She went to Kings College and started doing student radio. A show was called The Sound of Kings — actually had Bastille in! Plus a show with a pal Jada.

✨ She was studying law and thought she would go into Human Rights Law. Was in NY for an internship

✨ Got an internship at Columbia Records in NY for 4 months


✨ Be relentless. And don’t worry about pissing people off.

✨ Persistence is key!

✨ Try and understand music, and the way people consume it before you apply for an A&R job Go to a lot of gigs, maybe you have a blog, maybe you have a music show — show you have the skills.

✨ Be around music and engage with it as much as you can

✨ People, on the whole, are really willing to help.


Example record deals off TikTok.

✨ Arizona Zeras ‘Roxanne’

✨ Powfu now has a song ‘death bed’ with Beabadoobee


Briony Turner | Co-Head of Atlantic

Helen Sims | Communion Label Manager

Annie Christensen | Head of A&R, Island Records

✨ Leanne Nguyen | A&R at Marathon Artists

Jaguar Bingham | New show on BBC Introducing for electronic and dance music

Eve Fairley-Chickwe | A&R manager at AWAL and Kobalt Publishing

✨ Ina (used to be A&R at Columbia Records in Germany), starting as A&R Director of Paralphone in London

✨ Alison Donald | Ophelia’s old boss at Columbia Records UK

Sam Denniston | Manager of Jungle, Hot Chip, Hayden, Holy Fuck, Mellah, Superorganism, LA Priest, Melody’s Echo Chamber

Want to hear more?

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