Being an A&R at an Independent Record Label — women in music
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.
Jelly Denniston | A&R Scout @ Communion Records
✨ 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
✨ 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.
✨ BE NICE
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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