You may recognise Ian’s name from the previous news stories – he was responsible for organising our catch up with Ed Sheeran! Ian is the Access Partnerships manager and Head of Artist Development. We thought it was time you found out a little more about him…
Tell us a little bit about your background
‘I was born in Peckham and moved to Norfolk when I was 13. I started as a drummer in a band in the early 80’s, released a couple of records, then got a job as the independent labels buyer for HMV Oxford Street. I ended up managing HMV’s Trocadero London, Birmingham New Street and Plymouth for 7 years. I then managed Virgin Megastores Edinburgh, Plymouth and Norwich for 6 years. I became a single parent and decided to do a degree. Finally, I got offered some music business teaching with Access and then my job just kept developing from there.’
So, you’re best buds with Ed Sheeran, how did that come about?
‘I gave Ed a gig when he was 16 and was blown away by how confident a performer and songwriter he was. I gave him a few more shows and then introduced him to his first management company (Crown) and helped him with the Island Records initiative that released a single by him. When he decided to drop out of his A Level studies and move to London I encouraged him to study on our Artist Development scheme. He’s probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet.’
What do you get up too outside of college?
‘I manage a couple of acts, Harry Edwards (Wolfetone/Universal) who is working on his debut album, and CRTSNO, who has just written some tracks for the rapper 6lack. I also co-manage a London based rapper called Deacon and a Norwich based act called Maya Law, who starts on the Artist Development course this year. I’m a bit of a collector and have far too much taxidermy. I have 60 pieces! My wife says I have far too many records, which is obviously impossible!’
What is your favourite thing about working with ATM students?
‘Their energy and talent, and the satisfaction you get from seeing your colleagues encourage and guide them onto the next step in their creative career.’
Anything interesting that you are working on at the minute?
‘My two pet projects at the moment is the new “look” Artist Development scheme for Access and its label ADD Music. I’m also working on a project that will see a performance in a shop window by Lets Eat Grandma and Maya Law. The window will be dressed by the genius photographer Charlotte Rutherford and the audience will be outside on the street wearing headphones.’
What advice would you give to students wanting to work in the creative industries?
‘Work hard and stay focused, follow every lead and grasp all the opportunities you can. Listen and learn and don’t be afraid to question what you are told. Get a good handshake.’
Anything else interesting about you you’d like to add?
My first job was on the House of Fun at Hunstanton Funfair when I was 16.