Anytime Solent can bring in a guest from the industry it’s always inspiring and you leave wanting more. When Colin Lester and Kenya King came in to talk about their stories of the industry it was clear that they meant business.
Colin started off the talk by mentioning the death of the album once again, even though he’s mentioned it in every talk he’s done at the university. After swiftly moving on from his rant he talks about clever marketing and how the DIY approach is still a good thing in today’s industry.
“Take streaming seriously – do the sponsored work but keep an eye on streaming”
This is something Lester mentioned over and over again to emphasise that knowledge is what matters and keeping an eye on the statistics of streaming or just seeing what’s popular right now to your demographic will have a huge impact on you as a musician. This is something that seemed to resonated with everyone in the room as it mostly consisted of aspiring musicians and bands who are on the music performance course.
As we came to the end of Lester’s talk there were a few questions heading his way from different members of bands and musicians who were curious about many things. This is something that is vital to guest lectures, ask questions and get what you need out of the lecture.
As Kenya started her introduction she explained that she came from a poor background and was told that working at Sainsbury’s was the job she needed to do as people didn’t believe in her creative ability. Whilst explaining this point many of the people in the room were nodding their heads, acknowledging that this has happened to them as well.
That small section showed how important these guest lectures are. Bringing guests from the industry who have similar backgrounds to us and have been told that they weren’t good enough either is something that students can relate to. That is the best thing about these lectures – reliability is key.
“No means not over”
Whenever Kenya was told no, whether that was if urban/black music wouldn’t sell or if her artists were not being booked it only made her fight harder for what she believed in. She is someone who wanted to change perceptions of the music industry and even getting onto the property ladder at a young age helped her as a freelancer where she was able to create the MOBO awards, which has become a massive deal for everyone in the industry.
Kenya ended her talk by being honest about negative press towards MOBO and she overcame the odds. Sponsorships were being pulled, the press hammering them and labelling them things that weren’t true allowed for Kenya to take a step back and not be bitter about it all.
She ended by talking about how she got better by being directly involved in everything to do with the awards, things didn’t go to plan but she learnt, grew and kept on going, which is the best way we, as humans, can be.