Renee Jackson

Our Marketing and Comms Assistant, Renée Jackson, who is also an artist, visited and reports on her experience at the Urban Development Industry Takeover All Dayer

As an artist, is the Urban Development Industry Take over worth a visit?

Urban Development (UD) is a music development organisation, based in Kings Cross. They play an integral role in the growth of urban music in the UK, combining business knowledge with an understanding of youth culture. They present quality events that encourage young people to hone their craft, become consumers of live music and be inspired by established artists. UD support emerging artists and professionals through mentoring and work experience as well as delivering innovative education projects.

For those who don’t know, The Urban Development Industry Takeover All-dayer is a 7-hour, jam-packed day in the heart of London with insightful industry talks, one-to-ones, open mic slots and performances.  Attracting a large crowd of young musicians from rappers to managers, the day presented opportunities to network, learn and receive advice.

Presenter, Puddi kick-started the day with an entertaining introduction taking us into the first session of the day – ‘How To Steal My Job: A beginners guide to the music industry’ chaired by BBC 1Xtra’s Nadia Jae and featuring Polydor team Rich Castillo, Amika Ezer, Jade Bradshaw, Marco Grey and Chris Cooke. The panel introduced themselves and spoke on their different roles within Polydor, a record label under Universal Music. They talked about their individual journeys through the industry, working through internships, being at the right place at the right time, to radio promoters and A&R managers. As well as their greatest achievements, and new opportunities emerging as the music industry evolves, the panel answered controversial questions about whether the artists on the label are receiving pay in line with the £22 billion net worth of Universal Music.

As a young artist I can definitely say I took so much knowledge away from the day. It was a great day full of opportunity to meet your next producer or manager. It’s very rare to find such a selection of music industry professionals talking about their experiences and ways to conquer the industry.

Image showing on stage panel discussion
A good mix of panels and performances

Going into the afternoon I stumbled into ‘Sunday Roast Live’ with Joe and Scully ft Big Zuu & Aisha Abdulhameed, powered by Reprezent Radio. With a keen interest in radio I figured I was in for a treat. The panel spoke heavily on misconceptions on performing, form 696 and Big Zuu’s come up. Form 696 is a risk assessment that venues were required to fill out before hosting events. This form required them to specify ethnicity and music style of the artist performing. The form has now been abolished but the panel confirmed that discrimination with certain music genres and people of colour is still very much an issue. Big Zuu, funny and honest talked about his journey, from 200 capacity gigs to headline shows at the O2 arena. Audience members asked his opinion on paying channels for YouTube uploads, he described how you sometimes just have to shoot your shot, which is what he did with Jamal Edwards, (SBTV) landing a freestyle on the popular channel with a view count of 300,000 plus, the rest is history!

‘Take Over Showcase sessions’ powered by GUAP and FutureSNDS featured fresh, UK talent such as Drey Cheeks and Weyland Mckenzie.

‘Industry Survival Guide’ Powered by Warner Bros Records was one of my favourite talks of the day. On the panel alongside Nathan James Tettley, Oksi Odedina, and Chair Rhian Jones was Alec Boateng, also known as Twin B, on 1Xtra. If you don’t know the face you definitely know the voice! I spent a lot of my teenage years listening to his Breakfast Show on the radio and he opened my eyes and kept me up with a whole catalogue of new music. In this session they spoke about mental health within the music industry, touching on personal experiences and how the pressure of living a normal life to suddenly being in the spotlight has affected some of the artists they work with. Also giving the audience practical tools to survive the industry, Alec advised: ‘Shut out the noise and nurture your own talent. it requires patience and faith in your talent to pull you through’, as well as emphasising the need to look out for one another.

Obviously, we couldn’t end the day without an open mic filled with a variety of rappers, and soul singers. It was an opportunity to see who we had in the room. Each artist had 1 minute to bring their A-game. Rappers and singers went head-to-head fighting for a space in the next round. With the panel of judges and audience members finally choosing the winner who receives mentoring and a performance slot at The Great Escape festival (IKR Amazing!)

It was great to be at such an inspiring event

As a young artist I can definitely say I took so much knowledge away from the day. It was a great day full of opportunity to meet your next producer or manager. It’s very rare to find such a selection of music industry professionals talking about their experiences and ways to conquer the industry. Music is very popular amongst my generation with it being the number one passion for young people in the UK, according to Amplify. I was humbled yet inspired to be amongst so many talented people all interested in advancing their knowledge whilst in the midst trying to figure it all out.