Say hello to the distinguished dozen who make up IQ's New Bosses 2020, which celebrates the future leaders of the international live music industry
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Continuing a series of interviews with the 2020 New Bosses, IQ speaks to Alex Ampofo, a promoter at Metropolis Music in the UK
By IQ on 27 Oct 2020
The New Bosses 2020 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 93 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, and A&R and production experts that make up this year’s list.
To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2020’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success. Catch up on the previous New Bosses interview with Primavera Sound booker Camila Salinas here.
The next New Boss in the spotlight is Alexandra Ampofo (26), a Coventry University business management and leadership graduate, who in addition to promoting shows heads up Metropolis Music’s diversity employee resource group, and started Embrace Nation at Live Nation UK – a cultural and learning hub that strives towards racial equality in and out of the workplace for all Live Nation employees.
She also works across The End Festival, Black Music Coalition, The F List and Unicef Music Group. Ampofo started her career in 2013, founding events company Acoustic Live, which focuses on stripped-back, acoustic live shows. Her second not-for-profit organisation, Women Connect, is a collective creating safer, inclusive spaces and equal opportunities for women and non-binary and gender-variant people in the creative industries.
What are you working on right now?
I have recently launched my website where all my services within live music will be collated. I have lots of information on there that I’m really proud of, so for now, I’m going to continue building on my portfolio.
What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
Being blessed enough to be part of the team who put together the SiR tour at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in February. I’m such a big fan of his, so that was definitely a bucket list moment for me. Another highlight is starting my company Acoustic Live – founded when I was 19 and now an award-winning events company dedicated to keeping stripped back music alive. I’m able to facilitate free services for artists of all calibres and all I’ve ever wanted is to help break the glass ceiling. Acoustic Live provides artists with tangible opportunities, and that’s priceless.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt working in live music?
If you want loyalty, get a dog.
Did you always want to be a concert promoter?
Yes and no – I knew I always wanted to be involved in curating events and music, but I didn’t know there was an official job title for this type of career. I feel so blessed to be living my dream.
What impact has Covid-19 has on your job?
The live music industry has taken a real hit due to the pandemic but it’s not all been bad. It’s actually brought me closer to a lot of the people I work with, now that we’re having to take extra care. There’s a sense of togetherness that I really enjoy.
“The industry is slowly changing and there are so many women and people of colour spearheading that change”
Do you have a mentor in the industry?
I do – he’s fantastic and has taught me some lessons about valuing myself, tackling my imposter syndrome and living in my truth. I’ve always been someone who is quite sure of themselves but simultaneously shrinks their achievements to make interaction more comfortable. I’m growing away from that and I like the person I am becoming.
What does the live music industry do well, and what can we do better?
There’s nothing like a live show. The atmosphere, the music, the vibrations, frequency and the people. The live music industry creates a unique musical experience so well. There’s some shows I’ve attended which were genuinely life changing just because they were executed so intrinsically.
Diversity within the industry needs to be cranked up a few notches – it’s still nowhere near the desired goal. I would like to see increased inclusivity for black, Asian, mixed-heritage and minority ethnic groups, the LGBTQI+ community, wheelchair users and/or varied physical disability, learning disabilities, people with visual impairments, users of British sign language and people with hearing impairments.
What advice would you give to someone who’s new to the business?
Humility is key but don’t shy away from asking for what you deserve. I’d also say we are in the business of people, so get to know them.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a promoter
Ageism, race and gender. Sometimes people can be reluctant to work with younger promoters because they associate age with inexperience which I find isn’t always the case. Gender and race have played similar roles in my personal journey; the disparity that follows marginalisation is a huge one but I am pretty hopeful.
The industry is slowly changing and there are so many women and people of colour spearheading that change.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I see myself still working in live music and loving every second of it. This is where I am happy.
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