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 IQ's 2020 New Bosses, we speak to Kedist Bezabih, a promoter at FKP Scorpio in Norway
By IQ on 20 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 twelve promising promoters, bookers, agents, 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, to discover their greatest inspirations and pinpoint the reasons for their success. Catch up on the previous New Bosses interview with Filippo Palermo, co-founder of Untitled Group in Australia, here.
Our fifth New Boss is Kedist Bezabih (28), a promoter at FKP Scorpio in Norway. Born in Oslo, Bezabih studied cultural project management at University of Innlandet from 2014 to 2017. In her first year at university, she was introduced to Torgeir Gullaksen, the founder of Goldstar, and began an internship at the company while also working at Red Bull Sound Select and Oslo venue Parkteatret.
After finishing her degree, she started working as a promoter at Goldstar, which became FKP Scorpio Norway in late 2017. Her roster includes Juice WRLD, Conan Gray, Aitch, Lennon Stella, Jay Rock, Yxng Bane, Omar Apollo, Jay1, Not3s and ZE.
What are you working on right now?
Still moving a few shows from 2020 and looking at new dates for 2021/22. I haven’t been that busy the last few months, but this time has opened up room to be more creative, look at new possibilities and develop solutions for the years to come.
What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
Growing up, we didn’t have places where we could experience the music we loved and listened to. To be able to book UK/US hip-hop acts, and seeing kids from where I grew up having the time of their lives in the mosh pits has really been one of the most rewarding things about my job. Also promoting the only headline show with Juice WRLD in Norway. I was a huge fan, so I appreciate that I was lucky enough to have met him.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt working in live music?
Trust your intuition. It’s usually right.
“It can be challenging to get up-and-coming acts to come and play in Norway when they have little time to tour Europe”
Did you always want to be a concert promoter?
I always wanted to work with something music-related but had no idea what or how to go about it. I sent a few emails to different companies within the industry right after high school, to no avail. After I started university things kind of fell into place, thankfully!
What’s it like working in the Norwegian market?
It’s a small and competitive market, but I enjoy that. It can be challenging to get up-and-coming acts to come and play when they have little time to tour Europe but that just means we have to create avenues that make us more attractive.
What impact has Covid-19 has on your job?
We’ve pretty much been shut down since mid-March, but we’re slowly starting up again. It’s been a weird time, good in some ways, bad in other ways. Ultimately, I do believe the industry and our company will be back stronger than ever.
Do you have a mentor in the industry?
I’ve had many mentors throughout my career that have been generous enough to share their time and experiences with me. They have given me the room to grow, the support and responsibility to really get going in this industry, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
“As a new promoter I would say; be persistent, but also patient. It’s a hard thing to balance”
What does the live music industry do well, and what can we do better?
We’re really good at doing it for art. At the end of the day, the passion for music is what drives most of us, and that is extremely important. We have a way to go in terms of diversity. I think that the last few months have been a real eye-opener in terms of the issues certain groups face, where we as an industry have fallen short, and that we have a lot more work to do. I’m feeling hopeful that we’ll see many changes in the coming years – it’s about time.
What advice would you give to someone who’s new to the business?
As a new promoter I would say; be persistent, but also patient. It’s a hard thing to balance.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a promoter?
Right now, the looming threat is definitely the global issues we don’t have control over, like climate change and the pandemic. Beyond that, I would say the ever-evolving number of platforms where people discover and listen to music is challenging to keep up with. Your info needs to be up to date, and corroborated from multiple sources.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Time will tell. As long as I enjoy what I’m doing and I’m excited about it, I’m good.
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