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The New Bosses: Remembering the class of 2021

The 14th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses celebrated the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2021 honoured no fewer than a dozen young executives, as voted by their colleagues around the world.

The 14th edition of the annual list inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations.

The year’s distinguished dozen comprises promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs and more, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.

In alphabetical order, the New Bosses 2021 are:

Subscribers can read full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses in issue 103 of IQ Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:



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The New Bosses 2021: Will Marshall, Primary/ICM

The New Bosses 2021 – 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 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Talissa Buhl, festival booker at FKP Scorpio in Germany here.

Born and raised in London, Will Marshall started out running monthly showcase events in the city’s East End, combined with spells working for Live Nation’s festival production team, while studying.

Earning a degree in architecture, in 2014 he dropped the books to join Metropolis Music before heading to Primary Talent in 2016 as an agent, working with Matt Bates. Marshall’s roster is as eclectic and wide-ranging as the London music scene he grew up admiring: alt-pop, electronic, rap, rock, folk and indie acts all garner attention.

A degree in architecture isn’t the traditional route into music – are there any parallels at all with being an agent?
Both have set me up for a life of late nights and impending deadlines, but in all seriousness, there is a problem-solving nature that connects the two, usually within a collaborative framework, and almost always with a slightly competitive drive.

You ran regular showcases when you were a student. How did you find the talent and has that experience helped you understand the job of promoters better?
In terms of the latter, definitely. When it comes to decision making and giving clear advice, the understanding and knowledge of those companies, their different departments and how they operate is key.

Regarding sourcing talent, it sounds simple but I would just put on events and book acts whose music I liked. The way in which music is consumed now means that everyone is their own curator; the tastes you are catering for have exploded exponentially. That is exciting, especially as we push for a more inclusive music scene.

“The advent of widespread livestreaming highlighted just how pivotal crowds are in creating the moments that we do this for”

Do you have a mentor or anyone you turn to for advice?
Probably too many to single out but I feel very lucky because my job requires me to connect with people in all different parts of the industry from all around the world, so they keep my view well rounded. My family and friends keep me grounded and remind me what is really important.

What are you most looking forward to as pandemic restrictions are lifted?
Crowds, and the energy, together with the artist, that they can create. Whilst the advent of widespread livestreaming presented artists and their teams and crew with much needed earning opportunities, it also highlighted just how pivotal crowds are in creating the special moments that we all do this for.

The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you are taking out of it?
We’ve seen a lot of people struggling in the slow down and the uncertainty. The pause has given us a moment to make decisions more consciously and in disrupting the pace there has been more time for conversations around sustainability, and gender and race equality. I hope these conversations continue and that they can further shape behaviour and action.


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New signings & rising stars (Jan–Feb 2019)

Æ Mak (Ie)

Agent: Matt Bates and Will Marshall, Primary Talent

In the beginning, Aoife McCann (Æ Mak) created a vision of an otherworldly landscape she could escape to and perform. With producer Daniel McIntyre she has created the soundtrack to that vision.

This year saw the independent release of three single projects of experimental art pop, ‘Glow’, ‘Love Flush’ and ‘Too Sad to Sing’, which have received support from the likes of BBC Radio 6, Radio X, Earmilk and the Line of Best Fit.

The all-consuming energy of Æ Mak’s performances enrapture the audience. Her primitive vocal rhythms and infectious melodies sail a dark sea of electronica. As a visual artist, the stage show allows her artistic vision to come to life in real-time, drawing elements from her self-directed music videos.



Pottery (Ca/UK)

Agent: Sarah Besnard, ATC Live

Hailing from across Canada and the UK, Montreal’s Pottery consists of core writers Austin Boylan and Jacob Shepansky along with Peter Baylis, Paul Jacobs and Tom Gould.

Initially bonding over artists such as Orange Juice, Josef K and Devo, the band creates a sound that combines eclectic traces of post-punk, pop and dance music, forming an unusual atmosphere that envelops audiences.

While often shrill and jarring, Pottery’s songs simultaneously put listeners into a hypnotic state. It’s this dualism that binds the tracks together, finding harmony within discord.


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