A leading talent spotter who signed hit records to some of the UK’s top labels has given Wrexham Glyndwr University students an insider’s view of the music industry.
Andy Thompson – who throughout his three-decade career has worked with leading names such as Adele, Pete Tong, Mylo, Madison Avenue and more – spoke to the students in Glyndwr’s Creative Industries building as part of Glyndwr’s renowned Creative Futures sessions.
The sessions are designed to give students considering a career in the creative industries the chance to hear from – and question – leading figures in a diverse range of jobs.
Andy’s session saw him in conversation with his friend and colleague, Glyndwr lecturer Graeme Park – himself a music industry veteran and celebrated DJ.
Graeme said: “Over the years, Andy has signed both top five hit records and major publishing deals with some truly huge artists.
“I’ve known him for many years and was delighted he was able to come along today and share his tips with students across our creative media courses.”
During his 45 minute conversation with Graeme – recorded in Glyndwr’s broadcast-standard television studio in front of a small audience for students to watch and learn from at their leisure – Andy talked about how he built his career in the industry.
Starting off by helping to lug sound system equipment round the Kent countryside, he secured a job behind the counter at London’s City Sounds – and from there talked his way into a job on a record label.
He told students: “Pete Tong used to come into the shop for new records before his radio show on Capital, and so I got to know him – and started to go and help out answering the phones on that show at Capital Radio.”
Slowly, Andy realised that record label A&R scouts were using trips to the shop to buy and license imported records for UK distribution – and that their job was much more lucrative than his.
That realisation meant that, when a role came up working alongside Pete Tong, Andy leapt at the chance – and gained a foothold in the record industry itself.
From there, he worked across A&R and music publishing for record labels including FFRR and London Records, Warners, Island, Virgin/VC and more.
During his chat, he shared stories of what it’s like to sign Adele to a publishing deal, how the dance compilation album proved a major money-spinner for record labels – and how a new generation of dance acts changed music by looking beyond the music to how they would present their work on stage.
He told students: “Back in the day, when artists started coming out of dance music, not many had the presence of mind to develop a visual dimension.
“I remember going to see the Prodigy for the first time and their show was like electronic punk – it was a real game changer!”
Alongside DJ Ross Allen, Andy is now working on his latest venture, Foundation Music – and he was able to share some words of advice for the musicians, producers and artists in his audience about getting people to notice their work.
He added: “You have got to be totally committed to what you are doing – you can’t compromise, and you have got to be able to look people in the eye and say ‘this is really good.’”
Graeme added: “It was great welcoming Andy to Glyndwr and to hear him share his tips with our students. You don’t build a thirty-year career in the music industry without learning a thing or two, and the sharing of that knowledge is what our Creative Futures sessions are all about.
“Our courses here at Glyndwr are designed to equip students with the skills they need to succeed in their chosen careers. Creative Futures events let them hear directly from people working in industry about how those skills can be applied in the real world – and how they can boost their career prospects as a result.”
To find out more about Wrexham Glyndwr University’s range of Creative Media Technology courses visit: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Undergraduatecourses/