Meet the Members
Anne Hurcombe – Director, Wigan Pier Promotions
A bit about you: I started my career as a Professional singer at the age of 22. This was a 6 months contract and I was only doing it in the interim to get my equity card. I had trained to be an actress. At school I loved music, drama and PE. After my 6 months contract my love of singing took my career path in a different direction than I had originally planned. My singing took me to Japan, cruising in the Caribbean, performing for the forces and holiday makers in Europe and throughout the UK. When I come back from working in Japan I decided to go back to college to do a HNC in business which I successfully completed with distinctions
Greatest career success to date: My biggest career success to date is being able to a job I love and making a living from it unless you want to include working as a production assistant at Glastonbury in 2011 on the Pyramid stage and other stage. Personal achievement completing a Manchester Marathon in 2019 with 12 weeks training and achieving a 4hr 33 min time. Not bad for a 46 year old!!! Ha ha.
Most significant challenge: I think the biggest challenges I have face along with everyone is the last 12 months of COVID. I have had to adapt but I’m proud of myself of how have turned this negative into a positive. I have created a new business ‘The Gift Getter’. It is a gift concierge service and has great prospects and will work perfectly alongside WPP. I have also took a job as a site manager at a covid testing centre managing a team of 15 and ensuring the site runs on a daly basis. I’m learning new skills and for the first time on my career I’ve had a proper job!!!!
Women’s Day Shoutout: My biggest inspiration in my life is my mum. She’s has supported me in everything I have done and do and the strength she has shown me with the challenges she has faced always gives me the belief anything is possible if you want it enough.
If you could make 1 change in how the music industry supports women, what would it be? If I could change one thing about the music business of how the music business supports women? I don’t think there is anything. I feel I’m an equal in my business regardless of my gender. I have lots of inspirational women in my life that have my back but I believe in the power of attraction.
Emma Banks – Agent, CAA and Co-Head of CAA, London
A bit about you: I have been working in the live music business since 1990, always at an Agency, after completing my Food Science degree at university where I really discovered live music. I was ‘thrown in at the deep end’ when I started work – given a list of venues and told to book a tour for one of the bands at Wasted Talent, which is where I started. It was pretty much head down and get on with it from that day – slowly working my way to a point where I knew what I was doing, signing clients and getting known for doing good work. It’s been an amazing journey, accompanying clients through their careers and always looking out for their best interests. I am here to make dreams come true – first you have to find out the motivation of your client and then you can start working on how to achieve the result that they want!
Greatest career success to date: Every ‘win’ for my clients is a success. I know that sounds corny but it’s true – the first sold out club gig is as big a deal as headlining a massive festival. I am incredibly proud of the artists that I have worked with through every step of their career from first shows to their biggest moments on the world’s stages. My greatest career success is being here thirty years later and still working with new artists to help them make sure that their talent is seen and heard, alongside working with some of the biggest and best artists in the world.
Most significant challenge: We have many challenges, all equally significant. We need to work our way out of the Covid pandemic (and be better set up for the next pandemic that I read is almost inevitable); Brexit is causing immediate challenges to touring once we are able to get back to work; the climate emergency needs to move back up the agenda and the touring industry needs to figure out how to do it so we are, at worst, carbon neutral and ideally carbon negative; do a better job to support minority and under-represented groups of people and ensure that the music business generally is a vibrant and diverse ‘world beating’ industry.
Women’s Day Shoutout: The team at The Cat’s Mother do a fantastic job supporting young and aspiring women in the music and creative industries. Please check out what they do and support if you possibly can. Your next great hire could be someone that they are helping!
If you could make 1 change in how the music industry supports women, what would it be? Support the whistle blowers, they are the change makers and if someone is brave enough to speak out (because it’s tough!) then it’s our duty to listen and make sure that any issues are dealt with properly.
Marina Blore – Director at Fit the Bill and Vice President of The Entertainment Agents’ Association.
A bit about you: Having trained in drama, music and dance, I spent most of my early career in live theatre as a director, choreographer and dancer both in the UK and abroad. I went on to work for Granada Entertainment as head of PR, then set up my own public relations company, before launching Fit The Bill with Martin, my husband and co-director. We promote festivals, theatre shows and live events, as well as representing talent.
Greatest career success to date: In the live music sector, I am most proud of launching The British Country Music Festival (TBCMF) in Blackpool in 2019, to promote homegrown talent in the ever-growing country and Americana music genres. The UK has an incredible pool of grass roots singer-songwriters and we all need to play our part in providing them with a public platform. Whilst the headliners are key to selling tickets, it is the joy of discovering new talent at a festival and then watching them grow to become headliners that really drives me.
Most significant challenge: The most significant challenges for the music industry are tackling carbon footprint, cultural diversity and encouraging more women into the music industry as a whole. I am part of the LIVE Environmental Steering Group and I am looking forward to playing an active role on behalf of entertainment agents and our Association’s members. We will help to provide guidance on what steps agents can take with their represented artists to contribute to the reduction in carbon footprint at live gigs and tours.
TBCMF signed up to PRS Keychange and achieved 60:40 female to male balance in year one of TBCMF. However, the hundreds of applications we receive each year asking to play at the festival do not reflect the diverse society in which we live. The industry needs to collaborate more to provide opportunities in music education that are accessible to all, from opera and classical to pop and country. This should also include explaining the roles of the artist manager, agent and producer as potential career paths. We need more female mentors from all backgrounds in each of these areas, to provide relatable role models for young people.
The Gender Disparity Data report analysed the top 20 most played British acts across British radio stations from June 2019 to 2020 and the top 100 Radio Airplay chart. It was compiled by Linda Coogan Byrne, a music industry consultant, and Nadia Khan, of Women in CTRL and they revealed that women are hugely underrepresented in UK radio: 81% of songs in the Top 100 Radio Airplay chart feature men; Female songwriters are credited on only 19% of songs in the Top 100; Only 3% of music producers in the Top 100 are women.
This has to change and we must continue to challenge those in positions of power in music. Whilst we definitely want to nurture and support female song-writers, we also need to promote all the job opportunities associated with the music industry, those both on and off stage. I would love to see more women in music production and tech. At The Entertainment Agents’ Association we are working on a new training course supported by male and female agents, that will be offered to colleges and to those considering launching a talent agency, that we hope will encourage more women into the industry and then operate according to an agreed Code of Conduct.
Women’s Day Shoutout: Finally, a shout out in particular, to all those female agents and promoters working with emerging talent. It’s easy to sell a superstar, but much harder to grow an artist into a performer and to generate a fanbase for that artist to sell tickets and make money. Often discussions focus on the headline names, let’s put equal emphasis on those that will become the headliners of the future #ChooseToChallenge
Rachel Hainsworth – Director at Flair Entertainment
A bit about you: 27 Year Old Entertainment Agent based in Yorkshire. The music industry has been in my family for decades, my father (Michael Hainsworth) & his uncle (John Wagstaff) looked after the likes of Black Lace, The Muldoon Brothers & Smokie. Since being involved from a very early age, I was keen to follow in my family’s footsteps. However, initially I was warned of the difficulties I might face as a young woman in this industry. After gaining experience in other roles, I eventually joined the family business in 2014. Now, 7 Years on, I’m the proud Director of Flair Entertainments, looking after a large number of artists and running a very successful and respected business.
Greatest career success to date: In 2018 I was invited to a meeting at Google HQ and recognised as a leading young business woman. The following year, 2019 was massive for the agency as we had the largest increase of business since to date.
Most significant challenge: The most significant challenge I’ve overcome was gaining the respect and acknowledgement as one of the youngest female agents in a predominantly male lead industry.
Women’s Day Shoutout: Without a doubt, The Agents Association have been a massive support to myself and the agency since joining this industry. The advice & support they have provided has been greatly received over the years. From the very first meeting amongst fellow agents I was given a voice and treated with the same amount of respect as the more experienced members of the association. There was no divide between gender or age.
If you could make 1 change in how the music industry supports women, what would it be? I’d like to be able to change the way women are judged on appearance and age before they are judged on talent itself. I feel that in some circumstances there is an unfair advantage that favours men in the entertainment industry. As an agent, I regularly come across venues that openly favour male entertainers, it is known that the wedding industry is also weighted towards the same. This could be a result of television over the years where it has become common practice for older men to stay in leading roles whereas their female peers are often replaced, regardless of talent, by younger, more ‘commercially attractive’ women.