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AIRHEAD: THE LYING KING
He's baaaaack. (7/22a)
LAW FIRM TO LABEL:
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These two go way back. (7/22a)
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They're complicated.
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Blighty Beat
U.K. SPECIAL ISSUE: REBECCA ALLEN
12/8/17

Interview by Rhian Jones

Rebecca Allen is a long-serving UMG exec who was upped from MD to President of Decca in May after 17 years of service. Described by boss David Joseph as a well-loved “exceptional leader” with “steely determination,” Allen has enjoyed a string of Top 10 albums over the last year. Decca ended 2016 with one of Blighty’s biggest sellers in Ball & Boe’s Christmas #1 Together, and was recently #1 and #3 on the U.K. charts with the follow up, Together Again, and Gregory Porter’s Nat King Cole & Me. Allen’s imprint is also the U.K. home of The Lumineers, who hit #1 last year with Cleopatra, and has enjoyed Top 5 albums from country duo The ShiresDame Vera Lynn and Imelda May.


 What is your strategy for running Decca? 
At Decca, we try to swim against the tide and to seek out artists and music that don’t necessarily conform but deserve to exist and to be heard. This means we have to fight harder for our artists to be heard, but with that comes a real sense of achievement. Creating a uniqueness about your company can lead to so many more opportunities. 

How ambitious are you for the second Ball & Boe album?
On the second album, we have taken nothing for granted and have worked so hard to ensure that every element feels more ambitious. We went out into the U.K. regions and sat in the homes of their audiences, we talked to them, listened to them and went away and hopefully created an album and campaign that ensures they stay loyal to these two fantastic artists. 

What are the biggest changes you’ve experienced in the music industry this year?
For me, it’s optimism in the business, in our business. It feels exciting again, and it feels like anything is possible. 


“Creating a uniqueness about your company can lead to so many more opportunities.”


What’s on the horizon for the business as a whole in 2018?
As the business is back in growth, it will be exciting to see that money reinvested back into the development of new artists. New artists don’t happen overnight, and I think the business lacked patience for a while in the development of these artists. There is nothing more exciting than being part of a journey when an artist makes his/her mark on the world. I love being part of that journey. Sometimes it can take one album; sometimes it might be album three or even four. But the moment the world wakes up to someone new is the moment I love the best. 

Tell us about the projects you’re excited about for next year.
We have some very young and talented artists coming through our label at the moment. In particular, from the classical part of the business, is a young cellist called Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who won the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year in 2015. Sheku is 18 years of age, and I don’t doubt that he will become one of the most famous classical musicians in the world in the next few years. He is an exceptional young artist, world-class. 

What are your personal career ambitions, and your ambitions for Decca as a label?
I entered this business as a music fan, so my ambitions are only ever about the artists. I also love Decca. I have grown up at this label and hugely believe in the role it plays in the music business. The significance of being responsible for this historical label actually blew my mind in the first instance. The responsibility of keeping the flame burning into 2019, when this great label will celebrate its 90th birthday, feels huge. Decca is one of the oldest British labels left in existence; it has such amazing stories to tell, and my role now feels like being the custodian of these moments. Music is for everyone, and our ambition is to seek out as much variety as possible and present it to as many people as possible.