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Blighty Beat

Co-Head A&R, Atlantic U.K.

Briony Turner is an award-winning A&R who has worked on some of the biggest British pop success stories in recent years. Across her seven years at Atlantic, she’s been instrumental in developing and breaking Jess Glynne, who holds the record for the most #1 singles by a British female solo artist and counts two #1 albums, whilst nurturing the career of Grammy winners Clean Bandit, who are soon to release their second album following four #1 singles.

As Co-Head of A&R alongside Alec Boateng, Turner works together with Asylum Records to cultivate a collaborative mentality across the A&R process—an ethos President Ben Cook has instilled throughout the label. She started her career finding songs for Pop Idol contestants at 19 Entertainment in 2002, working closely with winner Will Young and songwriters signed to 19 Songs. After moving to Global Talent Publishing, Turner was instrumental in signing Vaccines frontman Justin Hayward-Young, Danish pop band Alphabeat, LMFAO, producer/writer Al Shux (Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar) and Ellie Goulding. In her current role, she’s working with developing artists Dan Caplen and Maisie Peters alongside the wider Atlantic team, and has A&R’d the forthcoming Marina and the Diamonds record.

What interests you in new signings?
Attitude. They need to want it more than we want it for them. In truth, we only work with artists that we’re entirely passionate about; our passion is partially driven by their own— and their attitude too. We’ve never signed anything from the point of view of what the market’s doing. If you look at all our success, it’s been derived largely from us just being passionate about talent and backing them.

Who have you signed recently, and what projects are you excited about working on going into next year?
I have recently signed three artists and I’m incredibly excited about all of them. I signed Maisie Peters [with A&R Paul Samuels], who is an absolute dynamo. At just 18 years old, she is way smarter and wiser than us. She totally understands what is required of a developing artist in terms of communication and connection amongst her peers outside of music, and on top of that, and most importantly, she is an incredible writing talent and budding artist.

Next up is Laura Mvula—who I also signed along with Paul. Laura has always felt like an important artist to me. Her achievements speak for themselves in terms of her critical acclaim—from winning the coveted Best Album Ivor Novello Award in 2017 to writing music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, while being nominated twice for the Mercury Music Prize. I recently saw Laura support David Byrne, and she blew me away. She had a whole new energy about her and she’d rearranged her songs into up-tempo versions, and it totally worked. Her next chapter is definitely going to be an exciting one, and I can’t wait to get going.

Finally, I recently signed a producer called Fredagain. I met Fred [Gibson] a couple years ago while he was producing for other artists and pretty much immediately wanted to sign him. He is an exceptional all-round musical talent and has a completely infectious personality. I absolutely love what he’s doing, and when he releases his first tracks, I have a hunch other people will too.

What are the biggest challenges about working in today’s music business, and how do you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges is managing to keep up with fans and their demands for more and more from the artists, both in terms of music and accessibility. I’ll let you know when I’ve found out how to overcome this [laughs].

What’s the most exciting thing about the British music business right now? What’s on the horizon?
The rule book’s been thrown out and anything can happen, which is really liberating. On the horizon, probably some more Dave #1s. Respect to him and his team!