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Q&A: Birmingham has a thriving hub of local talent, readily available, and bursting at the fingertips to break into the music business.
BSG talked to budding music industries entrepreneur, Ben Ward about the opportunities local bands in Birmingham have. We asked him: If music is a constantly changing platform, how does Birmingham contribute to the music industry?
Birmingham has always been an important city for music. Many consider it the home of heavy metal, and many consider it the home of European reggae, this is down to the many different cultures and styles that influence the artists from here.
With a heritage like that to fall back on, Birmingham still has a rich and vibrant music scene from various genres, if you know where to look that is.
There is a multitude of independent live venues around the city, each with live music on almost every night; those with numerous rooms, such as the Hare and Hounds, capable of holding multiple events per evening.
For the less established local acts around Birmingham, this is a great scene to be involved in, as there seems to be a real community between artists. An example of this is the great indie movement happening right now in the city, fronted by bands such as Troumaca, Peace, Vows, Calories and Swim Deep, all of whom regularly play together.
This has been made possible, in no small part, by the availability of music on the internet, with sites offering band profiles such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud, streaming services such as Grooveshark and Spotify, plus promotional platforms such as forums and social network sites. Due to these services, a musician’s potential audience is huge, and the live industry is benefitting more and more because of this.
Birmingham is also home to genre specific clubs and clustered venues such as PST for reggae and the Digbeth district, which is home to clubs such as the Rainbow, Air and Gibb Street Warehouse who are renowned for electronic dance music.
The opportunities to enter the industry are growing too, with the online services available now to promoters, managers and labels; there is a bigger audience to reach and it is easier to reach them, this opens up job opportunities and with the right skills and contacts you can easily start and promote your own business.
Exclusive Interview: Brum Survival’s Young Entrepreneurs Bonafide Supernova talk style and starting a business
As part of our Young Entrepreneurs, we chose to highlight the work of Samantha Thodhlana, also known as ‘Bonafide Supernova’. Samantha has created an online platform that targets fashion trendsetting, style blazing young women. She has also gone further and is co-Director of YEP Media providing workshops for those looking to start out on their own. So how does she do it? She speaks to our Survival team about the ins and outs to setting up your own business.
What made you decide to set up Bonafide Supernova?
I started Bonafide Supernova (www.Bonafide-Supernova.com) because I’ve always had a passion for fashion but wanted to create a platform that was more than just a blogging platform. Bonafide Supernova is eventually going to develop into one part of a network of various online platforms, which target various target groups.
There’s a more complex thought process behind the brand and hopefully I will be able to convey this. I have a very strong team who support with the development of Bonafide - so it’s great to have that support network and people who believe in the vision.
What challenges have you faced during the beginning, and on an everyday schedule?
Well, Bonafide Supernova is just a part of what I do. I’m one out of three directors at YEP Media, alongside Daniel Blyden and Shantel Kadir. We set up YEP Media in 2010, and the whole concept of the online platforms relates to one third of what our business does.
I face many challenges everyday, usually because it’s difficult to do a lot of things if you don’t have the right investment behind you. A lot of us starting out in business, especially those of us who don’t have financial support to create all these BIG ideas, have to work 10 times harder than those who have financial backing behind them. I hope one day we’ll be able to find that investment as YEP Media as a whole has a lot to offer. We are also looking to branch out and set up other entities too.
My schedule is hectic and I think it will continue being hectic until I work more outside the business instead of in the business.
As a young entrepreneur, what do you think is the most difficult aspect when setting out on your own?
What’s most difficult is maintaining momentum to carry on everyday, especially when starting out. Sometimes you become negative and start questioning why you are actually doing this but if you are strong and determined, you’ll tell yourself again and again why you set yourself up for this challenge. Like I said, finance is a difficult part of starting a business. Also getting your services right is one of the biggest challenges and if you get this part wrong it can affect who you are actually marketing your services to.
There has to be some great perks?
Yes, being your own boss - it’s great. Also I have a life plan, sounds silly but you need to know where you’d like to go in life. It doesn’t always work of course but it’s a good way to give me some structure and perspective in what I’m doing. So, being my own boss means it’s up to me to get to where I want to go, it’s not up to anyone else and I love having that control over my destiny.
What’s the best thing that has happened to you as part of Bonafide?
Going to London Fashion Week and then ending up in The London Daily Newspaper was awesome. My colleague Tamara Mccleary and I were featured on various blogs and online platforms. It was so exciting and good promotion for us.
Any helpful advice or tips to anyone looking to start their own business/project?
- Be passionate
- Share your ideas with other people; it’s a great way to gain feedback
- Network! Network really hard.
- Always use the resources you have and maximise this i.e. if you have contacts that can support you in your business or project, call them and ask for support
- Know your worth; most people under value themselves but you need to know your more valuable than you realize.
For more information and to check out Bonafide Supernova or YEP Media go to www.yepmedia.co.uk or bonafidesupernova.posterous.com.
You can contact Samantha Thodhlana directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Haha, we love your Granny Chic :)
City Style by Tasha @ So On Trend
The Dhol Blasters emulate the very essence of Punjabi culture, and in doing so help to protect, develop and keep it strong and alive. The Dhol Blasters have played for audiences around the world, enthralling audiences of all types with their rhythmic and intricate drumming routines. It is said that the beat of the Dhol Blasters is a cry of celebration designed to uplift the spirit of Punjabi people and sharing the joy with all.
The Dhol Blasters are the world’s first Dhol team with many male and female participants all over the World, said to be under the discipline of one of the Worlds greatest Dholi – Gurcharan Mall
Amazing cartoon drawing of MC Shoebox by Charlotte Wilson
Amazing Skyline of Birmingham city centre