Women In Music Awards 2022: Business Woman of the Year Chloë Roberts | Interviews
At the 2022 Women In Music Awards, we celebrated the achievements of 12 groundbreaking executives and artists as the industry came together to honor their work.
music week spoke to the 12 winners to tell their stories.
Interview conducted by Anna Fielding
Chloë Roberts is the Chief Operating Officer of Young, the music and arts organization built around a London-based record label. Since joining in 2020, Roberts has led the restructuring of the organization, which also includes artist management (Young Artists) and publishing (Young Songs) as well as an ambitious new arts incubator in East London ( YoungSpace). Across the various strands of the business, she galvanizes the Young team through a roster of culture-defining artists that includes Arlo Parks, Bkay, Ethan P Flynn, FKA Twigs, Fred Macpherson, Holly Fletcher, Jamie xx, Kamasi Washington, Koreless, Kwes Darko, Mustafa, Oliver Sim, Robyn, Romy, The Haxan Cloak and The xx.
Previously, Roberts began his career managing artist, songwriter and producer Jem, whose debut album Finally Woken sold over a million copies worldwide. A successful career in frontline artist management followed, working with world renowned artists such as Jessie J, Rita Ora, Ed Sheeran, VV Brown and The Noisettes. Roberts then became chief commercial officer and then executive vice president of First Access Entertainment. In 2018, she brokered the formation of an aligned sports agency representing premier league footballers and world class athletes, focusing on their strategic brand partnerships.
Away from music, Roberts invented and patented the best-selling baby product LapBaby while on maternity leave with her first child. Launched in 2016, LapBaby has become an unexpected staple within the wheelchair parenting community.
Roberts has a lifelong interest in Buddhism and has completed several meditation retreats in India. She was the executive producer of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s official album, Inner World, released in 2020.
Here, Chloë Roberts looks back on her journey, opens up about the importance of operational roles, and shares Young’s vision…
How does it feel to be recognized at WIM?
“I was really surprised, to be honest. And it’s not because I don’t think I’m worthy of it, it’s because I work in operations. From my experience in the music, and probably in most other industries as well, the awards tend to go to the strikers, the people up front. So I’m really glad that music week recognized that those of us who work in operations can be goalscorers. What I love about operations is that I work all over the place. I feel passionate about spreading the message that people who work in administration score all the time. »
It is said that women can often be pushed into organizational roles and not recognized for what they do next. Would you be okay with that?
“I have a job that I love. And that’s because I’m just as passionate about artists, A&R, and creatives on the one hand, and then on the other hand I’m just as passionate about business. So I think CFOs, COOs and everyone around us, we just need better branding, we need our own PR campaign. You would put the CEO on the cover of a magazine, or you would ask for his opinion, whereas the COO, the CFO would know as much about the climate of the company. And, you know, not everyone feels comfortable being the voice of a company and that’s fine. This award is therefore intended for lawyers, accountants, human resources managers and all other operations managers. »
You work in all areas of the business: records, publishing, management of the youth space, events. How do you prioritize?
“Priorization is a very important goal, it’s something we talk about a lot here. Technology has invaded our lives, and there are positives and negatives to that. But it means you have countless things to one of the first things I did at Young was set up a monthly meeting where we all get together and each person chooses three things that they will make a priority of that month. meeting is recognizing that your inbox is not your to-do list. For me, personally, I print out my three things and every morning I think about how I can focus on those and on what else to do, firefighting in general.
What I love about operations is that I work all over the place.
You renewed Young’s publishing partnership with Sony. Can you tell us more about this?
“That was one of my highlights, building an amazing independent publishing house and partnering with Sony to make it happen. I don’t want to say it’s the center of the company, because each division is very strong, the management company, the recording industry, the music publishing industry and Young Space. But I was a little nervous when I arrived because one of my tasks was to see to the growth of the company. I’m used to growth simply meaning getting bigger overall, but growth can also mean doing the right things the right way, authentically and organically, rather than just growing for growth’s sake. I think that’s how it’s been on the publishing side, working with amazing artists and songwriters who have a clear vision, who want to be part of an artist-run business that are truly open to nurturing and developing their art.
Robyn is a recent addition to Young’s roster of executives. Is there anyone else who will join?
“There is no one who can be announced! But we receive more and more approaches from composers. Many of our artists compose and have worked on music for movies or video games. This is an area that seems to be coming to us, in terms of representation.
In terms of staffing and HR, what do you bring to your company?
“I think I bring leadership, which – and it took me a while to realize – isn’t for everyone. It’s quite difficult and you don’t often get called with good news and you don’t always deliver good news. So doing it in an emotionally intelligent way is quite difficult. I also bring the experience I acquired in the management of artists, where everything must happen immediately. So I know how to act with pressure and urgency.
Can you shed some light on how you implemented the plan for Young’s new studio space and headquarters? What kind of home are you creating for the company and what can it bring to the industry, artists and executives?
“A lot of my friends in the industry ask me, ‘What are you doing after Covid? Are you telling people they have to come or on certain days? we had to think because everyone wants to be here in this building. I would say it’s like a physical manifestation of Young. At its heart, it’s an artistic incubator. We want to create the right environment for artists to to create, but also for our people to develop and grow and do what we are good at and what makes us happy. We have five studios, one of which is Foundation FM, the radio station. We have space for shared work that houses Young and all kinds of other music and arts businesses, filmmakers, creative directors, music supervisors, all kinds I think the beautiful thing is that it’s quite big for people to work privately, but small enough for us we all knew. There is a real sense of community and an opportunity for collaboration. Then we have another artist, our cook, who creates the most delicious vegetarian dishes and we all get together and stop working. It could be an artist or someone who is there as a guest. It makes us a community.
Finally, what does the future look like for you and what kind of legacy would you like to leave behind?
“The future is young, the birth of this incredible business space and the opportunity to work in all the different divisions of the organization. I also hope to continue to learn. I have always been a very curious. I want to grow as an executive, but also as a human being. As for the legacy? I’m not interested. As long as I’ve helped other people grow and flourish, that’s go.