London, 13th July 2022
The BPI – the representative voice for independent and major record labels across the UK – is delighted to announce that its new Chair is acclaimed musician, composer and broadcaster YolanDa Brown.
YolanDa takes over from film producer and ex-head of Sony Music UK Ged Doherty, who announced in February that he would be standing down after seven years in the role. The appointment follows an extensive search led by BPI Council to identify suitable candidates with a strong working knowledge of the music industry as well as appreciation of the exciting opportunities and challenging issues that are currently shaping British music.
A champion for the importance of music education, YolanDa is Chair of Youth Music, on the national council of the Arts Council, a trustee of PRS Foundation, an ambassador for both the Prince’s Trust and London Music Fund and a champion for the children’s mental health charity Place2Be. Additionally she sits on the advisory board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and contributes to the Government’s advisory panel on Music Education.
YolanDa is also a MOBO Award winning saxophonist who in the past has benefitted from Music Export Growth Scheme funding to cross borders with her music. She is a respected broadcaster across TV and Radio and known to younger generations through her eponymous series for CBeebies, “YolanDa’s Band Jam” and the music she composes for the iconic Sesame Street. Please see Notes for full bio & assets.
YolanDa Brown, Chair of the BPI, said:
“There is something special about British music – our artists across many genres and generations have been the soundtrack to people’s lives. The last few years have been challenging for our music community – we’ve had to evolve, listen more and show greater empathy, address past issues and collaborate to a much greater extent. There’s still more to do, but there are also so many exciting opportunities that lie ahead.
“I am honoured to take on this role as Chair of the BPI. A big thank you to my predecessor Ged Doherty for his drive and dedication, which I will continue to build on. I am looking forward to working with the entire BPI Council and members, CEO Geoff Taylor and his team, labels of all shapes and sizes, and of course artists and the wider industry bodies as we all continue to fly the flag for British music.”
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said:
“I am delighted that someone of YolanDa’s extraordinary talent and creative energy is joining the BPI as its new Chair, and I also welcome the fresh perspective that she will bring to our work at this pivotal and exciting time for British music. Her breadth of experience drawn from across so many parts of the music community will prove invaluable as we continue to support the success of our label members and their artists globally.”
Ged Doherty, outgoing BPI Chair, said:
“This is an exciting appointment for the BPI, and I congratulate YolanDa and wish her all the very best in the role. It’s been an honour serving the BPI, its Council and hundreds of wonderful members, and I thank Geoff and his great team for their valued support as well as the members of the BPI’s Equity and Justice Advisory Group for their never-less-than passionate contributions. The last 7 years have been a joy and I wish everyone well, and I look forward to seeing British music continue to thrive.”
Notes to Editors
About BPI (British Phonographic Industry) – bpi.co.uk
The BPI is the representative voice for independent and major record labels in the UK. It champions recorded music, safeguarding the rights of its members and of the artists, performers and label members of collecting body PPL. Its membership consists of more than 500 independent labels and the UK’s three ‘majors’: Sony Music Entertainment UK, Universal Music UK and Universal Music UK. Together, BPI members account for around 85% of legitimate domestic music consumption in the UK and approximately 1 in 10 streams around the world.
BPI promotes British music through its trade missions, the Music Exports Growth Scheme and The BRIT Awards, which it owns and organises. It administers The BRIT Certified Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards Programme, co-owns the Official Charts Company with ERA, and is home to The Mercury Prize. BPI supports innovation and technology through its Music & Tech Springboard Programme, and provides training and networking with its extensive free masterclasses, networking events, Insight Sessions and market reports alongside its public affairs work and communications.
BPI is committed to equity & inclusion in music, working closely with members, industry partners, and its Equity & Justice Advisory Group (EJAG) to promote this. It seeks to educate and inspire change through its EDI Training and Membership Inclusion Programme. BPI’s community engagement, focussed on education & wellbeing through the power of music, is directed through The BRIT Trust.
About BPI Council
BPI Council is the BPI’s key management and policy forum. Chaired by YolanDa Brown, and including BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Operating Officer MJ Olaore and BPI General Counsel Kiaron Whitehead in its composition, it comprises 12 recorded music sector representatives – six drawn from major labels (two each from Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK) and six from the independent sector.
Alice Dyson (Executive Director One Media IP Ltd); Fred Jude (MD Snapper Music); Henry Semmence (Absolute Label Services); Nick Hartley (CEO & CFO PIAS); Pat Carr (Remote Control Agency); Stefania Passamonte (Masterchord Records).
Sony Music Entertainment UK – Jessica Carsen (Senior Vice President, Communications); and Michael Smith (Executive Vice President) – alternating for Jason Iley (Chairman & CEO).
Universal UK – Selina Webb (Executive Vice President); and Adam Barker (Business Affairs Director) – alternating for David Joseph (Chairman & CEO).
Warner Music UK – James Radice (SVP Legal & Business Affairs – alternating for Tony Harlow (Chairman & CEO); and name TBC.
BPI Council can also co-opt additional members. These now include Sarah Mitchell (SVP – Neighbouring Rights, BMG UK); Ammo Talwar (CEO Punch Records and Chair of the UK Music Diversity Taskforce); Ayesha Hazarika (broadcaster, columnist and equalities campaigner); Char Grant (0207 Def Jam A&R Director); Jamie Oborne (Founder Dirty Hit and All On Red Management).
About YolanDa Brown | https://www.yolandabrown.co.uk/
For some, worldwide touring and critically acclaimed albums would be satisfaction enough. Not for YolanDa Brown, she wears many hats, musician, broadcaster, author, philanthropist and wears them… with passion and full of vigour.
YolanDa is a double MOBO Award winning saxophonist and composer, her music is a delicious fusion of reggae, jazz and soul. She is currently composing music for the iconic Sesame Street and an animated series called Bea’s Block, as well as Netflix for CocoMelon Lane.
She has toured with The Temptations, Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Beverley Knight, Billy Ocean and collaborated with artists such as Snarky Puppy’s Bill Laurance, Omar, Kelly Jones from Stereophonics and Rick Astley.
A champion for the importance of music education, YolanDa is Chair of Youth Music, on the national council of the Arts Council, a trustee of PRS Foundation, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and London Music Fund, a champion for the children’s mental health charity Place2Be. She also sits on the advisory board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Six by Southbank for the Southbank Centre.
The Department of Education and DCMS in 2021, invited YolanDa to sit on the advisory panel for the National Plan for Music Education, published in June 2022 to positive response. “My dream is that EVERY child has access to music making and benefits from the joy that music emits. The NPME will in many ways support this; from the young child having their first musical experience, to the next generation of aspiring musicians who need to be inspired and motivated to pursue the plethora of career opportunities within the music industry.”
During the pandemic with Sony Music and Twinkl, YolanDa rolled out her bespoke online music lesson plans for teachers, parents and pupils in primary schools nationwide, over 30 000 children have used the resources. In 2018 along with James JP Drake, she launched the “Drake YolanDa Award” offering grants to emerging musicians between the ages of 16 – 30.
YolanDa graduated with first class honours studying an Undergraduate Masters degree in Operations management from the University of Kent, followed by a Masters in Methods of Social Research, she studied a PhD in Management Science for four years, before taking a hiatus from her thesis to pursue her music career. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the University of East London in 2011.
An eclectic broadcaster working across TV and Radio, including her eponymous series for CBeebies, “YolanDa’s Band Jam”, which won the Royal Television Society NW award as Best Children’s Programme. For the BBC Proms she hosted the Ella and Dizzy Centenary, as well as Last night of the Proms, Gospel Choir of the Year and Songs of Praise for BBC One and BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year. Host of the London Philharmonic Orchestra podcast Offstage, which was nominated for a 2022 British Podcast Award.
Over on the airways, she hosts YolanDa Brown on Saturday on Jazz FM and BBC Radio 4’s ‘Loose Ends’ with Clive Anderson, can be heard regularly on BBC Radio 2 or on the plane as part of British Airways inflight entertainment.
You may have also spotted her flexing her general knowledge muscles on such shows as ‘University Challenge’, ‘The Hit List’, Richard Osman’s ‘House of Games’, ‘Celebrity Mastermind’, ‘Pointless Celebrities’ and Gareth Malone’s ‘All Star Music Quiz’. She even got to indulge her other passion of classic cars on ‘Celebrity Antiques Road Trip’, scouring the country for hidden treasures.
An entrepreneur too, she launched the “London Saxophone Festival” in 2018, currently in its third edition. YolanDa loves to drive fast cars around race tracks in her spare time and can even rattle off a Rubik’s Cube in around five minutes (on a good day).