Simi Agbaje is highlighting the minds behind the music

Written by Nkenna Akunna

Image by Simi Agbaje

13.09.18

This Friday, Hackney Showroom is set to host The Producers Edit, an early evening foray into the musical minds of some of the UK’s most talented producers. With a lineup that includes artists who have worked with Krept and Konan, Wiley, Ghetts, and Nadia Rose, fans can expect a night of carefully curated live production studio-style demos, beat-making, freestyle jam sessions, and some special guest singer performances.

Behind the event is consultant and curator Simi Agbaje. After seeing a gap in the market for artists who needed some exposure and monetisation help, Agbaje founded The Blue’s Project, “a digital promotion platform for emerging new age Soul Music talent”. I caught up with her to learn more about The Producers Edit, her online platform, and her plans for the future.

Tell me about The Blues Project. What has the journey been for you?

I decided to start The Blues Project two and a half years ago when it felt like artists making contemporary R&B and soul music were having a particularly hard time getting their music heard. They didn’t seem to have a real platform where people could connect with them and their music, and radio play was really hard to come by.

I felt the answer was an online platform dedicated to showcasing the journeys of emerging R&B and soul-inspired artists through dedicated sections on the website, exclusive curated content, and monetisation opportunities for merchandise, live shows, project crowdfunding, etc.

The first step in this journey was to build a community of fans of the genre and that’s what we’ve focused on for the past two years, offering curated content on emerging R&B talent in the form of an online magazine, which we’re calling The Blues Freshmen.

For a lot of people, the music industry can seem like a space that is pretty opaque and hard to navigate. What was your entry? How are you finding your way?

So interestingly, with The Blues Project, the ambition has never really been to ‘make it’ in the music industry as such. We are just focused on providing a great platform for emerging talent.

We’ve gradually caught the attention of artists and the wider industry for doing that well. We focus on continuously taking content to new places and creating experiences fans don’t get elsewhere. [Doing this] provides artists with a platform and builds our community, and the industry gravitates towards where the audiences are.

Tell me a bit about the community you’re building through The Blues Project. Why is this community important right now?

I’m hoping to build a platform that rewards artists who invest in the creativity of their art, by providing them with a way to connect with fans and opportunities to monetise their art without compromising on their artistry. Those kinds of platforms are key to fostering creativity.

Streaming has helped artists be discovered more easily than radio did, but it has also created a ‘value gap’ with streams generating far less income than CD / download sales. Similarly, I think streaming shifts the focus from artists and full albums to songs through the popularity of playlists, which in some ways removes some of the connection with and appreciation for the art. An artist-focused community is important to in retaining fans’ ability to connect with creators.

How did you conceive The Producer Edit?

It’s become clear that music producers and their role in making music is something that is intriguing to our audience.

At one of our last events we featured one of the UK’s finest (female) producers, Emmavie. Whenever we’ve created content around producers, we get strong interest and engagement. Yet, they are hardly ever the focus of live music events. So we felt like an event focused exclusively on a line-up of music producers was long overdue, and would offer a fresh perspective on the live music scene.

Why is this kind of event important for you to curate right now?

Demystifying music production is important for enabling diversity in music production. This event showcases producers with a range of styles and specialisations. It was also really important to showcase female producers – who are still a rarity unfortunately. To have two really accomplished ones on the line-up is an honour.

Who do you want to come out to The Producer Edit?

Anyone who appreciates great music and true musicianship looking for good Friday evening vibes. It will be a soul music space, with a wide range of producers representing electro-soul and funky house to the smoother side of hip-hop and grime, there’s something for everyone!

Check out The Producers Edit this Friday 14th September at 6PM, at the Hackney Showroom, Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT. Tickets here.