Sam Malik and the Manchester South Asian Music Agency

One of the region’s most dedicated music professionals is launching an agency to support talent from underrepresented demographics, starting with communities closest to his own heritage.

Sam Malik has been deeply involved in the Greater Manchester music scene for over 20 years.

“I don’t know if you’re familiar with daytimers? The whole culture existed for two reasons. First, because South Asian parents didn’t want their kids to go clubbing at night. And, second, because South Asian children were afraid to go to clubs at night. So this safe space was created where we had just booked any club for the day and then partied. Because there was less chance of people trying to attack us.

Sam Malik recalls his formative years in the Greater Manchester music scene, particularly the time he spent promoting daytime events. Suffice it to say that in this sentence he also revealed how marginalized many people of South Asian descent feel when it comes to British nightlife, the music industry and creative work.

Sam Malik Manchester Music

Sam Malik is launching a music agency focused on South Asian artists and other underrepresented artists.

It was almost 25 years ago, and some things have changed. No less for Malik. Between then and now he has forged more than a revered reputation as a musician and producer, opened studios in Oldham and more recently Manchester, offered alternative music education to children at risk of school exclusion and s is known in the development of artists. This before mentioning advising for organizations such as Manchester City Council, Arts Council of England and Youth Music.

In terms of British South Asian talent, there are certainly bigger names now than when Malik started. The rise of artists like Ahadadream, Nabihah Iqbal, Manara and Naina in the world of electronic music shows that visibility is improving. But much more work is urgently needed. Notably, given that the term South Asian itself can be problematic – a large network spanning multiple nationalities, cultures and communities.

Malik is determined to address the fact that those who are pigeonholed are still struggling to gain visibility and to fundamentally change it. Created in 2020 to support talent in the region, MIF’s Sounds initiative provides annual funding for creative projects, and Malik is among the 2022 grant recipients for his proposal to set up a Greater Manchester music agency focused on the training of artists of South Asian origin. And, in the future, those from other underrepresented backgrounds.

SM Music Management, to give it a name, was born from a combination of personal investment and funding. The idea being to offer everything from label and publisher administration services to marketing, copyright, production and studio access. As close to full service as anyone needs it, the concept is based on one principle. “My brand is my values,” says Malik, citing authenticity, a desire to make sure people aren’t taken advantage of, and a constant thirst for new challenges and sounds.

Sam Malik Manchester

SM Music Management was launched with the support of MIF’s Sounds Funding Project.

Although still in its infancy, a roster of talent more than capable of making an impact has already been assembled. Joash is a bilingual Pakistani Christian singer, the son of a vicar no less. Kami Kane raps in several languages, while Luqy – “the Robbie Williams of the crew, a brother-in-law” – is a New Wave Punjabi singer, mixing traditional lyricism with trap and drill beats. Add to that HMD, a name already familiar to Finest, up-and-coming R&B-pop star Riya and Italian-Pakistani MC Dadaflow, and it’s easy to understand the excitement.

“I think I needed some external, universal energy to get going. Because I’ve been sitting on the idea for a while,” Malik replies when we ask him why — given his background as a self. -entrepreneur – he applied for funding.” And the idea kind of consolidates everything – the theater that I’ve been involved in, the music, any advocacy work that I’ve always thought should be about representing what I’ve been through… I’ve seen, for two decades, South Asian musicians doing amazing work and never getting the recognition they deserve.

“I thought Asian audiences were the problem for a while. But then a few years ago when the UK garage was celebrated – BBC Proms got into it, Manchester Camerata got into it, everything the world got into it – everyone forgot the Punjabi garage,” he continues, citing a Ministry of Sound documentary on the subgenre as one of the few places where it gained recognition. like Jay Sean, Apache Indian, they hit glass ceilings and couldn’t get through… If something doesn’t get done, the next generation of artists will struggle for another 10 years.”

Despite these concerns, Malik is as optimistic about the future of British South Asian artists as he is all he talks so passionately about. He’s so enthusiastic, in fact, that he predicts “music marketing will very soon turn brown”, using examples like Rude Kid, now among Britain’s most in-demand producers, as signs of a tide change. One that SM Music Management seems poised to become a driving force within it.

Learn more about SM Music Managementand follow Sam Malik on Twitter and instagram.


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Lyle L. Maltby