Sam Malik has been involved in the creative industry for his entire adult life, collaborating with artists and venues to showcase the most daring artistic projects to an international audience. Over the years, he’s honed an incredible set of skills that helps musicians navigate the complex waters of the music industry and gain traction.
From podcasting to artists' management and blogging, Sam has used all available tools to widen his creative network and enhance the careers of underrepresented musicians of Greater Manchester. His next challenge? Empowering British Asian artists and giving them a platform to achieve the success they rightfully deserve through a new artist management company.
The involvement of MIF Sounds for Sam Malik isn’t powerful merely for jumpstarting this ambitious project – it’s also a welcome validation of the need to support these underrepresented musicians of their home city.
How far do you think the Manchester and broader UK music scene has come for British Asians since you’ve been in the industry?
I feel the broader UK scene for British Asians has started to move since I've been in the industry.
From the likes of Asian Dub Foundation and Apache Indian getting traction when I was growing up, to Jay Sean when I first entered the industry to now, with Naughty Boy, Steel Banglez and Joy Crookes winning awards.
However, when it comes to Manchester, we have a long way left to go. Even though we had the Ministry of Sound creating the Punjabi Garage documentary to acknowledge the movement from Manchester, I personally don't think we’ve done or are doing enough.
How much farther is there still left to go?
There is a long way left to go. Once we can quantify with the likes of Grammy awards, more Brits, Mercury or Mobo awards being won by South Asian artists, we can’t stop developing the scene for British Asian music and musicians.
How does it feel to be included in the second round of MIF Sounds? What do you hope to achieve with their support?
Winning the MIF Sounds award validated my idea of wanting to do something for the British South Asian music scene. Winning has been a privilege and a joy to have been able to access everything we have had access to. I hope to fully formalise my management company and get started with the ideas I have, for both developing artists and the scene for British Asian artists.
Was there a specific moment that really solidified your vision?
When one of the artists I was unofficially managing before was getting enquiries for collaborations, bookings, press, etc, I knew this is what's needed not just for them but for the whole scene itself.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to more underrepresented musicians finding success?
The first barrier is representation.
South Asian musicians find it very difficult to reach a sense of belonging or acceptance when they work with people who don't represent them. Secondly, the barrier that is faced is awareness of who South Asian musicians are and what they are doing in their own niches.
What kinds of sounds do you want more people at home and abroad to discover? Tell us a little about some of the artists you’re already working with.
Joash, who recently released his EP, has since been performing up and down the country, played on radio regularly and even got invited to record at the prestigious BBC Maida Vale Studios.
Kami Kane, after taking a long break in music, returned with an unmatched work ethic. It’s only been 12 months, and he has released more than six songs, with some of them reaching more than 100k views and streams.
Here you can listen to some of the great artists I’m currently working with:
Tell us about a moment in your journey so far that you’re the proudest of.
There's a lot to mention, but moments like opening my first recording studio for public use, to performing in Paris and even speaking at panels on an international level are ones that come to mind right now.
Besides those in SM Music Management, are there any local artists, events, or trends you’re digging? What makes Manchester such an electric place for music right now?
Local artists I'm currently digging include Sibz, meimei., and Ria.
Manchester has always been an electric place for music, but I feel there is a certain level of underground and niche music that is being played and performed on a broader scale.
What excites you the most about The Factory opening?
How it will change the local music scene, how it will provide opportunities for artists in and around Manchester, and how it will be recognised as an international music venue.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to the next generation of emerging artists?
Be serious about your craft. Spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years becoming the best at what you do. Don't let mediocrity take over your skills and abilities.
Be the hardest worker in the room, you will always have people smarter and luckier than you – and that’s ok. But never accept someone else working harder on their dreams than you.
When it comes to uncertain opportunities or opportunities in general, listen to your heart, follow your gut but take your head with you.
Tell us a little about what you've got in store this year.
This year I will be managing the release of three albums, a series of singles, facilitating international collaborations and running showcase events in and around Manchester.
Rising Sounds: in a collaborative series between Sound of Life and Manchester International Festival, we’re visiting MIF Sounds: an incubation programme for some of the UK’s most promising emerging creatives. Join us as we explore the unbound creativity of Manchester – sometimes hidden, sometimes on the fringes – from corners brought to the light by MIF Sounds.
Cover Credits: Manchester International Festival & wacomka/Shutterstock
Writer | Marco Sebastiano Alessi
Marco is an Italian music producer, composer and writer. He’s the founder of Naviar Records, a music community and record label exploring the connection between experimental electronic music and traditional Japanese poetry.