Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences and her wide appeal as an advocate for classical music has made her one of the most influential artists of today. Nicola is a dedicated, passionate ambassador and leader in music education reaching young people and connecting with teachers, supporting their practice, highlighting their essential role in society and encouraging collaboration and mutual learning. This commitment was underlined in July 2018, when Nicola took over as President of the European String Teachers Association and by establishing a charitable organisation: The Benedetti Foundation. Winner of the GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo in 2020, as well as Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). Her most recent recording features premiere recordings of works written especially for her by jazz musician Wynton Marsalis: Violin Concerto in D and Fiddle Dance Suite for Solo Violin, for which she won her 2020 GRAMMY. Nicola was appointed a CBE in 2019, awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music (2017), and an MBE in 2013. In addition, Nicola holds the positions of Vice President (National Children’s Orchestras), Big Sister (Sistema Scotland), Patron (National Youth Orchestras of Scotland’s Junior Orchestra, Music in Secondary Schools Trust and Junior Conservatoire at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Nicola Bendetti CBE on her life in classic music, the beauty of the violin, and why music education matters.

Thought Economics

Nitin Sawhney CBE, recipient of the Ivor Novello 2017 Lifetime Achievement award, is one the most distinctive and versatile musical voices around today. Sawhney has recorded multiple albums, film soundtracks and compilations, encompassing over 60 film and TV scores and is established as a world-class producer, songwriter, touring artist, BBC Radio 2 and club DJ, multi-instrumentalist, theatrical, dance, videogame and orchestral composer and cultural/ political commentator.  He holds 6 honorary doctorates from various UK universities along with 2 fellowships and works as Ambassador for/sits on the board of multiple charities. He has received over 20 major national and international awards for his work and is a member of the academy of motion picture sciences (Oscars), BAFTA and the US recording academy (Grammys). Sawhney is also the new Chair of the PRS Foundation, the UK’s funding body for new music and talent development. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Nitin Sawhney CBE on the fundamentals of why we make music.

Thought Economics

Sophie Ellis-Bextor is one of the UK’s best known singer songwriters. She first came to prominence in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the indie rock band Theaudience, and went on to achieve huge solo success with her unique blend of mainstream pop, disco, nu-disco and 1980s electronic influence. Her debut solo album Read My Lips went double-platinum, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide with her follow-up albums Shoot from the Hip, Trip the Light Fantastic,  Make a Scene, Wanderlust and Familia achieving significant success and critical acclaim. Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Instagram Live Kitchen Disco’s during the Covid-19 lockdown were a means of virtual escapism for many, and became weekly moments of united sequined catharsis for the hundreds of thousands tuning in (the concept was so successful that Sophie now has a tour and album of it). In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Sophie about the power of music & dance and why music has been such a powerful force for good during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Thought Economics

Brian Eno is a remarkable man. He is a musician, producer, visual artist, theorist, activist and philosopher, a polymath who has become one of our world’s most significant artists. In this first of a new series of conversations around our biggest unanswered questions, I spoke to Brian and asked: Why do we make art?

Thought Economics

Ally Brooke is an astonishing talent. Following her time in Fifth Harmony (described by Billboard as the biggest girl group of the 2010s’), the multiplatinum singer-songwriter kicked off her solo career with back-to-back Top 40 charting singles and an impressive resume of collaborations including “All Night” with Afrojack which marked her first #1 as a solo artist on US Dance Radio. A life-long entertainer, Ally competed on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars before embarking on her debut headline Time To Shine Tour in early 2020 with scheduled stops including a sold out show at New York’s Gramercy Theatre. She also appears in numerous Nickelodeon shows including Blue’s Clues & You and The Casagrandes, for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title for an Animated Program and plays the role of “Alissa.” With total career streams already in the billions, Ally is only just getting started. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Ally Brooke about her incredible career in music, following her dreams, what we can all learn from her journey, and why she decided to chronicle her life in her fantastic new book Finding Your Harmony: Dream Big, Have Faith, & Achieve More than You Can Imagine.

Thought Economics

Hailed as a “modern day musical genius” by The Line of Best Fit, internationally renowned composer, pianist, producer and collaborator, Max Richter is one of today’s most influential artists. Through his ground-breaking works, captivating recordings and innovative performances, he has forged new paths in contemporary music and culture – garnering awards, critical acclaim and surpassing a billion streams and a million album sales. Richter’s distinct melodic language has allowed him to hold a series of bold, emotive and thought-provoking musical discussions. The latest of these is Voices­ – reacting to the political and social upheaval that has rippled through many societies around the globe over the past decade – a unique musical space in which to examine, question, absorb and meditate on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Max Richter about his music, and how the power of music can help educate us, and change the world.

Thought Economics

For a few days, a ‘city’ of more than 250,000 people emerges onto 900 acres of countryside, joined by viewers from 40 countries around the world; together they form the largest outdoor green fields event in the world, the Glastonbury Festival. 2020 marks 50 years since the start of the festival, and Emily and her Dad Michael chronicle their journey in their new book Glastonbury 50. I had the pleasure of catching up with Emily Eavis (Co-Organiser of the Glastonbury Festival) to learn more about the Glastonbury Festival, and being a part of a unique, global, family business.

Thought Economics

Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional.  His work in the CHIC Organization and his productions for artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Madonna have sold over 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide.  Merck Mercuriadis is one of the most successful music managers and entrepreneurs of all time; former manager of globally successful recording artists, such as Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Morrissey, Iron Maiden and Beyoncé, and hit songwriters such as Diane Warren, Justin Tranter and The-Dream, and former CEO of The Sanctuary Group plc.  Their latest venture, Hipgnosis Songs Fund (LON:SONG) turns the most successful songs in history into a new investment asset-class and already owns copyrights including Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’, Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ Kanye West’s ‘All Of The Lights’, Justin Beiber’s ‘Baby’, and Jay-z’s ‘Holy Grail’ featuring Justin Timberlake.  Estimates suggest the fund could rapidly grow to well over £1 billion in market capitalisation. In these exclusive interviews I spoke to Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis to learn more about the business of music, their creative process, the secrets of great management, production and what they’ve learned from a lifetime at the pinnacle of the music world.

Thought Economics

Perez Hilton is one of our world’s foremost commentators on celebrity culture.  Since launching PerezHilton.com in 2004, his site has grown to receive over 300 million hits per month – making him a celebrity in the process!  The LA Times calls Perez, “like US Weekly, the Star, the Enquirer and Life & Style all rolled into one sweet yet snarky, sagacious yet salacious gay man.”  Perez was named the #1 Web Celeb for 2007, 2008, and 2009 by Forbes Magazine and has recently been tapped as one of the 15 most influential Hispanics in the US by People in Espanol and named 2009 Hispanic of the Year by Hispanic Magazine. I caught up with Perez to learn about the realities of celebrity culture in the digital age.

Thought Economics

In this exclusive interview series, we speak to some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs: Sir Richard Branson (Founder of Virgin Group), Robin Li (Founder of Baidu), Sir James Dyson (Founder of Dyson), Professor Muhammad Yunus (Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Founder of Grameen Bank), Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (Founder of Biocon), N. R. Narayana Murthy (Founder of Infosys) Tim Draper (Founding Partner, Draper Associates and DFJ), Jamal Edwards MBE (Founder, SBTV), Nathan Myhrvold (Founder & CEO, Intellectual Ventures), Wendy Kopp (CEO & Co-Founder, Teach For All), Tory Burch (Chairman & CEO, Tory Burch), Steve Case (Co-Founder,  America Online – AOL &  Revolution), Jerry Yang (Co-Founder, Yahoo!), Tony O. Elumelu (Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation), Dave McClure (Founder, 500 Startups), David Cohen (Co-Founder, Techstars), Ricardo Salinas (Founder & Chairman, Grupo Salinas),Vladimir Potanin (Founder & President, Interros), Gary Vaynerchuk (Founder, VaynerMedia), Troy Carter (Founder & CEO, Atom Factory), Dr. Michael Otto (Chairman, Otto Group), Jack Welch (Former CEO of GE and Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute), Naveen Jain (Founder of InfoSpace, Intelius, Moon Express and Blue dot), Weili Dai (Co-Founder, Marvell Technology Group), Steve Ballmer (Co-Chair of Ballmer Group & Owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA Basketball Team), will.i.am  (Entrepreneur, Entertainer and Innovator), Donna Karan (Founder of DKNY and Urban Zen)Laurence Graff OBE (Founder & Chairman, Graff Diamonds), John Caudwell (Entrepreneur & Philanthropist), Dr. Frederik Paulsen, JR (Chairman, Ferring Pharmaceuticals), Thor Björgólfsson (Founding Chairman, Novator), Kanya King MBE (Founder, MOBO Organisation), Dennis Crowley (Co-Founder, Foursquare), Kevin O’Leary (Shark Tank), John Sculley (CEO of Apple from 1983-1993), Alfred Lin (Partner, Sequoia Capital & Former Chairman, Zappos) and Stewart Butterfield (Co-Founder, SLACK). We look at the characteristics of great entrepreneurs, how some of the world’s most successful companies have succeeded, and discuss wealth, philanthropy and the realities of business in a global economy.

Thought Economics

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