Close-up of a studio mixing desk

Developing a head for business with music for the hips and heart

Returning from Gambia in 2020, entrepreneur Michael Evans recognised both his skills and experience around the music industry could be used to fuel his ambition to create and produce music for the head, heart and hips by linking and blending the African beat to European producers.

Thanks to support from a collective of North East based artists and NBSL, MMP Records International has been established by Michael Evans and aims to ‘lead not follow’. Building links and platforms for emerging Gambian and West African artists in the UK has helped create and grow an international music label during the pandemic.
Based in Hexham, Northumberland with an office also operating in The Gambia, the independent record label aims to develop signed artists and release music along with providing a platform for performance – both within the UK and across The Gambia.

Established in December 2020 with support from NBSL’s Enterprise Team, MMP Records International have now developed a comprehensive and sustainable business plan looking at aims, objectives recognising both the ambition and market potential. A base level of business skills were developed through webinars ensuring the enterprise began on a sound commercial footing. Following the identification of a suitable role model, the UK-based Gambian artist Mota Masacey has worked tirelessly to develop and refine the business model with NBSL support.
‘Lead not follow’ continues to be the core mission – breaking new ground with this style of music and putting Gambian music on the international music scene.

Michael Evans, Director of MMP Records International said: “Support from NBSL has been invaluable. The guidance and direction received from NBSL provided me with the confidence to realise my ambition. I feel confident that my business model and plan provides stability and a structure to move forward positively.”

Michael added “My advice for anyone thinking about starting their own business is seek out support everywhere. Work hard and don’t allow yourself to be held back by negativity – keep your head in the clouds but heart and feet planted on the ground”.

MMP Records International aims to achieve a regular and sustained income through the release and promotion of artists in the UK, Europe and Africa. Due to the impact of Covid-19, little development work has taken place in the UK but work across Africa has been both positive and successful. Talent development and live concerts are now being planned to provide a useful route for artist promotion. Working outside of the UK has allowed links to form with a number of high profile West African artists looking at live performances in the UK once restrictions have eased.

Scott Rowland, Enterprise Advisor for NBSL and NEA, is pleased to see so many people use this time to look at how their skillset can build a bright, independent future – in a different way. “The calibre of people looking at self-employment is at an all-time high and we are proud to stand alongside our enterprise partners across the North East inspiring our next generation of entrepreneurs”.