Audio Network’s Nick Bennett on the Entertainment Lions for Music and why they’ve created a limited edition record for the winners
2016 sees the Entertainment Lions for Music make its inaugural appearance on the awards roster at Cannes. To celebrate the new category, Audio Network will award the lucky winners a limited edition Jazz record ‘In Colour’, composed and performed by original Ronnie Scott’s Jazz musician, Tim Garland, percussionist, Mark Guiliana and legendary pianist, songwriter and producer, Jason Rebello. 45 individual 7” records are being hand-pressed for the category winners and judges (and a small number of lucky competition winners). Each record will come with a bespoke cover designed by London-based print-maker and illustrator, Guarab Thakali.
Describing the motivation behind this award, Audio Network’s Head of Advertising Europe, Nick Bennett, discusses how free, creative expression has been the driving force behind the project.
With Cannes 2016 fast approaching, the new Entertainment Lion for Music is an exciting prospect for those in the commercial music biz. Up until now, music awards at Cannes have been limited to only two subcategories; ‘Film Craft’ – ‘Use of Original Music’ and ‘Use of Licensed / Adapted Music’. Yet there are so many different ways that music can be employed in advertising, from original composition to licencing and collaboration. That’s not to mention its use across the many different forms of content which are snowballing. With the industry moving at the rate it is, it’s more important than ever for award shows to recognise the nuances of commercial music.
It’s truly exciting to see 30 additional sub categories celebrating the various creative ways in which music companies, agencies and brands utilise musicians and music to engage with people. So, in addition to the well-earned Lion award, we wanted to mirror the art and creativity that goes in to every piece of work with a creative award. To celebrate the world’s top applications of music in advertising and entertainment, we’ve hand pressed 45 records of an exclusive jazz track, each with a limited lifespan of 1,000 plays, to be awarded to the winners and judges of the new category.
For The Winners Ears Only: The Record
Since the record will be given the most pioneering artists in this area, we knew that it had to mean something. And that something, we decided, should be creative freedom. When you’re juggling multiple stakeholders, blending art with business it can be easy to play safe and toe the line. But creativity it all about risk, leaping into a structure-less unknown…
There was only one genre that we could think of that symbolises this ‘creative freedom’. Jazz, of course. It lends itself well to experimentation, exploration, even. To create the track we partnered with original Ronnie Scott’s Jazz musician, Tim Garland, legendary pianist, songwriter and producer, Jason Rebello and percussionist Mark Giuliana. Who better to create a record than Grammy winners?
Tim Garland, for example, has jazz in his bones and we hope that the winners will be as inspired and energised as we are. If anyone recognises the power of creative freedom, it’s him. “As as a composer you find all kinds of ways of reincarnating ideas, keeping things fresh and vital. One of the most precious things about jazz related music, is its ever-changing, improvised vitality. That’s what makes it a valuable gift for someone,” he told me. “I think the record we’ve created is killing!”
Guarab Thakali’s interpretation in paint of ‘In Colour’.
As with the music, it was just as important for the artist to have full creative reign over the record sleeve design. We’d seen Guarab Thakali work in a London exhibition and fell in love with his unique expressionist prints, illustrations and evident love of Jazz music. Some of his work was inspired by synaesthetic experiences with the music he’d been listening to at the time and we were fascinated to know what Tim and Jason’s track would look like expressed visually… so we gave him the track and let him take the lead from there.
Working with Guarab, it’s been fascinating to watch the free-flowing interaction of visuals and music – as much as the record represents creative freedom, it also represents collaboration. Not in the ‘decision by committee’ sense, you understand, but artists from different disciplines bouncing off each other’s work. “The music had the feel of an 80s/90s Jazz scene with elements of electronic sounds,” Guarab has said. “It was interesting to hear each musician’s individual sound. The characters, their postures and the colour palette on the final piece, were my representation of this era of music. It was a brilliant process as it’s very rare you are handed the reins on a whole commission. I really enjoyed having full control over the artistic licence.”
The journey we’ve been on bringing In Colour to life has left us inspired, energised. It’s been a great reminder of the power of music, just as the new Entertainment Lion is. And after the whirl of parties and rosé is over, we hope that the winners will be able to find a little time to kick back and enjoy the track. And who knows, perhaps it will inspire them in their next leap into the creative unknown?
To mirror the RPM of the 7 inch record, 45 records will be pressed. Each winner and each judge will be awarded a copy and the rest will be given away as prizes through our workshop platform during the week of the festival. We want the music to be special so we’ve had the records pressed on a PVC compound which allows only one thousand plays. A true limited edition!
If you want to be up for a chance of winning one of the exclusive records during Cannes, you can enter the prize draw here.