The Notting Hill Academy of Music enrolled its first set of students this year. Chairman Shabs Jobanputra speaks to us about how the Academy is offering opportunities for those wanting to get into the music industry.

Shabs is no stranger to the music scene and has a long history of working within the industry. It was this experience and a dedication to help inspire the next generation which led to the launch of the Notting Hill Music Academy.

The Academy among other things aims to teach students a background to the many elements of the music industry concerning the value of a song, copyright and intellectual property in today’s digital age.

Courses are described as both educational and vocational for those wanting to gain a competitive edge in the industry.

Shabs is chairman of the Academy with music heavyweight Trevor Nelson also behind the venture.

Shabs said, “People have a lot of desire to get into the business but are not entirely sure how the industry works.

“Working within the business we were meeting people who had great dreams but may not have had a knowledge of understanding of the industry “And the business has impacted enormously by the digital age. So the academy looks to explore these frames within its courses.”

Shabs himself was one of the first Asians to launch some of the successful artists of the past twenty years.

He is also himself quite clearly one of the most important figures in British Asians in the media in the past two decades.

He started his own PR company Media Village, which helped Sony records launch the UK careers of The Fugees and Jamiroquai. Furthermore he co-founded the Outcaste label in 1995. The label’s first signing Nitin Sawhney went on to be nominated for the Mercury Prize and win a South Bank Show Award for his 1999 album Beyond Skin.

In the course of its subsequent evolution Relentless broadened its musical base to launch the careers of Joss Stone and KT Tunstall among many others.

When the label was sold to Virgin in 2009, Shabs Jobanputra became president of Virgin UK.

Artists he signed to the label included Emeli Sande, Professor Green, Swedish House Mafia and Deadmau5. In 2012 Relentless Records became part of Sony Music UK.

Shabs says since the nineties there have been a number of strides within the Asian music industry but he senses there is still much work to do in harnessing potential talent.

“I know now there are fewer Asian young people coming into the business.

“But there is clearly talent out there and I wanted to reach out to the Asian community.

“In the past there were periodic moments when artists broke through. Ten years ago there may have been a view that ‘Asian talent won’t work’.

“But we have seen with the likes of Jay Sean and Naughty Boy that if artists have the desire to success they will.”

Ewan Grant, MD at the Notting Hill Academy of Music and interim MD at the Notting Hill Arts Club, added, “The Academy’s courses, tools and contacts will guide our students in transforming their genuine passion for music into a career and we are hopeful we may find the next Adele or Sam Smith amongst the group.”