Thursday 3 December 2015
QMUL alumnus Desmond Agyekumhene recently completed his masters in global public health and policy in the School of Medicine and Dentistry and now works as a biomedical scientist specialising in microbiology. During his time at QMUL, he started managing artists and has had two acts signed to Sony RCA, all whilst doing an MSc and working full time.
Tell us about the current work that you do.
I currently work at the Doctors Laboratory (TDL) in the microbiology department doing diagnostic work on patient samples such as wound swabs, blood cultures, sterile sites urines, faeces and MRSAs. But I also co-run a music management company where we manage independent and signed acts and oversee many aspects within a record label, such as A&R, artist development, publishing, contracts, marketing, promotion, branding and touring,
How did you get involved in the music industry?
I had surgery on my shoulder, which meant I was off work for four months. During my physiotherapy sessions I met my business partner Nathan (who was a professional footballer and now a music lawyer) and we partnered up from there finding music where we could and sending it to America. Long story short, we ended up in a south London studio where we found our first artist who was 14 years old and had 11 albums’ worth of material written. From there we developed him for two years before releasing his song and a few weeks later we eventually got him signed to Sony RCA. [You can watch the artist, Rhyan's video When I'm With You on YouTube.]
Because I’m in the position to have access to great music and my MSc was in global public health and policy, I was able to fuse my health policy interest with music to shine a light on humantarian issues through music videos.
How do you manage such a varied workload?
I call my job in the lab my 9-5 and my music job a 5-9 (but it’s really a 24-hour job!). When I finish in the lab at 5pm, I head down to High Street Kensington for 5.30pm to Sony’s HQ to have meetings. If it’s not there then I’m meeting with various artist managers, producers, publishers, agents, promoters, PR, songwriters, lawyers or going to gigs. I’m pretty much out in meetings, shows or networking at least four nights of the week. It can be quite stressful if I’m not organised, but very rewarding as I get to go to loads of free gigs and vote at the upcoming Brit awards!
What was your favourite thing about studying at Queen Mary?
Not only is it based in the heart of east London but the staff were really great in being flexible to my needs as a student.
What advice would you give students who want to branch out and try new things?
The biggest risk you could take is not to take that risk. From breaking from the norm and doing something different, you’ll be able to meet some of the most inspiring and interesting people. Just be open, humble and have willing attitude to learn!
What are your hopes for the future?
To retire as a scientist, become a music executive and work for the UN.