Karen Emanuel and the Tileyard Bursary

In 2017, Tileyard Education announced the launch of its bursary and scholarship scheme. Main partners Key Production, Devialet, Spitfire Audio, and Marshall Records offered to support one student each during their year of study. Those who were successful in their applications for 2017/18 were automatically shortlisted for the bursary and scholarship awards. 

Tileyard is the largest professional music community in the world and houses over 100 recording studios, 250 music businesses and is home to Good Soldier Records, Sigala, Platoon, Beats One, Spitfire Audio, Notting Hill Music, Focusrite, Key Production, Aston Microphones and many more. Tileyard offers a whole host of postgraduate courses for students who are looking to break into the vast world of the music industry. Key Production also offer £3000 to the winner to cover the cost of a term during their MA. This opportunity helps the student with their career, skills development, and the chance to gain invaluable support and knowledge from CEO Karen Emanuel. Karen, who has been part of the Music Industry since 1983 when she booked Indie bands at University, then went onto work at Rough Trade Distribution in the late 80’s, before establishing Key Production in 1990.

Desiree Banugo was the first student to be awarded Key Production’s bursary after Karen was looking for a student she felt she could share knowledge with and mentor. Karen chose Desiree because she saw great business potential in her and that she had a distinctive and successful history in social media and marketing. Desiree herself felt that she wanted to reconnect with her love of the music industry and described Karen as an “inspirational role model whose advice has given me clarity on my career and business direction”.

Following on from Desiree, the next student to receive Key Production’s bursary was Kyrah Boon who had big aspirations of wanting to run her own record label. “Karen has many years of experience and success” says Kyrah, “which I know is really going to guide me in the right direction and teach me so many things, which makes having her as my mentor that much more intriguing.” Upon completion of her course with Tileyard Education, Kyrah was offered an internship placement at Sony. This year’s student who is receiving the grant is Eva Dushaj who is working with Karen as part of her MA in Music Business through Tileyard Education.

Getting involved with Tileyard Education was a no brainer for Karen. It also enabled her to sow the seeds for a future project called Moving The Needle. “We have Tileyard education on-site so as a company, Key wanted to be involved in helping the future generation of the music industry and support the Tileyard community”. Moving The Needle was born amongst the backdrop of an industry which is severely imbalanced, and Karen wanted to give something back to young people and share her vast experience in the music industry.

As a woman myself, having a lot of experience in a male-dominated industry, I wanted to give back some of what I have learnt over the many years in the industry. This is also what was the seed of Moving the Needle – supporting women throughout their career in the music industry by way of education and mentoring”. Since its inception Moving The Needle has hosted a range of masterclasses and panels offering support and mentorship to young women and is constantly growing.

Overall, Key Production and Karen want to give young people the opportunities that otherwise might not be available to them for various reasons and be able to offer their experiences to help mentor and guide these young people through the ever-changing world that is the music industry. There is a specific focus to offer help to people who come from a BAME background, women, and those within the LGBTQ+ community. Karen hopes that by offering these sorts of opportunities the music industry will change for the better and allow people from a variety of backgrounds a chance to succeed within it. “Young people are the future. If we want to see a properly diverse music industry from the bottom to the top, we need to start with education and encourage young people into all parts of the industry. Not just behind the microphone”.