Music industry figures tell their tales

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A West Sussex mother-of-two has entered the music industry to set up her own concert business from her kitchen table.

Julia Collins-Parsons has launched Music Majors, which organises speaking tours of people who have worked behind the scenes in the music and entertainment business. For her first tour she’s signed up former BBC Radio 1 DJ and BBC Sport cricket commentator Andy Peebles.

His dates include Shoreham and Haywards Heath.

Julia, aged 50, was brought up in Steyning, her mother lives in Shoreham and she has recently been living in Ansty.

She has returned to the county after working in the music industry in the UK and the United States. She now lives in Blackstone, near Henfield.

Julia started her career aged 18 when she ran away from home to work as a messenger for a music management company. She eventually got a job as artist liaison manager for CBS records, now Sony Music. Living in London and Los Angeles she worked with stars such as Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Tony Bennett.

Julia said: “While working in the music industry I met so many behind-the-scenes people who have stories that the public never hear.

“I wanted to put them on stage to tell audiences what it’s like to work in the entertainment industry and offer advice on how to break into the business.

“Most legends would never have come to the public’s attention had not someone from A&R signed them, put them with a producer and organised the recordings. Another manager had to get that music played at radio and TV and so on.

“Then there were the financial negotiations to approve the ever increasing costs of tour support money and video production.

“A massive machine went into action to make the potential of a talented group or person come to the public’s attention and their story is fascinating.

“No-one else was doing anything quite like it and that’s how I came up with the idea for Music Majors.”

After leaving the record label, Julia set up an events company organising parties for Michael Jackson, U2 and the BRITS awards. She later concentrated on bringing up her children Bonnie, 25, and Rory, 24.

Julia added: “As I am Sussex-born I chose Shoreham and Haywards Heath as the venues for the first two dates of Andy Peebles’ tour.

“Andy has had a 40 year career in broadcasting and was the last British person to interview John Lennon before he was murdered in 1980.

“The interview was conducted two days before the former Beatle’s death and due to its poignant timing it was issued as a book The John Lennon Tapes by the BBC.”

As well as the interview with John Lennon, Andy will be talking about Elton John with whom he struck up a rapport due to their shared enthusiasm for soul music. He will also be telling the audience about what it was like interviewing Margaret Thatcher and infamous executioner, Albert Pierrepoint.

The tour starts at the Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham on Wednesday, September 25 and then moves to Clair Hall, Haywards Heath on Thursday, September 26.