Norwegian music industry’s export facilitator and promotional organisation.

Morning Coffee With the Nordics

By Tina Brodal Posted: 08. Oct, 2020

Manager Ben Blackburn and girl in red (Marie Ulven) Photo girl in red: Isak Jenssen

Where are you having your morning coffee on Thursdays? We suggest you join NOMEX (Nordic Music Export) and have your Morning Coffee with the Nordics, every Thursday for 5 weeks from 15 October.

Looked upon as one, the Nordics are the world’s 6th largest market for recorded music and with a rapidly growing industry, the talent coming out of the region seems to be endless. Even several years after the first major international success, artists, writers and producers from the Nordic countries are continuing to dominate charts worldwide.

In Morning Coffee with the Nordics we go behind the scenes of some of these recent successes as well as speaking to innovating music companies expanding in the region and discuss intra-Nordic collaborations with artists and labels.

girl in red, has become a global bedroom-pop phenomenon Photo: Julie Pike

Thursday 15 October, (9am GTM, 10am CET, 11am EEST)

Where: Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/93036788281

girl in red

girl in red is 21 year old Marie Ulven from Norway who has become a global bedroom-pop phenomenon with a massive international fanbase. In her very short career, she has amassed over 6.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify, 1million subscribers on Youtube and her songs have more than 565 million global streams across catalogue. The term, ‘do you listen to girl in red?’ has also become an international code within the queer community for identifying other queer people, with its own explanation on Urban Dictionary and now also the core of a recent successful global marketing campaign. All of this while still being totally independent and before she’s even released her debut album.

In this panel you’ll get to meet her team, hear the strategies around her success, how Covid-19 has opened new doors and what the plans are for ‘world in red’ world domination.

Introduction by Music Norway Director, Kathrine Synnes Finnskog


Ben Blackburn / Twentyten Management
Tom Prideaux / Project Manager AWAL
Anna Mason / International Product Manager AWAL
Carly James / Booking Agent, Paradigm

About the panelists:

Ben Blackburn
Twentyten Management

Ben Blackburn, Twentyten Management

Ben Blackburn started his career in the music industry working as an A&R for Phil Taggart’s (BBC Radio 1) Sony joint venture label, ‘Hometown Records’. This was followed by subsequent A&R roles at Virgin EMI (Universal) and Atlantic Records (Warner). During this period Ben managed a number of writer/producers, including The 23rd and FKJ. At the end of 2019 Ben took his management work full time and founded Twenty Ten Management, and his current client base includes girl in red, Aquilo, and Hugo White.

Anna Mason
International Product Manager at AWAL

Anna Mason is International Product Manager at AWAL.

After starting her career at PledgeMusic where she spearheaded international development and the Emerging Artists Fund with Help Musicians UK, Anna has been a part of the AWAL team since 2017. During her time at AWAL she’s run campaigns with a large roster of developing and established artists including girl in red, J Lloyd, Gerry Cinnamon, Madison Beer, Lil Peep, Kwamie Liv and the First Access roster, Allie X, and Boy In Space. She finds nothing more exciting than exploring new territories, solutions and opportunities for artists to reach new fans in all corners of the globe.

Tom Prideaux
Project Manager, AWAL

Tom Prideaux is Project Manager at AWAL

Tom graduated with a degree in marketing and went on to join Columbia Records UK in 2015, spending two and half years at the label; firstly in digital and then marketing. Whilst at Columbia, Tom was involved in campaigns for the likes of George Ezra, Khalid, LCD Soundsystem, Foo Fighters and Wizkid. Tom joined the UK marketing team at AWAL in 2018 to help steer campaigns for key development artists across the roster including, but not limited to, girl in red, Alfie Templeman, Angie McMahon, and Dayglow.

Carly James
Booking Agent, Paradigm

Carly James is a Booking Agent for Paradigm

Carly James is an agent at Paradigm Talent Agency. Starting out as a teenager booking & promoting shows in her local DIY music scene, Carly has accumulated over a decade of experience in the live music & touring industry with a key focus on A&R and artist development. She proudly represents a diverse roster of artists she feels are of cultural relevance and impact. She is based in New York City where she lives with her partner and her two cats, Carl and Grits

Here are some exciting more panels to come in the next few weeks:

Thursday 22 October(9am GTM, 10am CET, 11am EEST)

Viagra Boys

Viagra Boys is an unapologetically raw sextet comprised of classically trained jazz musicians, karaoke loving tattoo artists and seasoned hardcore scene veterans, churning out spastic, pulsating sounds from the sub levels of contemporary rock music.
The band started in 2016 and has since made their way from the Stockholm underground scene, to being the only Swedish act booked for American giant festival Coachella in 2020. With over 180 live shows in support of their latest release ‘Street Worms’ (2018), and with several Grammy nominations and an Impala Award in the bag, Viagra Boys are currently working on new music while their songs keep shaking the world, not the least through the latest Tony Hawks Pro Skater video game soundtrack.

By Viagra Boys’ side stands independent label YEAR0001 – A hybrid music company acting as a creative platform for recording artists, offering an independent, artist friendly and transparent mindset. YEAR0001’s roster currently includes; Yung Lean, Nadia Tehran and Bladee, plus producers GUD and Whitearmor.

Introduction by Music Export Sweden Director, Jesper Thorsson


Moderator: Jan Gradvall / Music Journalist
Oskar Ekman / CEO and Co-Founder at YEAR0001

Thursday 29 October,  (9am GTM, 10am CET, 11am EEST)

Isac Elliot

With multiple number 1 radio hits, two won MTV Music Awards for Best Finnish Act and undeniable talent, Isac Elliot is one of Finland’s most successful, rising and thriving international pop superstars. During his career, he has gained popularity and toured all over the world, including Europe, USA and China.

It’s clear that it didn’t happen by a mystical wave of a magic wand. In reality, building a pop star means putting in a lot of sweat, working hard to make connections, promote the artist, and take the music & steps to the next level.

An experienced panel consisting of Isac Elliot’s team members will reveal the turn of events behind Isac Elliot’s career, giving the audience an insight how they overcame the competition and got the right attention for international success.

Introduction by Music Finland, Kaisa Rönkkö

Dolapo Alafe-Aluko / Manager, First Access Entertainment
Fredi Lunden / A&R, Warner Music Finland


Thursday 5 November, (9am GTM, 10am CET, 11am EEST)

Of Monsters and Men

The Icelandic breakout act, Of Monsters and Men, started making waves after the Iceland Airwaves festival in 2011 and went on to form a partnership with Heather Kolker first as their agent and then as their manager. Through her work, the band signed a worldwide deal with Universal in the US in 2012, and have since been active on the international scene.

Heather will be interviewed by Anna Hildur Hildibrandsdóttir, former head of NOMEX, and they will be touching on the strategies and structures that have moulded the band’s international career over the period of 8 years they’ve worked with Heather.

Heather started her career in 1994 in Portland Oregon working for Monqui Presents – concert promoters, doing shows throughout Oregon and Washington state, before starting as the day to day manager for The Dandy Warhols.

In 2002, she started working at Little Big Man Booking Agency (which ultimately became Paradigm Talent Agency) in New York where she worked as an agent until 2015 for bands such as; Tame Impala, MGMT, Edward Sharpe, Francis and the Lights, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Drums and others.

She now works as a manager at Mick Management where she manages OMAM and MUNA.

Introduction by Iceland Music, Sigtryggur Baldursson


Moderator: Anna Hildur

Heather Kolker – Mick management

Thursday 12 November, (9am GTM, 10am CET, 11am EEST)

The Bank

Danish company “The Bank” is structured in a Nordic fashion with offices in both Sweden and Finland. Focusing on a wide range of music business initiatives, The Bank encompasses both Publishing, Label, Management and even run their own recording studios. They work closely with both domestic & international acts, with a roster of over 30 artists including; Saveus, Alphabet, Malou Prytz, Andreas Mattson, Elsa Levahn & more.

In this panel we speak to CEO Jakob Sørensen who will guide us through the company office & we will take a deep dive into how they are planning to build their artists and their company in 2021.

Introduction by Music Export Denmark Director, Thomas Rohde


Jakob Sørensen / CEO of The Bank portrait picture


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