Back in 1999, UKG outfit Artful Dodger and a then-unknown Craig David joined forces to release “Re-Rewind”, a song that’s gone on to become so memorable that everyone under the age of 45 will probably know every word (well, the chorus at least). Some things gain more appreciation as the surroundings in which they are later consumed, evolve. At the same time, if you don’t evolve, you’ll get left behind. Blockbuster was once the go-to video and game rental spot for many, many years, but now £1 stores and coffee shops occupy those same shop fronts.

There’s a balance to be found in juggling old-school comforts with new-school technologies, and the job of an A&R somewhat fits this description. Identifying talent is still the aim but in an era where numbers can appear to override gut instinct, finding that sweet spot between the two is a skill that only becomes valuable with time. “Rewind” was one of the first songs that Glyn Aikins signed some twenty years ago. He was DJing across the UK with radio legend Tim Westwood, and saw the reaction the track got in every city. Riki Bleau’s first venture into the music business was with Channel U in 2002: they were looking for content, he brought them a bunch of videos from artists who couldn’t get played on MTV Base, and later joined the company as Head of Music & Programming.

With over 20 years worth of experience in the bag, and a list of signees that include Labrinth, Emeli Sandé, Naughty Boy and Krept & Konan, Glyn and Riki teamed up to launch Since ‘93 in June 2018, a sub-division of Sony Music and an ever-growing powerhouse within British music. Since ‘93 is currently the home of Fredo, Aitch and Loski, as well as other artists like Amun and Serine Karthage. Complex sat down with the music execs to find out more about their stable—which bridges big-label experience with street-level understanding—and the lessons they have learnt along the way.

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