As part of The Orchard’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion, the UK Diversity Taskforce was established to empower employees to advocate for change across the music industry. One of the initiatives to emerge from this activity is an employee-led collective, The R&B Dial. The R&B Dial was created with the goal of championing UK R&B, supporting the ample talent within the scene and paving the way for future stars to emerge.
Held on March 23, 2023, The R&B Dial’s inaugural event ‘The State of UK R&B’ took place at Sony Music’s London offices. In partnership with Scotch whisky connoisseurs Chivas Regal UK, the launch event encompassed a panel talk, networking opportunities, and an exclusive artist performance and DJ set from Shaé Universe and DJ Chaise. The drinks flowed thanks to Chivas’ bespoke cocktails (each named after a panelist), served alongside popular Caribbean soft drinks and Jamaican patties.
Hosted by award-winning presenter Anna-Marie, the panel delved into the health of the UK R&B scene. Generously sharing their experiences were R&B artists Shaé Universe, Jaz Karis, and Miraa May, who have a combined 3.5M monthly listeners. They were joined by Taisha Johnson – Miraa’s manager – and Victoria Jane, presenter of BBC Radio 1’s R&B/Soul show. The conversation granted insight into both the challenges and opportunities available in the UK market for an often-overlooked genre of Black music.
The guest list featured experts from across the music industry, including DSPs, labels, managers, artists, and tastemakers. This included influential R&B and Soul platform The Blues Project, who covered the event for their followers. Following the panel, our guests were treated to a performance from Shaé Universe, incorporating a stunning R&B medley (cue audience singalong!) and a brand new original song. Closing out the evening, DJ Chaise kept the energy high and the dancefloor full with her mix of old-school and new-school sounds, blending R&B, rap, funky, dancehall, and more. True to the spirit of The R&B Dial, execs and creatives mingled at the bar, making new connections and igniting future collaborations.
Chivas Regal UK partnered with The R&B Dial on this event, citing a shared spirit with the mission statement of The R&B Dial. The brand’s ethos, “I Rise, We Rise,” is a nod to an empowered new generation of whisky drinkers who aspire to forge new paths to success, aligning perfectly with the tenor of The R&B Dial.
The R&B Dial is a movement ready to amplify UK R&B as a global force – and bring the whole industry along with it.