Shaper: Kanya King

Show aired on 18th October 2014

Transcript of the show

Kanya King is an internationally recognised entrepreneur and innovator in the British music industry. As CEO and founder of MOBO, she is the dynamic force behind the MOBO brand and has played an instrumental role in elevating Urban music and culture to mainstream popular status in the U.K.

Kanya’s dedication to MOBO music has since been recognised by a number of influential and prominent bodies.  Recent accolades include being listed in the 2011 Guardian Music Power 100 and being honoured as a Patron of Music at City of Westminster College.

A number of modern artists – including Amy Winehouse, N-Dubz and Emeli Sandé – have had their careers boosted by MOBO.

She has been listed in Real Business Britain’s 100 Most Entrepreneurial Women and the Evening Standard’s 1000 London’s Most Influential People for a number of years. In addition to this she has received numerous honours for her business and community achievements including an Honorary Fellowship at Goldsmith University and a Doctorate of Business at both London and Leeds Metropolitan Universities. More recently she has been nominated as one of the top 10 role models in this country.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Kanya has plans afoot to expand the MOBO brand and its influence still further.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

Follow Kanya on Twitter @KanyaKing .

I grew up in a very crowded council flat and I soon realised I needed to help contribute to the household finances.

I left school at 15 and became a parent at 16. I did not want to be a negative stereotype of a single mother living off benefits. That motivated me to make something of my life.

I had a lot of talented musicians as friends and at a young age I was organising lots of gigs and showcases for them.

There was an audience out there that wasn’t being catered for, which is why I founded the MOBO Awards – I wanted to inspire, educate and motivate young people to achieve their full potential.

My dream was to create this international platform in the form of an awards ceremony and encourage diversity in the music industry by celebrating genres like hip hop, reggae, gospel, jazz etc. I was told it would never work.

I re-mortgaged my house and used all the funds to pay for the broadcast of the ceremony. I didn’t tell my mother at the time.

Carlton Television said, we’ve got good news and bad news: we’ll give you the TV slot, but we need you to put the show on in six weeks’ time.

The first show in 1996 was a huge success: Tony and Cherie Blair launched the ceremony.

What resonates with me now is the idea that we can support, champion and celebrate other creative talent.

I am as motivated now as I was all those years ago. Keep an eye on the prize no matter what and you can overcome the obstacles.