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Jackie Davidson: how the unsung get the hits sung

This week we’re shining a spotlight on the music industry’s unsung heroes. Here, Rosie Vacciana-Browne takes a look into the life and achievements of Jackie Davidson MBE.

Rosie Vacci B
  • By Rosie Vacciana-Browne
  • 27 Oct 2020
  • min read

We seldom think about the journey our music takes before it reaches us through blaring speakers. Beyond pinning up our favourite pop star's posters, giving them an Instagram follow and fighting to get front row at their concerts; we have very little insight into what lies behind the beats and perfected performances.

Yet music is the backdrop to our lives. From the everyday, to our best and worst moments. Our greatest memories are often accompanied by a song. Glancing back over the past couple of decades many pop stars may come into your mind: Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Jess Glynne, West Life, JLS. There probably isn't a name there that you're unfamiliar with. But how about Jackie Davidson? A hidden cog in the music machine, Jackie plays a pivotal role in getting your favourite smash hits onto the radio. You may not have noticed her presence, but you'd surely notice her absence.

Jackie is the founder and director of Jackie Davidson (JD) management, a company that boasts a dazzling rota of songwriters. Amongst them one of the biggest songwriting names in the world: Wayne Hector. Working with him from early on his career, Jackie has been alongside Wayne through his 30 international No.1 singles (you read that right), Grammys, BRITs and Ivor Novello Awards. Those artists listed earlier? Wayne has written for them all. From Mysterious Girl to Beat Again, there is sure to be a Hector hit somewhere in your top five.

An unsung hero in the industry, Jackie Davidson is the woman behind the hits. With a career spanning decades, she has supported and developed a diverse range of artists and talent. 

Jackie is not short of her own accolades. She received an MBE in 2019 for her services to music, The Ivors Academy’s Gold Badge, the MMF’s 2015 Writer/Producer Manager Of The Year and sits on the Music Publishers Association Board. But how does one get onto a career path paved in No.1 hits, awards and MBEs?

Whilst many start off as the office tea-maker, Jackie hit the ground running by interning at Bunny Wailer’s (yes that Bunny Wailer, from the iconic Bob Marley and the Wailer’s) record company Solomonic. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to found an award-winning firm and no not JD management. A woman of many talents, Jackie moved into marketing, starting Hardzone Marketing and PR through which, she worked with some of the biggest stars and labels in the industry. Jackie worked on campaigns for the likes of Buju Banton, Shabba Ranks, Beyonce, Michael Jackson and more.

In itself, this could be a career in its entirety. But, Jackie Davidson then went on to start JD Management, and she didn't stop there. As an active figure in the industry Jackie, alongside Wayne, started the publishing firm Art Music to bring up the next generation of young writers and composers. Despite being one of the music industries vital organs, publishing may not be the first or even second thing that comes to mind when you think about your favourite songs or artists. But, to put into perspective, music publishing generates over a quarter of the UK music industry’s £2.6 billion in export revenue (MPA). That is big money.

Alongside supporting young people, Jackie Davidson's work towards creating a fairer, more diverse and inclusive industry is apparent in her position on the Custodians Council for Music Managers Forum (MMF) and recent induction on to the Music Weeks Women in Music Roll of Honour.

An unsung hero in the industry, Jackie Davidson is the woman behind the hits. With a career spanning decades, she has supported and developed a diverse range of artists and talent. Upholding a huge part of the UK music industry. Unsung yes, but a hero definitely.

This piece was guest edited by Ben Wynter. Ben oversees the management of Hitmaker, Momentum Music Fund and the International Showcase Fund at PRS Foundation. He is also the founder of Unstoppable Music Group which has been developing the careers of highly sought-after producers.