VV Brown, Laura Mvula, John truelove

V V Brown, Laura Mvula and John Truelove reappointed to the PRS Members’ Council

The results of the Members' Council Ballot were announced at PRS for Music’s 2023 AGM, held as part of its London Members’ Day. M caught up with the elected writer members to get to know them a little better.

Elle Ayers
  • By Elle Ayres
  • 7 Jun 2023
  • min read

At the 2023 PRS Annual General Meeting (AGM), on Tuesday 6 June, CEO Andrea Czapary Martin celebrated the organisation’s record-breaking distribution figures. During her keynote speech, Martin highlighted that PRS paid out £836.2m in royalties in 2022, an increase of 23.5% compared to 2021.

She also recognised that the market is rapidly becoming more competitive and that PRS for Music will need to continue to prioritise digital innovation to maximise the value of music creators’ rights and achieve the goal of paying out a billion pounds in royalties by 2026.

In addition to emphasising the need for a more commercially minded culture, PRS also welcomed some familiar faces to its Members’ Council – Laura Mvula, V V Brown and John Truelove, following this year’s Members’ Council ballot.

Michelle Escoffery, President of the Members’ Council, said of the reappointments: ‘[Their] commitment for PRS to be the best society will ensure we continue to make strides connecting the dots between creativity, industry, and business.

’Critically acclaimed songwriter, composer and recording artist, Laura Mvula has picked up two Ivor Novello Best Album awards and two MOBOs, with all three of her albums being nominated for the Mercury Prize - a rare feat in the awards’ history. She’s also currently working on compositions for both film and TV, as well as new music.

John Truelove is a record producer, DJ, and founder of Truelove Music Publishing. Best known for his moniker, The Source, he released the iconic You’ve Got The Love and is a pillar of the dance music community. He’s long campaigned for the sector within both PRS and further afield with the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM) and IMPEL Collective Management Limited (IMPEL).

V V Brown is a Grammy-nominated writer with a million records sold worldwide and a Number One album in France. Her career spans over 15 years and more recently, she’s been pursuing journalism, writing for publications such as The Guardian and various other national newspapers.

M caught up with the latest additions to the Members’ Council to get to know them a bit better.

Laura Mvula

Can you tell us a bit about how you came to sit on the Members’ Council? 

I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle Escoffery about a year and a half ago. She flooded into my world with her infectious energy and spirit and asked me about PRS and how involved I was willing to be as a potential board member. At the time, I was like, ‘Me?’

I had PRS funding when I was much younger, so I was already connected to the PRS family and I realised it was a no brainer that I be in that room. I also don't take it lightly. The seat that I'm holding is one of two women and two women of colour. I know how important it is to have someone like me in that space. I'm just excited at this point to learn, grow and to be an effective soundboard. Some of these people are veterans and they’ve been around for a long time, they know their stuff, so I feel genuinely quite privileged to be in this new position.

What do you want to achieve as part of your tenure?

I want to dissipate the disparity between the PRS member and the boardroom where decisions are made. I think it's easy when you feel intimidated in a particular space or climate to just back off or to back out and not listen or be a part of the conversation. I want to be someone, an artist, who sets about changing that right from the roots up. I want to ask the questions that might feel ignorant but that I know a lot of other people are thinking. I want to fill that gap.

Why is the PRS Members’ Council important?

It's so important to know that there are a body of people that are working tirelessly to make sure that what we create as composers and writers is valued in the highest order. For me, after Covid when it was such a difficult time to exist as a musician, this body of people were the beacons. They're flying the flag. They're working hard to make sure that we get paid.

What’s your favourite musical memory?

Glastonbury 2016.  I played the Pyramid Stage in the afternoon, which was the same day as the Rolling Stones and I managed to have an amazing hang backstage with them. That was a very cool moment.

If you career had a theme song, what would it be?
Savage by Megan Thee Stallion

John Truelove

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to sit on the Members’ Council?

I’m from the clubbing and sampling world and the explosion of acid house. The second summer of love. That's what enabled me to make music and that's what empowered me to really find my voice as a creator. I co-created You Got the Love and having had a hit with it initially in 1991, it became clear to me that - particularly electronically - I knew I was being disadvantaged in the general scheme of things. So, I got involved quite early in the whole activism side of things, particularly when it became clear that there was virtually nothing coming back from clubs, pubs and discotheques where music was being used most. I did a submission to a parliamentary commission, and I got more interested in the politics of music from there. That took me on to setting up a dance music group, which I chair to this day, and which is an opportunity for members to meet and share their experiences. From there it seemed like a small step to stand for the Members’ Council. It's been a huge privilege to serve and to put something back into the community.

What do you want to achieve as part of your tenure?

I always tell people that because of my broad experience as a as a producer, songwriter, publisher, DJ and owner of a record label, I’ve got a really broad perspective on the entire industry. One of my massive pet projects, from the start, has been to champion music recognition technology, ever since the first time I experienced Shazam on my old Nokia when you got a text message back with the name of the song. I feel a huge sense of satisfaction that we have now adopted that technology and that it’s working for the benefit of the membership. Finding a way through the challenges AI is producing is also a priority, it has to be because that’s the huge existential risk to every last one of us. 

Why is the Members’ Council important?

It identifies issues are and helps to ensure, on behalf of the wider membership, that their rights are being properly defended and that the right money, and more of it, is coming into the society and being distributed in an accurate way with increasing speed.

What’s your favourite musical memory?

Being in the middle of the dancefloor at Turnmills in the late ‘90s and realising that the banging, underground techno track the DJ had just dropped was one that I’d just finished producing the day before. The entire place went absolutely berserk. I’d given him an acetate (because nothing was digital then) but I never expected him to play it live.

V V Brown

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to sit on the Members’ Council?

I’m a musician and have been in the music industry for over 25 years. I came into the industry at 17 when I was signed to Polydor. I then signed to Island and sold over a million records worldwide. After this stint I set up my own label and have been independent ever since. I am incredibly passionate about law, rights and equality. I got into Oxford to study Law but took the route of music instead and I feel this burning passion for policy has come full circle.

What do you want to achieve as part of your tenure? 

I really want to be a voice for the members in relation to issues concerning royalties, infrastructure, transparency of income and a general contribution to the evolution and innovation of PRS.

Why is the PRS Members’ Council important?

It really is a way to action change and for things to evolve and to be challenged. As a writer and musician, I take this role very seriously as I feel that a lot of what I will be speaking about will represent artists and writers. I think you need to live it to get it and I hope my experiences and voice will help action policy that makes a difference to writers’ lives. It is so important to have an elected body to create accountability and progress.

What’s your favourite musical memory?

Sitting in a French restaurant being told our album had gone to number one. Meeting Grace Jones and performing with her. Touring with my favourite band Little Dragon and sharing a bus and landing a performance slot on Jools Holland as an indie when everyone told us we would never get it.

If your career had a theme song, what would it be? 

I'm Still Standing by Elton John.