Ashley Forbes, A&R Administrator at EMI Records and a veteran of the label, has died after a long illness.
Forbes was a hugely popular figure both inside and outside EMI, working on the various iterations (including Virgin Records, Virgin EMI and now EMI Records) for over 32 years.
The Scottish manager worked closely with artists over these three decades, including the Spice Girls, the Chemical Brothers, Queen, Emeli Sandé and Bastille.
Ashley Newton, former co-managing director of Virgin Records UK and co-president of Virgin Records America, told MBW: “I was very fortunate to work with Ashley Forbes when I joined the Virgin Records management team in the 1990s. To avoid confusing names, she adopted the nickname Forbsie and named me as her very first “Chiefy”.
“Loyal, passionate, hilarious and completely reliable – not only was she absolutely brilliant at her A&R admin job, she also had really good creative instincts and I really valued her opinion during this magical era for the label. Forbsie was loved very much by everyone around her and is deeply missed by so many. What a legend. “
“Forbsie was loved and missed by everyone around her. What a legend. “
Rebecca Allen, President of EMI Records, said today: “We are all so incredibly sad that our wonderful colleague and friend Ashley Forbes is no longer with us. Ashley has been the heart of the label for over 32 years and has touched so many lives in that time, both professionally and personally.
“When we talk to the team today it was amazing to hear their heartfelt stories, their love for Ashley beyond that of a work colleague. She was a friend of so many on the team who always leaned in with her friendliness, always putting others first, she was just remarkable.
“Our label family will feel empty without Ashley, our hearts will be heavier, but as a label we will strive to continue to achieve the excellence it stood for. Your commitment to this label, to our artists, to the teams around them was exemplary. Our deepest thoughts are with their family and friends. She left way too early and we will miss her very much. “
“Ashley has been the heart of the label for over 32 years and has touched so many lives in that time, both professionally and personally.”
Rebecca Allen, EMI Records
And David Joseph, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK, wrote in a Universal internal memo: “In all your time at the heart of the Virgin and EMI A&R team – Head of A&R Admin does not fully reflect the magnitude of their importance.” – Ashley always saw her role in making things happen for other people. It was never about her. It was always about the music.
“Ashley was really the heart of the label and was always there for everyone who needed her – for countless artists, but also for so many colleagues. Generosity and creativity made her such a wonderful, unforgettable person. “
“Ashley always saw her role in making things happen for other people. It was never about her. It was always about the music. “
David Joseph, Universal Music UK
Forbes won a Music Business Worldwide A&R Award in 2016 for their professional achievements. The loud reception of her victory in this room in London spoke volumes about the appreciation she was given.
“The news about Ash is absolutely devastating,” said Bastille’s Dan Smith. “She was such a damn wonderful person, so nice and funny, and a real constant for a lot of people in an ever-changing industry. I’ve always loved seeing her, giving her a massive hug and meeting me at the office.
“Ash has worked on every piece of music we’ve released since signing, and we’re going to miss them all terribly. I wish we’d all had the chance to tell her how much we loved her and how brilliant she was. “
“She was such a damn wonderful person, so nice and funny, and a real constant for a lot of people in an ever-changing industry.”
Dan Smith, Bastille
The Chemical Brothers and their management said in a statement, “Unique… part of the Virgin Records structure, there for us since we walked through the door at Kensal Dock all those years ago. We will miss you Ash. With love, Robert, Nick, Tom & Ed. “
Emeli Sandé said: “I am deeply sad to hear of Ashley Forbes’ death. She was such a special person. Always full of joy, real care and encouragement. I enjoyed working with her so much, I will miss her very much. There is no doubt that her legend will live on in the hearts of all who are lucky enough to know her and have been touched by her kindness and sincerity. “
And Everything But The Girl’s Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn commented, “She was a beacon of honesty and humor in a business that is often known for the exact opposite.”Music business worldwide