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BIGSOUND 2023 Speaker Lineup Adds ‘Avatar’ Composer, Wham!’s Simon Napier-Bell & More

26 July 2023 | 9:00 am | Ellie Robinson

The full program now spans an impressive 40 names.

Simon Napier-Bell and Simon Franglen

Simon Napier-Bell and Simon Franglen (Supplied)

The second round of speakers have been announced for this year’s BIGSOUND conference, which returns to Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley precinct this September.

Topping the bill are Simon Napier-Bell (the former manager of legendary English pop duo Wham!) and Simon Franglen (an acclaimed composer best known for his work on the Avatar films), who join the likes of Andy Kalyvas (Netflix), Omar Grant (ROC Nation), Michele Ronzon (Interscope), Hazel Savage (Soundcloud) and Vanessa Palmer (Paramount); the first speaker announcement was made back in April.

In addition to managing Wham! – an eponymous documentary on whom hit Netflix last month – Napier-Bell has worked with the likes of The Yardbirds and Boney M. He’s also written four bestselling books, penned songs with Dusty Springfield, and helmed documentaries covering fellow legends like Frank Sinatra and George Michael.

Franglen, on the other hand, has over 400 music credits to his name, having first hit the scene in 1989. Since then, he’s linked up with such icons as Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Barbra Streisand and Quincy Jones. As one of the leading composers in Hollywood, he’s worked on classic films like Titanic, Space Jam, Cool Runnings, Moulin Rouge, The Amazing Spider-Man, Se7en, and two James Bond entries (Skyfall and Spectre).

Also announced today (July 26) were names like Alexandra Idiart-Benavides (The Vault), Chloe Pean (AEG Presents), Chris Duncan (The Orchard), Dev Sherlock (SXSW), Hannah Sklonick (Secretly Group), Jackie Palazzolo (Riot Games), Seth Hubbard (Polyvinyl) and Tony Kiewel (Sub Pop). You can see the full list of speakers joining the BIGSOUND 2023 program below.

In a press statement, festival programmer Tom Larkin said: “While we’re extremely fortunate to have a thriving, tenacious and ever-expanding industry in our own backyard, the importance of global relationships cannot be overlooked. So, in 2023, we’re leveraging all 22 years of our collective BIGSOUND experience to secure the most important figures in the industry for our next crop of Aussie acts. Deals mean meals and every very person we are bringing to BIGSOUND can further an artist’s career immeasurably!”

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Adding to the sentiment was QMusic chairperson Natalie Strijland, who added: “Whether it’s helping formalise a global partnership or simply putting acts in a room where they could discover a piece of advice that could transform their career, BIGSOUND is 100% dedicated to creating an environment for artist change, and providing the best people to help make those changes happen.”

This year’s BIGSOUND conference will run over September 5-8 this year, taking over 18 venues in Fortitude Valley. Delegate passes and festival tickets are available here.

The first round of artists for the festival arrived earlier this month, with some 141 up-and-coming acts set to perform multiple showcases throughout the week.

BIGSOUND 2023

SECOND CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT

Adam Ryan (The Great Escape) (UK)
Alexandra Idiart-Benavides (The Vault) (Canada)
Caitlin Ballard (ATC) (UK)
Cameron Kaiser (CAA) (USA)
Carlo Scarampi (Communion Music) (UK)
Chloe Pean (AEG Presents) (UK)
Chris Brearley (Greyline Touring / School Night) (UK)
Chris Duncan (The Orchard) (UK)
Christiaan Kröner (FUGA / Downtown) (Netherlands)
Cora Chan (Clockenflap Festival) (China)
David Telfer (DMT Law Firm) (USA)
Dev Sherlock (SXSW) (USA)
Ed Lilo (Festival Republic) (UK)
Eli Gelernter (Wasserman) (USA)
Hallie Anderson (Rareform) (USA)
Hannah Sklonick (Secretly Group) (USA)
Jackie Palazzolo (Riot Games) (USA)
Jaclyn Ulman (Grandstand Media) (USA)
Jacob Daneman (Pitch Perfect PR) (USA)
Jamie Shaughnessy (CAA) (USA)
Jule Konrad (FMLY) (UK)
Kate English (Parallel Lines) (UK)
Louisa Robinson (Form Presents) (UK)
Matt Hanner (Runaway Artists) (UK)
Patrick Daniel (Reeperbahn) (Germany)
Seth Hubbard (Polyvinyl) (USA)
Seth Kallen (This Faction) (USA)
Silke Westera (FKP Scorpio) (Germany)
Simon Franglen (Composer/Producer) (USA)
Simon Napier-Bell (Manager) (Thailand)
Steve Zapp (ITB) (UK)
Tony Kiewel (Sub Pop) (USA)

FIRST CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT

Andy Kalyvasl (Netflix) (USA)
Ash Stahl (Flightless) (USA)
Cabrea Casey (Downtown Music) (USA)
Hazel Savage (Soundcloud) (UK)
Michele Ronzon (Interscope) (USA)
Omar Grant (ROC Nation) (USA)
Scott Cohen (JKBX) (UK / USA)
Vanessa Palmer (Paramount) (USA)

September 5-8 • Fortitude Valley, Meanjin/Brisbane
Tickets: bigsound.org.au