State Of Play: Nosisa Majuqwana, Spindle
Rob Ulitski - 3rd Mar 2023
In the latest of our series asking British music video-makers about their experiences last year and thoughts on the coming year, we talk to Nosisa Majuqwana, Head of Music + New Talent at Spindle.
Having previously worked in advertising, 2022 was Nosisa's first full year in her new role at Spindle, so she reflects upon the ups and downs of that experience, and makes some predictions and hopes for 2023. And she reveals that she is not Whatsapp's biggest fan.
How would you describe last year in a few words?
Busy, lots of fun, inspiring, and growing pains!
What was your favourite project or projects you worked on last year?
Loyle Carner's Hate by Loyle Carner and Greg Hackett. it was great to see the collaboration between Greg and Ben and then to see them win a UKMVA.
Above: Loyle Carner's Hate, directed by Loyle Carner and Greg Hackett
Any other project you enjoyed that deserved more attention, or went under the radar?
Priya Ragu's Illuminous, directed by Silence, was a super fun one even with its challenges. A few people have said to me that is one of their favourite videos they’ve seen us produce which is nice to hear. Silence is wicked, it’s been so great seeing her develop and find her voice.
It’s been really fascinating to come to the other side and grow the big names of the future.
What were the best aspects of the job last year?
Oooh... establishing a company in an extremely competitive industry and developing directors in their careers. I’ve come from advertising where I worked with big names, so it’s been really fascinating to come to the other side and grow the big names of the future. It’s all bigger picture, very exciting.
Above: Priya Ragu's Illuminous, directed by Silence
What were the most challenging aspects of the job last year?
The budgets! Trying to put out stand out work with budgets that can be restricting.
Best or favourite video or videos last year that you weren’t involved with?
First to come to mind is Fiona Jane Burgess’ video for Christina Aguilera's Beautiful and Ciara's Jump by Dave Meyers. That one took me back to the 2000s. Also loved Duncan Loudon’s Your Love video for Tourist.
What were the trends (creative or otherwise) that you thought were most striking last year?
Performance videos are a big one!
What was other cultural highlight (or highlights) of the year?
Kendrick Lamar’s Rich Spirit is one of my favourites. So much considered craft to a performance video and you can see how much he’s elevated as an artist through his vulnerability.
I also think KLVDR’s Stormzy video is a major success to produce a 10 minute video in a time where our attention span is decreasing. I don’t think I’ve listened to the track without watching the video!
We need more Black female directors. There are a few, but not enough.
What are you looking forward to in 2023 – both for work and for other parts of your life?
Raising the bar for the current directors on our roster. Unfortunately, some things didn’t go our way end of last year, but I’ve seen the potential and the possibility. The resilience and attitude is also there, so I’m looking forward to what comes next.
Personal life – looking forward to going back to my home country, South Africa, for the first time after the pandemic.
Have you set work objectives for this year and if so, what are they?
We’ve defined the signings we’re after this year and we have an even more defined approach towards the sort of music video briefs we want to be taking on.
Who are the up-and-coming talents that you think will break through this year – or at least deserve to be successful?
• Milo Blake
• Lydia Garnett
And to be honest, we need more Black female directors. There are a few but not enough, so a huge focus for me is discovering those coming through and how best I can support them.
Above: Obongjayar's Tinko Tinko (Don't Play Me For A Fool), directed by Milo Blake
What is your prediction for the direction of the industry in 2023? And what will be the big trends for the year ahead?
I think visualisers will continue to be more apparent. But I hope alongside that there is opportunity to make more creative music videos.
Any other comments about the current environment for music video production and music video creativity? What are the issues that we should be most concerned with?
My biggest concern is the rise in deliverables but no increase with budgets.
I’ve struggled with the way that Whatsapp has become a way of working.
If you could ‘make a wish’, and reform or change the environment in which you work in one way, what would you wish for?
I’d wish for directors, crew and production companies to be paid as they should be for the work that they do.
Above: Lonely Cowgirl's Trouble Wanted, directed by Lydia Garnett
Where are the opportunities in the current environment?
I’ve struggled with the way that [communicating via] Whatsapp has become a way of working. But then at the same time it’s benefited producers and EPs by bringing us together and sharing questions and information which we wouldn’t have access to as easily without it. It’s good to be connected to someone so easily who can help make an idea come to life.
Have you made any personal New Year resolutions? And if so, how’s it going?
I usually do New Year resolutions on my birthday so I can track by age. Then for the years I have word of the year. This year it's 'focus' – to focus on what I need, focus on how I’m feeling and why, what is going right and wrong and areas for improvement.
• Nosisa Majuqwana is Head of Music + New Talent at Spindle
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