Wolverhampton Literature Festival: Martin Davies - The Million Pound Drop - review
Martin Davies – The Million Pound Drop: How I Almost Made It In the Music Industry, Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
A terrifying fall from the roof of a house set Martin Davies on a new, safer career path which would see him managing one of the region’s most successful singer/songwriters.
Martin has a fascinating tale to tell from his life growing up as a ‘working class boy’ in Moxley to a music mogul managing Ivor Novello award winner Scott Matthews.
His road to success is documented in his book The Million Pound Drop: How I Almost Made It in the Music Industry which Martin shared extracts from at the city art gallery.
Stories from the book included his days working in a Moxley bakery, to a poorly timed joke at the expense of Island Records bosses to rejecting a deal with Columbia Records because they failed to fulfil a promise of ice cream.
But as well as reading from the book, Martin gave lively accounts of his ten years in the music industry which started when he fell 26ft during his time as a roofer – and escaped with just a broken metatarsal bone in his foot.
“It was an epiphany,” he explains. “I could not believe I had fallen 26ft from a roof and only had a broken foot.
“I thought I am not really enjoying this, I need to take my music more seriously. I need to focus.”
Martin was in a band and talks about his own experiences as a musician before discovering Scott Matthews by chance when he supported a Smiths cover band at the Robin 2.
Shortly afterwards he met Matthews while DJing at the Little Civic. The singer brought in a tape of what was to become his debut album and Martin took up his cause.
He managed to get Zane Lowe to air one of Matthews’ songs and ‘it went crazy, it was a tidal wave, the phone did not stop ringing.’
Stories from his time in the industry include meeting a seemingly miserable Ray Davies of The Kinks, his hero Cat Stevens and Nick Cave.
A question and answer session saw Martin field various questions about the state of the music industry today and his personal sadness at the saturation of music through social media and downloads at the expense of vinyl and CDs.
Martin offers an interesting insight into the music industry through the eyes of a working class Black Country man.