Gold Badge Award interviews

M Magazine caught up with Lesley Garrett, John Paul Jones and Brian Willey at the 37th Gold Badge Awards.

Lesley Garrett

‘It’s a very special day for me. It’s lovely to be appreciated by one’s peers. I’m celebrating my 30th anniversary this year, in the industry, so it’s especially poignant.

I’ve been privileged to do something I’m absolutely passionate about for all these years. The relationship between lyrics and music has always fascinated me – which comes first, who inspires who. So it’s fabulous to be here rubbing shoulders with some of these absolutely amazing songwriters, authors and composers.

I’ve really been very lucky in my life. I’ve had the opportunity to premiere or sometimes actually commission works from really wonderful composers. George Martin, Tolga Kashif, Karl Jenkins, Philip Glass. I remember premiering Philip Glass’ opera, The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, where the libretto was written by Doris Lessing. So it’s extraordinary to be recognised by the writers and to promote their works. I feel very, very humble, privileged and a little bit scared!’


Brian Willey

‘I joined what was then known as the Songwriters Guild of Great Britain when I was elected to PRS as a songwriter in the 60s. The Songwriters Guild decided they wanted an award for those in the backroom, if you like – the ones that looked after the promotion of songs such as disc jockeys, singers and producers. We thought there ought to be an award, so the Gold Badge was conceived. I was on the original committee, so I’ve seen the Gold Badge Awards from the beginning.

The first award was under the auspices of the MPA, at one of their lunches, and it’s gone on from there. I’ve always been on the adjudicating board, so it’s a great surprise to be awarded one. I never thought I’d be awarded one in my lifetime. I happened to miss a meeting a few months ago and they leapt on the opportunity. So it was a great surprise!’

John Paul Jones

‘It’s a great honour. This is the best award, really – it’s an insider’s award. It’s really nice to be recognised by the people you work with and your peers; a more discerning lot you’ll probably never find. So it’s a great honour for me.’

Photos By Mark Allan