A YOUNG man from Tynemouth is celebrating after winning a major award for managing top singer-songwriter Ben Howard.
Owain Davies received the Breakthrough Manager of the Year accolade at the Artist and Manager Awards, which were held at the Troxy in London on Tuesday.
The awards, created by the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the Music Managers Forum (MMF), aknowledge the importance of the collaborative working nature of the relationship between artists and their managers in the music industry.
Owain, 29, a former student at Tynemouth College, now known as Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College in North Shields, said: “It feels amazing. To get a pat on the back and a bit of recognition after years of hard graft.
“There are not many awards like that which recognise managers in this way.
“Ben Howard obviously has got the talent and I believed in him right from the start.”
Owain met Ben, 25, in Cornwall around six years ago while they were studying at the University College Falmouth.
He went along to one of his gigs at a local pub and was so impressed with what he saw, they began working together straight away.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Owain, an ex-pupil of Marden High School, said: “We became friends at university, we met at the beach and we surfed together.
“I just went to see his gig at a pub and I thought he was pretty amazing.
“At the start I did everything, I was like one man army. I did his PR and built him up through the surf world.
“He has went from playing for about two or three people in pubs to playing in front of 15,000.
“It’s all a bit overwhelming.”
Ben’s debut album, Every Kingdom, which has sold more than 200,000 copies in the UK, was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Prize.
Ben also attended the awards ceremony where Owain was up against a number of top managers, including Alley Cat Management, who manage Rizzle Kicks, and Zeon Richards, whose artists include north London rapper Wretch 32.
Owain said: “When I won the award, Ben was really chuffed. He was loving it.”
The awards celebrate the creative success of artists, honour the careers of those who inspire the artist and manager community, as well as acknowledge the hard work and achievements of the many individuals who support managers and artists in their endeavours.