The tragic recent passing of music industry lawyer Richard Antwi sparked an avalanche of tributes from across the industry and around the world.
Antwi, who died aged just 38 on February 11, was a widely admired and much-loved figure who played an influential role in the development and success of a significant number of artists, particularly in the UK urban scene.
Artists he worked with in various capacities include: Wretch 32, Tinchy Stryder, Knox Brown, Natty, Lethal Bizzle, Wiley, Daley, Popcaan, Jordan Max, OFlynn, Ritual, Hoosier, Estelle, Mr Hudson, Gyptian, Jacob Banks, Yasmin and Jack Penate.
Antwi graduated in law from Oxford University and always wanted to apply his skills in the area that mattered most to him: music.
After spells as an A&R scout at Sony, a trainee lawyer at Clintons and then an entertainment lawyer at Magrath & Co, he launched Levels Entertainment, alongside Alec Boateng, now A&R director at Atlantic Records, in a JV with EMI Music Publishing. More recently, in 2013, he founded Full + Bless Management.
Here are some of the tributes paid to him in the days following his death:
David Jospeh, Universal Music UK & Ireland chairman and CEO: “I saw Richard less than two weeks ago so to hear that he had passed so suddenly was beyond shocking.
I knew Richard as so many people did – a fierce defender of all his clients, a witty and innovative thinker, a consummate deal maker, an exceptionally talented young music executive but above all these things a loyal friend. The industry and the wider world will be a poorer place without him.”
Jason Iley, chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK : “Cool , calm and incredibly considerate. One of life’s true greats.”
Max Lousada, chairman and CEO of Warner Music UK: “Richard was a great partner, a fantastic lawyer and manager and a music enthusiast who championed artists with passion and verve. He will be sorely missed.”
Danny D, founder, Stellar Songs and Delirious Blacksmith Management: “From first meeting Richard I recognized he had a special quality. In fact he had many. He was the complete package and a fellow Ghanian. Our bond was instant our chats were many and our love for music all genres of music was the exactly the same.
“We wanted the same end goal not just for ourselves but for all. For all who had that certain thing but didn’t necessarily know how to go about it or get the right advice, he did all in his power in that calm Richard style and with that amazing smile. I felt I’d found a younger brother and a friend and I am now at a total loss that he is no longer with us but I hope that everyone he touched will carry his torch and take it to that higher place, as he would have wished.”
Glyn Aikins, A&R director, Virgin: “I first met Richard 20 years ago – he used to book me to DJ at his club night in Oxford where he was an undergraduate. We were connected through music ever since, from agreeing deals for Lethal Bizzle and Wiley whilst he was a lawyer, to the present day with Knox Brown as a manager.
“A brilliant young man whose intellect, wisdom, sense of humour, calm demeanour, great big heart, spirit and passion will be missed by us all. I am honoured to have known such a dear friend.
“As an ardent fan of reggae music, I think it fitting to salute Richard in the words of Sizzla ‘Why does it have to be this way, can’t tell you to go, can’t tell you to stay’. Thank you my brother rest in perfect peace. “
Jon Platt, CEO, Warner Chappell: “Richard was one of the finest music men I’ve met. Bright, ambitious and fiercely talented, he always conducted himself with integrity and grace. An advocate for his clients, and a champion of great music, with a ‘get it done’ demeanor, Richard was loved by many of us who were lucky enough to work closely with him.
“While in London, just a couple weeks ago, I am glad I had the opportunity to meet with Richard as we discussed strategy on one of his clients that I signed. Our conversation ended as they always did, with jokes and laughter. My final time with Richard was seeing him with a smile on his face, laughing, and we hugged at the end of our meeting. I will forever be thankful for that moment. This loss is felt throughout the industry and our deepest condolences and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Guy Moot, Sony ATV president of European creative/UK MD: “I met Richard in the very early days, and whilst he was clearly an excellent music industry lawyer, it was also clear that he was no ordinary music industry lawyer.
“His knowledge of music past and present was phenomenal, as was his enthusiasm for it. He had a real passion for music that was backed up by a real understanding of the industry.
“So we struck up a friendship, and I ended up backing his company, Levels Entertainment, for a few years. I also thought we weren’t seeing enough diversity in terms of execs rising through this business, so Richard was someone I was so pleased to work with, to see moving up, making a name for himself, and demonstrating such a rare combination of incredible passion and very smart business acumen.
“We had some reasonable success with Levels, particularly with Wretch 32, and then very amicably went our separate ways. But we still worked together, of course, on various things – and we always had that shared love of music.
“This is such a loss, because Richard had a great career, but he still had so many great years ahead of him, which have now been taken from him, and us. He was a gentle guy, great to be around and I miss him a lot, I really do.”
Dumi Oburota, founder of Disturbing London and manager of Tinie Tempah: “Today is a sad, sad day. One of the brightest, hardest, most articulate, wise, warm and calm leaders of our culture has left us. Richard, you have always – from the jump – been someone I looked up to [and] bounced ideas off. Always the one to call and say well done. Like a big brother. There are not many people like you in this world and that’s why you are truly going to be missed. My sincere condolences to you and your family. You made us PROUD brother. May your soul rest in perfect peace.”
Alec Boateng, A&R director, Atlantic Records UK: “Richard was plain and simply a brilliant, brilliant man. This was a man who went from the cold hard streets of Chalk Hill estate to Oxford University and then on to make a huge dent on the music industry as a lawyer, manager, A&R, counsellor, rebel, fire starter, fire quencher, friend and so much more to the plethora of people he touched professionally. What a guy!
“I was blessed enough to call Rich a partner in business and to work with Rich was electric, risky, exciting, energising and inspiring! One thing that will always stick is that if Rich was on your side, you were going to win! Or at least always, always feel like you were going to win! 3am emails, wrestles over a chorus, one small point in a contract would be a wrestle like no other if Rich thought he was right, and he often was!
“Richard was famously stubborn, but it came from passion and a fierce belief in wanting to make a mark and do it ‘big’. I’ll move forward in life asking myself in many a situation, ‘What would Rich do?’ before my next move! Thank you for your friendship, advice, love, guidance and just being the unique and amazing Richard Antwi. I’ll miss you greatly. The memories we shared will live with me forever. I know you’re up there doing your best to A&R, manage, publish and market a Notorious BIG, Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse album all on your own!
“Thank you brother Rich. Rest In Power.”
Darcus Beese, president, Island Records: “Richard was the most descent human being I had the honour of knowing and working with in my time in music.”
Kwame Kwaten, ATC Management: “Thaaaat Richard Antwi smile… had power ….had grace ..was educated …was smart without being condescending ..made u laugh..made u think …connected people in an instant …and made you proud all at the same time..That Richard Antwi smile on impact could dismantle you from your weariest most troubled day and make you feel everything was alright. Richard often told you what you were doing right just when you needed it. He simply had ‘it’ –as managers and back room people we know ‘it’ when we see it; our livelihood depends on ‘it’, so believe me when I say Richard had ‘it’. He is and always will be King Richard! I was lucky to have seen him at Shoreditch House the week before he passed away. We hugged and joked as normal. It’s taught me to take a little more time, as it may be the last time you see someone. So thank God I stopped and hugged and spoke. Now I shout- All Hail King Richard!
Zvi Edelman, senior vice president of A&R at Interscope Geffen A&M: “A handful of times in my life I’ve met people in the music industry that I’ve actually enjoyed as three dimensional human beings rather than just sized up as potentially suitable allies.
“While everything about Richard Antwi was remarkable on its face: his intelligence, his ear, his willingness to trust his instincts in the face of institutional indifference, what truly made him shine was his overwhelming goodness.
“Richard made London feel like home to me and we were just as likely to talk about philosophy or Indian food as we were about charts or budgets. It’s not just that the music industry will be indisputably emptier in his absence, it’s that the world will be.
“Richard was also one of a handful of people who encouraged me to make the transition from entertainment law in to the more creative and entrepreneurial aspects of the music business. It wasn’t even so much what he said to me, it was more that he said to me, ‘I know you can do this and I think you should do this’ and that in him I found a relatable example of someone who had made the same leap I wanted to make, who was the same age as me, and who felt that you come to music as a fan first and that your enthusiasm helps you figure out the rest.”
Obi Asika, Echo Location Talent: “Richard was one of the most intelligent, good natured and honest men in the industry. He will be missed but his impact and legacy will never be forgotten.”
Riki Bleau, founder, Avant-Garde Music: “I salute brother Richard for his constant calm and positive nature. I will remember him best for intervening in a dispute that was nothing directly to do with him but being the good soul he was he felt it his duty to bring the two sides together to talk it through. That summed up the quality of the man he was and was simply just Richard’s way. Blessing always and may your soul rest in perfect peace, King.”
Matt Ross, Put Me On It: “I first met Richard Antwi as an undergraduate, interning at Sony Music. Immediately and disarmingly smart, his intelligence led him to law, while his thoughtful spirit led him to the arts. Rich carried with him a deep and uncommon cultural breadth, but one which he never flaunted or sank to pretence. Instead he quietly and methodically employed it, invariably to the benefit of others. Our friend Carl Fysh described Richard as ‘quietly at the centre of everything’ – a position he played with grace, humility and an unforgettable smile. His passing is an enormous loss and will be felt by many.”
David Jacobs, Partner, Grubman Shire & Meiselas: “This business of music is often a hard place to trust or know people’s intentions and motivations, even when they seem to be trying to help you. Everyone has an angle or a scam and fair enough, everyone has themselves to look out for.
“As much as possible I have tried to wade through the sea of fake friends and agendas and keep a circle of true blue people around me. People that got into this business to inspire and to be inspired and whose hearts beat purely for music and art. But time passes and the goals we set out get cloudy and the days roll into each other and into another hustle. Then something like this happens and I am reminded how rare someone like Richard is.
“I’ll never forget the first time I met Richard Antwi. His smile had no boundaries, it lit up a room. It was epic. His energy instantly made you feel elevated and he had a glow that made you want to be around him. I knew from the first moment I shook his hand that I wanted this person in my life.
“Where can I possibly start on his impact on me though? Put simply, he was the big brother I never had. He was one of the first people to look after me in my career and for no reason of self-interest that I could ever figure out. I wasn’t his family but he treated me like I was.
“We connected about music, about art, about making a real difference in the world and the people around us. We connected about wanting to be a positive force in this business and actually care about the people we worked with. Care about their business, their art and their own internal happiness and joy. And in the process have an incredible time and enjoy the ride always. We spent so many hours laughing and smiling – at studios, at shows, at restaurants, in parks, at J Sheekey: so many great times.
“His influence on me very early on, changed the way I went about how I treated people. Thinking about it these last days, I realise how much I have tried to pay forward the debt I owe him. I have tried and will continue to try and be that kind of positive big brother to so many others and give help to good people for no other reason than it makes our business (and world) a better place.
“I don’t know how many people in my life really ever looked out for me the way he did, if any at all. I am just glad I often told him how much he meant to me while he was in my life. These past few days, I’ve been looking through 50 or so email introductions he did for me, to some of the best people in our business. People I now consider friends.
One such introduction started: ‘You are both my brothers and lovers of music, it’s not what you do it’s who you are’. That sums up Richard perfectly.
“We have lost someone so special, who touched so many and we will miss him terribly. And those who did not know him should be very pissed off they never got to. He was a goddamn legend. Rest in peace my big brother from another mother.”
Jay Brown, president, Roc Nation: “With all the compassion and comfort our souls offer, we stand by our dear friend Richard, while suffering at the eternal loss of the man that was instrumental in the lives and careers of so many. There are not many men willing to share their wealth of knowledge as freely as Richard has done to lift the paths of others, and yet he did this with ease. May he rest in peace.”
Jeymes Samuel (The Bullitts), artist, songwriter, producer and filmmaker: “Richard was my business partner, my life advisor and my best friend. I would never have been able to make the all-star cowboy movie They Die By Dawn without Richard. Every single artistic idea I have executed from The Bullitts to my work as a filmmaker was with Richard’s counsel. Richard Antwi would never let me put a foot wrong. Ever.
“On the evening of his passing, Richard, Tony Tagoe and myself had dinner, going over all of the worldwide adventures we three have had together. I now feel as though a huge part of my life has been stolen from me, but I take solace in the fact that I am a child of Richard Antwi’s vision. A soldier of Richard Antwi’s ambition. And in his light, we live on.”
Adam Van Straten, Van Straten Solicitors: “I first met Richard in 2004 and his passion for and understanding of the music industry was infectious. At that time, I asked him to join me at Magrath & Co, which he did, and it quickly became clear that whilst he was a good lawyer, he was even better at finding and nurturing talent.
“I would often find him exhausted in the morning having been sat at his computer at work until the early hours identifying terrific artists and he went on to secure deals for many of them. Now when I consider recruiting a lawyer for my own firm, I always ask myself: ‘Will they be as good as Richard?’”
Soweto Kinch, saxophonist and rapper (and university friend): ”Richard was a force of nature, almost from freshers’ week. He had a vision and plan for greatness at the age of 19, whether it was putting on club nights, bringing G-Man and the 90% crew to town, or being audacious enough to invite Puff Daddy to the Oxford Union! He was always one step ahead – an Oxford student who excelled without compromising his identity, repping Stonebridge to the fullest!
“Even before he became a music mogul, he had a relaxed way of reaching out to people from all classes and ethnicities – a complete natural at making you feel at ease and the best version of yourself.
“At Uni we’d constantly talk about new artists (from Canibus to 57th Dynasty), and he was huge in keeping my cultural feet on the ground – me and all who interacted with him at Oxford knew he was always going to do big things.
“I didn’t realise until recently how influential he’s been on my own path – after Oxford we collaborated, working with artists like Natty, and Knox Brown, he gave me serious career advice. When I was mired in dodgy contracts, he’d co-sign me, and was the glue that connected me to so many iconic people in black British music. You don’t realise until someone’s no longer with you, but his razor sharp dry sense of humour, ambition, absolute focus and determination became a major part of my own psyche and I’m thankful that I got to know him. He’s still a role model to me – a visionary quietly waging a revolution.”
Barry Burt, senior A&R manager, RCA: “I met Richard through Twin whilst still a DJ at 1xtra. They had just started Levels. Rich saw something in me at the time that I didn’t even see in myself. He was great at that; spotting special traits in people. He nurtured my skills as a manager and A&R from the beginning, but more importantly, left a permanent impression on the man I am today. He was my mentor, my friend, my big brother, my teacher. He was a constant in so many of our lives and his legacy as a lawyer, label exec and manager pales in comparison to the legacy he left as friend and family. I will miss him so much.”
Adam Midgley, songwriter, producer and recording artist (member of Ritual): “After meeting Richard several times and seeing his work from afar it had always been an ambition of mine to work with him. I was lucky enough to realise that ambition over the last two years.
“As a manager, Rich was everything an artist needs – fiercely intelligent but always calm in a crisis, reassuring, hard working and devoted. He had a way of looking at things that would simplify and crystallize exactly what you where trying to do. He had a unique way of focusing on his clients’ strengths that would amplify their talent and empower our creativity.
“Richard’s taste and ears were so impeccable, you just knew that, if he liked your record – you had made something of genuine quality.
“He made me feel ten feet tall when I walked into a meeting with him, he made us all feel like we could accomplish anything.
“More than any of the above, as a friend and as a human being Richard was one of the kindest, keenest listeners and companions that anyone could of ever had. He was a teacher, a protector and a role model.
He used to call me ‘Brother Ads’ and that’s what he was – a big brother, a mentor and our dear friend. We will miss him eternally. “
Adrian Sykes, Decisive Management: “In a world filled with the ordinary, Richard was someone, bigger, better – extraordinary. A man of great intellect, wise words and wit, his ability to offer good counsel unselfishly and skill in bringing people together will be missed by us all. Like many, I had the good fortune to have known him for a number of years and it’s hard to accept that his voice will be missing from our conversations. I’ll miss his deeply, but am richer for having known him. Richard, we’ll remember you always my friend. Rest in peace Mr Antwi.”
Raye Cosbert, Metroplolis Music Promoter & Metropolis Music Management: ““ I find it hard to comprehend how such a bright star has been extinguished so suddenly. Richard’s intelligence and calm demeanour in the eye of the storm will be missed by us all. His smile lit up any room and he provided wise counsel to me on more than one occasion. I am so happy that I can say he was a friend. Go lightly my brother”
Eric Hochstein, friend and business partner (co-manager of Ritual): “Rich, you have done so much good for so many artists. Being so close with you and knowing what was planned, you were very much only on the tip of the iceberg with your career, the sky was the limit. Now you’re limitless bro.
“There was a one in a billion chance of finding someone like you my brother. You will be forever loved and eternally missed. You will always be on my mind and in my heart. I’ll always look to you as an inspiration and learn from you as I try to continue on in life. You’ve taught me so much.
“I never felt comfortable when I visited London, until I saw you. Your wisdom and thoughtfulness will stay with me always. I know you’re now smiling the way only you do and uplifting the other angels up there, the way you uplifted the people here. I hope I see you again. I love you.”
Nadir Contractor, vice president, commercial affairs, Universal Music Group: “I was fortunate enough to know Richard for many years. In that time I was hugely impressed by his achievements, and always cheered by his friendship. The things that I dream about, or thought impossible, Richard would achieve seemingly without effort. Intelligent, calm and always positive – his passing is an unbearable loss. ‘There’s a light and it never goes out.’ RIP Brother Richard.”
Paul Heard, M People: “I met Richard when he was a 21 year old intern at Sony. My mother-in-law’s Ghanian family had invited this handsome intelligent young man to a North London BBQ. Since then, we witnessed the narrative of Richard’s journey from a successful lawyer to label owning entrepreneur, not seeking the limelight for himself, but encouraging and inspiring young talent to create some musical moments that would last.
“Richard was also a creative force. He was the inspiration behind the recording of Don’t Go (Wretch 32 ft Josh Kumra) by not only nurturing the artists and writers but also having the vision to reimagine an old Maiday song, which became a No. 1 single on MOS.
“More than this, Richard’s loyalty, wisdom and generosity was a foundation in the community. He was a mentor across the board, the guy you’d go to. The best of the best as a friend. So we, who were lucky enough to know him, will find it hard to come to terms with the sad, sad loss as his life touched so many of us.”
Zeon Richards, Director, Renowned Management: “”Richard was a beacon to a generation, with an exceptional drive and determination. I will miss his intelligence, wit and charm to name but a few qualities. There will never be another Richard but I am thankful to have known him as a business partner and friend”
Alex Boateng, Marketing/A&R, Island Records: “After meeting Rich as a young man looking for someone smart, qualified and experienced to help guide my next steps (which he did from our first conversation), to get to a place where he became a friend – that alone gave and continues to give me confidence. He was sophisticated, wise, feisty, calm and the most established, anti-establishment, Oxford educated reggae & grime loving guy I’ll ever meet. What a blessing to have known him. Gonna keep asking, ‘What Would Rich Do?’”
Faye Hoyte, senior marketing manager, Virgin EMI: “As a young person new to the industry Richard was the first person I looked up to and thought, ‘I want to be like him one day’. The advice he has given me through the years has helped shape who I am today and I feel blessed that I got to work closely with him these last few years. I still can’t believe he has gone. Mentor and friend, thank you for everything you did for the scene. Always putting the music first. You will be truly missed.”
Gordon Hagan, William Morris Endeavor: “From my first meeting with Rich – when he interned at Sony Music back in the 90’s while still a Law student at Oxford – I knew he was not only destined to lead the vanguard of the unstoppable wave of change that was shaking up the industry, but that he would also become a trusted and much loved friend.
“His obvious intelligence and astuteness was, unusually, equally matched by a quiet determination, incredible creativity, sensitivity, integrity and huge personal charm. Richard always saw the best in people and gave the best of himself. He had little time for negativity and always kept his eye on the prize – that prize being making the best of every situation and opportunity.
“The people he touched profoundly is the best illustration we could ask for as a demonstration of just how much he achieved. He brought huge pride to his family and I consider myself blessed to have been able to count on him so many times as a loyal friend.
“His passing leaves a space that we all now feel a duty to try and fill – however inadequately – by following his inspiration and carrying on with the important work he started, but was tragically not allowed to finish. “
Nicky Stein, partner, Clintons: “The whole Clintons family is still in shock over Richard’s sudden passing. Richard started his legal career with us and then became a client of the firm for many years following his move into management and other creative areas. Richard will be remembered by all of us here as a warm, highly intelligent and thoughtful person who always put the artist first. He will be missed dearly.”
Dej Mahoney, All Our Business: “I knew the entrepreneurial, Oxford law student Richard from my Sony days, some two decades back. We kept in touch over the years as our lives weaved their different paths, but – as with a favourite, younger, cooler cousin – I never spent as much time with him, as I would have liked.
“Time with Rich was always quality time: his focus, seriousness of purpose and integrity never undermining his appetite for the funny angle on a situation. Although we originally had the music business in common, Rich enjoyed a rare breadth of cultural interests and I often drew inspiration from his wisdom on creative writing, as well as his wealth of thoughts on business.
“I hadn’t seen Rich for some time, but I take comfort in the fact that our last outing together was to a Dave Chappelle show, where I saw Rich laugh like never before. Long may he bask in the glow of love that his untimely departure has so sadly but so beautifully generated. R.I.P.”
Mark Rowland, Full + Bless: “I first met Richard in 2006, later he would give me my first job in the music industry at Levels Entertainment, and later we would become business partners – but more than this he was always a dear friend.
I came away from every single contact with Richard always inspired, always optimistic, always excited and always happy. His enthusiasm and energy were contagious. Richard saw the best in everyone. And when Richard saw the best in you, it seemed to bring out the best in you.
He put everyone on the same level, and would converse with a young intern with the same passion and enthusiasm as he would the boss of a record company. His generosity affected me and everyone he met in a profound way, and I know for certain that all who knew him will live their lives with some of Richard’s spirit inside them. In that way he lives on forever. Thank you for everything Richard.”
George Smith, Full + Bless: “Richard was an incredibly inspirational person who touched and changed so many lives. He was never scared to give people a chance or follow a dream. A man that could make you feel great on your worst day, I feel grateful to have been able to call Richard Antwi my friend. We will fly his flag forever.”
Jordan Max, musician, friend and client: “In life we all have dreams to believe in, but when we cross paths with others that truly believe in us, great things can happen. Our brother Richard gave hope and courage to all of us. Every moment together, emails, phone calls, and this dream we are growing, makes it hard to believe it was your time to leave. A blessing to have you in my world, grateful for all the love and hard work you invested in me. Until we meet again, I will shine in your honour brother.”
Statik, Richard’s first management client: “I received a phone call in 2004 that would change my life forever. That call was from a man called Richard Antwi. From that moment onwards he became the older brother I never had and taught me so much about life, but more importantly myself. I will miss his smile and warm demeanour, but I’m happy in the knowledge that he will always be guiding us.”
Peter Edge, RCA: “Richard was an important part of music culture. He brought his lively intellect and unstoppable passion for music to everybody he connected with. He introduced so much music and shared so much we became great friends and his passing is shocking and a personal loss.”
Tony Tagoe, film producer: “Richard was not only one of my closest friends but my Big Brother, Advisor and Angel. Both of us from Ghanaian heritage, we shared the similar family and cultural values bestowed on us by our parents.
“He was my senior at Oxford University, taking me under his wing. He was already by then an entrepreneur in music and had a strong friendship with Soweto Kinch and my fellow collaborators in what would become the Soho record shop, Deal Real. He played a significant role in every aspect of the business, giving his intelligent advice to the many musicians that came to perform. Richard had time for everyone, always calm, assured and humble.
“My transition into music management could not have occurred without Richard. He introduced me to the industry and always encouraged me. He constantly gave me the advice I needed and was instrumental in the deals we negotiated for various artists.
“We constantly confided in each other and in the late hours of the night along with our brother, Jeymes Samuel, we would either be on the phone or meeting to plan and map out our paths. His victory was ours and vice versa and we relished seeing his achievements from being the most formidable entertainment lawyer to artist manager to label executive to tech investor.
“The day he passed away, Richard, Jeymes and I had our last supper, laughing about everything that has gone on for the last 19 years. He may have left us in the physical, but his legacy will forever continue. I love you Richard and I am grateful for everything.”
And to the Antwi family, your son, brother and uncle has done you all proud. Thank you for this angel.”
Dave Calhoun, film editor, Time Out: “I first met Richard at university in Oxford and he was already a force to look up to, to admire, to love, to laugh with – in some ways older than his years and in others still a big, wide-eyed, fascinated kid (beautifully, he stayed like that).
“He was doing a law degree and running a club night on the side, and he was already a man with a plan, interested in everything, always laughing, a great storyteller, someone who loved other people (most other people! He could be very funny about those he didn’t).
“He was a massive charmer, in the most big-hearted of ways: we went to New York once in the early 2000s and he never did tell me what he whispered into the ear of the woman manning the tourist lift in the Empire State Building which made her hold back the queue and let us jump it and go straight to the top. He just smiled when I asked him what he said to her. He came with me in 2007 to Fespaco, the festival of African film in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, because he was that sort of guy: fascinated in everything going on, other people, other places, other people’s stories.
“During that trip, it was also the 50th anniversary of independence in Ghana, and he took me to Accra and his family home, and I was proud to share those moments with him.
“And that laugh, that mischievous snigger – anyone who knew him will know what I’m talking about. He was truly passionate about life and that energy and passion just make it all the harder to understand why he’s left us so young. Reading the tributes from so many people in the music world after his death has totally floored me: the love for him, the huge number of people he touched. I feel enormously proud to call him a friend.”
Ant Demby, founder, Humble Riot: “There are some people in life that you cross paths with who are so thoughtful and insightful that you know their wisdom is being passed down from the divine. The look in their eyes and their presence is so powerful that every interaction is overflowing with substance and you walk away full. Rich was one of those people.
“We initially met via our work in music but truly connected on our values and belief system. We had long talks and laughs about being artist managers and we traded best practices on making life more fulfilling. He always saw the bigger picture and was a constant reminder to lead with integrity and follow your heart regardless of the consequences. The last time we spoke was one of the most mind blowing conversations that I have ever had and I feel extremely blessed to have had the time with him that I did. He will truly be missed.”
Jon Mcildowie, Festival Republic: “Richard is that rare breed, meticulous and professional about the business and passionate about the music. A true supporter of new artists, he treated everyone with the same respect and time from a young kid with a demo to the head of a major label. He built businesses and careers in a way that few people can and always with a smile. We are a lot worse off without him.”
Aaron Hercules, Homemade Management: “He brought energy and excitement to everything that he did with a big smile. He was a great talent finder and very knowledgeable. And let’s not forget he always looked sharp.”
Erica Grayson, manager/consultant, president of Made Famous: “Richard Antwi was my friend. Such a pure heart and giving spirit. This is a loss to anyone that knew him. I’ll miss his infectious smile the most”