Patron: Robbie Williams


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Samantha Parker

Samantha has worked in the music industry for 25 years, mainly in artist management. She is director of Parker Creative Ltd with her husband Ben Parker, a songwriter, producer and author. Together, they have one child. In 2015, Samantha felt compelled to make a change in direction, blending her personal journey of recovery and spiritual practice to train as an Interfaith Minister and counsellor. In early 2016, Samantha became a trustee for Music Support UK – a registered charity with the aim to help people in the UK Music Industry suffering from mental, emotional and behavioural health disorders including alcohol and drug addiction. Samantha has been the chairwoman of a national voluntary organization that supports the friends and families of addicts (2001-2004 and again 2013-16).

Chris Difford

Despite the fact that Chris has helped soundtrack so many fans’ lives since his first release in 1977, the passion for innovation and love of playing still drives him to carry on writing rather than sit back and admire his handywork. Chris recently celebrated his 60th birthday and for 41 of those years he has been writing with Glenn Tilbrook, very much the Odd Couple. When Squeeze take a break from the road, Glenn and Chris have been touring their ‘At Odds Couple Tour’. Chris and Glenn provided the soundtrack to the TV show “From The Cradle To The Grave” based on the life of Danny Baker, which then became their most recent album of the same title. All original music, it was the first Squeeze record in 15 years. Over the course of a 13 album career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Chris Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. His ‘kitchen sink-drama’ style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, while his influence is keenly felt today. The likes of Lily Allen, Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Razorlight and The Feeling have all recognised the debt they owe to Squeeze’s music and to Difford’s way with words, while journalists were moved by his winning combination with Glenn Tilbrook to dub the pair ‘The New Lennon and McCartney’. Chris first learned to stand on his own when he wrote the lyrics for the fictional band Strange Fruit in the 1998 British comedy film ‘Still Crazy’, for which he won his first Ivor Novello award. Since then he has written and contributed lyrics for the likes of Elton John, Wet Wet Wet, Lisa Stansfield and Bryan Ferry. Chris has somehow found time during all this to release three solo albums to date – 2003’s ‘I Didn’t Get Where I Am’ and ‘The Last Temptation Of Chris’ in 2008. ‘Cashmere If You Can’ was released in 2010. In 2008, super fan Mark Ronson presented Glenn and Chris with the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, while Lily Allen called them the Robert De Niro of music when they received the Nordoff-Robbins Icon Award. The lineup has been winning fans all over again with gigs and festival appearances at the likes of V, Oxygen, T in The Park and Latitude, reminding us all of the outstanding back catalogue that Squeeze possess. Chris has curated ‘Songs In The Key Of London’ event at the Barbican, bringing together musicians old and new such as Glenn Tilbrook, Suggs, Jools Holland, Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets) and James Hunter, as well as students from the local community. A second event took place in Greenwich Park in 2011 with Gary Kemp, Chris Wood, UB40 and others. In 2014 ‘Songs In The Key Of London’ took place in Regents park with Gregory Porter, The Strypes, Guy Barker Ed Harcourt and Sophie Ellis Baxter. Chris also hosts songwriter workshops and has done so for over 20 … read more

Rachael Lander

Rachael Lander is a session musician and a recovering alcoholic. She began playing the cello at the age of 8 and as a teenager was performing regularly as a soloist and as a part of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. At 18 she was awarded scholarships to all the major UK conservatoires but was becoming increasingly debilitated with performance anxiety and panic attacks that made performing extremely difficult. By the age of twenty she drank and used prescription drugs every time she performed and by the time she graduated from music college Rachael was in the grip of full blown addiction and stopped performing in the hope she’d be able to regain control of her drinking. During this time she was employed as a waitress and waited for the anxiety and self destructive behaviours to lift as the cello remained untouched. Instead her alcoholism progressed and destroyed her health, her sanity and most of her relationships. After a gruelling detox she saw a therapist who quickly diagnosed alcoholism and with the help of a twelve step fellowship and the support of her family, she began her journey of recovery. After six months or so she began performing again without her crutches of alcohol and drugs and now eight years later she is performing full time with the likes of George Michael, Alt J, London Grammar and most recently with the E.L.O at the Royal Albert Hall. After a few years in recovery she married another recovering alcoholic and they now live in South East London with their one year old son. Rachael has taken part in two prime time documentaries about alcoholism in an attempt to reduce the stigma of alcoholism and performance anxiety within the classical music profession. She has also written pieces about alcoholism and performance anxiety for broadsheet newspapers and has contributed to several TV and radio shows addressing the disease of addiction. She receives large volumes of correspondence from fellow performers who are suffering in silence, which is why she is so passionate that the music industry is in dire need of an organisation like Music Support.

Johan Sorensen

Johan brings more than fifteen years of experience in setting up and running treatment centres. He has also served as a clinical director at multiple centers around the world, including the Nour al Shorouk Centers in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Johan has launched and/or run several of the best-known residential facilities in the UK, including Life Works and Priory Farm Place. He currently provides consultancy services and interventions in Europe, Africa, the U.S., and the Middle East. He travels and networks internationally in a quest to find the newest and most effective approaches for any given population. Johan’s passion is the provision of comprehensive and top quality care using innovative and client-centered approaches. He has been an executive board member of C4 Recovery Solutions in the U.S. and a trustee for the Addiction Recovery Foundation in the UK. Johan qualified as an addiction counsellor in England in 1998. Johan now lives in London after spending the last five years between New York and Nashville.

Mark Richardson

Mark has spent 25 years in the music industry as a drummer and recording artist (Little Angels, Feeder, Skunk Anansie) 13 of them sober. Having made the lengthy transition into sobriety whilst constantly touring, recording and promoting Mark knows and understands the pitfalls of addicts needing to get sober in the music industry.

Matt Thomas

Matt has been working in the music industry since 1991. He was Head Of Marketing for Mercury, Marketing Director for Universal Music Australia, and Marketing Director at Warner Bros UK. In 2007 Matt became an artist manager, with co-management of a re-formed Squeeze and a varied roster of 6 or 7 other clients. Squeeze was the constant throughout this period and their notorious difficulties helped to shape Matt’s interest in the complex dynamics within bands and Dispute Resolution. This led him to train as a Mediator, with National Family Mediation and the London School Of Mediation, and become an accredited mediator with the Society Of Mediators and the Civil Mediation Council. Sober since 2006 Matt began to realign his career objectives with his lifestyle and left commercial management in order to focus on Conflict Resolution and Crisis Management, and in 2011 requests also began to come in for him to act as Companion/Mentor/Chaperone for vulnerable artists on tour, and as a touring Mediator, which he has been doing ever since. Matt has toured the world in these capacities with artists of all genres, ages and levels of profile. Matt is a co-founder and General Manager of iCAAD – the International Conference on Addiction and Associated Disorders which puts on events across the UK and Europe for professionals and interested parties in the fields of emotional, mental and behavioural health,  and is a community mediator for the charity Mediation Dorset.

Andy “Franksy” Franks

Andy Franks had a short musical career as a bass guitarist. Playing for a couple of years whilst slogging around the German military bases in the early 70’s. He had his 15 mins with the band The Wild Beasts – who achieved Bristol legendary status in the late 70’s early 80’s, and also getting one of their singles championed on the John Peel show. Shortly after that in 1981 he moved off the main stage, becoming a sound engineer, when he started working for a professional sound company in Bristol, Biggles Music, later named Showtec. He has worked his way though every backstage role in the live music industry, from monitor engineer, stage manager, production manager, production director, tour manager and tour director, working for over 17 years with Depeche Mode alone, and 7 years each with Coldplay and Robbie Williams. More recently he has worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Madness, New Kids on the Block, Leona Lewis and The Stone Roses. He was Tour Manager for the 3 nights of Robbie Williams Knebworth Concerts with 135,000 people attending per night, the biggest shows in UK history, and also the 150,000 people who saw Robbie play in one night in Dublin. Another record. He has travelled to over 60 countries around the world and lived at the top end of the music business with a life of 5 star luxury and private planes – a long way from travelling around in those early days, driving the truck and loading in and out the PA system. He is a multi award winning Tour Manager, having won “Tour Manager of the Year” no less than 4 times at the TPI awards, and also “Plumber of the Year” at the prestigious ILMC Arthur Awards on 3 occasions He currently says he is slowing down his work load, but runs the artist liaison operation at Hyde Park every year for the AEG -Barclaycard British Sumer Time Shows, with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Neil Young, The Libertines, Tom Jones, Black Sabbath, Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Motorhead, Lionel Richie, The Who, Stevie Wonder, Massive Attack, Mumford & Sons, Carol King, Take That, to name a few, and many many more of the Worlds top Artists, as well as looking after those on the way up and in need of wider exposure. Andy, and his wife Becky have also be instrumental in helping with the raising of millions of pounds for the Make-a-Wish foundation, at their Valentine balls in London He currently lives in Brighton and London, and is married with two grown up children, and a small angry terrier.