Mighty Village is a management company, record label, film production, music supervision and music business consultancy owned and operated by Ian W Brown from a shed in rural Hampshire.
After gaining a third-class diploma in agriculture from the Royal Agriculture College in 1986, for the next 14 years Ian put it to good use milking cows, keeping pigs and growing corn while simultaneously selling line dance albums on mail order and writing songs for anyone who would listen, from Simon Cowell to Lonnie Donegan via Aswad, Eurovision and Nashville too.
He also played guitar in a series of terrible bands, including the ill-fated 1+2+ (he was the final +), performing in working men’s clubs, British Legions and the occasional wedding, as well as solo turns in folk clubs and co-owning a recording studio.
Two near misses in Eurovision; a solitary play of ‘Line Dance Crazy’, an homage to a brief but strange musical phenomenon, on BBC Radio Bristol in 1997; and Simon Cowell’s promise of “Sinitta’s next single, darling,” four weeks before his first label Fanfare went bust were as close as Ian’s music came to any semblance of success.
Undeterred, in 2000 when Tony Blair urged British farmers to diversify, Ian left agriculture and started a record company from his garden shed. Lacking funds he drew up artist contracts, helped designed album covers, promoted records to TV, radio and press, drove the vans for touring acts, booked the hotels, sold the t-shirts and delivered albums to shops and warehouses himself.
Within a year he had a #2 single with Gordon Haskell’s ‘How Wonderful You Are’ and the subsequent album topped the charts. He has since had more success with a very diverse range of artists, from Sandi Thom’s #1 single ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker’, to multi-platinum album sales with The Priests and The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Mighty Village boasts Britain’s most successful folk act, The Fisherman’s Friends, as well as Words For You, a series of chart topping albums of poetry read by among others Meryl Streep, Terence Stamp and Benedict Cumberbatch. The label has also released records by Kate Rusby, Bellowhead, Show Of Hands and The Rails.
Recent successes have included Thanks Chet, guitarist Robbie McIntosh’s tribute to the genius of Chet Atkins; Folk Fever, an album of traditional version of disco classics by The Band Of Love; and The Unfinished Violin by Sam Sweeney, in which the Bellowhead mainstay explores the music that might have been played on an old fiddle he bought in pieces at auction that had once belonged to a Music Hall performer killed in the Great War.
As a manager Ian guides the careers of The Fisherman’s Friends, renowned singer songwriter Tom Baxter, respected producer songwriter Rupert Christie and acclaimed British/French composer Ilan Eshkeri. His previous charges include co-managing Jason Donovan, Sandi Thom and The Priests, all of whom continue to exchange Christmas cards with him.
If spinning plates were an art form Ian would be a Master, a fact never more clearly demonstrated than by the astonishing, inspirational Earth Orchestra project. Using the universal language of music, one musician from every country in the world (195 or 197 depending on your politics) came together to record ‘Together Is Beautiful’, a new piece by BAFTA-winning composer George Fenton to create an album that shines a beacon for global peace and harmony. The whole, incredible, painstaking journey of co-operation and unity is chronicled in an accompanying feature-length documentary.
Ever since he mastered three chords on a guitar song writing has been Ian’s hobby and under his pseudonym Tom Gilbert he was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in 2007 for co-writing the #1 single ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)’. He also co-wrote the lead songs in the long-running West End musical Dreamboats and Petticoats and its follow up Dreamboats and Miniskirts. He has written songs for The Fisherman’s Friends, Show Of Hands, Tom Baxter, Jason Donovan, D-Side, Pixie Lott, Graham Gouldman, Henry Priestman, Simon Webbe, Drumsound & Bassline Smith and Don Diablo.
In recent years Ian has dipped his toes into the murky waters of the movies and was co-producer and music supervisor on Fishermen’s Friends, the fictionalised account of how he signed The Fishermen’s Friends to a £1 million major label record deal. He was the first person to invest in the film Urban Hymn directed by Michael Caton-Jones (Scandal, Memphis Belle, Rob Roy) that won an award at the Toronto Film Festival.
As creative and music consultants, Mighty Village helped supply music for Wild Rose, the acclaimed British musical drama starring Jessie Buckley and Julie Waters about a singer from Glasgow who dreams of country music stardom, as well as helping out a little on Finding Your Feet (Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie), The Wedding Video (Rufus Hound, Robert Webb) and Patrick(Beattie Edmondson, Jennifer Saunders). Further consultancy credits include the BBC’s Olympics coverage and major TV advertising campaigns for Boots, John Lewis, LoveFilm and Young’s; as well as its A&R and creative consultancy roster that includes Island, UMC, Decca, Virgin and Globe Records.
Ian W Brown has been responsible for the sales of more then 10 million albums and three million singles and amassed 19 gold and platinum discs. He would like to own 20, but whether he does or he doesn’t he will retire when he is 55 and open a small bakery that sells only wholemeal bread, although he wouldn’t rule out the odd white sliced. In the meantime when he is not managing, consulting, selling records or trying to make films, he can be found at least once a week performing some of his songs which have graced the charts and many more that haven’t (he can’t think why) at various folk clubs in the South West, interspersing these musical gems with tall tales from the music business, life, love and the universe, some of which will grace the pages of his eagerly awaited musical memoir/manual on how not to make a career in the entertainment business.
More info at www.ianwbrown.com