What Got Us Through 2020? Jack Franklin, Alex Gordon, Andrew Dudman, Simon Gibson, and Catherine Smith

27th December 2020

As we reach the end of what has been a particularly difficult year, we asked the Abbey Road team to look back and reflect on a few of the things that have helped them get through it. From their favourite album to the best thing they’ve learnt to get through the challenges of 2020. In part two we hear from Abbey Road’s Jack Franklin, Alex Gordon, Andrew Dudman, Simon Gibson, and Catherine Smith.

 

Jack Franklin – Head of Events

What is one single that helped you get through the year?

During the first lockdown, I found a song called Tezeta, by Mahmoud Ahmed (a Spotify suggestion) and it absolutely was a major part of keeping my mood up during lockdown. It’s nostalgic and warm, but also felt contemporary and it did that thing that music can do sometimes, it transported me out of my back garden to somewhere far away. Exactly what I needed during the lockdown.

What is one album that helped you get through the year?

I think probably, the only album I listened to in full was Mac Miller, Circles. We hosted an album playback of it late last year before the world turned upside down and I found myself returning to it throughout this year. Apart from that, Spotify playlists have become my new albums. It probably reflects my shortened attention span after a year of working from my kitchen much more than I’d choose to.

Which new artist/band are you most excited about for 2021 and why?

The first gig I’ve got tickets to in 2021 is Altin Gun at Earth in Hackney on 18 May. Assuming it happens, it’s going to be one of those moments that signal the beginning of the end. And you can’t get more exciting than that.

What’s the best thing you’ve learnt to help you get through the challenges of 2020?

For me, it’s been important to keep as much recognisable structure in my life as possible. Working ‘normal’ hours (even when working from home), taking time for breaks during the day, exercising and trying to be disciplined about stopping and switching off when the day’s over – they’ve all helped. The other thing I’ve gained has been a renewed appreciation of how much I love my job – social gatherings have been largely illegal for the best part of a year now and without them, the world has lost a bit of its usual colour. The idea of hosting that first event in 2021 (whenever it comes), where people can safely and confidently get together again to participate in something communal has kept me going throughout 2020. Bring on 2021…
 
 

Andrew Dudman – Senior Recording Engineer

What is one single that helped you get through the year?

Given that much of the first half of the year was spent parenting, once the Trolls World Tour film was released in lockdown I must have listened to the Single Just Sing hundreds of times.

What is one album that helped you get through the year?

Again, the Album that helped most was the Trolls World Tour Album – Songs from it filled our Spotify - 5 most played songs of the year and my 3-year-old, declared he loved Rock music after hearing it a few times.

Which new artist/band are you most excited about for 2021 and why?

Halle Bailey. She is the younger half of the RnB due Chloe x Halle alongside her sister and just before lockdown I had the pleasure of recording her as part of an upcoming project. Halle has such an amazing voice and musical talent.

What’s the best thing you’ve learnt to help you get through the challenges of 2020?

I would say that being able to accept the change that is completely out of your control is extremely helpful in managing your response to the Challenges of 2020. Try to have a positive focus on the parts of your life that you are able to influence. It's very possible that the lifestyle of a Studio Engineer helps manage these challenges better than most careers!
 
 

Alex Gordon – Mastering Engineer

What is one single that helped you get through the year?

Over by Al Wootton.

What is one album that helped you get through the year?

Healing Is A Miracle by Julianna Barwick.

Which new artist/band are you most excited about for 2021 and why?

Anz and Hagan – both consistently making the kind of music I want to hear in clubs when they reopen

What’s the best thing you’ve learnt to help you get through the challenges of 2020?

Crack your eggs into a sieve and strain out the excess liquid before you poach them. Makes them hold together much better. Thanks Nigella x
 
 

Simon Gibson – Mastering Engineer

What is one album that helped you get through the year?

One Album - After Silence by VOCES8. A double album containing some fabulous singing from a top vocal group, all themed around the way that music can voice the inexpressible.


What’s the best thing you’ve learnt to help you get through the challenges of 2020?

Best thing I've learnt to get me through the year - online Zoom choir meetings and creating a series of recordings made in isolation by my church choir.

I've had to learn to do a bit of video editing for these which has been fun too. The recordings have helped to keep the singers engaged and to give pleasure to our online congregation in lockdown. We are all back together now, singing in church and preparing for our Carol Services this weekend. Happy Christmas!
 
 

Catherine Smith – Head of Retail

What is one single that helped you get through the year?

Needed some fun to lift the moment, so Head and Heart by Joel Corry ft MNEK, such a summer tune!

What is one album that helped you get through the year?

During lockdown like many people I relistened to my old albums, and his story telling is so crafted, it takes you away from real life. Ten Summoner’s Tales by Sting, but all STING!

Which artist/band are you most excited about for 2021 and why?

Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia – I loved listening to her songs this year and her lyrics are empowering.

Also, Celeste, as her voice is stunning, and when we saw her at the UMG event, she was the one I remembered. She had something vulnerable and powerful at the same time.

What’s the best thing you’ve learnt to help you get through the challenges of 2020?

I think I rediscovered the art of listening. You use it all the time in retail and it’s a real skill. If really you listen to people and give people time to respond and open up, they feel valued. When everything just stopped I reached out to friends and family who were alone, or just not coping and it really helped them. That made me feel that I was able to give something back, and I then felt better. Something so simple makes such a big difference.