If you’re not familiar with the music industry, or the Irish music industry in particular, then you’ve probably never heard of Johnny Lappin. But you’ve certainly heard of the people he’s been associated with and partly – or largely responsible for – names such as Clannad, Hozier, and Celtic Women are internationally renown, and Johnny has certainly had more than a small hand in their success, as well as in that of many others.
There’s also the small matter of the music publishing business in Ireland, including IMRO, of which he was a founding board member. Before Johnny Lappin, Irish artists weren’t getting a fair deal in terms of what money was owed them, because there wasn’t a stand-alone music publishing company dedicated to Irish artists, and music played in Ireland – it had previously been run out of the UK, so naturally the focus wasn’t on Ireland, and there wasn’t the grassroots knowledge of the Irish music industry.
So now, as he says in the foreword, and in answer to the question he’s most often asked, “how did you get into the music industry”:
“I’ve decided to write this missive in answer to that question and to set down this account before I’ve forgotten all the stories and characters I’ve encountered along the journey.”
There’s a lot of name-dropping, but it’s done in a humble fashion, and it’s all part and parcel of Johnny’s day to day life. You get an idea that this humility is part of how he’s managed to do so well in his career – he’s maintained that sense of wonder and at the same time, a spirit of adventure, and somehow a sixth sense to know when to move on to the next phase in his career. And what a career it’s been! Starting out in bands, Lappin moved into music promotion, and then into music publishing. He’s served as we said on IMROs board, he’s lectured at MIX (“Music Industry Xplained”, founded by his daughter Suzanne and now overseen by Hotpress Magazine), and all the while, he’s been squarely in the corner of Irish musicians and songwriters, fighting for their rights.
‘In A Lifetime – From Hozier To U2’ is 18 chapters of incredible writing, that will hook you right from the word go. Lappin suggests he’s not a natural writer; but he’s certainly got more than a story or two to tell, and he shares them in a compelling fashion, educating the reader along the way. It made us wish we’d been able to do MIX when he was lecturing.
‘In A Lifetime – From Hozier To U2’, is available from Amazon, and in bookstores from today.