‘You can’t let people walk all over you. You just have to be able to stand your ground,’ comments Naz Idelji on working for a record label where the majority of people at the top are men.

The feisty 26-year-old is a product manager for all Urban and Dance compilations at Universal Music and is responsible for many of the hit compilation albums that you have probably purchased. With a roster of the likes of Mariah Carey, Eminem, Amy Winehouse, Jay-Z and Ne-Yo, Naz isn’t short of good music to fill her CDs. In the short five months that she has held the position, she has already achieved four number ones.
‘I don’t think the majority of people understand what I do,’ she states. ‘The Blackberry starts beeping around 8am and I get into the office about 9.30am where I’ll be looking at projects and we have a general team meeting, and sales meeting. I’ll be looking at artwork or ads and tracklists or coming up with compilation ideas.

‘Everyday there’s something getting done and then there’s the boring bit of doing finance plans.’
‘What’s nice is that I create something from scratch, develop it and then see it in the shops. I get the midweek’s [a list of sales figures for albums] everyday. To see that people have actually gone out and brought what I made – it’s a really nice feeling. ‘

Harder than it looks
Free CDs and a job where you can listen to music all day sounds like the perfect job to me, and
very easy to do. Naz assures me otherwise. ‘People think it’s easy and it’s not. It’s not nine to five.
You really put a lot of your time into it,’ she says as she looks at her watch anxiously and mutters that she hasn’t got long because she has to get back to work.

With the time approaching 4pm most of us would be looking forward to winding down and going home rather than going back to the office. Not Naz. ‘I love my job,’ she chimes. ‘I wouldn’t change it for the world.’ In a country where we work longer hours than most and some people feel trapped in the rat race, it’s refreshing to meet someone who is happy with her lot and eager to climb the corporate ladder. Naz is certainly putting her Advertising and Marketing Communications degree to good use.

After studying at Bournemouth University Naz began working in Fashion PR. ‘I hated it,’ she says giggling at the memory. ‘It was a completely different world. It’s everything that they say it is. It’s bitchy and OTT and that’s just not me. I’m a little bit more chilled out. So I left and became and intern at Warner on their graduate scheme and when it was due to finish, one of the directors kindly offered me a fulltime job in his department which was Warner compilations.’

‘During my time at Warner, I worked my way from assistant to product manager. I worked on projects including Pure Garage, TwiceasNice, Cream Classics, Magic FM album, Acoustic Love, Pure Urban Essentials, R&B Love, Hip Hop Love, The Evolution of Hip Hop and many more. After two years I left Warner’s to consult on TV advertised compilations to other record labels. I consulted on many projects in the year and a half and then got asked to apply for the product manager job at Universal.’

Since taking on the role, the Persian/Russian beauty has launched a competition to find the new face of the multi million selling compilation brand Massive R&B. ‘I have also been trying to bring in new aspects to my brands. My projects are like my baby – and I do like to watch them grow.’ With that competition being a success what’s next? ‘There’s nowhere else to go. Universal is the biggest so I’ll just stay put.’

Words by Annika Allen | Photographer Azza,
Make-up, Pandemonium Make-up Artistry,
Hair, Nibras Alwasiti,
Styling, Neesha Sharma,