2 Minutes With ... Nur Ozdamar, Artist & Label Development Lead at YouTube
Nur Ozdamar is an entertainment industry executive committed to nurturing artists and creators through technology and education. Originally born in Turkey, the shesaid.so Alternative Power 100 honoree has cultivated a storied, global career at brand agencies, record labels and tech companies. Currently, she's based in London as YouTube’s Artist & Label Development Lead for Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) spearheading an international team that champions the careers of 300+ artists and supporting 150+ labels.
Prior to YouTube, Nur was VP of strategy and brand partnerships at Universal Music Group in New York City where she oversaw key partnerships for the company including mass appeal and complex.
We spent two minutes with Nur to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.
Nur, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
Born and raised in Istanbul. Lived in New York for 10 years, now I live in South London.
Your earliest musical memory.
My uncle gifted me a Michael Jackson photo book and a VHS. I was fascinated by the music, the visuals, the outfits, the moves—the whole thing was, and still is, magical.
Your favorite bands/musicians today.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.
When the pandemic hit, COLORS reached out to us to do a 24/7 stream, where artists would perform on a stage in a London warehouse, and raise funds to offset the losses from Covid-related cancellations. The vision was for it to be on for 30 days, but unfortunately we were only able to do it for one day, before lockdown was announced. I was super proud of how quickly we were able to react to a crisis and rally the troops to make something with purpose happen with one of our partners. Big shouts to David Mogendorff, who I had the pleasure of working with on this one.
A recent project you're proud of.
This is more of a proud accomplishment. I'm a big fan of developing talent, whether it's artists we work with or the executives on my team. My proudest accomplishment at YouTube is the team I've built. There are six brilliant individuals—Ariel Cohen, Chrissie Niestroj, Janat Kiwanuka, Josh Holland, Julie Chavassieux and Simon Wagner—that I get to work with, every day. They take care of many music partners across the region and create opportunities for them. I'm grateful to have such a strong team that motivates me to be a better leader, that I learn a lot from.
One thing about how the music world is evolving that you're excited about.
The way different artists are building their communities is something that really excites me. As the world gets bigger and more multi-dimensional, it's inspiring to see how artists get creative connecting with their fans and the platforms they choose to do this.
Someone else's work, in music or beyond, that you admired lately.
I adore everything Tems. She and her brilliant team have a special place in my heart, and they will forever hold that place. Patiently waiting for new music and all the new projects that will come from that group. <3
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Currently listening to The Blog Era—a podcast by the most brilliant @ItsTheReal (Jeff and Eric Rosenthal). It's about a very important period in music history where blogs were the driving force in rap. So much thoughtfulness and passion went into this story that hasn't been told before. I'm super proud of them for making this happen. Highly recommended!
An artist you admire outside the world of music.
Ekin Özbiçer. She's an insanely talented artist and a close friend. I'm a big fan of how she thinks and sees the world.
Your favorite fictional character.
Tanya from White Lotus — a delicate, messy queen who was a pleasure to watch. She generously gave us so many memes, RIP.
Someone worth following in social media.
Raven Smith—he's chic and hilarious.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
Your biggest weakness.
Going too fast.
Something people would find surprising about you.
One thing that always makes you happy.
When I hear new music or watch a new artist perform live and I immediately become a fan.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Pearl Jam—Black (unplugged).
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music business.
Working in beauty or designing jewelry, which might still be a thing! :)