Paul Smernicki is an artist manager based in Scotland. His CV includes co-founder of the rebooted Fiction Records, Director of Digital at Universal Music and music consultant to global brands. His management roster includes HYYTS, Jessie Buckley, George Glew and swim school and he has recently been spending much of his time thinking about Lawrence Shankland's worldy for Dundee United against St Johnstone.

Here's our recent chat with Paul to discuss his favourite campaigns of 2020 and talk about the overlaps between visual creativity and music.

I’m currently working on my small but perfectly formed roster of artists - euphoric alt-pop from HYYTS, relentlessly perfect and emotional singer/songwriter gems from George Glew, Edinburgh guitar band swim school and also an amazing and very exciting music project from actor Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Fargo, Wild Rose). Plus special shout out to friends @DasBody, slightly bonkers pop-noir from Oslo who I’m lending a hand to.


Creatively at the moment I’m loving the whole DRIFT project that Underworld did last year was great - musically, graphically, the way they released content. They’re one of my favourite bands of all time and have relentlessly done it their own way.


My all-time favourite music video is Flowered Up Weekender, the seventeen-minute version.


I’ve always loved the album art for Simple Minds Sparkle In The Rain. I remember being intrigued by its glamour and symbolism I didn’t understand but seemed important. And I had it as a big poster over my teenage bed. I still love it.


The best creative campaign this year has been Charli XCX. It made me a fan of an artist I hadn’t properly paid attention to before.


Although it feels a bit cynical using the word 'brand', the most recent brand collab that caught my eye was the Sam Fender & The Big Issue partnership around his cover of Winter Song because it's authentic and really doing actual good in the real world.


For me the most creative and original music video of the year was Fred Again’s Adam (act like). It was directed by the very cool Pip & Lib who recently made a video for one of my artists HYYTS (go and check out SOS!).


I wish I’d designed the artist logo for Red Hot Chili Peppers!


The one artist you should follow on Instagram is corto.alto for the huge jazz jams from a Glasgow tenement front room or @hyytsmusic for the pop bangers and laugh out loud fun stuff.


The most iconic music photograph is ready hard to pick...but Johnny Cash giving the camera the finger at his San Quentin show is so overflowing with seeth it’s incredible.

Creative Corner, in association with The MMF