Interview: Karl Mulgrew

We quiz our Music Business alumnus on his new venture to support aspiring music industry professionals with autism... 


Many of our Music Business and Entrepreneurship alumni go on to pursue a variety of different career paths after completing their studies.

ICMP alumnus Karl Mulgrew is one of the cohort of former music business students and a great example of the unique approach adopted by many students. Now studying at the University of Salford, Karl is busying himself preparing for a PhD and the launch of his new organisation, the Autistic Musicians and Performers Society (AMPS)

The initiative has been set up to enhance music industry opportunities in the music industry for anyone with autism. 

We caught up with Karl to find out more and how his time with ICMP helped prepare him to take on the music business as well as further study..

How was your time at ICMP? What were the most important things you learned while with us? 

My time at ICMP and subsequent lifestyle change from the mountainous North Wales to the hustle and bustle of London was fascinating.

I always enjoyed my lectures, the experience of the building. I was always conscious that at any turn of a corner or opening of a door somebody internationally famous would be right there. I always enjoyed the guest speakers too, the stories of who they had worked with or had been friends with always amazed me. It never took away the magic, but helped make the whole experience feel professional but casual at the same time, the university has the spirit of the music industry at its heart with all that industry experience bleeding out into the classrooms.

I learned lots of social skills and was able to strengthen my personal management skills as well as my understanding of the business and industry.

Previously, I'd shy away from working with others and within a group, but thanks to ICMP I learned to engage, thanks to a helpful push from my lecturers. I will always look back on my time as a pivotal point, progressing from student to a professional and academic.

What led you to study with ICMP in the first place?  

I got my place at ICMP after I met Pete Whittard at the college I was studying at (Coleg Llandrillo) while he was promoting ICMP.

I had already had my sights on another college. But despite this, I introduced myself to Pete to learn more and made myself available to him to help set up his equipment. Pete encouraged me to apply but after looking into it I was not sure I would be offered a place. I did eventually pluck up the courage and in no time at all I got an offer. I did not hesitate to accept!

How has your career developed since you studied with us? 

I have been focusing on my academia to learn the skills I need to successfully deliver this AMPS project. I have just completed MSc Project Management at the University of Salford and am now undertaking my PhD at the School of Health and Social Care there too.

My PhD is titled ‘An Investigation into the Barriers Affecting Autistic Adults Working in the Music Industry’ . It is focusing on why AMPS is important and will help support my thesis that artistic temperament shares a lot of similarities with autistic temperament and the management structure of artists in the music industry can be positive for autistic people.

How does AMPS support aspiring industry professionals in practice? 

We aim to problem solve for people who may face barriers gaining employment in the wide music industry due to elements of autism such as anxiety, misunderstanding and social communication issues.

AMPS will work with individuals to help clients manage their condition and give them coping techniques by pairing them up with an autism specialist and a music industry expert who can help them work out routes and strategies to their chosen job in the music industry.


I want to create employment for autistic musicians in the creative industries by working closely with employers to develop mentorship schemes, apprenticeships, and other employment routes for autistic people. This will help make job roles more autistic-friendly and increase overall employment rates.

I'm also hoping to connect via social media and events to encourage people with the same interests to meet up and develop their networking skills as well as having a good, relaxing time with like-minded people. These will hopefully feature a mixture of live performances, days out to iconic and potential employment companies to help demystify what each section of the music industry does.

Other events will be networking and educational events for both employers and clients. All events will have a positive impact for everyone involved and AMPS will always work with the professional music industry and autism support network to develop modules and events for the benefit of employers and clients.

Our other aims include creating awareness of autism in music and advocacy of autism in the music industry and everyday life.

AMPS wants to help create awareness of the issues an autistic person may face during employment and the workplace itself so that we can equalise opportunities for autistic people. By doing this we can improve the lives of everyone and hopefully create long lasting professional relationships."

I also want to teach specific skills and coping techniques for industry professionals through means of working with the professional autism support network to develop educational events surrounding autism and managing an autistic person in the workplace.

To do this we need employers to attend these events and work closely with us and the autism specialists. We will also be hosting similar teaching events for autistic people as well as helping educate them on the music industry and prepare them for employment. 

What is next for you and your music projects? 

The project is still active during my PhD activities and I am looking to secure more funding as well as sourcing more volunteers...

Visit the AMPs Facebook page to connect with the new initiative and their latest updates. 

Equally focused on Music Business & Entrepreneurship

The music business is an incredibly competitive environment – and over the last 30 years, ICMP has developed and refined a cutting-edge degree that now focuses equally on entrepreneurship. We’re the first music school in the UK to recognise that you need to understand not just marketing, management, finance, digital, creativity and all the structures and quirks that make the industry unique, but also how to forge your own path, create your own job, and change the future for the better. With access to ICMP’s fully equipped music facilities, exclusive industry events, masterclasses and a peerless contact network, we have it all covered.

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, email our friendly Admissions Team at or call them on 020 7328 0222.

School of Music Business
by ICMP staff writer
January 26, 2021
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