Interview: Luana Pires

We catch up with the latest recipient of the Ace Accelerator @Bureau initiative... 


Congratulations is in order for Music Business and Entrepreneurship graduate Luana Pires on being the latest recipient of the Ace Accelerator @Bureau . 

As part of the award, Luana and her business Aguaia will benefit from office space at the Bureau in the Design District alongside mentoring opportunities from ICMP's Ace and developer Knight Dragon's Richard Margree. 

The venture is currently working with rap artist Slicko on his debut album and Duque, an emerging talent with new material due in 2023. 

With a crowdfunding campaign due to launch to fund Slicko’s album, we caught up with Luana to learn more about her and her business…

Well done on winning the support from the Accelerator - what led you to apply? 

Thank you so much; from the moment I learned about this opportunity, I immediately understood its value and how winning would propel, not only me, but everyone else associated with Aguia towards a sustainable business career. 

Opportunities like this don’t come around often and it is exceedingly difficult to obtain a physical space to work as a young mind in business or as a starter, let alone a physical space inserted in a creative hub such as the Design District." 

Winning this means my business will gain not only credibility but access to valuable resources. 

How will this help your business/career?

My team and I are exceptionally excited to be a part of this community and meet all of the amazing people working in this independent-minded space. We are beyond appreciative of this opportunity and can’t wait to kick off the work at an even quicker pace. 

The fact that Aguia now has a solid ground to stand on will help us achieve favourable deals. Even from a realistic point of view, I am an entrepreneur in a high demanding industry as a young woman; and although we don’t like to talk about it, it is an unfavourable setting for attaining respect from more experienced professionals, especially since we are conducting a heap of B2B deals. 

The office space shows that I am capable of achieving and that my age or gender shouldn’t matter. Having a mentorship relationship from two incredibly connected individuals such as Ace and Richard Margree are dreams come true and we will definitely make the best out of it!

Could you talk a little about your business venture? What is it all about? 


Aguia Music Management Group Ltd is a newly incorporated company specialising in the management of music artists. We currently represent two emerging acts. Slicko - a London-based rapper; and Duque - a London-based blues singer-songwriter. 

At Aguia we are all about the vision. We understand the importance of having a coherent plan and supporting our artists in both their professional and personal lives. 

We are an artist friendly company with the goal of providing the necessary tools for them to be as happy in their personal lives as they are in their professional lives. We distinguish ourselves from other management companies by providing a creative approach to business and caring for our artists as much as they care for their business and art. Therefore, we have been in contact with a company called Blue Rhythm that provides mental health support to artists from former musicians who are now qualified clinicians. 

How did you find your way to ICMP? 

I always knew that I wanted to work with music, but was also aware of my passion for entrepreneurship. In Brazil, where I was born, and Portugal, where I attended school, the option for music industry business courses wasn’t available. I also knew I wanted to study outside of Portugal and always wanted to go to London. When I found out that Music Business courses were a widely available option in the UK and other countries, I started looking at courses and ICMP online via a university directory. 

How were your experiences studying with us? 

I loved my course! Every module and tutor. I found really interesting and well-rounded.

The entrepreneurial aspect sparked an interest I already had, but made it shine and glow as never before. To some extent I believe that this is where the interest of opening a company came from, which brings me to where I am right now."

From day one, I enjoyed the module topics and was always the first one to say that I couldn't have chosen a better course for myself.

What have been the most important things you’ve learned while with us? 

It was clearly shown to us that the music industry or any other creative industries are challenging to achieve success within. However, the great mentoring from our tutors inspired us to persist. 

I went through many difficult moments whilst studying at ICMP, especially since the delivery of the course was mainly during pandemic. I applied many of the things I learnt, always with the support from my tutors and course leader. I was determined and worked with passion, which were things my tutors always valued, highlighting that with both of these things there is nothing you can’t achieve. 

It brings us back to the topic of how successful the new entrepreneurial module in the course was. It taught us a lot about passion and determination. We also had a module that sought to form an interest for Personal and Professional Life Balance. Which, not surprisingly, are topics that are very constant in my life and that I have great devotion to, brought up by ICMP’s module. The path to achieving such balance was already present in my life, but was well confirmed by the ICMP's modules and support.  

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far? 


At a personal level, I have been dealing with a few ongoing issues that I would prefer to keep private for now. I understand the necessity for relatability and do intend to share my personal challenges with a wider audience once these have been resolved. Naturally, dealing with ongoing personal troubles affects the capacity of one’s work; however, I am very grateful to say that even though these have been difficult to deal with, I have been able to maintain a viable and separate relationship with my personal and professional life. Which is also something ICMP has invested in teaching us. 

In regards to challenges I have faced at a professional level, I would actually say that the company has been running very smoothly within its possibilities; a big challenge that I believe affects many entrepreneurs is the financial return of your time and investments that go into the business. Up until this moment, I have been and still am a self-funded entrepreneur. Which means that I need to work double the amount of time for these financial efforts. This is even more complicated since we offer a service and not a product, so it isn’t immediate, especially in the artist management side of the business that requires you to work and invest in order to achieve a sustainable income. 

To deal with this specific challenge, I have been working with Festival Republic during the summer in various roles at major festivals across the UK. 

This line of work is tough. We are required to work 12 hours daily with no days off while onsite and I have been 'on the road' since May this year and working with Aguia's projects after my shifts. Fortunately, I have been able to form and maintain sustainable connections with many influential professionals and higher-up employees, which has allowed me to have some perks. Right now, I am writing this from an onsite office at the Reading Festival after a 12-hour shift. 

I am happy to say that, even though these challenges have arisen, I am aware that it is a part of succeeding in this industry and in life. I am happily persisting and am determined not to fail, so even when these troubles emerge, I am prepared for it. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring music professionals looking to launch their own ventures? 

During the time I was thinking about Aguia, I couldn’t tell how we differentiated from others. Even though I had thought about it well and had a business plan.

If I could go back in time and give advice to myself, it would be to trust myself more." 

At that time, it was very difficult to understand how special my idea was. I believe that if you are thinking about launching your own business, you should:

  1. Think about it well
  2. Create a coherent business plan
  3. Believe it, because the moment you achieve that little believing yourself step, you will always achieve higher, because you believe you can go higher. 

Set goals, work hard, connect, concentrate and adapt. 

What’s next for you and your business?

I believe that all of the work that I have done with Festival Republic and with the Underworld Release Party really made me want to stay in the live music industry. I love live music and genuinely always shed a tear of gratitude every time I go to the arena for the first time after we open an event. 

Consequently, one of the goals for Aguia Music to achieve in the next two years is to officially expand into the live music and event promotion business.

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 Jim Ottewill
September 17, 2022
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