Kanya King CBE
Kanya King CBE is an internationally recognised entrepreneur and innovator in the British music industry. As CEO and founder of MOBO Organisation, Kanya is the dynamic force behind the MOBO Awards. An inspiring speaker, Kanya brings critical business messages to life, underpinned by a determination to succeed and an infallible work ethic.
Kanya King is the CEO and founder of the Mobo Awards, she is an entrepreneur and one of the UK’s most recognised business women; she is a powerful and inspiring keynote speaker.
In 2015 Kanya was honoured with an MBE and was presented with the NatWest Everywomen Ambassador Award in recognition of her entrepreneurial ambitions and commitment to advocating female leadership.
2016 saw Kanya receive a Lifetime Achievement Awards from the IOEE at the House of Commons, an award which recognises her long-term commitment to the music industry and years of brilliant, creative work.
Kanya grew up in a large family and was the youngest of nine children, throughout her childhood she listened to black music and found it to be inspirational. Kanya attended Goldsmiths College, London where she studied English Literature; during her studies Kanya would set up music nights in order to emphasis the popularity of music of black origin.
Her idea for the Mobo Awards developed while she was working as a researcher for a TV production company. She knew that there was a need for an awards ceremony that would acknowledge and celebrate music of black origin. In order to get the Mobo’s up and running, Kanya had to get sponsors and convince TV networks that these awards were worthwhile sharing with the public. Kanya’s dedication to her idea was evident when she re-mortgaged her house in order to launch the first Mobo Awards show, which she organised in six weeks with a production crew, sponsors and famous names from the music industry attending.
The show was a huge success and was attended by the Blair family, Lionel Richie and Gabrielle, amongst others. The Mobo’s have since become an annual event and are considered to be one of the UK music industry’s highlights of the year. Kanya made the decision to move the Mobo’s to Glasgow where they have been well received.
Kanya was acknowledged by the Queen for her hard work when she was invited to stand beside JK Rowling and Cherie Blair at Buckingham Palace in order to celebrate outstanding achievements by British women.
She has appeared on ITV’s programme ‘Fortune-A Million Pound Giveaway’ as one of the Fortune 5, she also had a three part series on CNN looking at her journey to set up the Mobo Awards. In 2009 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Leeds Metropolitan University and she is also a Patron of the Horniman Museum.
Away from the MOBO Awards, Kanya co-founded ‘DanceStar’ – the global dance music awards platform, she helped develop the concept across three continents.
In 2018, Kanya was once again recognised for her achievements and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to music and culture.
Kanya has spoken for companies such as HSBC, Morgan Stanley and the Scottish Institute for Enterprise. She also became part of the Inspire and Mentor Campaign for Marie Claire. She has also been awarded several accolades, such as being listed in Debretts 500 list in 2016 and as one of the Evening Standard’s 1000 most influential people.
The determination that Kanya has shown throughout her career is enough to inspire any audience, her experience creating and organising one of the UK’s biggest events in the music industry has led her to become an accomplished business keynote speaker.