Janine Irons, MBE, FRSA, is a British music educator, artist manager and producer, who in 1991 co-founded with her partner Gary Crosby the music education and professional development organisation Tomorrow's Warriors, of which she is Chief Executive. In 1997 she and Crosby also initiated the Dune Records label, which has a focus on Black British jazz musicians and musicians from Tomorrow's Warriors. She has also worked as a photographer and musician.
Born in Harrow, London, Irons studied classical piano "with a teacher who was rumoured to have worked with [André] Previn". As a young teenager, she sang in a funk band and at 16 was offered a contract as a vocalist; instead, however, she decided to pursue a career in The City. Finding this work "well-paid but boring", she enrolled on a photography course at the City and Guilds of London Institute. It was while covering a jazz performance as a freelance photographer that she met her future partner, bass player Gary Crosby, and after helping with his band she went on to manage artists, as well as becoming involved with recording and releasing records.
Irons and Crosby founded in 1991 the jazz music education and artist development organisation Tomorrow's Warriors, of which Irons is managing director/CEO, and in 1997 began Dune Records, which soon developed into an award-winning label, with Irons as managing director. She has recalled initially having to do "everything apart from play the music! I did the photography, the liner notes, the artwork, the press/PR, the distribution… everything! However, with our third release, Denys Baptiste's Be Where You Are (1999), we decided to engage professional designers to ease the pressures on me. Again, this album received great critical acclaim and, to our utter amazement, was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, the most prestigious music prize in the UK which looks for the best releases of British music regardless of genre." In addition to Baptiste, other notable acts associated with Dune include Nu Troop, J-Life, Jazz Jamaica, Soweto Kinch and Abram Wilson.
Irons was nominated for a European Federation of Black Women Business Owners award in 1999. In 2006, she completed the Clore Leadership Programme Short Course on Cultural Leadership and, also in that year, was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to the Music Industry. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).
- "Janine Irons | Tomorrow's Warriors", AMA (Arts Marketing Association).
- "About", Tomorrow's Warriors website.
- John Murpy, "Do Your Own Thing: The Dune Label", JazzTimes, March 2004.
- "Record label PR file: Dune Records", The Independent, 31 January 2007.
- Hilary Moore, Inside British Jazz: Crossing Borders of Race, Nation and Class (Ashgate Publishing, 2007), Routledge, 2016, p. 131.
- The Independent Ear, "Black Empowerment: Dune Records" (part 1), Open Sky Jazz, 25 February 2008.
- Phil Johnson,"Music: Jazz lives, OK?", The Independent, 6 August 1999.
- Dune Records at Discogs,
- "New LIVELY UP! Festival celebrates Jamaica¹s cultural icons. 28 September-2 November", Gerry Lyseight, 3 August 2012.
- Stphen Foster, "Feature: Foster Factor", BBC, Suffolk, October 2006.
- "Lively Up! Festival Celebrating 50 Year of Jamaican Independence, p. 4.