The classical agent who used to be a pop star

The classical agent who used to be a pop star


norman lebrecht

November 01, 2013

Friends have been telling us about the life and death of Matt Fretton, whose death we reported yesterday. Matt was a boutique agent who devoted his life to managing the careers of Alina Ibragimova, Natalie Clein and two or three others. He never wanted to be big. He just wanted to help artists be themselves.

He knew how because, in the 1980s, he had been a pop star who appeared on the cover of Smash Hits magazine and on the BBC’s Top of the Pops.

matt fretoon smash hits

Matt gave up that world to return to his classical roots. Six months ago, he decided that he’s had enough of being an agent and went back to writing songs and making films, some with his partner, the photographer Sussie Ahlburg. They bought a house together in Suffolk, a country place for quiet contemplation. Then, in August, Sussie drowned while out swimming in Hampstead Pond, apparently of a heart attack. She was 51.

‘Matt could not go on without Sussi,’ says a friend.

The tributes that we hear describe Matt as a deeply sensitive man, remote from the machinations of the music business, attuned to the inner needs of his artists, of his friends, and of his own, dark, inner voice.  He will be widely missed.


  • Janey says:

    So sad.

  • rolfgupta says:

    Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself.