Female-led bands or solo artists are set to get a huge leg-up in the industry thanks to ‘ReBalance’ – a Leeds-based project to redress gender inequality in the music industry.
Successful applicants will get studio time, mentoring, expenses, and – importantly – a slot at a Live Nation or Festival Republic festival.
An apprenticeship scheme has also been launched to put women into studios as qualified engineers.
REBALANCE: ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
Every month until 2020 a UK-based female artist or female-fronted band will get a week’s free studio time with travel and accommodation as part of the package.
Those who shine will also get a coveted festival stage slot at one or other of the countries biggest events.
ReBalance will also be supporting women who want to work in sound engineering and production by offering studio apprenticeships
Industry experts will nominate a long-list and a selection panel that will meet every three months will choose both the apprentice engineers and the winning artists.
Panellists already confirmed include Melvin Benn, PRS CEO Vanessa Reed, Festival Republic talent booker Lucy Wood, and a host of others ranging from rising star Nadine Shah to the likes of Ghostpoet and Grace Banks.
There will be two chosen apprentices over the three-year programme. During the first 18 months they will work with engineers in-house at Old Chapel Music Studio and over the second half of the project = they will be the lead/co- engineers.
Melvin Benn, MD Festival Republic said: “Something needs to be done about gender equality in the music industry. I‘ve decided to be proactive in changing [the status quo] and working towards this no longer being an issue…that’s what this project is about. ReBalance will enable future and current female musicians within the industry to have the support they need to be recognised.
“Shockingly, there’s been only one UK no.1 single this year from a female solo and only 16% of UK registered songwriters are women. ReBalance may well be the answer to correcting this. It’s a project that gives a step up from start to finish and I’m also committing to a performance slot on a Festival Republic or Live Nation festival for each of the acts who come through the programme”
Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation said:
“The evaluation of our Women Make Music fund highlighted the ongoing challenges for female artists whilst also drawing attention to the lack of women working in other industry roles including the recording studio. Low representation of women in these aspects of the creative process is an obstacle for female artists as well young women who are considering a career in music production.
I’m delighted that Festival Republic are responding to this by offering new opportunities which will support female artists alongside younger women who want to develop skills in music production and sound engineering.”
Natti Shiner from Fickle Friends said: “Being a woman in a band ain’t easy. Let’s face it, guitar music is male-dominated and it seems like the wider music industry is hardwired towards men – even the fact that people often feel they have to refer to our band as being “female-fronted” feels wrong (who ever referred to Arctic Monkeys as a “male-fronted” band?!).
“This imbalance is probably most obvious in the live world. Just looking at the majority of festival line ups will show you just how underrepresented women are, something that’s highlighted time and time again in the media.
“ReBalance is important because it looks to tackle this issue in a long-term way. Rather than just sticking a few female artists on some bills as a token gesture, it will provide support for the things that actually matter to an emerging artist – studio time, travel, accommodation, practical advice etc.”
Chris Guerin – Chair,of the Leeds Music Trust said: “This is a wonderful initiative and all of us at Leeds Music Trust are really excited and proud to be a part of this fantastic and much-needed programme. We support many young and talented female artists at our studios and through ReBalance we’re looking forward to welcoming not only more talented artists from across the UK, but also improving gender diversity within our own structures, which we know is integral in this very male-dominated sector. Old Chapel Music Studios has a great history. It’s a true institution of the Leeds music scene and we’re delighted to continue our relationship with Festival Republic in what will be an exciting new chapter, delivering the first programme of its kind.”