Review: Sound Industry – Colston Hall

SOUND INDUSTRY
Colston Hall – 30 March 2017

Words: Hannah Ryan

Sound Industry is a brand-new music conference looking to challenge and inspire people across the UK by deconstructing all aspects of the industry. The conference was held in Bristol’s Colston Hall on 30 March and took place across the whole day, inviting all creatives to join. Naturally, CHK One was one of them.

Hosted by Bristol Women in Music (BWiM), the aim of the day was to touch on topics surrounding equality and diversity; openly discussing and providing a platform for open debates between panel and the audience. In addition to examining the business side of careers in music, Sound Industry also looked at the profession from a human perspective, covering broader issues of musical diversity, equality, well-being and politics.

The programme was curated by both the BWiM and industry experts to offer a series of panels, workshops and live music through the day. Due to the time restrictions, we couldn’t make it to all the workshops and panels, but below is a run down of the highlights we did catch:

Panel #1: ‘Striving, Surviving, Sustaining’ – Unique journeys in music
Hosted by Louise Orchard, the first panel of the day discussed how to persevere and persist in the music industry due to its competitiveness and, perhaps, stigma of it being a ‘dog eat dog’ world. The panel consisted of artists Hodge, Javeon and Lady Nade as well Maxie Gedge from the PRS Foundation and Nick Harris from NRK/NERD Label Services.

The key point that came out of this panel was understanding the industry and its instability, particularly, if you’re on the rise it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stay on top. “Be nice to people on the way up because you’ll most probably meet them on the way down” was a very important message that everyone should remember.

If you’re working with the right team, big steps can seem smaller – Maxie Gedge, Communications Co-ordinator, PRS Foundation

Panel #2: ‘A Woman’s Place Is…’
Hosted by Emily Cooper from Everything Counts PR, this panel explored women’s place in the music industry. Even though there are obviously women working in the industry there is a big lack in females across senior management, according to Keira Sinclair from POLY.artists, echoed by Danielle Wade of BMG Publishing.

An interesting subject raised by artist Eva Lazarus was about the lack of effort put into ensuring female performers feel secure, from no locks on the dressing room doors to intimidating bouncers. From the music journalism perspective, Antonia Odunlami, Editor at Gal-dem and Sammy Maine, Editor at Bristol Live Magazine, both talked about how they felt they needed to work extra hard to be taken seriously in the industry. These insights help remind us that, even if you haven’t experienced these inequalities, they do exist and need to be discussed.

Women holding each other up and supporting each other is really key. Women empowering women – Eva Lazarus, artist

Panel #3: ‘Music & Mind’ – Resilience in a creative industry
Hosted by Duncan Harrison, Digital Editor at Crack Magazine this panel delved into the importance of looking after yourself in such a fast paced and busy music industry. The panel touched on the importanceof nurturing creative individuals who may have mental health problems as often, according to Artist Coach Claire Scivier, a lot of the most creative minds are also the ones struggling.  

A key note that I took away from this panel was the importance of having a strong support network behind you. Whether it be friends, family or professionals, you must have a team you can trust and can turn to. This was emphasised a lot throughout the day both on panels and the interviews. Artists Crazy P, Solomon O.B and BIMM lecturer were also a part of the panel.  

It’s encouraging to see a new generation of artists who are more aware of looking after their bodies and their minds – Claire Scivier, Artist Coach

Panel #4: ‘Creative Privilege’ – Opportunities for all?
Hosted by Antonia Odunlami from Gal-dem, this panel looked at privilege in the creative sector and whether your background slows you down on the way to achieving your goal.

In my eyes this is always the toughest topic to cover and, as in this case, there is usually no direct answer or conclusion, with the central message being only to continue striving. Most of the discussion centred around the artists’ personal journeys, rather than any direct advice, but seeking out a mentor was certainly reported to be a very helpful step. Nonetheless, there was great chat from MTV talent director Arfa Butt, Annie Menter Director of Afrika Eye, Rider Shafique, artist, and Young Echo and Dave Harvey from Team Love.

I kind of like being the underdog. It lets me prove to people that I can do it! – Rider Shafique, artist, Young Echo

Throughout the day there were also interviews with Producers Eats Everything and Jamz Supernova (BBC Radio 1Xtra). I caught most of Jamz Supernova’s interview and what struck me as particularly inspiring about her story was her persistence; she was turned down for a show at the BBC many times before finally securing her slot. Her advice was to keep pursuing your passion whether it be in your bedroom or at local radio show – as long as you’re doing it that’s the main thing.

A common theme throughout the day was to take every opportunity as it comes but never step back and expect it to come your way. Seek opportunity, work hard and continue to keep your passion alive, build a strong support network and know that it is okay to ask for help when needed.

Thank you to Bristol Woman in Music for hosting such a fantastic conference and to everyone involved. We look forward to hopefully many more!