Tipping Point's Project Assistant Rebecca Gregson travelled to London for the Music Week Women in Music Awards, now in its fourth year, celebrating the achievements of inspirational women across the UK music industry. She recalls her experience below...
After a long journey to London, I arrive at The Brewery, a luxurious venue which somehow stays hidden amongst the aggressive urban hubbub that surrounds it. An air of excited chatter fills the gleaming hallway as VIP’s filter in, gracefully accepting complimentary flutes of sparkling wine.
We are here for the Women in Music Awards to celebrate the achievements of women across the music industry in the UK. Music Week, AIM and UK Music and are our generous hosts. In an age where gender equality is on everybody’s lips, it is interesting that we feel the need for this special nod to women.
Representatives from Coda and Youth Music are my companions for the day. Their genuine warmth lasts throughout, and their knowledge of the industry is invaluable. After some enthusiastic introductions, we make our way to our table.
The introductory speeches combine praise and humour with gravity and heartfelt thanks. You might assume an all-female cast at this event, however men are definitely present, supporting their industry counterparts. The diversity of industry branches involved is astounding, but the diversity within the attendees is (unsurprisingly) not. Despite recent efforts within the music business to address equality and diversity, there still seems to be a long way to go. The audience here are, by majority, white, middle aged and middle-class people who live and work in London.
After an all-inclusive three course lunch (and a lot of wine) the awards begin. Memorable moments include Sharleen Spiteri’s ‘f**king speech’ accepting her award for Inspirational Artist, where she bravely challenges the need for a special ceremony for women. This sparks both thunderous applause but also nervous laughter, as the audience can’t decide whether or not to agree. Radio 1’s Clara Amfo won the award for Music Champion, and the Outstanding Contribution award went to Jo Dipple of Live Nation/UK Music. Businesswoman Of The Year, Rebecca Allen (Decca President), was presented her award following a heart-warming video from all her supporters including her two young children. On top of the awards, 12 hardworking women in industry were added to the ‘Roll of Honour’.
See here for all of this year’s winners.
And the Roll of Honour here.
Partners including PRS for music, Brighter Sound, Vevo, Urban Developent, Shesaid.so, and many others were also thanked. Strangely there was no live music at all at this event. None.
After the awards everybody sails downstairs for after party schmoozing. I am greeted like some strange exotic creature, “Newcastle, really…” they coo. I am an alien in this landscape.
I can’t help the feeling that many industry types have come today expecting a showbiz drinking session rather than an opportunity to network. “Follow your dreams!” they gush, “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do!” Not practical advice but uplifting none the less. They shower me with kisses, and cuddles from their flawlessly bronzed arms. As the night draws on, the selfies commence, people start to say their goodbyes, and it’s time to catch the train.
After the Women in Music awards I feel inspired and proactive, and am keen to find out more about the winners and the organisations involved. Having met some incredibly hard working and successful industry professionals, it’s clear that women are definitely breaking through the glass ceiling that has existed for so long. It’s also evident that the London bubble thrives now as much as ever. It’s time we step things up closer to home, and celebrate the amazing women in the music industry in the beautiful North.