With Tuesday’s buoying news of a (comparatively!) women-heavy year of Grammy nominations, it seemed a hopeful time to review some resources that uplift the voices of women and minority genders in this industry. Here are 5 of the most innovative enterprises for women in music that I know of.
The F-List Directory of UK Female Musicians
Launched just this week, The F-List is a directory of women in music all around the UK. It allows you to search for women in music by category, genre and instrument, and by location, providing a comprehensive and easy way for organisers to reach women who would be suitable for a wide variety of roles. Festival organiser who wants an all-woman lineup? The F-List. Artist who wants to work with a woman producer? The F-List. You get the idea. You can add your profile to this directory for free via their website.
Find out more here.
Funding for Women-Led Projects
If, like me, you’re new to the arts funding party, then you’ll be pleased to learn there are music charities that offer bursaries to music makers and organisations every year. This is great if you need help funding the recording of an album or EP, or financing an upcoming tour. It is best to apply when you have a solid plan in mind as to how you’ll use the money, as the funds are competitive and the board will only award them if it is made obvious how it will help further your career. Music:Leeds’ initiative Launchpad offers plenty of free advice on making the most of your application, available on their social media.
The PRS Foundation are the UK’s lead funder of new music and talent development, and they have two women-only awards available.
Women Make Music – PRS Foundation
The Women Make Music Fund is aimed at women (including non-binary and trans) who are at any stage of their careers. The fund can support projects by women, trans and non binary songwriters, composers, artists, bands and performers who are writing their own music.
They aim to “break down assumptions and stereotypes within music, raise awareness of the gender gap, increase the profile of women and non binary artists who are creating new music in the UK, and encourage women, trans and non binary artists who may not otherwise have applied for PRSF funding to do so.”
Applications open twice a year, usually February and October, and you can apply once a year. A bursary of up to £5000 is available. Find out more here.
Lynsey de Paul Prize – PRS Foundation
Intended to further the development of emerging solo female artists, the winner is awarded £2,500, and 5 runners up would win £1,200. Winners and runners up will also be awarded £500 of mentoring support from an industry expert. This fund was made in memory of Lynsey de Paul, “an award-winning songwriter, producer and presenter who helped pave the way for other women writers in music.”
This prize is open to applications from “emerging women songwriters, based in the UK, who show great musical ability and promise.” This programme is not open to those who have previously received PRS Foundation funding.
This fund opens less frequently than the Women Make Music fund, but if you subscribe to PRSF emails you will be notified when funds open. Find out more here.
Yorkshire Sound Woman Network
Founded in 2015 by women working in the sound technology industry, the YSWN offers workshops and resources to enable the artistic and professional development of women, girls, non-binary, agender and gender variant people. Looking to improve your production and sound engineering skills? Find out more here.
The Indie Insider – Podcast by Babywoman Records
This podcast is every independent artist’s Bible. Hosted by Charlotte Carpenter of Babywoman Records, it is a comprehensive guide to surviving, and thriving, in your music career. Tackling distribution, publishing, PR, management, mental health, booking gigs, and more, Charlotte interviews industry professionals to lift the veil on how this world works. Her guests include personnel from CDBaby distribution, Stay Loose PR, and Sentric publishing. Providing easily accessible information is integral to levelling the playing field for women, so I would recommend that all independent artists listen to this podcast, and particularly fellow women.
Essential listening can also be found in Charlotte’s TEDx Talk, “How to survive as a woman in the music industry.” Watch here.
Make Noise Hull
Women-led collective Make Noise in Hull have been, well, making some impressive noise recently. Here’s what Katie has to say about it:
“Founded in 2018, Make Noise is a Hull-based collective of women working towards achieving equality, safety and representation for people of marginalized genders in the local music scene. In the past we’ve run workshops on zine-making, guitar pedals, songwriting and DJing, in addition to our open meeting where we consulted the people of Hull on what they need us to do to help them to feel safe and seen. We’ve also put on gigs showcasing a wide range of talented performers across different genres, often with the help of The Sesh. Additionally we worked with The Warren to run our artist development scheme with local musicians Alice Clayton and Jade Cuttle. Obviously we’ve had to take a short break from this work in 2020, but we have big plans for the future.”
“We’d like to continue working with local venues to ensure these spaces are safe for everyone, and we’re keen to reconnect with the people of Hull to find out what they’d like from us moving forwards. We’ve been using the time we’ve had in lockdown to develop as a group, ready for the next two years which we’re predicting will be very big for us. We’re also super excited to welcome onboard our new events coordinator Jenni Harrison and our new intern Lucy Tessier who we’re sure will both be great assets to the team. 2020 has been a tough year for everyone and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to continue providing our services to those who need them in 2021.”