With International Women's Day just around the corner – taking place this year on 8th March – here at See Tickets we've taken the opportunity to speak to some of the most successful and inspiring women we know in the music industry.
Whether they're booking festivals, marketing tours, playing shows or curating events, these women have unique and valuable personal experiences in the industry.
We wanted to chat with them and hear all about it – the good, the bad and the ugly! – in order to empower and encourage other female-identifying people to get involved in music.
Following on from our Q&A with Bloodstock Directors Rachael and Vicky, we spoke to singer-songwriter Annabel Allum - a DIY artist in the truest sense; starting from small beginnings with no industry contacts to fall back on, Annabel knows all too well the obstacles women in music face - from the first step of the ladder to the top. Here's her story.
Tell us about your route into the music industry:
I began my journey like most- writing songs in my bedroom, and dreaming of what felt like, impossibility. I had no connections to the industry, there is no relative that could put me forward to their mate that owns a label, and no financial backing to give myself the online promotion you now need to get heard. I took every opportunity to learn about the music world I could.
I started writing for a blog, and soon became Music Editor. It was very low key - but it enabled me to go to all the festivals I could dream of over those two years, hanging out backstage and getting interviews with some of my favourite bands. It was pretty cool considering I was only 17!
I have always had a very DIY attitude. I taught myself the skills I couldn't afford to pay out for; graphic design, video editing, guitar lessons, visuals... you name it, I was learning it! Money wasn't going to hold me back and eventually I released and recorded a four track acoustic EP, with help from my friends we had a crazy launch show in the January of 2014.
Fast forward six years and a whole load of hustle, I have an excellent team, and am beginning work on my debut album!
What does your job role entail, day to day?
Writing emails, going to shows, practicing, creating.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most, and why?
Playing live. The ability to connect with people through music has always astonished me. To create space where everyone is safe and able to be themselves, is something I longed for growing up, and I only ever found that place at gigs. It feels amazing to be able to be that for people.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Hard question! Playing Reading was a huge moment for me and the band. So was playing the BBC Stage at SXSW last year. Touring Europe on my own with Beth Ditto, was also a huge highlight. It changed my life!
Being a female artist, do you personally feel you've had to fight any battles because of your gender? How did you overcome it?
Women fight battles everyday - despite career choice. As for mine, it's the comments, the patronising, the "Wow you're so good for a girl" sort of thing. It took me a long time to know how to deal with those situations. As I've grown in confidence, I've got better at it.
The live music industry is considered to be a heavily male dominated industry. Why do you feel it is and do you think it's changing at all?
It's simple- women are not encouraged enough to pursue it. The odds are against you! I do think it's shifting, I'm noticing the change in how people address women in music now. Guys are starting to get it. Or the ones I'm around are. I hope we'll get there in my lifetime, I'd love to see a fully inclusive industry.
In your time working as a woman in the music industry, what have you considered to be your most valuable lesson?
Stop playing yourself down because they're a dude in a suit!!
What do you feel that women bring to this industry that men can't, or haven't?
A fully rounded portrayal of human existence.
Who is your favourite female artist or female fronted band at the moment?
Nadine Shah, she's a genius.
Don't miss the artist everybody's watching in 2020, Annabel Allum will be performing live at Latitude Festival on Sunday 19 July 2020. Tickets available now.
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