Featured Image: Dream Wife by Sarah Piantadosi
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, many artists have spent their time in lockdown focusing on what they can do to give back. We’ve picked some of our favourite examples, in which those in the industry have taken steps to support others while encouraging their fans to do the same. From the dynamic alternative-rock duo Nova Twins to Scottish singer-songwriter Kerri Watt, we’ve selected various figures and organisations that have each contributed to a different cause. Ranging from raising awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement to supporting women in the industry, and helping in the fight against human trafficking- each is tackling issues that affect every aspect of society.
London-based rock duo Nova Twins are annihilating stereotypes, with both their music and social activism. Brazenly outspoken on the issues that matter the most to them, Nova Twins have utilized their social media to encourage fans to keep supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. The duo has previously voiced their dissatisfaction of the underrepresentation of women, and particularly women of colour, in the punk scene. Determined to make the industry more inclusive, Nova Twins created their ‘Voices For The Unheard’ playlist, which features a range of POC alternative artists. They have also started a podcast of the same name, to involve and shine a light on ‘POC who are absolutely slaying it in their industry’. In their first episode, they talked to singer-songwriter Connie Constance, Rock/Metal TV Presenter and Kerrang! Radio Host, Sophie K and lead singer of The Noisettes, Shingai. Recently, they also had an interview with NME, which discussed racism within the music industry- their statement, ‘being black women doing punk music is political’, became the powerful headline of the piece. Following the release of their debut album Who Are The Girls?, they were due to play Glastonbury this year- proving how successful artists like Nova Twins can be, while defying the expectations of others.
Come Play With Me
Music label Come Play With Me have recently been supporting artists by releasing a compilation album, showcasing some of the best talents from the city of Leeds in the UK. Created to aid musicians who have lost out as a result of COVID-19, all profits made from the Come Stay With Me LP, are being split between the artists who have contributed. The women and female-led bands on the album comprise of Team Picture, Jasmine, English Teacher, Dead Naked Hippies, Magick Mountain, Her Tilted Moons, Maya Kally and Talkboy. A Crowdfunder was started, so others could financially contribute to making the compilation a reality, with eco-vinyls of the album becoming available earlier this month. However, Come Play With Me are not stopping there, recently they have also asked for women, people of marginalised gender and lgbtqia+ artists to submit their music for their next album. As well as being featured, all of the artists selected will be given access to mentoring sessions. This would be with a professional, meaning they will have the chance to talk over various aspects of the industry, such as production, working with promoters and earning money from music. If you would like to support the work that Come Play With Me do, you can become a patron from £1.60 a month, aiding the enterprise in offering more opportunities to artists and creatives.
Indie rock band Dream Wife has been making a splash in the industry, with the release of their second album So When You Gonna…. Only two weeks ago, the album placed 18th in the UK Official Charts, 2nd in the UK indie chart and 3rd in the UK vinyl chart. An important achievement, as at the time of this happening, it was the only album in the charts produced by a womxn and the only one on an independent label. When curating the album, each of the decisions made by the members of Dream Wife was significant, as they felt it was important to practise what they preach. The production team was therefore entirely female-led, consisting of Marta Salogni, Grace Banks and Heba Kadry. There is no doubting Dream Wife’s commitment to supporting other women in the industry, as not only did the album have an entire team of women behind it, but they also brought awareness on social media of how less than 5% of records are produced by women. Its facts like these which those with a platform need to be spread awareness of and highlight the lack of women in certain sectors of the industry. In addition to their outpouring of love for the women who have helped in creating this album, £1000 of the proceeds were donated to Black Minds Matter and Gendered intelligence. Dream Wife are allies to all those marginalised in the industry, their actions speak for themselves, making them more than deserving of the chart success which they have had.
Scottish singer-songwriter Kerri Watt has been showing support for the human trafficking charity, ‘Stop the Traffik’, during the entirety of July. Every day of the month, Watt has been selling her own vintage, high street and designer clothes through Facebook and Instagram to raise money for the organisation. Some of the clothes have even been those which she has worn for live performances, single covers and music videos- making this compassionate act a real treat for her fans too. The sale has been on each night at 7 pm and will continue until July 30th, therefore concluding on ‘World Day Against Trafficking in Persons’. A third of the overall profit goes to the charity, whose aim to bring an end to human trafficking is a cause she is passionate about supporting. The singer has also had more good news for fans, as she announced the release of three new EP’s over the coming months. Watt is calling them ‘Chapters’, with each focusing on different genres that inspire her songwriting. The first is aptly titled ‘Chapter 1’ and will focus on country music. The first track from the EP, ‘Jessie’, will be released tomorrow.
Self-proclaimed ‘Music Industry Gal’ Lucy McCourt, has actively been doing her bit for artists during the pandemic, by selling merchandise to raise money for the ‘Save Our Venues‘ campaign. McCourt has been selling lighters and posters, with all profits going directly to helping maintain the UK’s grassroots music scene. The Music Venue Trust began the initiative to prevent the permanent closure of hundreds of grassroots music venues across the UK. The hashtag #saveourvenues trended globally, as local communities were asked to act. Celebrities, musicians and the general public have endlessly shared the operation, in an attempt to allow UK music venues to thrive once more. Crowdfunding over £1 million, their goal is to reach £1.5 million, as government support has been depleted. A writer, promoter and founder of Into The Grooves magazine, women like McCourt are one of many reasons why the music industry prospers in the way that it does. Her work is exceptional and when live music has been in a dire time of need, she has been there to support and do all she can to prevent venues from diminishing.