Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to the UK-based booking agent
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Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to the Berlin-based senior booking agent/manager
By Lisa Henderson on 04 Aug 2023
The LGBTIQ+ List 2023 – IQ Magazine’s third annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.
The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s third Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.
Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Check out yesterday’s profile with Roman Samotný, director at Queer Slovakia in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The series continues with Marie-Christine Scheffold (she/her/hers), senior booking agent/manager at Selective Artists in Berlin, Germany.
Marie-Christine Scheffold took the leap from fan and music collector to the professional side of the business in 2014. After moving to Berlin for an extended internship at Universal Music Germany, she decided against working for a label in order to discover the live business. She did her apprenticeship as an event manager and worked at Landstreicher Booking as an agent and promoter until the beginning of 2019. Since then, she has been part of the Selective Artists family, first as a booking agent and now as a senior agent and manager. Her roster is genre diverse – from indie songwriter to pop, dance, hip-hop, and electric guitars. Additionally, she is one of the founders of the queer feminist initiative fæmm, working towards equity and diversity in the music industry.
Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2023 so far.
Our managing directors Chris and Pese asked my colleague Anna and me to join them in the company’s management, and we have now formed a management board that collectively makes important decisions. Additionally, I am now responsible for people and culture in our company, which combines my passion for working together with people on solutions for a better work environment, with my job as an agent. I am very proud and happy to fill two important roles in our team and to put in the work!
Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
Ethel Cain! I am an absolute die-hard fan and will not only see her at Roskilde but am actually flying to Manchester for her headline show.
What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Please continue being yourself, and shine in all your colours. This industry needs young queer perspectives and people to help make it a more open and welcoming place. Connect yourself with other queer professionals, and build a safety network to fall back on if you come across any glass ceilings.
“The systematic problem behind sex offences, misogynistic systems, and queer-phobic people in power is a literal nightmare”
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
I decided against a job at a major label in my first year in the music industry and instead did an internship at a booking agency, which resulted in finding my job and passion!
In terms of challenges in the industry, what’s currently keeping you up at night?
TRIGGER WARNING. The systematic problem behind sex offences, misogynistic systems, and queer-phobic people in power is a literal nightmare keeping me awake at night. I am constantly overthinking and rethinking how we can find the first steps to reveal these misogynistic and dangerous systems in the industry and hold everyone in them accountable. I cannot accept that there is another exposure of misconduct that ends with a few headlines and slaps on the wrists of those responsible, and then they continue making money and have a voice that should have been silenced a long time ago. The time to act literally is now, and I know there are a lot of different people and great causes working on ideas, so I am hopeful we’ll provoke certain changes for the future.
How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
I have so much faith in the next generation. They are open minded, a bouquet of ideas, criticism, and so challenging. I think a lot will change regarding the endless hustle culture as the new generation is very protective of their personal time, mental health, and work/ life balance. I am honestly just curious and excited to see where we stand in five years!
“Stop the gatekeeping and find ways to open up job opportunities to young people of all genders, social backgrounds, and origins”
Name one thing you’d like to see the live music business change.
Out with the old, in with the new. I am so done with systems covering up misconduct, whether it is purely on the business side or when it comes to people’s business. Let’s please stop giving people with too many ‘-isms’ to name power and find a way to support and incorporate.
Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
Stop the gatekeeping and find ways to open up job opportunities to young people of all genders, social backgrounds, and origins. Very often I hear from young people that they had no idea certain jobs, apprenticeships, or studies existed and therefore they studied something totally different that doesn’t help them find a job in the field they are actually interested in. We need more skilled workers and specialised personnel and have to start thinking more [about sustainability].
Shout out to your biggest ally in the live music industry.
My fæmm sisters! (fæmm is a German queer feminist initiative I co-founded) You ladies build me up, give me extra purpose, and help realise so many of my ideas. We started out in 2019 with the idea of a get together, and now we not only have an amazing following but also our own radio show, podcast, interview formats, and present different event formats. The work and the team give me a lot of strength and pride!
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