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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Steven Braines, He.She.They

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, starting with Steven Braines, co-founder of He.She.They, based in the UK.

 


Steven Braines
him/he/his
Co-founder, He.She.They
London, UK
brainzo@theweirdandthewonderful.com
Linkedin.com/in/stevenbraines/

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
In terms of He.She.They, being the first events brand to ever be taken on by William Morris this month is insane. Last year, nearly 2 million people tuned into our Global Pride Stream with Beatport, and in 2022 we’ll hopefully be diversifying dance floors in 20-30 countries. We’re talking to buyers from China to Brazil and we’re still 100% independently owned by Sophia Kearney and I, which feels like a result in itself.

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
One of the ways I had to act was that I wanted to be the best manager and best promoter, not just the best queer one. It’s a different mindset and one that gets me over the imposter syndrome, most of the time, and away from glass ceilings. If you treat a difference as a USP rather than a weakness, you will go further as others will view the difference in that way too.

“I wanted to be the best manager and best promoter, not just the best queer one”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
I literally had people tell me to be “less gay” or to “tone it down because the client is a man’s man”. So, all kinds of nonsense. I don’t pander to bigots; they simply do not get to work with me or my clients and, to be honest, you can be successful and bypass them. Our clients work in 40+ countries, selling out shows and winning awards, so we’re living proof.

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
People should celebrate difference rather than thinking of anything that deviates from cis, straight, white and male as some kind of problem to be overcome or feared. Our line-ups with He.She.They. are inclusive and intersectionally diverse. It’s really easy because talent and ability are spread diversely, too, and if you book based on talent, diverse line-ups naturally occur.

“The gatekeepers need to be more diverse to allow talent supported to become more diverse”

A cause you support.
The closest to my heart is A Doll Like Me who make dolls of kids with limb differences and other differences so that they can play with a doll that looks like them and they don’t feel othered. Click here for A Doll Like Me’s Gofundme page.

What does the near future of the industry look like?
I think we’ll bounce back. Though some faces and venues may have changed, some talent has kept building over lockdown with streams and releases like Maya Jane Coles or Syreeta. Our own He.She.They instagram following almost tripled over lockdown.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
The reason more cis, straight, white men play festivals and get signed to record labels is very much related to the fact that the majority of A&R’s, agents and programmers are also cis, straight, white and male. The gatekeepers need to be more diverse to allow talent supported to become more diverse, and, in turn, the audience would broaden too. We found that first-hand with our He.She.They events and label releases.

 


Subscribers can read the Pride edition (issue 101) of IQ Magazine now. Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month.

LGBTIQ+ List 2021: This year’s queer pioneers revealed

IQ Magazine’s highly-anticipated LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – the first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – can now be revealed.

The landmark list is the jewel in the crown of IQs first-ever Pride edition, which was published on Monday (28 June) and followed by our Loud and Proud agency-curated playlist.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

The inaugural cohort comprises agents, promoters, COOs, CEOs, event producers, wellness specialists, tour managers and more, all of whom identify as LGBTIQ+ and, in the face of adversity, have made enormous contributions to their respective sectors.

“IQ received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials”

In no particular order, the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 is:

Steven Braines, co-founder, He.She.They (UK)
Sean Hill, director of tour marketing, UTA (UK)
Zoe Williamson, agent, UTA (US)
Will Larnach-Jones, managing director/head of bookings, Iceland Airwaves (IE)
Raven Twigg, promoter assistant, Metropolis Music/founder, Women Connect (UK)
Nadu Placca, global event & experience architect, The Zoo XYZ (UK)
Maxie Gedge, Keychange project manager, PRS Foundation (UK)
Mark Fletcher, CEO, Manchester Pride (UK)
Maddie Arnold, associate promoter, Live Nation (UK)
Lauren Kirkpatrick, promoter assistant, DF Concerts (UK)
Laura Nagtegaal, guitar technician and tour manager, MsGyver (NL)
Joanne Croxford, wellness + diversity specialist/ live touring/ tour assistant (UK)
James Murphy, chief operating officer North America, See Tickets (US)
Guy Howes, music partnerships executive, CAA (UK)
Doug Smith, SVP field operations UK & Ireland, Ticketmaster (UK)
Chris Ibbs, agent, CAA (UK)
Rach Millhauser, coordinator, Wasserman Music (US)
Austin Sarich, director of touring, Live Nation (US)
Daniel Brown, event producer/programmer, Birmingham Pride (UK)
Rauha Kyyrö, head promoter, Fullsteam Agency (FI)

“I never imagined I’d be so thrilled to see my inbox soar into triple digits – that is until we opened nominations for the LGBTIQ+ List 2021,” says IQ staff writer Lisa Henderson, who guest edited the Pride issue. “We received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials from across the business but, thanks to the help of our revered steering committee, we’ve ended up with 20 exemplary individuals who continually prove that diversity is the industry’s greatest strength.”

Full profiles of the individuals on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 will appear online in the coming weeks. However, subscribers can read the entire feature in the Pride edition (issue 101) of IQ Magazine now.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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