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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Maxie Gedge, Keychange

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. Catch up on the previous interview with Chris Ibbs, agent at CAA in the UK here.

 


Maxie Gedge
She/her
Keychange project manager, PRS Foundation
London, UK
maxie@keyhange.eu
Linkedin.com/in/maxie-gravy/

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
When I got promoted into this Keychange role, it felt like a really big step that brought all of my life experiences together for a bigger purpose. It was so rad to host a queer dance party on the terrace of the Southbank Centre pre-pandemic with Dream Wife, Romy XX, Lil’ C and more – it was hot and packed, and everyone was dancing all day. It’s a memory I’ve cherished during this event drought.

With Keychange, taking part in Women’s Hour and travelling to Tokyo to speak about PRS Foundation were both bucket-list moments. I’m very lucky that my day-to-day work is focused on supporting under-represented voices in the music industry, so seeing them triumph is the best thing.

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Find your community. I’ve been very lucky that through good times and bad, my wife, band, friends, family and colleagues have been a safe space for expression, inspiration and motivation.

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
My vibe is transmasculine, which is quite attached to my queer identity (For me, not for everyone!). So the unconscious bias or immediate assumptions people make are often super obvious. I’ve learned to be good at dealing with awkward moments, but the constant ‘coming out’ is challenging.

“The pandemic should be a reason to create an industry that works for everyone”

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
There should be better processes and stricter rules for both representation and inclusion, so that there are more LGBTQIA+ (and traditionally under-represented) people in all areas of the industry, as well as processes in place to make those environments safe.

Causes you support.
There are lots of amazing organisations combatting abuse and harassment in the music industry right now, like the Musicians’ Union, Safe in Sound, and the work of SwiM. Pride in Music, the LGBTQIA+ work that Come Play With Me do, plus other positive action initiatives like Power Up and Girls I Rate, are all awesome. Heart n Soul is a really important and inspiring talent development organisation too.

What does the near future of the industry look like?
I hope there’s a move towards innovation and sustainability. Creating a collaborative ecosystem is essential, so every part of the music industry is valued and supported – and where that support is based on impact not income.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
The pandemic should be a reason to create an industry that works for everyone, not an excuse to lean on the old, exploitative, and discriminatory structures. We are losing talent and voices every day and we need to urgently work together to fix this broken system.

 


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Keychange welcomes 500th pledge signatory

Keychange, the European-born initiative for gender equality in the music industry, has announced that 500 music organisations have now committed themselves to achieving parity between men and women by signing its pledge.

The Keychange pledge requires signatories to achieve at least 50% representation of women and gender minorities in an area of their work. Started in 2017, Keychange initially focused on festivals – with signatory festivals pledging to book at least 50% of women for their line-ups – and now also includes record labels, broadcasters, venues, publishers, collection societies and orchestras in six continents among its supporters.

The 500th signatory is EBU Music, part of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), whose members broadcast around 3,000 concerts a year. “The European Broadcasting Union is working hard to ensure our organisation and activities properly reflect the diverse communities we serve and the world they live in,” comments EBU director of communications Vanessa O’Connor. “It takes time but making this commitment visible is an important step.

“I’m delighted that we will be partnering with Keychange once more after our joint initiatives earlier this year to highlight the stark disparity in gender representation in the music industry. Signing this pledge cements our commitment to increase visibility of these issues and amplify the voices of the many music bodies who are also signing in support of urgent and necessary change.”

“I’m delighted that we will be partnering with Keychange … to highlight the stark disparity in gender representation in the music industry”

“Keychange has been instrumental in highlighting the explosive nature of gender inequality in music for the past four years. With a strong and ever-growing network, we have managed to raise awareness of the problem while implementing concrete actions,” says Keychange project lead Merle Bremer. “We are very proud that more than 500 organisations have joined the Keychange movement and we are particularly pleased that EBU Music have joined Keychange as a signatory.”

Keychange had around 350 signatories last September, when agency ATC Live and a host of trade bodies signed the pledge.

EBU Music joins existing Keychange signatories including the Barbican Centre (UK), BBC Proms (UK) Bella Union (WW), C/O Pop Festival and Convention (DE), Canadian Music Week (CA), Centre National de la Musique (FR), Eurosonic Noorderslag (NL), EFG London Jazz Festival (UK), European Music Council (EU), Icelandic Opera (IS), Mama Festival (FR) Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (AU), Melt! Festival (DE), Royal Opera House (UK), Southbank Centre (UK), Spot Festival (DK) and Musicians’ Union (UK). The full list of supporters can be viewed here.

Funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme, Keychange is led by Reeperbahn Festival, PRS Foundation and Musikcentrum Öst, in partnership with Tallinn Music Week, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Oslo World, Linecheck/Music Innovation Hub, Ireland Music Week, Sacem, Sound City, Way Out West, Mama Festival, Mutek and Breakout West.

 


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Keychange expands in Canada with Tegan and Sara

Canadian indie-pop icons Tegan and Sara have been appointed as the country’s ambassadors for gender equality initiative Keychange.

The Creative Europe-funded campaign encourages festivals, conferences, music organisations and institutions to sign a pledge to include at least 50% women and under-represented genders in their programming, staffing and beyond by 2022.

“We encourage members of our industry who have tremendous power to sign, fund, promote, nominate, support, acknowledge, and celebrate the diverse population working in the arts today,” say Tegan and Sara.

“The demographic breakdown of awards nominations and festival lineups reflects the structural confines of our society and industry. We must do better, as it sends an outdated message to the next generation about whose art and voice and message is valuable.”

The appointment is part of Keychange’s gradual expansion in Canada, this year an official country partner in the movement, which now includes two lead festival partners, eight participants and seven new signatories.

Breakout West, the annual conference and music festival, and Mutek, a Montreal-based electronic music festival, are lead festival partners and will host four international Keychange participants each, as well as the Canadian participants in 2021.

“We must do better, as it sends an outdated message to the next generation about whose art and voice and message is valuable”

The Canadian participants include: artist manager and talent buyer Rebecca Szymkow at Birthday Cake Media; music composer Kroy aka Camille Poliquin; Katrina Lopes, president of KL Management; Savannah Wellman, co-founder of Vancouver record label and management company Tiny Kingdom Music and Mar Sellars, an artist manager and radio host with her own company Mar On Music.

Artist participants are former Keychange ambassador Iskwē; Kimmortal, a queer Filipino nonbinary musician from Vancouver and Dana Beeler, frontwoman of Hello Delaware.

The seven new Canadian organisations which have signed the Keychange gender pledge include the Polaris Music Prize, a not-for-profit organisation that annually honours and rewards artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction and MMF Canada, a non-profit trade association that offers education, networking and advocacy on behalf of its members, their artists, and the wider Canadian music community.

Other new signatories include music festival Folk on the Rocks; association Musique NB (MNB); record label and publisher Birthday Cake Media; Kaneshii Vinyl Press; and radio station n10.as.

Robyn Stewart, Breakout West says: “BreakOut West is committed to highlighting the diverse voices or our artists and industry. Our commitment as Keychange partners is one part of this as we strive to support female and non-binary leaders and the incredible mix of talent in Western Canada.”

Marie-Laure Saidani, Mutek Montreal says: “Gender equality is one of Mutek’s core values. Joining the Keychange movement in 2018 has definitely acted as a catalyst as we have achieved parity in our programming since. We are proud to belong to this international network which advocates positive change in the music industry.”

Keychange recently expanded into Poland, in the midst of clashes over abortion law and LGBTQ+ rights. Read more here.

 


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Poland joins Keychange’s gender equality movement

As Polish women take to the streets to protest a near-total ban on abortion, Poland’s music industry is leading the charge for gender equality after becoming an official country partner to the Keychange movement for gender equality.

The Creative Europe-funded campaign encourages festivals, conferences, music organisations and institutions to sign a pledge to include at least 50% women and under-represented genders in their programming, staffing and beyond by 2022.

Today, Keychange has announced three new Polish signatories: Ethno Port (festival); Chimes (agency); and record label, music publisher, management and agency Kayax.

Spring Break, an annual showcase festival in Poznań, has also been announced as the lead partner for Keychange in Poland and organisers have committed to gender equality on its lineup.

To celebrate the launch of Keychange in Poland, Chimes (Keychange capacity building lead) and Spring Break will collaborate on a focus week and panel discussion to explore the barriers for women and gender minorities in Poland, and the role of music in activism in the country.

Magdalena Jensen, responsible for planning training for Keychange participants this year, says: “We have witnessed the dangerous politicisation of gender in Poland this year with the president inciting hate speech as part of his re-election campaign.

“Sadly, that makes the Keychange movement even more relevant and important in Poland – it’s so important to take a stance for human rights, build bridges and strong support networks and it’s encouraging to see Keychange leading the way in our music industry.”

“With the dangerous politicisation of gender in Poland this year, Keychange is even more important in Poland”

Izabela Rekowska, Spring Break, says: “Our partnership with Keychange sets a tangible goal to achieve gender balance in our line-up. I truly advocate that more festivals should sign the Pledge and join the movement.”

The panel discussion, Artist on the barricades: Can music be a tool for social change?, will take place tomorrow (29 October) at Klubokawiarnia Tymczasowa (dawniej Meskalina) in Poznań with new ambassadors Avtomat and Karolina Czarnecka, as well as Iwona Skwarek (Rebeka) and Keychange participant Magda Chołyst (Artist in Bloom). The event will start at 6 pm and will be broadcast on Spring Break’s Youtube channel.

Speaking about her new role as ambassador, interdisciplinary artist Karolina Czarnecka says: “I grew up in Poland, a catholic and patriarchal society. It’s in my blood. It’s my heritage. Fortunately, I don’t know how, but there has always been freedom in my mind.

“Freedom is my truth. This is my everyday aim also in art. Everybody deserves it, without exception. Our words and actions have power, I believe we have influence on the world around us, even if it’s only our backyard.”

While, Avtomat, an openly queer composer, producer, DJ and vocalist, says: “I’m thrilled to be an ambassador for Keychange for the same reason I’ve been fighting against injustice in Poland – so that everyone can participate in the scene with equal chances.”

Since launching in 2017, Keychange has enlisted over 40 countries and over 350 organisations to the movement. The most recent slate of signatories includes UK booking agency ATC Live.

 


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Keychange pledge: ATC Live among new signatories

UK booking agency ATC Live is among a slate of new signatories on the Keychange gender equality pledge, committing to achieving 50% representation of women and under-represented genders.

The agency, which boasts a roster of more than 350 artists including Fontaines D.C, Georgia, Alma, Goat Girl, Mac Demarco, Metronomy and Nick Cave, joins over 350 organisations which have signed the Keychange pledge since 2017.

“Despite all the challenges that 2020 has brought, at ATC Live we are determined to remain focussed on doing what we can to achieve equality and diversity in our industry,” says ATC Live partner Alex Bruford.

“As part of this process we are signing up to the Keychange initiative and will work towards ensuring new additions to our roster and staff include 50% women and under-represented genders.

“Every year the important conversation around the balance of festival bills and equality on our stages and across our industry resurfaces.

“We understand that festivals can’t book the acts if the agents don’t represent them, so we are committing to playing our part”

“We understand that the festivals can’t book the acts if the agents don’t represent them, so we are committing to playing our part in the process of achieving real change.”

It has also been announced today that eight UK trade bodies have signed the pledge towards achieving 50% board representation of women and under-represented genders.

The new signatories are PRS for Music; The Incorporated Society of Musicians; the Featured Artist Coalition; the Association of Independent Music; the Music Managers Forum; the Music Publishers Association; the Ivors Academy, and the Musicians’ Union.

Keychange has also announced collaborations with Sound City, the Musicians’ Union and Gorwelion Horizons for ‘Keychange Week’ panels, discussing gender equality in each nation.

Three new ambassadors have also been appointed today including songwriter and founder of Girls I Rate, Carla Marie Williams, electronic musician planningtorock, and founding Keychange project manager Jess Partridge.

 


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