Mar 10, 2020
Last week, on Friday 6th March 2020, One of One hosted their fourth annual breakfast event in Melbourne, their second simultaneous event in Sydney and, for the first time, an event in Adelaide to celebrate International Women’s Day and women in music.
Each event featured keynote presentations and performances by artists and speakers, as well as providing a mentorship platform for women and non-binary people who are at the beginning of their careers. Mentees in attendance were seated next to established leaders from all sectors of the industry for an informal networking opportunity that created many new relationships and continues to build the community and support women in the industry.
“We are so honoured to have celebrated International Women's Day alongside almost 500 women and non-binary people across Melbourne, Sydney and for the first time, in Adelaide this year. The Melbourne event was held at the Forum, and there was incredible energy and warmth in the room. It was uplifting and powerful. Each year, the events are growing and we have excellent teams of women running them in different states. More music companies are partnering with us, presenting awards and scholarships, and supporting women in the industry. We are overwhelmed by the generosity that shines through during and after these events, and we thank everyone who is a part of them. The community surrounding One of One is so inspiring to us and we are so lucky to see it grow and flourish.” One of One
In Melbourne, the event was hosted by The Forum and featured moving performances by Allara and Mindy Meng Wang who played a Chinese traditional harp, and mentioned that she has felt welcomed by the music community in Australia. Kira Puru closed the event, with her powerful voice creating a strong ending for the 220 guests. Linda Bosidis of Mushroom Group delivered a legacy speech about the women of Mushroom and the internal support they’ve been given from within the company and also announced the inaugural Mushroom Production Award. The recipient was Anna Laverty, in recognition of years working in the largely under-represented field as a producer for artists such as Courtney Barnett, Paul Dempsey, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Florence and the Machine. Saba Aleyamoh from Afrohubs was awarded the UNIFIED Emerging Award which includes $2,000 in acknowledgement for her work promoting Afrocentric art.
Coco Eke was joined by her two-year-old son near the end of her speech, as he called out ‘Mum’ and joined her onstage. Overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude to those who have paved the path before her, Coco spoke of Aunty Carolyn Briggs, AO and her time at Bad Apples.
The keynote speech by Deborah Cheetham, AO, started powerfully, with her singing in her operatic soprano voice, while casually grabbing the clapsticks that Allara had used. The entire room was speechless, listening to her sing a traditional song in soprano. Her powerful speech was peppered with advice on how to be an ally to first nations people, and to support the culture and music surrounding this. She mentioned the Opera that she has written, which is the first-ever Opera written by a first nations person - ‘Pecan Summer’ about the 1939 Cummeragunja Mission walk-off.
In Sydney, 150 women gathered at famous The Imperial Hotel to celebrate International Women’s Day together. With a fabulous Welcome to Country from local Elder and drag performer Nana Miss Kouri, proceedings were underway bright and early. The Merindas got everyone in the celebratory mood with a stunning live performance of ‘We Sing Until Sunrise’, with special guest dancers. Sahara Herald, Tour Director of Frontier Touring and previously national event coordinator for the Big Day Out festival, presented a moving and emotional keynote speech to many tearful eyes as she spoke candidly of her journey through and the challenges of the music industry.
The Inertia Emerging Award was presented to Clarissa Mei who was recognised as an impressive young leader committed to fostering culture, music and the arts. She is a songwriter and producer who has not only released her own incredible music but is also involved in various Western Sydney collectives that work in creating opportunity and representation of female-identifying, non-cis male, transgender and non-binary musicians and artists in the area through electronic music workshops and artistic development. Milan Ring capped off the morning with a beautiful stripped-back version of ‘Switch Off’ and guests snacked on delicious treats until it was time to head back to work.
“Australia has a gender pay gap of 13.9% and women earn, on average, $242.90 a week less than their male counterparts. So, in short, our work is not done, and we should not be sitting quietly waiting for things to change. And so, for IWD we come together today to celebrate - not the fact that we are women - but the incredible things women have and continue to achieve when they work together and continue our fight for equality” Emily Collins (Music NSW).
In Adelaide, celebrations were held at The Gov for 60 attendees, an award-winning live music venue owned and operated by two women for over 26 years. Guests entered to the marvellous sounds of Kelly Menhennett as coffee, mimosas and breakfast were served. Jess Day delivered a catchy and engaging performance of new song ‘Signals’. Lisa Bishop of MusicSA announced the organisation’s support towards the Girls Rock! program locally, in partnership with Moshtix. CEO of the Australian Independent Record Labels Association, Maria Amato, shared news of the forthcoming women in music mentoring and professional development program soon to be rolled out nationally.
Renowned actor, director, writer and broadcaster, Annette Shun Wah, headed up a panel featuring Maria Amato, artist manager Sian Walden, triple j Unearthed High winner George Alice and arts professional, musician and mother of Sia, Loene Furler. Covering the topic “Beyond 2020 - what will the next decade bring to women in the music industry”. The panel touched on the current challenges of the industry, the issues of the sexualisation of women and artists in a post #metoo era, and shared empowering and inspirational messages that change is happening. George Alice had the whole room captivated for the closing performance of her hit track ‘Circles’ to cap off the morning.
“Women are still often being perceived as highly stereotypical and sexualised in the music industry. The perception of women in music hasn’t changed enough - only 10.4 percent of Grammy nominees between 2013 - 2019 were women. Today's panel discussion about the next decade and the challenges it may bring for women in the music industry, was an opportunity to highlight what is powerful about women and their strength as they strive for positive changes.” Anne Wiberg (Music SA)
Across all three events, announcements were made by APRA AMCOS that The Lighthouse Award, established in memory of Linda Gebar, is now open for application. The award grants $10,000 to a woman or gender minority person in the field of artist management who exhibits passion, creativity and integrity. Previously only available to Victorian managers, it was announced that the grant is now accepting applicants Australia-wide.