Today marks one of the biggest days in the music business calendar, as the Music Week Women In Music Awards returns for its completely sold-out fifth edition to celebrate the achievements of brilliant artists and executives from across the industry.
Already this week, on the cover of our latest issue, we have honoured the 12 latest inductees to the Roll Of Honour. Next week, we will publish interviews with the winners in the award categories, but before that, we have the ceremony itself to look forward to.
Behind the mic as our host for a fourth consecutive year is BBC Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine. While the presenter was gearing up for yet another electric Women In Music awards show, we quizzed her about the ceremony, the music business and more…
So, Alice, feeling excited about hosting again this year?
“It’s always one of my favourite things to do, partly because it’s not hard-faced and super-serious, it’s really good fun and we just have a laugh with it. It’s just a celebration, basically. Everyone in the room is really happy to be there. I’m sure there are lots of things that industry people get invited to that are a bit of a drag or it’s just another thing in their diary, whereas this feels like a real celebration. Everyone is really up for it and it’s just a lot of goodwill in the room. I think other things could be a bit of a tough crowd but I think everyone is just in the true spirit of it so I’ve kind of got an easy job really.”
Do you think it feels quite supportive as an event?
“Oh God, yeah. Generally, getting a room full of music industry people to listen to you and not just drink their wine and kind of focus their attention on what’s going on onstage, it can be tricky, because they get invited to a lot of the other things but this, I think because we induct a lot of amazing women into the Hall Of Fame, and get some great women to talk, everyone is just really happy to be there. I think from my experience, it just definitely feels like a lot of warmth and also a lot of people have been working with each other for a really long time and I think a lot of the people who get the recognition on the night are the sort of people that aren’t doing what they do for the award, aren’t doing it for a shout out. It’s quite nice giving recognition to people who are super humble and are kind of like, ‘No please don’t look at me, I don’t want to get up on stage,’ there is something quite nice about that. I just feel positive vibes, people feel loved up with it. I haven’t done many things where they come up to me afterwards and say, ‘That was really good fun’, so it’s my responsibility to not make it too earnest. It’s my job to say, ‘Well done, but also let’s have a little giggle’. I’ve got them alert. My job is to be like, ‘Stay with me, don’t drink all the red wine just yet!’”
It’s quite nice giving recognition to people who are super humble
Looking around your section of the music business, how do you feel radio is for women at the moment?
“This feels like a great time, doesn’t it? It feels like, never mind brilliant women, but brilliant broadcasters have got some really exciting, top jobs in radio. I love Zoe, I love Sara and from the Radio 1 side, having Annie at the helm of specialist for us, it feels really exciting. Like I say, it’s obviously a great bonus that they’re women, but they are just brilliant at radio. I find that a really exciting thing to be a part of. All of the women at Radio 1 and all of the women at Radio 2 that I know are huge champions of other women as well so I think that can only have a fantastic knock on the back.”
It’s great to see Abbie McCarthy in the roll of honour this year, too...
“Oh yes. She’s one of those people that have just been tugging away, just doing an amazing job. She’s a prime example of somebody who is not in it for the accolades, she just loves radio and loves music and is an incredible authority on it. I think her past as well is a real inspiration to people who want to do that kind of radio. I think she is a brilliant example of it. She’s done it all and she’s really young as well. I think she’s a great example. It’s a really exciting time. I think it’s always a way to go, it’s always great to get more and more women involved and that’s both in production and DJs. If we look at it now, this year, it seems like a really exciting place to be. I know that Alison Wenham has said before, ‘ I hope there is a day when we don’t need a Women In Music awards’. That’s my aim. That one day this feels outdated and redundant, but at the moment it seems like a good celebration and a good recognition that perhaps isn’t happening elsewhere. That spotlight is great at the moment and maybe one day we’ll go we don’t need that anymore.”
Alongside the Music Champion Award, all the regular Women In Music Awards categories return, including Businesswoman Of The Year, Inspirational Artist, Campaigner, Rising Star, Music Champion, New Artist Award, International Woman Of The Year and The Company Award.
This year marks the debut of a new category of Music Creative, to be awarded to a woman in the UK industry who has made a significant contribution to the making of music behind the scenes through songwriting, studio production or studio technology.
The full list of categories can be viewed here.
Be sure to check musicweek.com for more on the 2018 Music Week Women In Music Awards as the event unfolds on Friday.
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[Interview: Paul Stokes]