The Women In Music Awards is back!
The ceremony returns for its first in-person event in two years today (October 22) with headline sponsor YouTube Music.
Here, long-term host - and friend of Music Week - broadcaster Alice Levine looks ahead to today’s event at the London Hilton on Park Lane, reveals some favourite moments and considers the industry’s progress on equality...
You're returning to host the WIM Awards - have you got anything special planned?
“I’ve hosted these awards from the start, me and the team were trying to work out if that’s six or seven years [this is the seventh edition]. I haven’t hosted anything else for that long (apart from the radio!), so it feels like we’ve grown up together. We’ve moved from a modest-sized venue, to a bigger venue, to the biggest this year - so there’s obviously an ever-increasing appetite for this moment of solidarity and celebration.
“My job is to keep the show on the tracks! Everyone’s stories are so impressive, it’s just a pleasure to spotlight them. I tell some jokes and hopefully make people laugh, and just keep my fingers crossed that no one remembers that I told that gag in 2015.”
Who are you looking forward to seeing again at – finally! – an in-person event?
“It will be lovely to be in a room with lots of my radio friends like Clara Amfo and Annie Mac. There are loads of pals that I would have seen a lot more of through gigs or work had we not had this weird time. The novelty still hasn’t worn off of being in a room together, so to be shoulder-to-shoulder having a beer will be so wonderful.”
What does the event mean and represent to you? Why is it an important date in the music industry calendar?
“First and foremost, this is a celebration of a year, and in some cases a career, of inspirational work. To stop for a moment and congratulate creative people we admire is an uplifting thing to do.
“I think we can all agree it would be great to not need to have an event that is exclusively about raising up women and their achievements in any sector, but until women are getting a fair share of the prizes, the platform and the proceeds in all areas of the music industry, this is vital.”
There’s an ever-increasing appetite for this moment of solidarity and celebration
Do you have any favourite memories of your times presenting so far?
“There have been some incredible speeches over the years, Skin from Skunk Anansie in 2018 stands out though. She said as a Black, gay woman in the music business, she had a tough fight to be there. She is iconic, inspirational, trailblazing and yet she said that this was one of a few awards in her career, she felt it was a real moment, she was shaking on stage. For me, that’s part of why these awards need to exist. If someone who has contributed what Skin has over her many years in the industry, isn't being acknowledged, then WIM is doing some important course-correcting.”
We're really keen to know your take on the music industry and the progress with issues around equality? Do you feel things are progressing in the right direction?
“I would point people in the direction of the research by Nadia Khan, founder of campaigning group Women in CTRL. Reading The Seat at the Table report you see there’s a long long way to go to have a truly diverse and inclusive music industry .
“Positive news is that there’s been a marked increase in women in music boardrooms, in the past year to year and a half. So that’s a start. The Keychange initiative is really starting to move the dial too. But to just look at the diversity of those making music versus the diversity of executives, you see there’s a disconnect.”