Girls on stage: Vivid Ideas drills into the music biz

Girls on stage: Vivid Ideas drills into the music biz

With Julie Kerr

Site: Yeong Sassall

Want to make it in the music industry?

Julie Kerr is the founder of Music Love, a platform celebrating women in the music industry across a range of disciplines. As the chair of Vivid Ideas' Pathway to Platform: Making It in the Music Industry talk on June 10, she shares a few insights about making it in the industry and what to expect from the Vivid event.

How did you become involved in Music Love?
I founded Music Love last year. I was promoting my album Carry On and realised there was no platform that suited my particular style of music. As I researched Australian women in music, I found so many stories of women who work in music - both behind the scenes, and as artists and musicians - and realised there was a chance to really celebrate and profile Australian women in music.

Having just recorded my first full length album, and starting a record label after 15 years doing the music industry slog, I was pretty passionate about creating a brand new platform for women in music. Aside from being a musician, I have also been a freelance writer for a few years now, and I adore women's media, so I decided to combine my passion for music, women, and media into

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What are some of the talking points for the Vivid Ideas panel discussion?
The driving force behind Pathway to Platform is the fact that working in music is not all lights, camera, rock 'n' roll bands and stage make-up. The end result of a stage performance, album, or film in all musical genres and expressions, is very much the result of countless hours of hard work. And not only the hours that are put in to one particular work.

A musician's professional development and up-skilling is nearly always undertaken in their own time, nearly always self-funded, and often these costs and the time spent are never fully recuperated or appreciated. In addition to this, there are very rare instances of full-time paying jobs in music. Most people working in music have a portfolio of work, and are often jumping between teaching, gigging, management, other non-musical "day jobs" and then rehearsing, writing, creating, and practising after hours.

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Our panel consists of Kristy Peters (KLP) who is a producer, artist, DJ, and radio announcer; Dr Rita Crews who is the Director of Music Teachers' Association of NSW and also the co-chair of the AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board); Vicki Gordon who was responsible for five times platinum sales for Vanessa Amorosi's debut album in her role as Executive Director of record label Transistor Music, she is a champion of the music of indigenous women, has served as one of the only women on the ARIA board, and is the founder of Women in Music awards (plus more!); and, Shefali Pryor who is the Assistant Principal Oboist for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, a music teacher, and a casual musician for various orchestras. Each of these panelists personify what it means to work in music in Australia and come from all different backgrounds and genres. 

Will you be touching on both positive and negative experiences of your experience as a woman working in the music industry?
Yes absolutely. When I was 22 years old, I had my first encounter with a male-dominated pop music industry. But there have been plenty of benefits of being a woman in music, and I have learned it is a matter of attitude, determination, and approach.

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Will you touch on gender bias or sexism in the industry?
The focus is on the actual day-to-day work, rehearsal, creativity, and study that women working in music undertake. Sadly, that may include some anecdotes of bias and sexism, but, I think we will find that the stories that are told from our talented panelists will be ones of overcoming this bias and inspiring our audience to do the same.

What is the ultimate aim of this discussion? What do you hope listeners will be able to take away?
My hope is that audiences are inspired at the quality and number of Australian women working in music. I also know that there will be an hour's worth of gold nuggets that each of our diverse panelists will provide from their expertise and experience working in all different areas of the industry - education, management, artistry, radio, and performing in contemporary and classical genres. Not only that, we have two very special acoustic performances by two Australian artists. Iluka, a fierce soul/pop/rock act (who is about to tour with Ella Hooper on the Killing Heidi tour), and Sophie Koh whose talent, longevity, integrity, and persistence as an independent artist will be a huge treat for the audience.

Catch Pathway to Platform: Making It in the Music Industry at Vivid Ideas on June 10, 9am-11am. For tickets and more info head to

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