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Key Takeaways from GigPig and Skiddle’s ‘Inspired By Music’ panel event

Key Takeaways from GigPig and Skiddle’s ‘Inspired By Music’ panel event

One of Manchester’s most iconic venues, Band on the Wall, played host to 'Inspired By Music'. A collaborative event between Skiddle and GigPig, to support and empower the upcoming generation of talent in the industry.

The panel was curated to represent the different sectors of the industry, with each panellist being a master and expert in their field of work whilst boasting a wealth of experience.

Keeping the panel in check and sparking the correct conversation was BBC Radio 1 host Victoria Jane, who mediated the eclectic panel, which consisted of the legendary DJ Paulette, the visionary Danny Fahey, who heads up creative agency Thirty Pound Gentlemen, Jemma Tanswell as the director of one of Manchester’s most esteemed radio stations Reform Radio and Jonny Wharton, the director of the exceptional Neuron Audio and Visuals completes the panel.

It’s clear to see whatever sector the panellists specialise in, they entered the industry for their pure love of sharing their passion.

Our industry thrives off the passion of those individuals who make our sector tick. This became apparent when Jonny started the event by saying: “I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be in the music industry, and I wanted to be in the back doing audio and visual. I’m lucky that I managed to get into that from an early age and be a facilitator of that. Music was so important to me.”

Being consumed by music rang true with DJ Paulette as being surrounded by a musically orientated family encouraged her to get into it from an early age and build an eclectic record collection. “When I was asked to DJ for the first time, there were no female DJs, nobody who looked like me, who spoke like me and nobody who played the records that I was playing. They paid me £30, and my records cost £150, but it was an investment, and it is why I am where I am today.”

Being benevolent is the way to get the youth involved in the industry.

Reform Radio is built on giving the younger generation an opportunity in the industry. This ethos was implemented from the very start and is still pivotal to the station today, whether that is the opportunities they receive on air or through their workshops. Jemma said: “When we started Reform, it was about youth employment, and for organisations, it's about coming at it with authenticity and with your door open to embrace those young people. When people come to you, they don't want cash, they just want to be listened to and be heard.”

Danny provides creative projects and campaigns to engage young people in the industry. To ensure they’re prepared for the industry, he uses his wealth of experience to give some realities before entering the sector. “We need to prepare people for the hardships of the outside world. It doesn’t mean I need to be a prick to you, but it means being realistic.”

Whilst the music scene is currently thriving, there still needs to be progression.

Jonny was the one who affirmed that the industry is on a good trajectory, “But we do need more diversity and more care for our mental health. When I started, working long hours was the norm, and you were expected to have that resilience. But there is so much more awareness around that now. This was echoed by Danny when he said: “Young professionals have become more aware of the workload and value their health when it’s worth more than a job.”

It was clear that the panel all knew one another, which created an engaging event with a free-flowing conversation to empower those in the audience. This was affirmed when Jemma added to Danny’s point. “Everything is changing so quickly, and when you’re trying to deliver one thing something else is changing. As Danny says, 'it's DIY or die.' It makes people resilient, but it can often lead to burnout.

Paulette touched on one of the biggest issues facing the industry currently - the closure of grassroots venues. "We need to provide support to the grassroots. Whilst we have the AO arena and the new Co-op Live, those big multi-billion pound organisations need to provide more support to our grassroots venues, as that is where the artists come from. This needs to come from everyone. Do it because you believe in it.”

One final piece of advice for inspiring young professionals.

To close off an incredibly insightful panel, which was bursting with creatives sharing the knowledge they have gained within their career, our industry moguls shared their golden nuggets of information with those in attendance.

Jemma said: “It takes others to get you somewhere. You can’t do everything on your own. Play to your strengths by working collaboratively.”

"If you’re from a diverse background, the music industry is going to be hard as fuck, and you have to work as hard as you can to get into it,” Danny added.

Johnny said: "Trust yourself, work hard, and look after other people.”

Finally, Paulette concluded with, “Be yourself, don’t copy anyone. Just do it the way you want to do it and in your own voice.”