2018 has been a very exciting year for music and society. We have seen a massive shift towards equality with a conscious spotlight on correct and gender neutral pro nouns, inclusion of LGBTQI+ artists as well as gender equality on line ups. With Bigsound just passing, one of the most exciting newcomers in the business side of the industry was Alpha Booking Agency which is Australia’s first all female and LGBTQI+ booking agency. Founded by Kailei Ginman, they hope to see a social change not only for women in music but for women in Australia and globally. I recently chatted to Kailei about the launch of this new venture, the change they hope to encourage and discuss why she thinks there is such a gender gap. Check it out HERE:
TB: You’ve just launched Australia’s first all female and LGBTQI+ inclusive booking agency which is an incredible step in the right direction for our local scene. So what inspired you to make this venture?
KG: Thank you! Alpha stemmed from my own personal experience as a female music industry worker combined with the hardships I’ve seen my female talent experience. Women in music need to be supported and empowered, as do the LGBTQIA+ community and people of colour. So my mission is to represent those who have to work twice as hard to do the same job because of their gender, sexuality or ethnicity.
TB: How are you planning on adding and monitoring your roster?
KG: I was lucky enough to launch the agency with some incredible female DJs, producers, singers and songwriters who I had worked with previously or was connected through the electronic music traps. I’m actively scouting talent from the LGBTQIA+ community and encouraging performers from all genres to reach out. It’s a super exciting process developing the Alpha roster and I can’t wait to see it come together in the coming months.
TB: You’ve mentioned that your goal for Alpha Booking Agency is to see social change, not only for women in music, but for women in Australia and globally. So who are some strong females in the music industry that constantly inspire you?
KG: I’m continuously inspired by my mother; She’s the reason I’m a strong and resilient woman. Mum raised my as a single parent with no support but still managed to put herself through TAFE to complete her HSC, be accepted into uni and then build a career all while working random jobs to make ends meat and give me the best possible childhood I could’ve asked for. She still amazes me daily!
Women in music who inspire me are the women I work with or have worked with previously. It’s them who I really lean on for support and who have kept me motivated when things seem hopeless.
TB: Over the last year we have seen a real magnifying glass being put on our local festival scene with gender ratios being notably unequal. There have been a lot of mixed arguments about why this is, but what is your opinion on the obvious discrepancy?
KG: Women and identifying talent definitely need to be showcased more fairly on festival lineups. I’m a believer in the best person for the job at all times, however festival lineups are generally curated by males so this often skews gender parity. Lineups should be 50:50 where possible and if the genre of music featured at the festival has more male talent than female in the scene, a representation of that ratio should be on the lineup.
TB: Are there any festivals you think that are modelling the way at the moment with the correct gender ratios domestically or internationally?
KG: Keychange is a global initiative which aims to bring 50:50 gender balance on festival lineups by 2022, with women, trans and non-binary musicians being empowered and encouraged through the initiative. So far the only Australian festival registered is Beyond The Valley, so hopefully the rest of Australia follows their wonderful lead!
TB: Recently we have seen a massive growth in the music industry embracing LGBTQI+ artists and allowing them to be more honest with their identities in music and live shows. I still think we have a long way to go but with some mainstream artists leading the way with neutral pro-nouns in songs and true creative expression do you think that we are growing and evolving as a society?
KG: I think we are headed in the right direction, at a pace that may be a little slower than we would like but nonetheless it’s happening. Australia has embraced queer commercial talent like Troye Sivan and Sam Smith which is a great indication that the industry and the people consuming music is making a positive change.
TB: With BigSound just passing, one of the most exciting things I noted was how many incredibly talented female acts we have in the Australian scene. So who are some newcomers that you are personally loving at the moment that you think people should check out?
KG: There are so many astounding female acts in Australia, we really do grow raw, awe-inspiring talent here! Go and check out the incredible roster at alphabookingagency.com; that’s a good start!
TB: BigSound was a big week for you as you introduced Alpha Booking Agency to some of the biggest and most passionate names in the industry. So how was the reaction to this new venture?
KG: The response has been wonderful so far. Everyone has been so encouraging and thankful that Alpha is coming into the Australian music industry at a time where it’s really needed. We’re incredibly grateful for all of the support from everyone, so thank you.
TB: Over the years you’ve worked for other agencies with some of the biggest names in the Australian music industry. Witnessing everything first hand, where do you think other booking agencies are going wrong? And why do you think we have such a gender gap in Australia?
KG: From my personal experience I’ve seen males in the industry not take female talent seriously and not respect the talent that they have because of the misconception that women in electronic music are just a pretty face pressing a button. Women are skilled DJs with technical minds who like cutting songs, creating atmospheres and curating truly badass set-lists too so they need to be praised for that by men and other women in the industry alike.
TB: This industry and world can be a little patronising at times so what would you like to stay to females who are scared to be themselves or confused with the current state of the world?
KG: Be true to who you are and don’t be afraid to ruffle feathers and stand up for what you believe. There have been times where I’ve been influenced or squashed by the ‘boys club’ and it felt defeating at the time but added to the fire in my belly to make positive change for everyone in music. I’m sure a lot of males in music feel the same pressure and are too afraid to stand up against the boys club at times, but we really need you as our allies to fight the good fight and have a more inclusive industry which is a better place for everyone to be.
To find out more about Alpha Booking Agency or to get in contact with them check out www.alphabookingagency.com