A New Conference for the Music Industry Lets Women Do the Talking
Being held in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, the series of day-long events brings in Indians and their U.S. counterparts to encourage more female participation, as entrepreneurs, artists and more
While annual music festival Bangalore Open Air is the go-to destination for metalheads in India, its founder Salman U. Syed has taken a different turn with a new conference project, Let Women Do the Talking (LWDTT). Conceptualized by Syed, metal festival Wacken Open Air’s Miriam Hensel and co-curated by New Delhi talent company Big Bad Wolf, LWDTT stopped by the capital on June 24th and 25th.
The Mumbai leg on June 28th and 29th, followed by the Bengaluru edition on July 2nd are coming up this week, inviting artist managers, promoters label heads, musicians, journalists and more to discuss options, obstacles and areas that require more inclusivity and transparency in the Indian and global music industry for women.
Held in association with the U.S. Embassy – who offered a grant to host workshops, programs and performances for LWDTT – the event also features a performance by Los Angeles-based Guns N’ Roses tribute band Paradise Kitty in all three cities.
The U.S. Embassy in India’s cultural affairs officer Joy King adds, “We are really excited for the opportunity to implement this program, which was conceptualized before the onset of the pandemic. At the nexus of art, industry and inspiration, this program will empower women to seek opportunities in the music industry, and learn from global experts. We believe Let Women Do the Talking will promote women’s empowerment through creative and artistic expression and foster inclusive economic growth by encouraging women’s participation in India’s growing music industry.”
Hensel, who has had a longstanding association with Bangalore Open Air (BOA), says she considers LWDTT an “extremely important” event, like all cultural events. She adds, “Intercultural education has an outstanding social significance because it reflects the social debate. It is incredibly exciting and valuable to exchange ideas and also to get to know and understand the different cultural influences in the various fields of work. It is equally interesting for all genders. Just because there are women discussing here doesn’t mean that it’s about women’s issues – quite the opposite, it’s about the hard facts of the music business, among other things.”
President of Metal Blade Records Tracy Vera is in India for LWDTT and repping one of the most veteran labels in heavy music. She says, “This will be my first visit to India but I hope not my last. What drew me towards taking part is the premise itself promoting women in the industry and the participation of Miriam Hensel who I admire, and the chance to get to know, spend time with and network with other inspiring women from abroad and in the industry in India.” In addition to sharing her experiences running a label, Vera says she will be leaning into exploring how different the music industry is in India.
Global tour director for Live Nation Entertainment Hannah Raphael adds in her statement, “It will be a great opportunity to learn from other women from across the industry [and the world] to figure out how we can further collaborate in the future as global touring continues to expand and evolve.”
Also among the international delegates at LWDTT are music journalist, author and radio host Katherine Turman, artist and touring manager Jenny Douglas from 5B AM, and audio engineer Rachel Field. Repping the Indian music industry are artist managers such as Ritnika Nayan, Desiree Saldanha (from Third Culture), Nayantara Kumar (from Misfits Inc.), producers like Kiss Nuka and Sneha Khanwalkar, and journalists like Lalitha Suhasini, Anagha Maareesha, Satvika Kundu and more.
Artist, educator and singer-songwriter Nush Lewis says that although there’s a bit of scepticism, she hopes an event like LWDTT will “help in the gender balance at future music conferences.” She adds, “We need inclusive music conferences.” Bengaluru-based Prarthana Sen, formerly at music platform Sofar and now part of music/tech start-up A.live, adds, “[I’m] excited to see lots of new faces on the panels and among the speakers featured; the music industry in India has slowly grown and lots of phenomenal people are doing interesting work that isn’t highlighted enough. I’m also hoping to see more inclusive and diverse speaker panels after this, we need representation for all genders.”
Let Women Do The Talking takes place on June 28th and 29th at antiSOCIAL, Mumbai and on July 2nd at The Indian Music Experience, Bengaluru. Register and attend for free here.
Paradise Kitty and Queendom perform at antiSOCIAL, Mumbai on June 29th. Event details here.
Paradise Kitty and All Strings Attached perform at Hard Rock Cafe, Bengaluru on July 2nd. Event details here.