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In partnership with size?Radio, powered by Nike Sportswear, we have been hosting a super exciting project in the Reform Radio space. ‘Run The Track‘ is a new exclusive radio series which places female music artists from the North West at the centre of the conversation. From discussing the likes of the representation of female queer identities to the experiences of Black artists in music, and the reality of functioning as a female artist, this series catalyses vital conversations to triggering change in the industry.

In 2023, the UK Parliamentfound that just 1 in 10 major UK festival headliners, less than a third of top-selling artists, and 14% of songwriterswere female. These numbers also lessen in relation to marginalised racial identities. There has been an overall decrease to21% of individuals working in music identifying as Black, Asian or from an ethnically diverse background. As a means of support to underrepresented genders in music, we were proud to take part in the production of ‘Run The Track‘ and hold space for said artists to share their reflections and experiences to alter the narrative of inequality.

Released on the 15th of February, the series kickstarted with its debut episode led by Manchester’s Mix-Stress, also known as Rebecca Swarray. The DJ, producer and curator invited Homobloc resident Gina Breeze, and Liverpool’s Fliss Mayo to the conversation regarding LGBTQIA+ representation in the realm of dance music. From the birth of disco and electronic dance music lying in 70s underground queer clubs, the genre has a lot to thank the queer community for.

“Dance music is queer, and that fact has been erased over time… Most stems of electronic music have come from queer house and techno, which has always pushed the boundaries of music creation.”

Fliss Mayo, ‘Run The Track’, Episode One

The trio discussed the vitality of music communities in providing safety for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Mix-Stressand Gina Breeze made a point to acknowledge Manchester’s grassroots venues, including the Derby Brewery Arms and Partisan Collective, which are consistently creating new queer events to ensure the subculture stays true to its roots. Similarly, larger promoters, such as Warehouse Project, were celebrated for curating exciting lineups of local LGBTQIA+ artists alongside bigger industry names. However, there is still a long way to go. Other North West cities are struggling with diversity within audience demographics. Manchester acts as an example to others in showcasing the vitality of DIY events for the queer community, but funding and supportis needed to ensure this in less established locations.

Amongst discussion, we were also treated to some delicious mixes from the guests throughout the episode to get us moving and to showcase some talent we are lucky enough to have right on our doorstep. Listen to the first episode below.

The second episode welcomed Manchester based artist and founder of six piece group Lovescene, Pops Roberts, to host the conversation. Joining her to explore the contributions of females in the music industry were critically acclaimed singer, songwriter and producer Låpsleyand DJ of the Girls Can’t Sync collectiveHannah Lynch. The trio noted the struggles of gender minorities in the industry and also took time to celebrate the moves said communities are making resiliently.

Watch the full episode below.

Following International Women’s Day, there is no better time than now to tune into ‘Run The Track. Check out the vast array of female talent and chat it has to offer. From listening in to some top mixes, to hearing unheard lived experiences, the series is sure to bring something fresh to your ears and leave you more informed on the realities of being a female in the industry.

Listen to the second episode below.

Stay tuned for the full three-part series to be available via Reform Radio or the size?launches app over the coming weeks.

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