Category Archives: Music

Gender balance in the music industry – Meet SWIM (Scottish Women Inventing Music)

Hey guys!

I’m back today to tell you about the great evening I had on Wednesday at a meet up hosted by SWIM (Scottish Women inventing Music).

First of all, for those of you who don’t know me, I’m a singer and I’m currently doing an HND in Music Business at Glasgow Kelvin College. Networking being an important part of the music business, I was very happy to take part in the meet up which was dedicated to women who work or wish to work in the music industry.

It’s a fact, women remain underrepresented in the music world nowadays.

According to the Independent, only 17% of female artists were in the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 2012 and 2018. Also, only 10.4% of female artists out of 1064 people were nominated for a Grammy in the main categories between 2013 and 2019.

Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival revealed a nearly all-male headline acts for 2020 and led to a controversy, especially after Geoff Ellis from DF Concerts claimed that more women should “pick up guitars and form bands” to get gender balance at festivals. There is clearly a lack of gender balance in the music industry.

Fortunately, some people are now willing to speak up and to take part in the promotion of women who work in the music industry.

For example, the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona achieved a 50/50 gender split in 2019, which definitely proves that there are talented female acts out there ready to take the stage and about 65 000 people happy to buy a ticket and enjoy the show.

Now, let’s talk about SWIM. The organisation works on providing a level playing field for women. It officially launched on March 8th, 2019 in Glasgow.

SWIM – Scottish Women Inventing Music– What do they do?

SWIM is a collection of musicians and industry professionals who identify as female. We can find on the board women from organisations such as Help Musicians UK, Musicians’ Union or the Scottish Music Centre along with brilliant singers/songwriters, to name a few.

The members work in all areas and genres of music: PR, management, performers, songwriters etc…

SWIM take action in 3 main areas:

  • Network:

They connect the members through a website and social media and promote members’ work within the organisation and beyond.

  • Education and information:

Successful women deliver talks and workshops in education settings to inform on women’s opportunities across the music industry and to inspire young people to start a career in music. They also host panels to raise awareness of inequalities within the music industry and address issues.

  • Promotion to increase women’s visibilty :

They run events and collaborate with other organisations to push gender equality and they build a database of members and their skills which is accessible to industry professionals.


I’m very grateful for having had the chance to talk to these amazing successful women who gave me some valuable business advice during the meet up last Wednesday.

I am now a member and I strongly advise you to sign up as well if you’re a woman working in the music industry.

It’s only £5 a year (September to August) and you’ll get access to the members’ database if you’re looking for collaborations or advice and to special members events like gigs played by other members.

The next meet up will be on February 26th and will be open to members and non-members. Here’s a chance for you to learn more about SWIM.

Sign up on the website: https://www.scottishwomeninventingmusic.com/

Facebook page: SWIM

My musical trip to Boston

Well, it’s been a while.

I meant to write about it earlier, but you know what it’s like, life got in the way!

I was in Boston for 5 days in october and I’ve always wanted to go there. First because it’s where my favourite tv show of all time was filmed and also because I knew Boston was quite different from the other cities of America thanks to the European vibes (well, obviously, as Boston is part of New England).

I should say it now: I loved Boston, I thought it was a beautiful and friendly city and it felt like home, as the houses and some streets like Beacon Street reminded me of Glasgow. It’s an expensive city though, so make sure to budget your trip properly to fully enjoy your time there.

I’m going to start this article with the photo of the building I was dying to see. Can you guess now what is my favourite series ever? #90sTeam

There is a wee clue in the photo when you look closer =D

14 Beacon Street

Anyway, there are things I always do when I travel. I made it a tradition: I book a ticket for a gig and I go to an open mic (when I find one). It’s so nice to jam with talented musicians from other countries and to share our culture.

I did some research before flying to Boston and I found out that an open mic night was on every monday in a pub called “BeBop” in the corner of my hostel’ street. How convenient!

I felt comfortable as soon as I got in. It’s a cosy place and the photos on the walls give the pub some musical vibes straight away.

I got in touch with the host of the night Dylan a few days before arriving and he was happy to play my open mic song “What’s up” by 4 Non Blondes. I call it that as it’s a 3 chords song so whenever I feel like singing, any guitarist can play it for me.

I had a blast even if I was still jet-lagged and my voice wasn’t at its best, but it was great to share the stage with so many great talents. The people were very welcoming and were listening to the music. Nobody was chatting during the performances.

If you plan on travelling to Boston and you’re interested in singing there, just know that you have to book a slot (I booked it 2 weeks beforehands, and it was almost fully booked already).

BeBop

1116 Boylston St

Boston, MA 02215


On the next day, Natasha Bedingfield was playing the Wilbur, a beautiful theater in Boston, city centre.

I wanted to book my ticket in advance on ticketmaster, but I had to pay $11 for booking fees so I decided to go to the theater on the day to buy my ticket, as I noticed that the gig was far from being sold out. And I got lucky because I got a ticket in the VIP section for $45, which means I was 2 tables away from the stage (it was the closest I’ve ever gotten to a stage =D ) and a waitress was bringing me drinks all the way through the gig. Fancy!

I had no idea Natasha Bedingfield could sing like that. She can hit some impressive notes and makes it sound so easy!

She’s definitely cut out for live performances. She has an incredible stage presence, she is very talkative and she can work a crowd. I guess her songs are just perfect for a live show, as they are entertaining and make you feel like dancing. I loved how she interacted with her band, we can feel a great chemistry between them.

9 years after releasing her last album “Strip Me”, she’s coming back with “Roll with me”. And it all seems familiar: we get the catchy melodies, some hip hop beats and disco vibes sometimes as well. Her music is still very early 2000’s, and she is so good at it.

She started out with Real Love from her latest album and I have to say I was very impressed.

It’s a difficult song to open with technically speaking but it’s also an obvious choice as the pop rock sound of it sets out the gig: it’s going to be full of energy. And it definitely was, even if we shared some emotional moments, especially during the song “King of The World”, written for her little boy. It’s such a tender song, it was very moving.

I loved the live arrangements of “These words”, this song is so powerful! This live version was even better than the original.

I’m very happy I finally got to see her live, as I have a soft spot for her ever since I did a singing competition called “Avon Voices” in 2011. She was one of the judges, along with Delta Goodrem, Sheila E. and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, among others.

The setlist

The Wilbur

246 Tremont St

Boston, MA 02116


Finally, I wanted to take a tour of Berklee college of music ‘s campus. Berklee is one of the most famous music school in America as some amazing talents such as Quincy Jones, Diana Krall or John Mayer studied there.

Berklee is a private school and you need to audition to get a chance to study there and possibly to get a scholarship as well.

The college offers a wide range of programs and courses: songwriting, jazz composition, music business/management, film scoring, music therapy …

I thought for a second of applying, as I’m an optimistic though pretty naive girl. And then I found out about the tuition fees, close to $45 000 and something like $60 000 if you choose to live in the student accomodation, which give you access to rehearsal rooms.

We visited the recording studios, where iconic celebrities recorded some music such as Bruce Springsteen or Celine Dion.

Studying at Berklee gives the students a real chance to network and to attend masterclasses and workshops with well-known people from the music industry. If you come from Berklee, people know that you’re talented before they actually hear you sing or play.

Berklee hosts events regularly to promote their students and to give them the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd.

I went to a concert which featured the best songwriters and guitarists of Berklee and I have to admit that the students were incredible. They sounded like professionals and I genuinely wondered what more they could learn at school. They were playing their own songs in a variety of settings.

This was my last evening in Boston, and it ended on a very good note! (See what I’m doing here? =D )

3 songs to extend that summer feeling

Here we are, it’s September!

Some of us are back to work, others (like me) are back to school… the days are getting shorter and in Scotland’s case, we went from summer straight to winter, while my French friends are enjoying an indian summer in my hometown.

So if you’re nostalgic about the warm weather and the festival season, let’s talk about 3 songs I really like to extend that summer feeling:

The Humpff Family revival – Sorry is a useless word

If you were a music fan in the 90’s, this name must ring a bell.

The Humpff Family was a well-known act in the traditional folk-a-billy UK music scene and abroad, as they even made it to America.

Even if John Coletta (lead singer, mandolin) flew solo for a while after the band parted ways, the Humpff Family’s name and music has always been stuck in the fans’ mind.  So when he decided to go back on the road with a new version of the Humpff Family, they received a warm welcome and naturally sold out the Oran Mor last year for the Celtic Connections.  

If you couldn’t go to any festival this year, I’ll give you a tip: play their latest album “Revival” and it’s just like you’re there, one beer in hand, catching up with friends and dancing to the music.

I feel like the Humpff Family is definitely cut out for live performances and festivals as they create a friendly and festive atmosphere, thanks to their entertaining and catchy music. You’ll have no other choice than to get up and dance.

” You’re so fine”, ” Sorry is a useless word” and “Hummingbirds & Bees”, which is a bit different from the other tracks as it has a bossa-nova kind of vibe are my favourite songs of the album which is of course available on Spotify.

Follow them on Facebook and on their official website


Nicol & Elliott – Wish You’d Stayed Away

I talked about Nicol & Elliott before in the French section of my blog (artistes à découvrir), but I thought I would mention them for my anglophone audience as well as I played their music all summer.

The alternative country/Americana duo released their debut single “Wish You’d Stayed Away” on March 29th on Electric Honey and I’ve been obsessed with this song ever since.  Rachel’s (Elliott) fiddle parts give a traditional vibe to the music and her angelic voice blends perfectly with Andrew’s (Nicol).

It’s funny to think that what was supposed to be a one-off collaboration for the Celtic Connections last year led to this beautiful project. The chemistry between them works so well that it’s hard to believe they’ve only been working with each other for a little more than a year. It was clearly meant to be!

Whether they play in acoustic version or with a full band, their live performances are always captivating . You can feel that they are authentic and passionate about the music they deliver.

Their new single “Sweet Downfall” will be out this autumn and is just as good as “Wish You’d Stayed Away”.

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram


Chris Greig And The Merchants – Lipstick

If you’re into melodic pop/rock tunes and if you like The 1975, 2 Doors Cinema Club or Catfish and The Bottlemen, you will love the single “Lipstick”! Click here to listen to it.

I’ve been to some of their gigs, and it’s obvious that their music takes another dimension when they perform live. Their fan base is pretty impressive as you can hear them singing along as they dance and jump all over the place.

Your lipstick stains my mind

Well, I don’t know about the lipstick, but the song, for sure! It’s impossible to get bored while listening to them as their melodies and lyrics are infectious. You’ll find yourself singing along after hearing the first chorus, and you’ll be humming the songs for days afterwards.

The previous single “Colours” is another example of their ability to deliver catchy melodies which will be stuck in your head.

Their EP has been out since June on Electric Honey and features “Lipstick”, “StopGo”, “Colours” and “Talking Aloud” .

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram

What song is your favourite? Tell me in the comments!

5 Francophone artists you need to know!

The good thing about living in a different country is that I get to discover new music that we don’t have in France and then share it with my French friends.

But it also allows me to bring French music in the UK. I wrote an article in French about 5 of my favourite Scottish artists, so I thought I’ll do the same for my British friends!

I chose 5 artists from different genres, so whether you’re into pop, rap, electronic music or storytellers, there should be at least one that you’ll like!

Here’s a top 5 of Francophone artists you need to check out!

  • Angèle

The 23 years old Belgian singer/songwriter broke into the music scene in 2017, after releasing her first single “La loi de Murphy” which has now over 24 million views on Youtube.

She quickly became a hitmaker, mixing electronic beats with a touch of pop and reggae sometimes.

She launched her debut album “Brol” in October 2018 and she was smart enough to write “Balance ton quoi”, a feminist anthem inspired by the “MeToo” movement. Once again, the video has been a huge success. More than 30 million people saw the video, where Angele shows with a great sense of humour how sexist the society can be sometimes.

Check it out, it’s brilliant!

Her Facebook page


  • Vanessa Paradis

When I talk about Vanessa Paradis here in Glasgow, I’m surprised to find out that most people have heard her debut single “Joe Le Taxi” before.

But it was in 1988 and she has come a long way ever since! She collaborated with Lenny Kravitz, Johnny Depp and other talented French artists and released some beautiful albums such as “Bliss” in 2000, which includes the sublime single “Pourtant” or “Divinidylle” with the lovely “L’incendie”.

Don’t be fooled by her childlike voice and her shyness, she is an amazing performer.

Many people grew up with her as she was only 14 when she started her career and that’s why she’s very appreciated in France, not only as an artist but as a woman as well.

Her Facebook page


  • Matthieu Chedid
Credits: Yann Orhan

Best known as -M-, Matthieu Chedid is a gifted singer/songwriter and musician who is at his best when he’s performing live. His shows are always spectacular and they usually sell out quickly.

He introduced his musical alter ego -M- in 1997, when releasing his first solo album “Le Baptème” (the baptism) . -M- wears colourful clothes, uses sparkling guitars on stage and his hairstyle is a signature. His dad Louis Chedid is a singer, his grandmother Andrée Chedid a well-known poet, and we can hear this legacy in -M-‘s music. His songs are complex and poetic and he’s singing them with a high-pitched voice.

I should also mention that he worked with Vanessa Paradis on her album “Bliss” and wrote the music for her single “Pourtant”.

Here’s a link to one of his most popular songs ” Je dis Aime” , but you should also listen to “Machistador” and “Qui de nous deux” !

His Facebook page


  • Ofenbach

The French Touch is now well-known and respected worldwide, thanks to Daft Punk and David Guetta, who made electronic music accessible to a wide audience by collaborating with pop stars.

Though their songs are in English, I thought I would talk about Ofenbach as they deserve more exposure. This DJ duo from Paris delivers a very interesting mix of electronic, pop and rock music.  If it’s fair to admit that their music can be a little repetitive, they still manage to prove that sometimes less is more. Their singles “Be Mine”, “Katchi” and the latest one “Rock it” feature a bass line that you’ll remember for sure.

Their music is perfect for a summer playlist, so it’s the best of times to check them out!

Their Facebook page


  • Mc Solaar

Mc Solaar is no ordinary rapper. He has a unique way with words, relying on word play and poetry and his flow is amazing. He is the best French rapper to me.

His biggest hits were released in the 90’s. His first single “Bouge de là” (out in 1991) is the one which made rap trendy and popular in France.

His masterpiece “Solaar Pleure” is one of my favourite French songs EVER.  The lyrics, the sound, the rhythm, the video… the song is a pure gem.

I’m not really into rap usually, but he’s so unique that you definitely need to listen to some tunes. You should start with “Solaar Pleure” and “Caroline”!

His Facebook page


You’ll find all these artists on Spotify. Tell me which one is your favorite in the comments !