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Be Charlotte Interview: “There is a need to encourage more women to write music professionally”

We speak to The Ivors Academy Under 25 member Be Charlotte about curating Scotland's first all-female songwriting camp, taking place in Dundee for International Women’s Day.

The Dundonian pop star has curated Scotland’s first ever all-female songwriting camp to inspire talented music writers and encourage more women to get involved in the profession. During the lead up to IWD, we speak to Charlotte to find out more about her motivations, inspirations and why setting up this new initiative is so important for the female writing community.

Tells us about your career as a music creator so far?

I have been writing songs since the age of 13 when I learned to play guitar, I started doing my own production around the age of 16 using Abelton software and then started making pop based music. I have always seen myself as a songwriter and performer. A couple of years ago I signed a record deal and have been working with lots of other writers and producers across the world.

I have written music for other artists in Scandanvia, as well as my own project and I’ve written music for some theatre productions too. Last year my song was used by UEFA for Women’s European Football Championship Finals.

You are running a songwriting camp for women in Scotland, why did you decide to organise the camp?

I know first hand how odd the co-write situation can be.  When you are asked to turn up at a strangers studio (often their home) in another city or another country and be expected to open up about your feelings and observations and write a song in a few hours.

In Scotland songwriting in an under-represented sector and women are very much in the minority within that. PRS membership is around 20% women, so that is a clear indicator there is a need to encourage more women to write music professionally. This is about creating a community of talented women who will know that they can win Grammy’s and Ivor Novello Awards.

Who are the women are involved in the camp and is this something you’d like to do again in the future?

This is the first all female songwriting camp in Scotland and it will not be the last. I have invited artists and songwriters who are inspiring me right now. They are all professional musicians and I thought it was important we create that sense of community. The women taking part are Zoe Graham, Anna Sweeney, Chucoter, Fourth Daughter, Kohla, Liv Dawn, Shears, Stephanie Cheape, Becky Sikasa and Megan D.   They are all incredibly talented!

Why do you think International Women’s Day is important?

It’s important because it gives a focus to the discussion but we should be celebrating brilliant women every day of the year. In Berlin for example, IWD is a public holiday. It would be amazing if we could aspire to achieve that in Scotland.

The Ivors Academy want to play a big role in cultivating the music creator community in the UK, is there any business knowledge or networking opportunities you would have found useful at the start of your career?

When I left school I didn’t know anything about publishing and knew very little about record labels and the sort of deals that get done.

I think it would be good if mainstream education gave people more of an insight into what roles are available and to encourage young people to be creative.

What other opportunities do you think would be beneficial for songwriters?

It’s great that Spotify is now celebrating songwriter and producer talent on their platforms. That’s a very positive step forward. More locally, I think it would be great if there were regular meet ups between professional songwriters.

What female creators do you consider as role models in the music industry?

My earliest inspirations were Tracey Chapman, Lauren Hill and Avril Lavigne. My favourite female songwriters are Fiona Bevan (she’s amazing) Sara Aarons, Julia Michaels and of course Dolly Parton. I also love Lizzo for her music and her honesty.  She’s bringing such positivity to the music industry.

Do you have any new music releases we should listen out for?

My new single Rumours Don’t Work is out now. The music video is the thing I am most proud of through my entire career so far.  It was also the main reason I had the idea to celebrate all the other talented women on the songwriting camp.

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