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LGBT+ History Month Heroes

To celebrate LGBT+ History Month our LGBTQI+ Council have taken the opportunity to spotlight their heroes in music.

Led by Senator Mika Sellens (Chair) and Will Davenport (co-chair), the IA LGBTQI+ Council serves as an advisory board which informs and influences the agendas of our Committees and Board, and therefore the causes we campaign on and the events we deliver.

For LGBTQI+ History Month, some of our council members tell us a bit about themselves and their heroes!

If you are interested in joining the IA LGBTQI+ Council, please get in touch with tom.ward@ivorsacademy.com. The IA LGBTQI+ Council is open to all IA members who identify as LGBTQI+. Meetings are online every 5-6 weeks, and the council is currently planning an in-person meet-up for the Summer.

Justine Barker – Ivors Senator, LGBTQI+ Council Member, Media Council Member (She/Her)

Composer for Film and TV

Justine has scored over 200 hours of BBC dramas underpinning shows such as BAFTA winner Casualty, London Kills, and Hope Street

She is also known for her work on the critically acclaimed series Suspects and Holby City.

In addition to her media work, Justine writes and produces lyrical songs and instrumental tracks. Alongside forging her own path, she’s a mentor for The Ivors Academy, Women In Film and TV and Soho House X Creative Mentor Network.

Justinebarker.com / @justine_barker_

My LGBTQI+ Musical Heroes – by Justine Barker

Wendy Melvoin & Lisa Coleman

Growing up in the 80’s I was a massive fan of Prince and that led me to my interest in two of the musicians in his band The Revolution, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. They rocked my world, they were incredibly talented musicians but at a time when I didn’t really know my own identity, they had an undeniable air of mystique.

Charlie Llewellin from Austin, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Were they queer? Were they an item? This was a different era and ‘out’ LGBTQI+ artists were something of a rarity. Daring to think they might be like me and they were clearly uber cool gave me hope.

Post Revolution I bought all their albums as the duo ‘Wendy and Lisa’ and became increasingly engaged in what they had to say both instrumentally and lyrically. Posters adorned my teenage bedroom walls – I was 100% a fan.

Ryan Ozawa, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons









As an adult, they’ve continued to inspire me and I have followed their evolving career with excitement – aside from their acclaim as songwriters, performers and producers, they are also a composing duo scoring films and television. This sector of the music industry is hugely male-dominated and queer women seem almost invisible within that space. We do exist but it’s easy to think we don’t when you look at recipients of awards and accolades. When Wendy and Lisa won the Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for the comedy series Nurse Jackie, it was a powerful moment of recognition.

To say these phenomenal women have inspired me is a ridiculous understatement. With such a varied catalogue, it’s hard for me to choose a favourite album but let’s just say Eroica is right up there… Wendy & Lisa – Eroica

wendyandlisa.com / @wendyandlisafacebook.com/wendyandlisa

Jessica Lauren – LGBTQI+ Council Member (She/Her)

Jessica Lauren









Composer, Keyboard Player

Jessica has released 4 albums in her own name since the early 1990s, as well as being involved with many collaborative projects as co-composer, session musician, arranger and musical director. She is a long-time member of the ‘emanative’ space jazz co-operative and spent 2022 touring the multi-discipline musical project ‘Freedom Road Re-Imagined’ which she co-created with Sabina Desir.

Jessica’s Facebook / Jessica’s Instagram

My LGBTQI+ Musical Heroes – by Jessica Lauren

Wendy Carlos

Wendy Carlos is quite simply one of the most important figures in the history of the synthesiser in music, both as a musician and composer and for her role in its development, contributing her ideas and suggestions to Robert Moog as he was developing the first modular instruments.

Having studied music and physics at Brown University, and got her master’s degree in the mid-1960s at Columbia University in New York, she studied electronic music with Vladimir Ussachevsky, met Robert Moog and started their fruitful relationship. As she wrote: ‘From the beginning, it was a balanced yin/yang relationship between a maker of musical tools and the artists who used those tools.’

Wendy Carlos on the Moog modular from Flickr








At the suggestion of her collaborator and producer Rachel Elkind-Tourre, they worked together on ‘Switched- On Bach’, a collection of re-imaginings of Bach compositions, created on a very primitive early modular Moog synthesiser and recorded on an 8-track machine she had constructed herself. Each note had to be played separately and laboriously layered, taking 5 months and over 1,000 hours to produce.

The album was a huge success, staying at the top of the Billboard classical music charts for 3 years, winning 3 Grammy Awards, and eventually earning a Platinum disc. Its influence was enormous: the first demonstration that the synthesiser could be a serious musical instrument, capable (in the right hands) of emotional and technical sophistication. Generations of artists from the late 1960s to the present day have been influenced by that album, as well as her subsequent records, including original compositions, her early experimentations with ambient music, microtonal scales and more; and notably, her stunning and unforgettable contributions to the film soundtracks of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1971) and ‘The Shining’ (1980), and later Disney’s ‘Tron’ (1982).

Wendy is a very private individual (as is Rachel Elkind-Tourre), and I hesitate to write about her here. She has experienced such negativity over the decades, as a trans woman who transitioned between the late 1960s and the early 1970s, who felt forced by unexpected success to hide that fact from the public, and which I believe has deprived her of her rightful place as a musical pioneer, a creative genius, and a true hero.

Her work is very hard to find now. Seek it out. Listen in wonder. No one has ever bettered her instantly recognisable, magical, chilling, profound and astonishing sounds. Thanks Wendy.

Wendy Carlos’ Website

Will Davenport – LGBTQI+ Council Member (He/Him)









Composer & Electronic Musician

I make ambient, immersive electro-acoustic sound worlds. I also make music under the moniker ‘Strange Signal’.

Willdavenportmusic.co.uk / Will’s Instagram

My LGBTQI+ Musical Heroes – by Will Davenport 

Asher Fynn

Asher Fynn (they/them) is a friend and a constant inspiration. Asher’s music is powerful, fluid, lyrical. Their art highlights the power, beauty and importance of the Trans experience. They are an innovator!

Asher’s Instagram / Asher’s LinkTree

Eve Horne – LGBTQI+ Council Member(She/Her)









Eve Horne is an Award-Winning Creative Mentor and Advisor. She has over 20 years experience in the Music Industry as a Singer, Songwriter and Producer. She is the founder of PeakMusicUK and the UNHEARD Campaign which demands equality for women in the Music Industry. She is a qualified Sound Engineer and a Native Instruments Certified Specialist. Eve was named a SheSaid.So ALT list 2020 Honorée, is a board member for Moving The Needle, an innovator on Keychange 2022 program,  a UK Music Diversity Taskforce rep for MPG, and an executive team member of Why Not Her.

Eve has also recently become an Ivors Academy Senator and Board Director and was voted on as a Board Director for the MPG. The MPG’s first female of colour and POC. In September 2022, Eve launched the We Are The Unheard Academy, funded by The Arts Council and supported by leading music industry software and hardware company Ableton, Musicians Union, Help Musicians, Flare Audio, Veva Collect and Why Not Her. She was also enlisted into the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2022.

Peak Music UK / We Are The Unheard Academy

My LGBTQI+ Musical Heroes – by Eve Horne

Linda Perry & Skin

Linda: I mean, she is Linda Perry. Her whole being is an inspiration to me! From the first time I saw and heard her as a young woman when she was in 4 Non Blondes, I was mesmerised! I totally identified with her being different to other mixed women and not fitting into a mould. Everything about that song and her moved me and still does to this day. Let alone that she is a phenomenal Songwriter/engineer/producer.  She is definitely on my bucket list to meet!

Nick Step, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons









 Skin is just beauty, edge, danger, vulnerability……I could keep going. She also broke the mould, was unafraid of being herself, I have luckily met her a few times and she is just so beautifully humble and endearing. All round talented also and a British icon for music and the community.







Mika Sellens – Chair of the Ivors Academy LGBTQI+ Council (She/Her)

Songwriter/ Producer/ Composer/ Engineer

Mika Sellens is a songwriter, producer, composer and engineer from London, based at her studio, Studio 5B, in Hackney, London, UK. She focuses mostly on co-writing and producing with artists to develop their sound.

Mika’s worked in LA and Nashville, had tracks playlisted on BBC Radio, synced to BBC TV and sampled as Jazz FM’s jingle.

Mika’s also worked extensively in contemporary dance and theatre, creating experimental soundscores and sound designs. Mika’s sound-art installations have been displayed in galleries and her work has been toured internationally.

Mika is a Senator for The Ivors Academy and the Chair of the IA LGBTQI+ Council, as well as one of the Executive Directors of the MPG.

Mika is a professor of Electronic & Produced Music at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, UK.

www.mikasellens.com /www.instagram.com/mikasellens

My LGBTQI+ Musical Heroes – by Mika Sellens 

When I started to think about my LGBTQI+ Musical Heroes, my first thought was how many of them weren’t actually out as I was growing up. As I selected who I would write about, I realized that some still aren’t. I became really conscious of not picking someone who may prefer to keep their sexuality or gender identity to themselves, or not talk about it publicly as part of their music career. There are of course many reasons that this might be the case. There has been much positive change in society over the past 10 years around the acceptance of LGBTQI+ people, but there is still progress needed, particularly around the rights of trans people.







So, I think the people I’d like to mention here are those musical artists, currently in the public eye, who have the bravery to fully be themselves in their music careers. This list is not exhaustive, there are many more I will miss out here. I guess I’d just like to mention these people here to say thank you. Thank you for having the bravery to be yourself. Thank you for being a role model to young LGBTQI+ people, still figuring out who they are. Thank you for your beauty and your honesty. I see you, and I applaud you: Skin, Kae Tempest, Sam Smith, MNEK, Brandi Carlile, Anhoni, Elton John, KD Lang, Cat Burns, India Jordan, Linda Perry, and many more…

And as this is for LGBT+ History month I also want to thank all those LGBTQI+ musicians who came before us who didn’t live at a time when it was easy to be open about who they were.

May the LGBTQI+ Musical future continue to become brighter for all of us.

Skunk Anansie / Kae Tempest / Sam Smith / MNEK / Brandi Carlile / Anhoni / Elton John / KD Lang / Cat Burns / India Jordan / Linda Perry


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