Interview: 2021 Libby Raper Elevate Award in Music Production

By Lauren Bickerdike


Elevate is a programme of activities and initiatives which look to support, inspire and motivate women who work across Leeds Conservatoire.

Each year, our Elevate panel awards The Libby Raper Elevate Award in Music Production to one Leeds Conservatoire student. This award celebrates the work of women who show significant progress or academic achievement, who have committed to a career in music production, and who uphold the values of Elevate. Those awarded are positive role models who inspire, support and empower their peers to succeed.

We spoke to this year's winner, Megan Browne, (a freelance songwriter, top liner and music producer specialising in Pop and Electronic music) and runner up Holly Dale (a Dubstep music producer and part-time lecturer on our FDA Electronic Music Production course) about their achievements, time at Leeds Conservatoire and the importance of supporting women in the industry.

Hello Megan and Holly! Can you share with us your favourite thing about studying at Leeds Conservatoire?

Megan - The people! Everyone is so diverse and open, and it's such a refreshing communal space for you to be yourself.

Holly - I agree. I love that Leeds Conservatoire allows you to meet others from different backgrounds with different experiences and that there is a real sense of community amongst everyone, including staff.

Megan, you helped establish an online group during the pandemic, which allowed fellow Production students to share and critique their work with peers.

Megan Brown 2

Image: Megan Browne in Production Studio.

Can you tell us more about how this came about and the impact it had on yourself and your peers?

Megan - The idea actually came from Bill Moulton, another Production student, and I thought it was a great idea to keep us all interacting during the pandemic. It was a way for us to get support and feedback on our final year projects and get some human interaction, which lifts people's spirits a lot. It was enjoyable getting to be a part of the process!

Holly Dale 2

Image: Holly Dale.

Great! And Holly, you're one of the freshest faces in Dubstep. Can you tell us a little bit about your music?

Holly - I'm a massive fan of anything with a lot of low end, hence why I am so into Dubstep. My music sides more with the ethereal sounds taking inspiration from Burial, but also has a heavy focus on synthesizers rather than sampling.

Why is it important we celebrate the achievements of other women in the music industry?

Holly - I think the music industry is notorious for being very 'cut-throat'. It's important to show each other as artists support as we all had to start from the bottom and work our way up. I think a lot of people in today's society seek validation, especially from their peers. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I know a lot of people that can feel very disheartened if they don't get this validation, and so it is important to support each other's work and celebrate other people's successes as well as your own.

Megan - I've always thought it is important to treat others the way you want to be treated. I aim to give people the encouragement and support I wish to receive. We should particularly celebrate women in the music industry as there are so few of us, especially in Production.

What advice would you give to women interested in beginning a career in Music Production?

Megan - Be confident in yourself and your knowledge, don't give people the opportunity to question you, and they won't.

Holly - Go for it! I feel a lot of women may feel a bit intimidated when entering an industry that is so male-dominated. 9 times out of 10, though, the scene as a whole is supportive from my experience, but I understand this is not the same in every scene. Stick to your guns, and if it's something you enjoy doing, don't let someone's opinion change that.

Holly Dale 1

Image: Holly Dale.

Which women in the music industry inspire you and why?

Holly - I admire strong women in the industry and those who commit to industries and roles that are not predominately female led. A few artists/ bands with female members which inspire me are Sevdaliza, Portishead, and a few of my female peers within the Dubstep scene such as Khiva & Eva808.

Megan Browne

Image: Megan Browne.

Are there any tutors or role models at the conservatoire that helped to motivate your ambition and develop your skills?

Megan - Craig, Bhupinder and Simon were all excellent tutors on the production course, and Andrew Potterton has also been a big help to me developing myself as an artist and my skills as a producer and songwriter.

What's the most important thing you learnt throughout your time at Leeds Conservatoire?

Holly - Be open to other peoples creative ideas, don't cut your opportunities through ignorance. If someone is into something that differs from your interests, take the time to listen and learn from those people, and learn that most people you meet has something to offer.

Megan - Be yourself unapologetically, and work hard for what you want.

What are your goals for the future?

Megan - My goals for the future are to continue producing for new artists and to release an album of my own next year. I also want to continue song-writing with and for other artists.

Holly - Carry on releasing music, really! I am keen to try and reach outside of the UK and build up a steady stream of gigs.

Thanks both, and congratulations! 

Find out more about our FDA Music Production and FDA Electronic Music Production courses and our BA (Hons) Music (Production) degree. 

By Lauren Bickerdike

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