Music Week has announced this year’s Roll Of Honour, in association with TikTok, for our Women In Music Awards 2021.
There are 14 names on this year’s list, drawn from all sectors of the music industry and all with tremendous achievements to celebrate. They join the pantheon of previous honorees, including some of the biggest names in the business, from Emma Banks and Sarah Stennett to Kanya King, Rebecca Allen and Stacey Tang, that have been selected since the awards began in 2014.
In the run-up to the ceremony at the Park Lane Hilton on October 22, here's a chance to learn more about this year's Roll Of Honour inductees. Today, we're introducing Rachel Bolland, director of operations and head of diversity, UK Music...
Rachel’s start in the music industry came at the age of 17 when she decided to do work experience at a record label. Having no idea who to speak to, she turned to the NME and a series of free CDs the magazine had given away called ‘Independent Thinking’, showcasing three different independent labels. She sat down with all three CDs and picked the one that had the most songs she liked, visited their website, sent them an email and crossed her fingers. Six months later she arrived at Transgressive Records for a week of work experience, which turned into an internship when she left school a year later, and then a full-time job when she graduated from university in 2013.
That chance email led to her working with artists as varied as Flume, Alvvays, Julia Jacklin and Songhoy Blues. She eventually focused on the management side of the business as the roster grew, working closely with Let’s Eat Grandma, Marika Hackman, Johnny Flynn and Blaenavon.
Her time at Transgressive saw all four management acts release critically acclaimed albums and tour all over the world. She was also at the label when it won Label Of The Year at the AIM Awards in 2015, and when Let’s Eat Grandma’s sophomore release I’m All Ears won Album Of The Year at the Q Awards in October 2018. She also secured almost £100,000 of additional funding from various grants, including the PRS Foundation Momentum Fund and the Music Export Growth Scheme, allowing the artists to greatly expand their live careers and giving a great boost to their album campaigns.
In 2018, she moved to UK Music to take on the role of director of operations at the trade body. Her role was expanded in October 2019 to lead on UK Music’s Diversity work, and again in April 2021 to include events.
Throughout 2020 she led the work on UK Music’s biennial diversity survey and resulting report, which revealed a 3.3% growth in the number of women working in the music industry. In response to continued challenges around representation across the music industry, Rachel worked closely with UK Music Diversity Taskforce chair Ammo Talwar and co-chair Paulette Long to develop the industry leading Ten-Point Plan to tackle racism and improve diversity across the music industry. The plan aligns metrics and data with strategic actions to drive sustainable change and boost inclusion across the industry.
Through her depth and breadth of experience as a woman in the music industry, Rachel continues to champion diversity at UK Music and beyond. Her time as an artist manager has allowed her to develop a deep commitment to artist welfare and in her spare time prior to the Covid lockdown volunteered with the Music Support helpline.
The Women In Music awards, sponsored by YouTube Music, comprises the Roll Of Honour and an additional 12 categories, including the all-new Entrepreneur Award which recognises a woman who has been the driving force in founding and/or building a business, displaying considerable innovation and success.
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