International Women's Day 2022: Kiss DJ Ellie Prohan on celebrating music industry pioneers

International Women's Day 2022: Kiss DJ Ellie Prohan on celebrating music industry pioneers

On International Women’s Day 2022, DJ and Kiss/Apple Music presenter Ellie Prohan writes for Music Week on navigating the industry and celebrating success…

I love this time of year and love to see everybody celebrating and championing the incredible pioneers of this industry that we have. I’m throwing my first event of the year with Ellie Prohan & Friends, a series I started to bring together a community of people from different intersectional perspectives regardless of your class, sexuality, ethnicity and gender in music.

This week is a great opportunity to celebrate the pioneers we have in our industry and on a female identifying, non-binary and queer level, because I believe everybody deserves to be celebrated in the same room. There isn’t a space which puts this to the forefront, which is why I am doing what I am doing. 

I’m a gay Middle Eastern woman who loves drill and UK music - it’s my passion, what I support and champion in my music career. There isn’t anybody like me doing what I am doing in music right now. I wish the younger version of me had that representation when I was growing up, as I think it would have had a huge positive impact on my choices in life. 

As a talented, gay Middle Eastern woman, the importance of being an active representation within the music and entertainment industry is of upmost important to me. Coming from a Persian household, and growing up on a council estate in West London in a single parent family bound by cultural expectations, left little room for me to explore my passions, identity and purpose; especially as life was already as hard as it was. 

I understand how difficult it can be to navigate this industry. I came into it far later than a lot of my peers, changing careers and taking a risk to follow my passion in music, which was scary for a long time. But staying true to my authentic purpose gave me the stamina and spirit to keep up and keep going. 

It’s vital for me to create a space to inspire and encourage artists

Ellie Prohan

I’m independent so my journey up until now has been done without a label or huge team behind me, which has come with its own set of challenges; early on I made sure that I surrounded myself with a community who understands me, share the same common goals and are willing to help without an agenda and me them. Shout-out to all of my people. There are so many to name but anybody who has supported, put me on or forward, thank you!

I remind myself of the journey and obstacles I’ve faced, and knowing how difficult it's been to navigate the music industry I make sure that my Kiss show is a one-way door to a dose of community, positivity and inspiration to artists to not give up on their dreams. 

Every week I handpick 28 artists who have never had their tracks played nationally, and give them the opportunity that might encourage them to spend six more hours in the studio and six fewer hours doing anything else. It’s vital for me to create a space to inspire and encourage artists who may not have the connections or huge teams; who are working two jobs to get studio time and just want their music to be seen and heard. 

Sometimes I think it’s easy to forget how we all started out, and how we all got to where we are, so I want to be able to provide that as much as I can, as my career moves forward. So here’s to all the incredible pioneers of our industry. May you feel seen, valued, heard, supported, amplified, respected and celebrated - not just this week but every day of your life and your career! You deserve it!

Subscribers can read our Kiss feature here.


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