During this year’s Women In Music Awards, we inducted a further 14 amazing industry executives (including one posthumous award) into the Roll Of Honour, in association with TikTok. They join the pantheon of previous honourees, 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.
The Roll Of Honour aims to highlight the breadth, depth and variety of individuals who are game-changers in the music industry, with their activities consistently benefiting women, or focusing on empowerment/gender disparity. Following the Women In Music Awards ceremony, Music Week is running Q&A interviews with all of this year’s Roll Of Honour inductees.
Eve Horne has over 20 years of experience in the music industry as a singer, songwriter and producer, and is the founder of PeakMusicUK and The Unheard campaign, which demands equality for women in the music industry.
Horne started her music career as a student at The BRIT School in the early ’90s. From there, she went on to sign with Polydor UK as part of a trio before joining the girl group Juice, who were signed to EMI-Medley in Denmark. During that time, Horne was able to tour the UK, Asia and Europe and work alongside an array of artists, bands, producers and songwriters such as Jermaine Dupri, Andrea Martin, Soulshock & Karlin and Diane Warren.
Returning to the UK in 2000, she went on to study sound engineering and music business at the Gateway School Of Recording. After graduating, Horne and her business partner set up a recording studio for young and underprivileged people with the aim of supporting the community whilst also promoting female producers/sound engineers. They went on to win a National Business Award and an Enterprising Britain Award.
Over the course of her career, Horne has become a Native Instruments certified specialist, a Shesaid.so Alt list 2020 Honoree, a board member for Moving The Needle, an innovator on the Keychange 2022 programme, a UK Music Diversity Taskforce rep for MPG, and an executive team member of Why Not Her.
Horne will also join The Ivors Academy board and senate through their Advocacy Accelerator programme, and was voted on as a board director for the MPG – becoming their first female and person of colour. In September 2022, Horne launched the We Are The Unheard Academy to be accessible to gender minorities, women of colour, the LGBTQIA+ community and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The programme offers training and support from beginner to career and helps improve the percentages of female-identifying producers and songwriters in the music industry, whilst providing childcare and travel costs for in-person events.
Horne’s creativity and passion for equality and skill sharing comes out in other ways too. The We Are The Unheard podcast aims to provide a platform for everybody who has ever felt unheard. Moreover, with her classes on Skillshare, an online learning platform with over 12,000 teachers, Horne has had more than 6,000 students and has been invited to be a top teacher. With only 120 top teachers internationally, Horne is the first female and woman of colour to qualify as such in the music category!
Horne has also recently written and published a children’s book to help normalise diversity and educate families and children about interracial, same sex parents and their fertility journey.
Here, Eve Horne tells us more about her story so far...
How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour?
“Honestly? I feel like I have won gold! To know that I am making my small contribution to making positive change in the industry from my flat in Southeast London [Plumstead] feels amazing! And to be among the amazing women that I am being enrolled with and those that have come before is truly surreal! My whole life, I have been told off or put down or quietened for believing in what is right, for fighting for fairness, for being too loud and too outspoken, for standing up for people who might not have the courage to do it for themselves. So, to be recognised for doing exactly that means more than you can ever know! Also, 20 years ago when I had just left my girl group signed to EMI and was suffering from massive depression, I realised that I didn’t like the bit of fame that we got as I was way too sensitive for it. I did however say to myself ‘I just want to be respected by the people in the industry’. Being inducted into the Women In Music Roll Of Honour for me is that validation. It has also been a huge reminder of the power of believing in myself.”
How do you look back on your early years getting into the industry?
“They were amazing yet painful at the same time. I got signed to a major record label whilst I was still at the BRIT School and it was a fantastic journey and experience. I was totally at home on stage and loved the variety of the life of an artist. We were always in different places, meeting new people, experiencing different countries and cultures, learning dance routines, learning about sound, management, tour management, seeing the sheer amount of people it took to put on a tour! It was phenomenal. With all of that comes the girl group dynamics, so I experienced bullying and other things. However, I wouldn’t change a thing as it made me who I am today!”
Did you have a mentor at that stage?
“No, never. That is one of the reasons why I do what I do now. If I had someone who could have developed my passion for wanting to understand the mixing desk or helped develop my journey to be the one creating and writing the songs/tracks, I believe I wouldn’t have suffered the depression that I did. I want to help prevent other up and coming artists from having to experience that by expanding their toolbox and introducing them to the variety of jobs across the industry.”
What’s your biggest achievement so far?
“This is definitely one of them!! I have a lot! I guess we could start by being born [laughs] That is an achievement in itself. The odds of being born are minimum 1 in 400 trillion so we all need to pat ourselves on the back for that one! Erm…Being one of the first ever students at the BRIT school, getting signed to Polydor at 18, passing my driving test the same day that my first single was released, performing at Wembley Arena, being on the front cover of the welcome pack of a girl group fan club I signed up to when I met them (I had joined the group in that time). Also, touring all over Asia, living in a different country and working in the studio with Andrea Martin, Jermaine Dupri, Soulshock & Karlin. Graduating from university with my sound engineer qualification, setting up my studio to promote female producers and support underprivileged kids, winning a National Business Award and Enterprising London Award, becoming a qualified trainer and assessor, getting my mechanical engineering diploma – I don’t like maths – being gifted my beautiful miracle daughter, launching my campaign for the equality of women in the music industry, becoming the first woman and person of colour to be a board director for the MPG, being accepted on the Advocacy Accelerator programme for The Ivors Academy, believing in myself! Aaannnnnnnnd breathe. That question really made me look at my achievements. We don’t do that enough. Everyone should answer this question and be kind to themselves.”
My whole life, I've been told off for standing up for people who might not have the courage to do it for themselves... This has been a huge reminder of the power of believing in myself
You founded PeakMusicUK to develop female songwriters and producers? Why is that initiative so important – particularly given the lack of women in music production?
“It wasn’t until I went to university to study sound engineering that I realised the huge gap. It literally was like a slap in the face. It wasn’t so obvious from an artist or performer’s perspective as you were surrounded by men and women, from stylists, make-up artists to choreographers, and so on. I was one of six women in the whole year and the only one of colour. We had a female sound engineer teacher, Georgette Okey, who was my inspiration to do my dissertation on the lack of female sound engineers. Well, fast forward 20 years and not much has changed. The statistics of female producers in the UK are under 5% I think. I don’t even think there are statistics for engineers! Plus, we are only looking at gender in these stats. We’re not addressing age, sexual orientation, race, whether they are mothers, backgrounds, and more. This is why I started my We Are The Unheard campaign and academy. We need to first of all show young women that it is an option as a career from when they are at school, we need to look at the messaging that surrounds production and engineering courses at university level too. Since launching the academy, the feedback has been very consistent. The participants feel comfortable and confident to ask questions, to be open to do so. They are able to have the space to believe in themselves and not question their ability. My aim is to get them to an advanced level too so they can have full creative freedom and control over their careers.”
You are involved in the Keychange campaign – how has that helped to transform industry events and festivals? How can the initiative keep up the momentum in terms of tackling inequality?
“Keychange is a brilliant initiative and I am so grateful to have been a part of such a talented community of artists and innovators from all over the world. It’s not only brilliant for the work that it does but also for the people that run it. They really do care, each and every one of them, and they are doing huge things in terms of transforming industry events and festivals. From their Keychange pledge to touring sustainably and everything in between. They are so passionate about making this change internationally too and are keeping the momentum going by recently launching Keychange US.”
What advice would you offer young women about enjoying a successful career in music?
“Believe in yourself and make sure you surround yourself with people who are doing better than you so you can always learn and grow. Be curious and never afraid to ask questions. Help others out if you get into a position where you can. Make sure you are brave and speak out if something is not right – don’t let the fear of losing your job or position stop you from doing what is right for you. Always listen to your gut and don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Oh, and don’t man hate. Men are great too! Educate with love.”
And what’s the best advice you’ve ever had?
“Don’t burn your bridges. It is so important to be kind. Myself and Natalie Wade were having this discussion with the amazing young people from her company Small Green Shoots. It is important not to judge someone for their position in the industry or if they are just starting out because one day you might need to count on them. Be Kind.”
Lastly, what’s your biggest lesson from 2022 so far?
“That I don’t need anyone else’s reassurance. It has taken me this long to learn that. Being someone who is empathetic, it is very easy for me to put others’ thoughts, feelings and opinions above my own. When I look back on my life and why I didn’t continue with certain things it was because I didn’t think I was good enough to do it on my own. That has now stopped.”