16 leading music organisations from 12 countries lead global movement for change

Providing women and gender minority participants all the skills and opportunities they need to get to the next stage in their career.

74 artists and music industry professionals from 12 different countries have been selected by industry and export experts as the future leaders that will take part in the Keychange development programme in 2020, after an open call that received over 650 applications. Participants include Estonian experimental singer and violinist Maarja Nuut, whose delicate and melancholic releases have received praise from the likes of The Quietus, The Guardian and Vice, Berlin based Lo-fi pop artist DENA who has been tipped by some of the biggest media in Europe and worldwide (Der Spiegel, Guardian, Dazed, Fader), as well as wowing audiences at SXSW, clubs and festivals around Europe, and London alt-soul singer Anaïs who released her breakthrough track ‘Nina’ in 2018 and has already received critical acclaim from iD, Fader, and Pitchfork

Launching with a full network meetup in Stockholm on February 13th, this extensive programme led by Reeperbahn Festival in partnership with PRS Foundation and Musikcentrum Öst will give the 74 women and gender minority participants all the skills and opportunities they need to get to the next stage in their career. This is the first of three cohorts that will take part in the ambitious and future-facing four year programme that was announced in Summer 2019, when Keychange was awarded €1.4m from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Alongside the full network meet-ups and mentoring, participants will take part in a ‘Creative Lab’ at one of the 13 festivals that are partnered with Keychange. The Creative Labs will offer showcasing opportunities to Artists, public speaking opportunities to Innovators, plus workshops, seminars, studio sessions, masterclasses and more. International collaboration lies at the heart of the programme, and Polish company Chimes have been recruited to oversee all training.

The participants will get:
– Participation in full network meet-up in Stockholm in February 2020
– Participation in full network meet-up at Reeperbahn Festival in September
– Mentoring via SheSaidSo
– For Artists: showcase and Creative Lab activity at one of the 13 partner festivals
– For Innovators: participation and Creative Lab activity at one of the 13 partner festivals
– Promotion via the Keychange database
– Capacity building with a bespoke training programme

The announcement comes at an exciting moment for Keychange; the number of organisations that have signed up to the gender balance pledge has passed 300 and Talent Norge (Norway), Norsk Tipping (Norway) and Musicians’ Union (UK) – who have lead important research and resources for cases of harrassment, discrimination, and abuse of power – have joined the movement as Sponsors. 

Canadian partners FACTOR, SOCAN Foundation, and festivals MUTEK Montreal and BreakOut West are the first outside of Europe to commit to the talent development element of the Keychange programme. Canadian artists and music industry professionals will get access to international opportunities and progression routes that would not be available to them otherwise, as well as training and participation in a valuable network. Many Canadian festivals have signed the Keychange gender pledge, and the investment into individual development is an concerted step towards meaningful and long lasting change for the Canadian music industry. 

A core value of Keychange is to break down the barriers that people face because of their gender, and from listening to the feedback from the 2018 edition of the programme, the new team put a specific budget in place to support all childcare needs. Therefore, in this first year of 2.0, Keychange has pledged a percentage of their funding to the participants, specifically for childcare, in order to facilitate their participation in the programme, and ultimately aid their development. 

Christina Schäfers, Keychange Lead and Head of Reeperbahn Festival’s programmes in arts, word and film says, “The Keychange talent development programme lies at the core of the initiative. While the pledge encourages organisations to book diverse talent, we’re helping the talent get to their stages. Following dialogue with many creators and experts during phase one, we are particularly pleased that a more inclusive approach to recruitment has resulted in a very diverse and exciting group of participants for 2020. We are proud to represent many more gender minority participants and a diverse range of ethnicities, genres and career levels.The Keychange team are busy creating a meaningful and impactful capacity building programme, and we’re looking forward to working with them all, and to seeing what they do next. We can’t wait to host this incredible cohort at the full network meet-ups in Stockholm and at Reeperbahn Festival.”

UK-based participant Machine Woman (Anastasia Vtorova) says, “Keychange has given me a prime opportunity to get involved and learn how to create positive changes in the music industry. Changes come from like-minded people and inspire future generations.”

Keychange Ambassador Shirley Manson says, “It is vitally important to me that we continue to talk about and more importantly address existing problems and prejudices within the music industry. I very much appreciate that the Keychange initiative is focusing energy on offering opportunities to artists that help them realise their potential in an industry rife with barriers.”

The 74 new participants are: 

Artists Country Innovator
kroy Canada Mar Sellars
Kimmortal Canada Katrina Lopes
Hello Delaware Canada Rebecca Szymkow
iskwē Canada Savannah Wellman
Maarja Nuut Estonia Maarja Merivoo-Parro
Katja Adrikova Estonia Martiina Putnik
TBC Estonia Merylin Poks
THE BLIND SUNS France Celine Garcia
ROBI France Clothilde Chalot
The Rodeo France Cleo T
Novaa Germany Lina Burghausen
DENA Germany Lena Ingwersen
Ilgen-Nur Germany Juba
GDRN Iceland Björt Sigfinnsdóttir
Hafdís Huld Iceland Soffia Jonsdottir
Cell7 Iceland Valdís Þorkelsdóttir
Any Other Italy clio flego
Kety Fusco Italy Joslina Cipolletta
L’Impero della Luce Italy Letizia Angelini
Charlotte Bendiks Norway Jennifer Gunn
ISÁK Norway Kine Lundervold
Miss Tati Norway Amira Morstaq Ali
Joanna Duda Poland Magda Chołyst
Mehehe Poland Ievgeniia Ivanova
Ba:zel / ai fen Poland Aleksandra Jablonska
Elaine Mai Republic of Ireland Lia Lieghio
SYLK Republic of Ireland Shauna Watson
PILLOW QUEENS Republic of Ireland Mona-Lisa Das
Sol Escobar Spain Natalia San Juan Bentancurt
Alvva Spain Rosana Corbacho
MounQup Spain Nadia Leal
The Hanged Man Sweden Sarah El Miniawy
Isabel Neib Sweden Rebecca Tegegne
Sara Parkman Sweden Amanda Elefelt
Machine Woman UK Kat Kennedy
anaïs UK Katie Tavini
Islet UK Shekayla Maragh


Listen to the Keychange 2020 artist playlist: here (Soundcloud) 

Read more about each participant on the new Keychange website here, which will also serve as a database that will be used to promote all Keychange participants to festivals and the Keychange signatories. 

60 participants took part in the Keychange programme in 2018, including Poppy Ajudha, who has since been named as one of Barack Obama’s favourite artists, Kat Frankie, who was nominated as ‘best producer’ at the notorious ‘Preis fur PopKulture’ awards in Germany, Harriet Moss who has been promoted to Managing Director of publishers Manners McDade, and IMAN, who has written a multi-million streamed track with Zara Larsson

Keychange is led by Reeperbahn Festival, PRS Foundation and Musikcentrum Öst, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Tallinn Music Week, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Oslo World, Linecheck/Music Innovation Hub, Ireland Music Week, SACEM, Liverpool Sound City, Way Out West, Spring Break, MAMA, MUTEK and Breakout West.

Keychange is sponsored by FACTOR, Fundación SGAE, GEMA, Gorwelion Horizons, IMRO, the Musicians’ Union, Norsk Tipping, Roskilde Festival, Smirnoff Equalising Music, SOCAN Foundation, Songtrust, SoundCloud, STEF, STIM, and Talent Norge