Abbey Road Equalise Stories

Abbey Road Equalise Stories

1st March 2023
To celebrate our fourth annual Abbey Road Equalise festival, we spoke to some of the amazing women who have been involved in the event to discover their histories, trace their career paths and find out what Equalise means to them.

On Saturday 4 March, we open up our doors to the next generation of female artists and creatives for a free day of panel talks & masterclasses for International Women's Day 2023.

Don't miss the livestream from 10AM GMT!

Jacqueline Dehbozorgi

“One thing I was sure of was that I wanted to be involved in the music industry. Did I know it all to jump in the deep end and seek a job in it? No. Was I confident? Definitely not. Was I determined to somehow make the idea become a reality? So much so. That’s when I decided to start somewhere, anywhere, to get the skills I needed to aid my career progression.

When I heard about Abbey Road Equalise, I thought this is perfect, it empowers women who are seeking to get into the industry and even offers a 1 to 1 mentoring session with some of the panellists. Attending the event made me realise that it’s all possible and that it just starts by putting yourself out there; by being in that room; asking questions and making connections.

I had the pleasure of talking to Rachel Holmberg about my concerns and what I considered to be obstacles which may be getting in my way. Kindly, she took the time out of her day and gave me tips on how to dismantle these obstacles and move forward with my career in music (one which was non-existent at the time). Fast forward a couple of months, taking on board the insight Rachel gave and getting over my imposter syndrome, I managed to find confidence and seek a job in my desired industry and today that's exactly where I am. I currently work in Legal & Business Affairs at Metropolis Songs.

You won’t know it all, but by being in the room you learn something you didn’t know before that will trigger a thought you’ve never had before lighting up a bulb in your mind and encouraging you to take the next step. That's what Equalise did for me and I’ll always be thankful for that experience. If you don’t know where to start, start here.”

Gabi Stok

How did you end up studying at Abbey Road Institute?

“I was already in London where I had moved the year prior to do a one-year music production course. Around the same time the course ended I saw an online ad for the Abbey Road Institute, and before I knew it, I had applied. I remember feeling very lucky and excited to get accepted into the course.”

What do you do now?

“After getting my ARI diploma I started working as an assistant engineer at Sarm Studios where I worked my way up to become an engineer. In downtime I would always make use of the studios to write and produce songs, which eventually led to me getting my first cuts allowing me to do writing and production full time. I am now signed to Warner/Chappell as a writer and continue to do writing sessions most days.”

What was your experience sitting on an Equalise panel?

“I had a great time. I'm not a big fan of public speaking, as I find it quite daunting, but I felt like the importance of visibility outweighed any personal drawbacks. Afterwards it felt great to have shared part of my journey and advice to a group of womxn all aspiring to achieve their dreams, and I hope it made them believe their goals are attainable.”

Did you have any similar events/opportunities when you were younger?

“I don't think I did actually. It's a nice change to see!”

Do you remember being inspired by any of the other panels on the day or in previous years?

“Yes, after my panel there was a panel of writers speaking about things like imposter syndrome and the self-doubt they sometimes feel about going into certain sessions. I just thought it was so good to hear other people's honest and relatable experiences about this, as on social media everything always seems perfect.”

Did you make connections with any other panellists or attendees

“I met quite a few people that day who I am sure I'll run into again one day, and perhaps then something will arise from that.”

What stands out to you about the day as a whole?

“The number of young women who were there, eager to learn and network. It really makes me feel like the near future of music will have a lot more of an equal gender balance.”

Ramera Abraham

How did you end up studying at Abbey Road Institute?

“I was in London visiting friends over the summer, and I went to the Studios’ shop to pick up some Beatles memorabilia. I was just finishing my undergraduate degree in music and law and was unsure of what step to take next. It was there that I spotted an ARI brochure and decided to apply.”

What do you do now?

“I am a freelance vocal producer and engineer. My main client is Platoon, a label and artist services/distribution company owned by Apple, who own their own studios based in Tileyard. I’m one of their two main engineers and work with the label artists daily.”

What was your experience sitting on an Equalise panel?

“It was nice to answer questions from aspiring engineers and producers. It puts into perspective what the industry looks like to people trying to enter it, and it’s valuable to know that my experience can help someone with their career.”

Did you have any similar events/opportunities when you were younger?

“There we’re several female-oriented networking events I attended as a student. Some include Normal Not Novelty by the Red Bull team, BBC Introducing, and Tileyard socials or open mic nights. There are certainly more events now.”

Do you remember being inspired by any of the other panels on the day or in previous years?

“I hadn’t attended any Equalise events in the past, so I didn’t meet anyone from the Abbey Road panels in particular. I have connected with many people at other events though, especially where they held panels for vocal production specifically. I also remember making a point of introducing myself to the women of colour attending or giving talks.”

Did you make connections with any other panellists or attendees?

“I was already friends with a few of the panellists, but there was one attendee who reached out to me afterwards, saying she’d like to vocal produce in the future as well. We’ve been in touch ever since and I have sent her lots of work opportunities that might be suitable. It’s an ongoing supportive mentorship!”

What stands out to you about the event as a whole?

“I would say that Equalise has the biggest platform to hold panels and events highlighting female and non-binary producers, writers, engineers, etc. because of the marketing and greater association with the Studios. I think people want to be part of something bigger and feel seen/feel like they can belong.”

Ellie Macready

How did you first hear about Equalise?

“I first heard about Equalise when I was in my 2nd year at university studying music during peak Covid times. I was really struggling to find any experience in the music world during a global pandemic where all my work experience opportunities kept getting cancelled due to the lockdowns. Equalise popped up at the perfect time when I was looking into what area I could go into in the industry. I have watched sessions every year since!”

Were you interested in working in the music industry previously?

“Yes! I have always wanted a career in the music world but had never really seen myself wanting to be primarily a performer or composer. Equalise allowed me to learn about both careers I had considered but also the paths that I hadn't necessarily.”

Did you attend the event or watch the free live stream?

“I watched virtually online (I think the whole thing was online that year).”

You were able to get a 1-to-1 mentoring session with a member of the Abbey Road events team. How was it and what did you take from it?

“Yes! The lovely Claire in Events took the time to have a virtual 1 to 1 session with me. We discussed what her job entailed and how she found herself in her position. She offered to look at my CV and made suggestions on how I could enhance it, as well as suggestions of where to try and find experiences.”

What was your experience volunteering for the Open House event?

“After lots of nagging Claire, she offered me a full week of work experience at the Open House event where the studios opened its doors to the public for the first time. It was an amazing experience and allowed me the chance to meet many of the staff and most importantly learn about the Studio’s history and how a professional recording studio works.”

Did it create more opportunity for you? What sort of things did you work on in your work experience with Events?

“From this, I pushed for more work! As it was the Studio's 90th year there was a lot going on so I just threw myself into whatever I could around my degree. I managed to work alongside Events again with the Abbey Road Lectures and with the Marketing team for Amplify. Most of this work was client/guest-facing, allowing events to run smoothly on the day. As soon as I graduated, I joined the Events team as a freelance events assistant working directly alongside Claire. During this time I was responsible for communicating with both new and old clients, juggling the studio bookings calendar, and trying to plan, design and follow through with events.”

How did you end up working for the Bookings team at Abbey Road?

“I was super fortunate timings wise to be honest with you! At the time I did not have a full-time position with Events. Hanging around the Studios (and the bar after work) meant that I was lucky enough to grab the attention of Fiona the Studio Manager who initially asked if I would be interested in a position in the Bookings Team. I jumped at the opportunity, was interviewed and a couple of weeks later was offered the job.

What sort of things does the job entail?

“No day is the same! We have a studio bookings diary which is constantly changing with a huge variety of bookings coming in at all times of the day. We will handle anything from film soundtrack bookings years in advance all the way through to last-minute next-day vocal sessions. I am also responsible for allocating and organising a team of engineers, recordists, assistants and runners.”

What are your career goals going forward?

“I love working in such a creative environment! I have to remind myself of what an amazing place I get to work in every single day. I don't know entirely where I'll be in 10 years’ time, but I would love to continue working in the world of music somehow! In particular, I see myself working in the world of film music.”

Mia Bradley

How did you end up studying at Abbey Road Institute?

“I began studying music at the Leeds College of Music for two years, studying music technology. Once I graduated, I wanted to further improve my skillset in production, audio engineering and music business. After researching and visiting some of the top music production institutes in London, I felt that the Abbey Road Institute course ticked all the boxes and the opportunity to learn from industry leading professionals through their masterclasses was extremely desirable for me.”

What do you do now?

“I work at UK-based dance label Anjunadeep as a Product Manager. I work across global album campaigns as well as singles and EPs, overseeing all aspects of a campaign to ensure it has the best chance of success. My role at Anjunadeep has allowed me to pursue my own musical project too - Mia Aurora. I am a globally touring DJ and music producer. 2022 saw me play DJ Sets in Ibiza, Berlin, Dubai, Israel, Albania and more and I have been working on my own productions with the aim to release in 2023.”

What was your experience sitting on the Equalise panel?

“It was great to hear what other Abbey Road Institute alumni had been working on over the past few years and it's always inspiring to hear women who are smashing it in the music industry. I hope that anyone listening to the panel found it equally as inspiring and helpful for their careers in music too.”

Did you have any similar events/opportunities when you were younger?

“I was never aware of any similar events before I started at the Abbey Road Institute. I think that these types of events would have been super beneficial for me, especially coming from a previous course that didn't have many women enrolled on it.”

Do you remember being inspired by any other panels on the day or in previous years?

“I enjoyed listening to the panel about Getting Signed and found it very beneficial to hear what labels are looking for in new artists.”

What stands out to you about the event as a whole?

“I think it's important now more than ever to be inspiring and encouraging women in the music industry and events like these are a great place to start. The Abbey Road Equalise event in particular covers many different aspects of the music industry so there's something for everyone. The standout for me, is the level of panellists that they bring on board for the event, helping to give attendees a real insight into the industry.”

Laura Iredale

How did you end up studying at Abbey Road Institute?

“I had been a music teacher at a secondary school and decided it was time to pursue my passion for film scoring and Abbey Road Institute seemed like the perfect place to do that considering Abbey Road’s history in film scoring.”

What do you do now?

“I have worked in a variety of roles since graduating, including as technician at Abbey Road Institute; runner for Angel Studios; composer for various projects including The Guardian’s Women’s Football Weekly; freelance sound designer on projects including The Outlaws (BBC), The Christmas Pig (Audible) and as a mix technician on Scrooge (Netflix) and Matilda (Netflix/Sony). I continue to work as an audio engineer and composer on a freelance basis.”

What was your experience sitting on an Equalise panel?

“It was great - I definitely felt some imposter syndrome! It was really inspiring to hear from others on the panel and those speaking on panels throughout the day, felt surrounded by really talented and interesting people!”

Did you have any similar events/opportunities when you were younger?

“Absolutely not. There wasn’t the same access to events, opportunities, funding, routes into the industry. It’s great to see this happening more now.”

Do you remember being inspired by any of the other panels on the day or in previous years?

“Loved the session on film scoring - some very wise words shared by some amazing female composers, who were also very lovely people, willing to offer words of advice after the event.”

What stands out to you about the day as a whole?

“It was a really positive day, surrounded by inspiring people that made me excited to keep making music!”

Learn more about Abbey Road Equalise.


Related News