Can You Hear Me Now magazine, credit: Olga Yakushenko

Can You Hear Me Now: Is the music industry a hostile place for women?

  • A new magazine, created in Manchester, is exploring the issues women face in the music industry,  and giving them a platform to talk about their own experiences
  • The NQ caught up with the editor for the new zine, Can You Hear Me NOW? 

A new magazine has been launched in Manchester hoping to raise awareness of the issues women face within the music industry.

Olivia Havercroft, 27, the editor of the zine and currently a PhD history student at the University of Manchester, has toured Europe and the US as both a classical violinist and in a band. She has also been the chair of a music charity called The Young Women's Music Project.

Olivia told the NQ: "The zine was inspired by my own and others' experiences being a woman in the music scene. This includes harassment on-stage and as a spectator, being talked down to, being expected to be a certain way, lack of representation, lack of opportunity, lack of community.

"I wanted to make this zine to give a voice for women to express these problems."

The zine recently held its launch event in the Northern Quarter, which itself is a hub of music and culture, with the likes of Band on the Wall and Night and Day Cafe.

The launch took place at venue Aatma, where a host of DJs and musicians played, as well as a range of workshops.

But what was not to be forgotten was the inspiration behind the zine and why there was a need to produce it.

Art by Bonnie Ridgley
Art by Bonnie Ridgley
For more independent art follow Can You Hear Me Now magazine 

Commenting on the issues facing women in the music industry, Olivia told The NQ: "I believe the music scene is – in general – a hostile place for women. I started making music from a young age and you’re on the back foot from the start.

"It’s got better, but there’s still not a lot of opportunities or encouragement for women playing music, especially on the behind the scenes side – like sound engineering and putting on gigs.

"Second, there’s a lack of representation of women in all aspects of the music scene. A major festival released a line up recently with hardly any women in the line up at all! 

"While I think that the Manchester music scene is great, and there are a lot of women in bands who are very supportive and a lot of great organisations for women, what there’s not a lot of is women coming together offering each other community and support to be able to make music."

All the profits raised from the zine was donated to Mad Dogs Street Project, raising a total of £99.95.

Olivia said: "Homelessness in Manchester is an insidious and growing problem. I heard a story from a Mad Dogs Volunteer about how community is imperative for women on the streets, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

" I wanted to do something practical for Manchester with the proceeds, so I thought sanitary products for homeless women was the way to go."

Speaking about the future of the zine, Olivia added: "In the short-term, we’ve got some exciting collaborations with festivals across the UK, with a couple of radio shows, podcasts, more workshops with organisations around Manchester and of course, putting together a new zine.

"My long-term aim is to have Can You Hear Me Now? be a music collective that publishes a zine quarterly and puts on skill-sharing workshops and events."

Got an interest in photography, poetry or art? Can You Hear Me Now? welcomes contributions from anyone, so if you are inspired to get involved you can get in touch via their FaceBook.