IMRO Spotlight – Jackie Beverly
Irish artist Jackie Beverly has been steadily carving a space for herself in the Irish music scene, sparking people’s attention with her refreshing electro-infused writing, and refined vocal. Notable performances include Other Voices (Dingle, 2019), First Fortnight festival (2020), Whelan’s Ones To Watch (2020), The Ruby Sessions (2019) – plus stellar opening sets for established artists such as Kelsey Lu, Sorcha Richardson, and Nnic.
Noted as a ‘one of the most exciting new talents in Ireland’ (GoldenPlec) and named one of “10 Irish Rock and Pop acts to watch in 2020” in The Irish Times (Tony Clayton-Lea), last year started off as Beverly’s strongest to date. Her highly-anticipated debut headline show has upgraded to The Grand Social on November 27th and is the start of a very exciting few announcements for the electro folk artist.
How did you first get involved in music?
I come from quite a musical family. My dad always played guitar when I was younger. My brother picked it up when he was really young and when we were both a little older we would play pub gigs in Dublin every weekend – Shane would play guitar and we would both sing. I guess that led me to writing my own songs and eventually deciding to do something with them when I was around 26.
Did your gender ever affect your thoughts on pursuing a career in music?
Not necessarily at the start because I received a huge amount of encouragement from my dad and brother which was really lovely – my dad especially as he made me believe I could do anything I set out to. These days however I’m more aware of the difficulties we face in the music industry. I’ve seen far too many festivals with barely any women on the line-up, Irish radio stats can be really disheartening, and I’ve definitely had my fair share of men telling me what to do during sound checks!
Have you seen attitudes toward gender in the music industry change over the years?
I would hope so. I’m very aware that I’m part of a very progressive music scene but from what I can see there’s way less stereotyping when it comes to music. Maybe in the past people would have overlooked any female led rock bands just because they’re women, but presently some of the most celebrated bands are all female led such as Pillow Queens, SPRINTS, Cherym, Just Mustard. The same could be said for rap music. Denise Chaila is one of the best things to come out of Ireland and it’s great to see her being championed and recognised as such. In saying that though, there definitely still remains a deeply rooted idea that men sell more records, entice more radio listeners etc, that a lot of radio stations and festival bookers can’t seem to let go of. But all you have to do is take a look at our music scene and you can see that’s not the case.
What advice would you give to those who want to start out in music?
- Try your best not to compare your journey to others. The same thing goes for the art you make. It’s a very quick way of becoming disillusioned and disappointed.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There are some very sound people in the Irish music scene who are more than willing to have a chat and share their knowledge and experience.
- Don’t rush anything.
Which organisations and supports do you lean on for advice and inspiration?
FMC (First Music Contact) and Ireland Music Week have been monumental in the opportunities that have come my way since playing the showcase last year – that’s a huge support in itself. My manager Laura has been a constant rock for me since day 1. Her passion and love for what she does is inspirational and I’m constantly going to her for advice. I’m very grateful to be in such safe hands!
Who inspires you, and why?
Any creative who is still pushing on with their career during this pandemic! I think we can all agree how inspiring that is.
What do you look forward to accomplishing this year?
Career wise I’ve been really busy working on a body of work which will be released in the form of an EP. I slowed way down at the start of the pandemic and took stock of what was really important to me in terms of my sound. I’ve never felt more at home in the music I’m making right now. Everything about it – process, artwork, instrumentation, the people I’m working with, lyrics etc – is all so special to me so I really hope people like it when it’s out.
On a personal note I’m really looking forward to being a dog mom for the first time! We’re adopting a beautiful doggo named Casper and I can’t wait to see what life will be like with him.
If you could give one message to the industry on how to better support gender balance, what would it be?
If you’re a radio DJ – strive to have a gender balance on your shows. If you’re a festival booker, strive to have a gender balance on your line-up. It really is that simple. Let’s move away from the ridiculous idea that there aren’t enough female/non-binary acts to fill a line-up – if that’s your train of thought you’re clearly not clued into the magnificently diverse music scene we have here and it’s time to look a bit harder.
Where can people find out more about you?
This series features interviews with people working across different genres and sectors of the industry to assess how they feel about gender diversity and balance in music.