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A Magazine for Sheffield

We Were Born Queens

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Sheffield native and live music promoter Felicity Hoy has brought a dazzling array of colourful and creative music experiences to the city in the last few years, involving Nubiyan Twist, Mansion of Snakes, Shunya and a cosmic parade courtesy of Space Cassette. We spoke to her to find out what's in store for 2020.

Tell us a bit about We Were Born Queens.

We Were Born Queens is a brand new music series hosted by Euporie celebrating women in the music industry. It's taking place on three dates in March, April and May at the Abbeydale Picture House, and the project is funded by the Arts Council with the aim of bringing more diversity and more female artists to the Sheffield music scene.

Who are some of the musicians who'll be performing?

First up on 27 March we've got Tawiah, who is a real trailblazer within the genres of British alternative-soul and neo-soul. Her debut album, Starts Again, was released at the end of last year and her live performances are really something to behold.

On 16 April we've got Aadae whose music is heavily inspired by her Nigerian roots. It's a really vibrant, energetic mix, combining Afrobeat, R&B, pop and electro-soul.

And finally on 22 May, Fehdah joins us. gal-dem recently described her as "the astrophysicist making music via algorithms" and she manages to effortlessly fuse neo-soul, traditional Irish singing, and West African pop and polyrhythms. Her music is a real treat for the ears.

I've always relished bringing artists from other cities to Sheffield

In addition to the performances, what else can the audience look forward to?

We've got a stunning selection of visuals to project onto the big screen in the Picture House, including a bespoke projection which is being created especially for We Were Born Queens and which will feature images and videos of influential female musicians throughout the ages.

Each of the musicians is being supported by a local female DJ, so we've got eclectic mixer Gracie T supporting Tawiah, Afrobeat DJ MYNA supporting Aadae, and Kom Kom, who runs Barang at DINA, supporting Fehdah.

After the performances, we'll be interviewing each of the musicians about their music, their creative process and how their heritage influences their artistic practice. I think this adds a really special element to these events.

What do you hope the audience takes away from the events?

I just want everyone to have a fantastic time in one of the city's most beautiful venues and to feel inspired by seeing and experiencing the creativity of three really progressive female musicians of colour who don't often perform in Sheffield.

What influence do you hope this event series will have on the music scene in Sheffield?

I hope it's the catalyst for music promoters in Sheffield to be more adventurous when booking bands and musicians. I've always relished bringing artists from other cities to Sheffield and it's been obvious that there's a real appetite amongst gig-goers for musicians that aren't white and male.

It was disappointing to see so few female musicians of colour on the recent Tramlines line-up announcement and I think we really need to push back against that and demand diversity and fair representation. It's got to start from the grassroots up.

Flick Jackson

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