New ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ Directory features BIMM students and alumni
Being forced to take a break from their yearly festival, We’ve Only Just Begun has used their time wisely. They’ve started an alternative project that aims to give more of a platform to female and non-binary recording artists, DJs, session musicians and industry professionals around Ireland.
The We’ve Only Just Begun Directory is a new free-to-use, easy-to-navigate directory that is a crucial tool for anyone in the industry – and imperative to the journey for equality in the music industry.
Who’s part of the directory?
You can currently find around 600 female and non-binary people on their website – many of whom are BIMM students and alumni. This makes it the most comprehensive and up-to-date directory of female and non-binary recording artists, musicians, DJs and industry professionals based in Ireland. It also includes artists that are signed and unsigned.
The Directory is an ideal tool for anyone in the industry, as it can be used as a comprehensive search engine when looking for the right people for professional opportunities. It’s perfect for agents, producers, promoters, radio programmers, venues, labels, publishing companies, and artists; the list really does go on.
The Directory was created by BIMM Alumni, Jodie Delany and Theodora Byrne, alongside Founder and Director of We’ve Only Just Begun Festival and Directory, Shauna Watson, who said the following on the project’s launch:
“The live music industry came to an abrupt halt this year because of Covid-19, our annual We’ve Only Just Begun Festival being one of the many events to be cancelled. While we can’t have a live show, we wanted to develop a project that champions female and non-binary musicians in Ireland, much like our festival does.
“This year particularly, we’ve really noticed such fantastic support for women in the music industry. We’ve seen this evidenced in line-ups like Songs From An Empty Room and in the support industry-wide for the Irish Women In Harmony charity single. Nothing makes us happier than to see this change and this backing, from all members of our community – irrespective of gender. We strive to continue to be a part of this move towards a more equal industry, through the promotion and showcasing of the incredible talent Irish artists have to offer.”
Interviewing Shauna Watson, Founder of We’ve Only Just Begun
We caught up with Shauna one month after the launch to hear about her new project in more detail.
“[The Directory is] a one-stop-shop where you can find new artists and exciting bands in your area. I’ve often heard people in the industry comment, saying: “We want to book more female-fronted bands and acts, but we don’t know where to find them”. So, the Directory is the perfect antidote to that.”
Shauna, firstly, the work you’re doing is amazing. What gave you the idea of doing a directory?
Thank you! I’ve always thought there was a demand for something like the Directory to exist: a one-stop-shop where you can find new artists and exciting bands in your area. I’ve often heard people in the industry comment, saying: “We want to book more female-fronted bands and acts, but we don’t know where to find them”. So, the Directory is the perfect antidote to that.
Back in February of this year, Vick Bain published something similar to We’ve Only Just Begun Directory called The F List UK, which inspired me to start working on the Irish version straight away. It was slightly derailed by the pandemic, but I’ve been working on it intensely since June. By that point, we knew that We’ve Only Just Begun Festival couldn’t take place this year, so I thought it was ideal for tying both projects together and publishing the Directory in lieu of the festival.
You launched the directory in September. How have things been going so far?
It’s been wild! I’m so happy with the response since the launch, and we’re still getting regular daily hits on the website, so it’s continuously being used. There have already been so many collaborations initiated via the Directory, both between the industry and artists, and artists reaching out to each other. That has been really great to hear.
Have you got any plans for expansion into other facets of the music industry?
When we launched in September with the ‘Recording Artists’, ‘Musicians’ and ‘DJs’ Directories, we had already been working on expanding into music business and tech. We launched the ‘Industry’ Directory in October, which profiles sound engineers, producers, backline technicians, promoters, publicists, photographers and everything in between. So, we’re working to represent every facet of the music industry on the Directory!
What are your future plans for the Directory?
Expanding the network of womxn in the music industry on the site and building the awareness of the Directory itself. A booker from the biggest promotions company in Ireland tweeted around the launch of the Directory, tweeting “Bookmark this site”, so that’s exactly how I hope the industry continues to interact with it.
I also hope that they regularly visit the Directory to discover new artists, to find a contact for an artist they may already know about, or to maybe find an artist in a particular area to book for a local show. I want it to be the go-to resource for finding new talent in Ireland.
Of course, before the Directory, there was the fantastic We’ve Only Just Begun annual three-night festival. What are some of your favourite memories or moments from running the festival?
There’s a really special atmosphere at the festival each year that is unlike anything I’ve experienced at another gig or festival before. It sounds naff when you try to describe it, but there’s just so much positive energy in the room.
So many of the acts who have played over the last couple of years have said that it was their favourite show to ever play, which is lovely. Last year, a couple of audience members came up to me on Sunday night to say that they had been there the whole weekend and only realised that it was a female-fronted festival when someone told them. They were there solely for the music and the line-up – and not because of the gender of the acts on stage – and that was the exact mission of the festival, so it was deadly to hear that had been achieved.
How can BIMM students and graduates be part of the Directory, if they’re not already? What’s the process?
It’s really easy to set up a profile on the Directory. First of all, you should identify which Directory you belong to. So, if you are an artist or a band who has released original music, then you’d qualify as a ‘Recording Artist’. If you’re a session musician or musician for hire, you would be on the ‘Musicians’ Directory. If you’re a DJ: ‘DJs’ Directory (speaks for itself) and everything else would be Industry! And then you just click ‘Add Entry’ on the relevant page.
The Directory is moderated by me, so once I approve your entry, it will show up with the other profiles. It’s fairly straightforward, but if anyone has any issues they can get in touch via [email protected]