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12th July 2020 |
The Process: Girls of Grime



Shakira Walters is the Founder of Girls of Grime a movement dedicated to raising the voices of women in the UK music industry. She began the platform in 2017 in an attempt to leverage the gap between support for female artists vs their male counterparts. An avid meditator and yogi, she recognised the under-representation of female creatives and those behind the scenes in the growing UK music industry and wanted to make a change. Deciding this year that a career change was necessary, Shakira quit her job in Fashion and is now an A&R for a major label and is also making steps to becoming an Artist Manager.


To hear Shakira speak on our 'Future of Grime' panel discussion, and get stuck into some great workshops make sure to grab tickets for our upcoming event, Grime Ballet, on the 30th January.


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Let’s start easy, shall we? For those Gluggers who’ve never heard of you: how did you get started within the industry, and what first made you engage with Grime?


I first engaged with Grime as a youngster growing up in the borough of Newham, East London, one of the early breeding grounds of the genre. In 2017, I launched GIRLSofGRIME a platform that advocates and actively creates opportunities for women in the UK music scene, particularly within but not limited to the genres of Grime & Rap. Working to raise the profile of not only the female artists, DJ's and producers in the foreground, but also the women working behind the scenes, such as videographers, event co-ordinators and artist managers. 


How do you feel the rise of technology (streaming, self-publishing/promoting) over the last decade has affected the music industry?


Grime artists have always adopted a very much DIY culture, therefore self-publishing and self-promotion aren’t new concepts. However, the rise of technology and streaming services has played a huge role in extending the reach of underground music. For Grime, in particular, this meant that a track that would only have been available as a hard copy on vinyl or CD on the streets of London became available to an international audience and inevitably assisted in the genre becoming globally recognised.


How do you work and how do you find artists and events to feature? Are there any female artists currently out there who you feel are making waves, or at the top of their game?


As a platform, we work with the full spectrum of female artists, from novices to the more established. There are tonnes of women to watch, however, the females at the top of their game for me right now would be Lioness, Ms Banks, Lil Simz and Lady Lykez.


How important is 'community' for you?


Community is behind everything that we do. When starting up the brand the main goal was to bring the women in the scene together in a supportive space as well as provide guidance and representation for the generations ahead. This has included working with initiatives such as Ruff Sqwad’s Arts Foundation and providing workshops for the Lottery-funded Grime Waltham Forest project the last year.


How has it been running club night, how did all of that start?


I’ve always had an interest in clubs nights and promotion. When I was 14/15 I’d flyer for the under 18 raves held at our local nightclub Stratford Rex, then went on to be a bar manager whilst studying at university, and eventually completed a summer of promoting events in Ayia Napa, Cyprus in 2008. A decade later, in 2018, GIRLSofGRIME was building traction and I decided to throw our first Female Takeover event, with an all-female lineup and crew. To announce it we conducted our first Rinse FM show, an all-female cypher with DJ Kaylee Kay and the response was incredible.


What advice would you give someone trying to become noticed within the industry?


Focus on your craft, your journey and your supporters.


Ok, and last but not least! Please fill in the below:


Favourite Artist: This is an impossible question. However, if we were to stick to Grime artists only I’d have to say Ghetts. On record and live he’s the greatest.

Favourite Track: This is another impossible question lol. However, right now I’d say ‘Run The Nation’ by Face In The News (featuring The Grime Violinist). I A&R’d the track and lead the creative direction on the music video too.

Best up-and-coming artist: C Cane, Keedz and Juice Menace to name just a few…

Who’s your current MVP within the industry: Kano. He’s always maintained an authenticity to the art as well as integrity to the culture that I’ll respect forever.

Best advice for turning an idea into reality: Don’t overthink it, just do it.

The best piece of advice you’ve ever been given: ‘Don’t stop!’ This was said to me at a time when I was close to breaking, those words meant so much to me at that moment and I’ll never forget it. Thank you, Miss Esta Rae.

Biggest Life Lesson: Finding a balance between your inner and external
worlds. Take time to nurture both.

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To hear Shakira speak on our 'Future of Grime' panel discussion, and get stuck into some great workshops make sure to grab tickets for our upcoming event, Grime Ballet, on the 30th January.

You can also keep up-to-date with Girls of Grime's movements by visiting their Instagram, or Twitter

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