We caught up with Laura Lewis-Paul, the Creative Director and founder of ‘Saffron Records’ for our debut In:depth article. Set up in May 2015 and launching the following September, Saffron Records is Bristol’s first all-female youth record label.
"It isn’t necessarily a feminist label made to ostracise musicians who are male, she affirms it’s ‘about gender equality, it’s really about getting women to a level where they have the confidence to go out in a male-dominated industry"
Saffron is on a mission to change the way women are perceived in the music industry, one empowered young woman at a time. The next step is signing 16-24 year old artists and it’s so exciting that the the lucky first three had their place secured this month! Be sure to check them out on the website. They’re going to be provided with high quality mentoring and artist development with established artists. Eva Lazarus is the Patron for Saffron Records, a well-known artist and Bristol favourite. Other artists involved include Sian Evans from Kosheen, Beth Rowley, Tanya Lacey and Shanti Celeste; guest mentors will always be making a cameo if they need more assistance with stage presence, branding and generally enabling them to be independent yet empowered. With a versatile team and varied backgrounds in the industry, Saffron is proficient in appropriately supporting those signed with them. The music industry has a history of exploitation and they are ‘driven to identify which roles females are underrepresented in and aim to break down these stereotypical barriers of gender within the industry.’ The girls have got the drive, passion and ambition and the label really see it as their responsibility to truly nurture the creativity and talent that they possess to get them to the best ability artistically.
The schools program works with Bristol schools to encourage young minds to fuel their creativity and passion, so if it comes to a career, they’re confident! There’s a lack of female representation in genres that aren’t so mainstream, such as hip hop and electronic dance music and so many young woman want to pursue these genres yet haven’t had the chance. Young woman are notoriously underrepresented and Laura highlights just how much saying that women made up ‘only 2% of the acts performing at electronic music festivals.’ Bristol Plays Music (BPM) is the music education hub for Bristol and have partnered with the program to join up opportunities for teaching, learning and performance in a way that everyone can have access. The schools program will help women feel normalised as DJs, producers, musicians and artists so they’re comfortable and encouraged.
"There’s a lack of female representation in genres that aren’t so mainstream, such as hip hop and electronic dance music and so many young woman want to pursue these genres yet haven’t had the chance."
Saffron has other musically stimulating ventures coming up throughout the year and you can get involved! An under 25 open mic night will launch in the next few months, hitting well-loved Bristol venues such as Mr. Wolfs and No.51. Temple Records is one of Bristol’s leading record labels for young, aspiring musicians; co-founded by the lovely Laura Lewis-Paul, Temple Records will be working with youngsters and scouting for talent. Open mic nights are ordinarily male and older generation dominated, so this will ensure artists are in safe experienced hands.
The three girls signed to Saffron Records are going to Palestine in August. They’ll be working with the ‘Woman’s Cooperative’ in Jerusalem. After all, artists need to know that music isn’t just about the money and fame. They need to know the importance of the work they’re doing and how far a reach the universal language of music can have, a notion that aided the creation of Saffron Records.
Visit their website - Saffron Records
Written by Elva Stevenson
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