COVER TO COVER
Originally published on March 13 2021 by Refresh Magazine
“Lockdown has also given Liddell time to reflect on her decade-long career and she realised she had shared the stage with very few women. So she chose to build a community around uplifting under-represented voices and fostering an environment of collaboration and celebration. The result is Cover to Cover, an album raising money for Scottish Women Inventing Music who are working to create a more equal industry for women.” NAOMI HEAD EXPLORES THE IMPORTANT WORK FIONA LIDDELL IS DOING TO CREATE A MORE REPRESENTATIVE MUSIC INDUSTRY IN SCOTLAND
The Scottish music industry is shifting. Unsigned and under-represented artists are coming together to lead conversations about what the music industry should look like and what their careers should be.
A variety of organisations, collectives and communities have grown around the pursuit of equality. From POWA, co-founded by Siobhan Wilson, to Cover to Cover, led by Fiona Liddell, women are working together to create their own collaborative spaces. IN THE MIDST OF LOCKDOWN, SHE GREW TIRED OF ARTISTS ONLY PROMOTING THEIR OWN WORK Artists have suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic; many have lost contact with their audiences, as well as being cut off from government support or losing their income. But there were many problems present in the industry and creating a disconnect between artists before the pandemic, including an overwhelming culture of competition and burnout.
Fiona Liddell was frustrated by the toxic environment competition was perpetuating in the music community. In the midst of lockdown, she grew tired of artists only promoting their own work. Since then, she has been set on redirecting the conversation towards celebrating others and enjoying their successes as a win - not just for the individual but the community as a whole.
Lockdown has also given Liddell time to reflect on her decade-long career and she realised she had shared the stage with very few women. So she chose to build a community around uplifting under-represented voices and fostering an environment of collaboration and celebration. The result is Cover to Cover, an album raising money for Scottish Women Inventing Music who are working to create a more equal industry for women.
Artist: Nic Gannucci/@gannucciart The album is made up of 13 covers, with each artist covering the song of another in the chain. Liddell’s electronic duo, Gefahrgeist, features alongside Post Coal Prom Queen, Olivia Thom, Aurora Engine, Chiara Baillie, Jen Ella, PINLIGHT, Mima Merrow, Amie Huckstep, Ceiti, Jen Athan, Francesca Ortisi and sarya. WITH LIDDELL’S TIRELESS WORK ETHIC, AND THE COMBINED EFFORT OF THE ARTISTS INVOLVED, THE PROJECT HAS GROWN BEYOND THE ALBUM ITSELF INTO A COMMUNITY Fiona was inspired to undertake the project in November, after Pop Girlz Scotland found that 68.5% of the artists on ‘Scotify’ (Spotify’s biggest editorial playlist for Scottish music) were male. To make matters worse, some of these artists had been featured more than once. Liddell followed up on these statistics with other industry professionals, only to be met with ‘that’s just how the algorithm works.’ Unsatisfied with this answer, she decided to do more to champion the artists who weren’t making the Scotify and We Are Glasgow playlists.
With Liddell’s tireless work ethic, and the combined effort of the artists involved, the project has grown beyond the album itself into a community. Speaking to the featured artists, it feels like they have been craving a supportive community and control over their creative spaces.
A common theme across every conversation is each artist’s joy in connecting with other, like-minded creatives. This project has brought them together and created organic, healthy relationships that build their confidence and encourage them to share their stories.
Each of the artists involved has their own realisations, similar to Liddell’s. They acknowledge how few times they have worked with other women and marginalised people, or how few under-represented groups were present in collaborative spaces like open mic nights. Now they have come together to show what communities and collaborative spaces can be, and most importantly how necessary they are to the industry. These women are harnessing the power of their own voices and bringing big change by carving out their own creative arenas. IT’S TIME INDUSTRY GIANTS STARTED LISTENING TO WHAT THE PEOPLE THEY RELY ON WANT The groundwork of this movement has been laid by organisations such as SWIM and Hen Hoose, who have been fighting for equality in different areas of the music industry. It is because of these foundations that under-represented artists, like the women involved in Cover to Cover, are able to claim their own spaces, control the direction of their careers and build an inclusive industry that truly reflects Scotland’s music scene.
The recovery of the music industry and its future is in the hands of under-represented voices. It’s time industry giants started listening to what the people they rely on want.
Cover to Cover is out now, you can order the album here. All proceeds are going to support SWIM’s efforts in fighting for equality in the Scottish music industry. You can see more from Fiona online @fionaliddellmusic or at fionaliddell.com