Running a music night has helped singer-songwriter MIRI hone her skills and learn about the industry. Here she explains to Bronwyn Bidwell the benefits of taking control.
Like most artists pursuing a career in the notoriously capricious music industry, London-based MIRI has had her fair share of ups and downs.
“You learn [after working in the industry for a while] that some things are within your control and others aren’t,” says the indie-soul-pop singer. “I’ve had some great experiences, but I’ve also been in situations where things look promising and then it doesn’t go anywhere.” But instead of waiting for the phone to ring or grumbling about female underrepresentation, MIRI is now in the driver’s seat. Alongside singer Rosered, she produces, promotes and hosts Blue Monday, a monthly music night in north London.
The event began when a friend decided to organise an LBQT night for women to enjoy music in a supportive environment. MIRI loved performing at the first event so much, she offered to help organise a second. Seven years on, Blue Monday is going strong as a monthly fixture at The Boogaloo in Highgate.
“Our main aim is to create an inclusive atmosphere where people can enjoy and appreciate music. Male musos can perform and our audience is diverse,” she says.
MIRI and Rosered have also collaborated with the Camden venue Green Note on Girls to the Front, a series of sell-out events celebrating women in music.
So, what skills do you need to run your own music night?
MIRI says she has always been organised and her love of structure keeps each event on track. “Things like timings are really important. If you tell an artist they will be performing at 8pm and they don’t get on until 10pm, it’s not great… I compere the nights too, which is not something I ever thought I would do, but it has given me a lot of confidence and led to work compering and performing at other music nights.”
Running her own music night has also affected her own music too: “I am exposed to so many artists, I know almost straight away what I like and what isn’t for me. Gigging has helped me define my own sound and style. I know how I want to present myself and how I sound. I don’t want to compromise.”
MIRI’s tips for organising your own music night:
- Understand the importance of structure. It’s okay to run a tight ship.
- Stick to timings. Everyone will appreciate it.
- Be transparent and respectful. Tell artists what to expect and be patient when they ask questions.
- Don’t take things personally. It’s a business and sometimes you will come across people who are hard to work with.
- Do the best you can and learn from your mistakes.
MIRI’s body of work includes an album and three EPs including her latest, Sound Vibrations. Check out hersingle Under My Skin with rapper Cheekie Bugga.