Last week Ballantine’s and long-term partner Boiler Room pledged to do their part in creating a safer, fairer future for music culture through their new global event series called True Music Studios. Building on their commitment from the past seven years to champion global diversity in music, True Music Studios is set to bring together a variation of artists, promotors, panelists, and underrepresented groups, to celebrate local sounds, scenes and diverse communities, offering music fans around the world inclusive experiences both in real life and streamed from home.
The global residencies will open their doors for up to ten days, offering a series of 30+ inclusive music events, in compliance with local COVID measures, to bring fans back together after the industry’s 20 month hiatus of live events. Taking place across eight countries, the series kicked off with Russia in November. True Music Studios features a mix of live performances, educational events and community experiences curated by cutting edge collaborators who are pushing forward local music scenes including Kedr Livanskiy (Moscow, Russia), Ms. Nina (Madrid, Spain) and DBN Gogo (Johannesburg, South Africa).
Music fans can expect live and globally streamed performances from the pioneering headline acts, shared with millions around the world, along with special guest appearances by those defining each scene. There will also be educational ‘in conversation’ talks with leading artists, promoters and producers from the local communities who are pushing boundaries and shaping scenes, and masterclasses with local collectives. Community events will see local promoters being handed the keys to the True Music Studios to set the stage for emerging talent, providing listening sessions and creative spaces where music collectives can collaborate. Each residency is unearthing the sounds and scenes from each city; in Moscow Kedr Livanskiy kicked off with Club, Hip Hop and Alto-Pop, In South Africa, the hybrid sounds of Amapiano will be led by the dubbed female boss who helped define the scene, DBN Gogo.
Music lovers will see the Possible hitmaker, DBN Gogo curate a 9 days experience that will include live performances from Mzansi’s top Amapiano vocalists Boohle and Lady Du headlining the globally streamed parties, the line up also includes Musa Keys, Young Stunna, Kelvin Momo, Que DJ, DJ Stokie, Kyotic, Unclewaffles, Ms Party and Sfarzo Rtee.
The series will also include educational talks aimed at tackling how South African music has rapidly grown internationally in recent years. Key industry players will unpack the journey and challenges in the music industry that ultimately culminated in this rise and global recognition. This pivotal conversation hosted by DJ and radio presenter Lamiez Holworthy will include creative force Busiswa, DBN Gogo herself, as well as the senior marketing and PR expert, Ayanda Mhlongo.
Our Boiler Room x Ballantine’s True Music events have always been special as we dig deep into local cultures around the world and celebrate the raw sounds and inspirations that make the individual scenes so unique. Building on the past seven years, True Music sets itself an ambition to be a trusted and leading voice for diversity and inclusion within music culture. We recognise our role in driving change, and this is what music fans want. The effects of the past 18 months have resulted in a positive shift in attitude and an opportunity to reset and club together to increase equality in music culture. The dancefloor has always been seen as a sacred and safe place and we want to bring it back to where everyone is equal and feels part of the experience. We all have a part to play, and True Music Studios is our first opportunity to put our diversity and inclusivity pledges into practice – Tom Elton, Head of Culture and Partnerships at Ballantine’s
True Music Studios marks Ballantine’s own action and commitment to help drive real change in the industry, through its new diversity and inclusion policy that looks at leading issues within music culture:
o Diverse programming: ensuring all True Music line-ups and content represent diverse communities
o Fair payment: ensuring that no fee gap exists by taking an active role in making sure talent are paid and treated fairly
o Inclusive dancefloors: making safe dancefloors a priority and committing to bringing one billion music fans inclusive True Music experiences through its safe dancefloor policy
The brand will also be distributing a six-figure fund to emerging organisations and collectives around the world to support them in promoting and progressing equality within their scenes. In South Africa True Music Studios will provide community emerging talents a platform to make use of the space for listening sessions and creative collaborations with Lawk Fest and premier LBGTQI event platform, Same Sex Saturdays. The community events will also include Ebumnandini & Prime, DJ Lag, Blxckie, Lelowhatsgood and Kat Upendi.
Peep the Boiler Room x Ballantine’s True Music Studios tour dates in South Africa:
22 Feb – In Conversation With Busiswa, Lamiez Holworthy, DBN Gogo, & Ayanda Mhlongo: The Rise and Rise of SA Music
23 Feb – IDA dance workshop and Pretty Girls Love Amapiano
24th Feb – Party Broadcast: Boohle (Live) / Young Stunna (Live); DJ Stokie / Kyotic / UncleWaffles / Sfarzo Rtee
25th Feb – True Music Fund Party: Ebumnandini x Prime.
26th Feb – Community Party: Same Sex Saturdays
1 March – Masterclass with Thuli of Lawk Communications: Music Industry 101
2 March – Community Party: Lawk Fest Takeover
3 March – Party Broadcast: Lady Du (Live) / Reece Madlisa & Zuma (Amaroto) / Musa Keys / Kelvin Momo / Que DJ / Ms Party