In The Middle with Racheal Bee (ILuvLive)

ILuvLive, a touring project dedicated to showcasing up-and-coming artists in various cities across the UK, recently had a show at Leeds’ very own Headrow House. To commemorate the event, Zack Moore spoke to ILuvLive owner Rachael Bee, about both the workings of the festival and its future.

I began by asking Rachael what made ILuvLive so unique compared to other programs of its sort; “I think the fact that we’ve been going for 15 years next year is pretty unique in itself.” She goes on to say that older artists that have been involved “will still come down,” to help with the program. It isn’t long before she begins an intriguing new thought; “At the heart of ILuvLive, there have always been these people that are in the music industry behind the event,” she begins.

“With some companies, you might go down and there won’t be anyone there to progress your career in the room. There might be ways to get some more fans, or some more followers on Twitter, because you’re performing in front of a live audience, but at ILuvLive, there will always be some people in the room that can actually help progress your career, so if you’re good enough, you will hopefully get something tangible out of performing at the night.”

But how exactly does a new artist progress their career with the platform? Well, apparently, “it really depends on how good you are.”

“If you’re just somebody that’s performing on a regular night, and you blow us away, then we’d definitely invite you back for the Industry Special. The Industry Special happens once a year, and it’s an opportunity for all of the acts that we think were the best over the previous twelve months to come back together for a really big night, and we’re really proactive about getting people from the industry down to see those acts, and generally just promote them to other important people there.”

“[At ILuvLive] you might get a manager, you might get a publisher, you might meet a record label, you might get a PR, or you might meet somebody that you could collaborate with, or you might meet somebody that wants to offer you a support slot. It’s really about the networking opportunities.”

Rachael’s keen to stress to artists not to give up if they get rejected from performing at one of the shows; “You might be one of the 60 people that apply for a spot on an ILuvLive show and not get it, because you know, there’s a lot of submissions every month, but then you could just sign up for the Open Night, because anyone can sign up for the Open Night; and, actually, we might have turned you down, but if you turn up to the Open Night, and you’re brilliant, then you might be able to get a slot on the next show.

Rachael then enthusiastically begins talking about a new part of the program, called the Hotlist, where twenty of the platform’s finest acts are given the chance to be showcased in a live setting.

“We have a public vote, and then half the acts get chosen by us, and the rest are chosen by that public vote. Actually, very often, those two things are the same anyway, because the acts that are really good tend to have a little more going on around them, so they end up getting people to vote for them. Then, artists get the opportunity to do a Hotlist show in London, which we have a great industry turnout for, and they get the opportunity to go on the Hotlist Tour.” According to Bee, the tour is something “they’d like to do one again in the future,” but as of right now, it’s a one-off event for this year alone.

“Everything we do is to create awareness of these artists, so they can meet interested parties to help them progress their careers.”

Zack Moore