Sound City+ - the renowned music industry conference on Friday 27th May – has added a host of new talent and content to an already jam-packed programme.

Sound City+ - the renowned music industry conference – has added a host of new talent and content to a programme already jam-packed with workshops, 1-2-1 meetings with labels, agents, internationals and festivals from all over the world, sign-posting sessions, panels and inspirational TED-style talks through the day.  Sponsored by Skiddle, the conference on Friday 27th May will bring together industry experts, artists, students and business professionals from around the globe.


Confirmed as keynote speaker is the legendary Black Ice. Award winning poet, performer, writer, teacher and 6-time HBO and Broadway Def Poet, this visionary is credited with being a true pioneer of the modern age, turning spoken word into a mainstream art form. His work is already being utilised in US high school curricula and course studies at the academically acclaimed Ivy League universities, Harvard and Columbia.  Having collaborated with the likes of The Roots, Floetry, Musiq Soulchild and Mary J. Blige, he is the first and only poet to be featured on BET's Rap City, or to receive the "Hip Hop quotable" in The Source Magazine.


Whether it's debating at the barbershop, Occupying Wall Street, touring with platinum recording artists, or teaching masters writing courses from Antwerp to Belgium to Guyana, Black Ice’s sole aim to breakdown artistic boundaries and elevate spoken word to the highest level. In conversation with DJ, writer and broadcaster Dave Haslam, his appearance at this year’s Sound City+ is undoubtedly going to be an incendiary verbal highlight.


Also joining the bill is Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike – a media and music academic specialising in fan culture, the cult of dead celebrity, pop culture and music. Becoming a Marketing Director for Interscope Geffen A&M Records at just 25, Jen toured with and devised marketing campaigns for acts including Nirvana, Dr. Dre, Gwen Stefani, U2 and Eminem, before leaving to start her own consulting company, working with a wide array of creative industry and technology tastemakers such as Facebook and Music for America. Her talk is entitled Purple Rain:  Why losing Prince hurts so hard:  How death of a celebrity affects our lives where she will explore the role of pop icon in our lives, and how their deaths impact our own identity and mortality.


Said Jen: "As a veteran of the American music business and Silicon Valley, I am so excited to meet up with other like minded tastemakers and music aficionados in one if not the most iconic music cities! The incredible line-up of bands from all time favorites the Dandy Warhols to the incredible up-and-comers Hot Vestry is a concert-goers dream. Fan girl alert!"


Help Musicians – the UK’s leading and only independent charity to help musicians at every stage of their careers – will be hosting a Ted style talk called It’s time for the music industry to talk about mental health. In a Q&A with HMUK’s chief executive Richard Robinson, Scottish singer-songwriter Sam Whates will discuss her own struggles with mental health as a professional performer; looking particularly at the strains musicians often endure and what the industry can do to establish a duty of care.


Vanessa Reed of the PRS Foundation will be presenting Come Together – United We Stand! that will discuss pro-active approaches to narrowing the gender gap in music. This panel is not another discussion about how bad the stats are and why but is instead about some of the positive action that’s been kick-started over the past couple of years.  Panelists include Debra King of Brightersound, Yaw Osuwu of LIMF, Andy Inglis from 5000MGT, and So Recording’s Alison Lamb.


Finally Nightlife Matters presents From Acorns to Oaktrees, moderated by Dave Haslam. This Sofa Session will examine UK nightlife and its crucial role in developing some of the best and most important musical talent in the country and how, conversely, the night economy has been in turmoil with 50% of UK venues closing in the last decade. What role can the industry play in championing nightlife and the clubs, bars and promoters that make Britain a breeding ground for incredible artists, DJs and producers? How can artists help too? Expect a passionate conversation with panelists Alan Miller from Nightlife Matters, Laura Jones from Little Underground, Paul Stewart of Little Panther and Medication’s Marc Jones.


Sound City+ takes place on the day preceding the main festival - Friday 27 May – in the iconic Rum Warehouse at Liverpool’s Titanic Hotel.


Delegate tickets and group discounts for Sound City+ are available from Skiddle here.


Sound City is supported by PRS for Music Foundation


PRS for Music Foundation is the UK's leading charitable funder of new music and talent development across all genres. Since 2000 PRS for Music Foundation has given more than £23.6 million to over 5,300 new music initiatives by awarding grants and leading partnership programmes that support music sector development. Widely respected as an adventurous and proactive funding body, PRS for Music Foundation supports an exceptional range of new music activity – from composer residencies and commissions to festivals and showcases in the UK and overseas.

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