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To mark International Women’s Day, staff and students at our newest campus ACM Birmingham celebrated with a show-stopping gig, jam packed with all the best female talent on the Birmingham music scene.
We caught up with ACM Birmingham Lecturer and vocalist Vix from successful all girl band, Fuzzbox to find out more…
Tell us more about your career background?
“My school friends and I formed a band for a laff at the age of 15! That was “We’ve got a …FUZZBOX… and we’re gonna use it!!” (or “Fuzzbox” for short!) and we got signed up by local record label, Vindaloo Records at our second gig in Brum! John Peel and Janice Long were great supporters of our music and before we knew it, we were rocketed to worldwide chart success with a no.5 album and so on, touring internationally, appearing on Top of the Pops etc. We had a ball! Fuzzbox ran out of steam early 90s as we had grown musically and personally in very different directions, so we decided to call it a day.
I went on to do TV & Radio presenting, and had 2 other all-girl bands (ViX n The Kix and ViX & her MsChiefs) and supported Paul Weller, The Wailers, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Ginger Wildheart etc and did lots of other fun courses and stuff. For the last 16 years, I’ve also been working with charities as a Music Mentor, running projects with disadvantaged young people.”
As the lead singer/songwriter for the UK’s most successful all girl band, how important is it for you to champion gender equality in the music industry?
“I am extremely proud of that accolade, but kind of annoyed too! We really thought there would be loads more female musicians and bands around by now, like it wouldn’t even be an issue – but it still very much is. I’m passionate about promoting ALL equality (for example, I’m a patron for LGBT+ charity, Educate and Celebrate) and celebrating diversity of all kinds – that’s what we Brummies do best! But being as Fuzzbox is still the UK’s most successful all-girl band (who play instruments!) I’m happy to carry a torch for we women in music! What’s more, Fuzzbox are back! We’re back and have recently toured with The Wonder Stuff, Bentley Rhythm Ace and are all set to release our new single in May when we kick off the Let’s Rock festival tour throughout the Summer. Woo!”
Why was it important for you to get involved in ACM Birmingham?
“I’d known the guys from ACM for years and when David McGrain (Centre Manager) asked me to join them as a Lecturer, I was really up for it! I then met up with my old mate, Ace (Skunk Anansie) and also Kieron Pepper (Prodigy etc) who heads up the Artist Development and Industry Link departments, and it was right up my street! In addition, I am a Reiki Master and have been practising Mindfulness, Meditation etc so decades, so I was so impressed when I saw that ACM offer Mindfulness and grabbed that opportunity too. So, I am currently the Lecturer for the Singer-Songwriter Degree, am the ADCO (Artist Development and Creative Output) Facilitator and am also the Wellbeing Advisor and Mindfulness Coach! I absolutely LOVE it! It’s so varied and it puts me in a position where I can genuinely help the students with their music as well as their mental health.”
What needs to happen to spark change within the creative industries?
“Talented women with something to say, and something to play (Hey! That could be a slogan, right?! “Something to say and something to play!”) need to get out there and just do what they do best. No chips on their shoulders, just go for it and show everybody what they can do! We do need more women in positions of power within the music business (and elsewhere of course). It’s like we have to be TWICE as good to be thought of as HALF as good as the blokes! Back in the mid/late 80s when Fuzzbox were first out there, we had so much grief from journalists, asking us questions like, “Why are you all girls”, “How do you decide who wears which colour lipstick?”, “Do you fight over boyfriends?”! We had to steer them onto talking about our music instead of our gender. Mind you, we actually received formal apologies in publications from journalists stating that they had expected us to be brainless bimbos, but we were clearly intelligent and articulate young women! And from Birmingham too! Gosh! What a revelation! I always enjoyed challenging people’s bigoted preconceptions and changing people’s minds.”
What’s your message to ACM students about what they can do as the future of the music industry?
“I’ll quote my Dad (he was a Headmaster, who received an O.B.E. for Services to Education) and simply say, “Be yourself, only more so.” I love seeing the diverse population at ACM Brum. Everyone is free to express their personalities and their music styles without judgment. It’s a place where difference is good. We’re not looking for the next Adele or George Ezra; we just want to support the students to be themselves – only more so.”
How did ACM Birmingham marking this year’s International Women’s Day?
“We had a stunning line up of 6 female acts from various genres playing at the Asylum 2 in Birmingham. For one of the singers, it was her debut gig, while others have been gigging for years. It was a really nice vibe!”
If you’d like to study at ACM and learn from our world-class tutors, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.