The Buzz catches up with innovator, music maker, lyricist, activist and lived experience speaker Javina Greene. Words Ngaire Ruth
“You’ve just got to get it out there,” she says, with sincerity.
She’s just finished pitching an idea to our Chairman to provide studio time at Metropolis Blue Room to record a three-track EP in February 2024 for a collective Javina started in her first year at ACM, Females About Music.
“I kinda pushed it,” she adds with a cheeky grin.
This woman kinda always pushes it – once sending a letter to every MP in her district to request funding for a safe space for a community of women to meet and help each other.
“You need smart clothes for an interview? Here you are. You wanna get out of the house because you’re isolated. Come!”
“And it was cost-effective, much to the council’s surprise,” she adds.
This is all going “back time” and just one example of how collaboration and safe spaces for women in music as a tool for change is everything that drives Javina Greene.
The collective Females About Music is a creative space and support network for women in music; “any kind of music” but at this stage, it’s been soul, rap, R&B, trap, drill, and indie. This community bonds through differences and the skills of its support network are multiple: singers and musicians, engineers and producers, fashion, music videos, and DJs. The common ground is the struggle. The struggle to finance a recording, and the need for a safe space.
“When I started one of the tutors said ‘Not to worry if I missed the induction, they knew loads of people that didn’t go and he would introduce me to one of the Level 6’s who really knew his stuff; maybe go in and record with him?’”
“I got to the session booked a quarter of an hour early, we went in and pretty much straight away these lads started coming in, chatting, asking questions. Can you listen to this, listen to this and I’m sitting there and the time was ticking.
In the end, I got twenty minutes to make a rushed recording.”
After that, she did the Induction and booked studio time for herself. She told tutors and technicians to tell other women students they could join me there. And that’s how Females About Music started.
Some ACM first-year undergraduates have already joined the Females About Music Workshop which happens on Mondays @ ACM Birmingham for two or up to four hours.
“The first thing we’ll ask is ‘What do you want to do?’. Some women aren’t ready to be an artist so just come and get involved, be in the music video, and use my traction.”
Dhonna Musicality is a member who is now making her own fine music, with a new single released this November, Better Without You, a powerhouse vocal, keys and inspiring lyrics (“Cause I break the chain”). You should also hear H.A.T.E: “This song is about who I am, where I’m from and where I’m going to.” They’ve just all been to a listening party for artist Sanity, a Birmingham rapper – the collective that helped her do that is 93:00 (link below). “It’s about sharing,” Javina reminds me, “Sharing knowledge and resources.”
Javina’s own single, The Crime, is out now, released this month to tie in with November’s White Ribbon campaign against violence towards women and girls. It’s an essential but difficult listen, with intense beats giving way to sweet harmonies (she has a great voice) and a smooth slow groove that soothes the dark realities of its spoken word that recalls her lived experiences of violence and abuse.
“I believe there’s so much opportunity in music, you can unpick that song and use it as a guideline for making things better. It’s always what you can turn back to.”
She produced and mixed it to a certain level herself.
“Shout out to ACM tutor Joel Harris,” she cheers, “He was the first person that pushed me. I was so happy with my Apple loop arrangement tracks, I was killing it, and he said ‘Yeah this is really good but go back and work on the drum patterns’. I thought cheeky! I got home and I really didn’t want to do it, but I persevered and took it back to Joel and he loved it.”
The charity, The Leadership Foundation was there for her at the start of her journey, “I’m, like a vintage chair there,” she says, half-jokingly. Now another project she started three years into her recovery, the R.U.N (Recovery United Network) project, has joined the charity in partnership. The women who participated in R.U.N. found connections to essential services, discovered new opportunities, and, in some cases, embarked on new career paths. What began as a simple idea has evolved into a supportive community ecosystem that continues to thrive.
“Finance is a big thing, you’re doing so many things that are costly which means you’re taking away the chances for a single mother struggling and talented. This opens things a little bit to what’s possible.”
Females About Music has a live event at Iron House, Brum – music, talks and sharing – in February so follow her on Instagram and watch this space.
In the meantime, she also has a place for people to come called Lounges TV.
“This will have videos of me and also talks I will do about my personal experience, advice and possibly interviews with women in music and women who are advocating against racial discrimination and violence against women and girls.”
Stay tuned and get involved. It’s never over.
Javina has also given The Buzz a list of organisations that helped her:
Javina Green’s single The Crime