Liverpool Sound City Image

The Industry

Liverpool is…SOUND CITY!!

4th May 2018

Two years ago, an acquaintance of mine got in touch at the end of April. He wondered if I would want to do a talk at a festival up in Liverpool. Someone had dropped out last minute, and they were looking for someone to step up. I went to Professor Google to get more information about the event. It was called Sound City, and it celebrated new and emerging talent, along with indie legends.

I am a huge devotee of Tony Wilson, and how he put Manchester on the global map with his passion for music from that geographic place; he even started a festival years ago called In the City, which celebrated the unique history and heritage of Manchester. Sound City appeared to be a similar thing, but for Liverpool. Supporting and championing new artists? I was in.

I asked what they wanted me to do my presentation on. Prince had just died, and it was all I could think about. Before really receiving a reply with direction, I fired off a second email- could I do a talk, a homage, a celebration of Prince? I got a resounding YES from the talent buyer; I knew I would like these people.

It was quite emotional for me replaying and critiquing and diving deep into Prince at that time. I was in the middle of some life transitions and re-reading the lyrics from my youth really hit me hard. Reflecting back on my own non-traditional career, from working at a label, to working closely with a world-renowned icon to start a fashion label, to going to Facebook, then fulfilling a lifelong dream of writing a best-selling book- each accomplishment alone seemed impossible, would be DEEMED unattainable.

Stacked together it seemed fantastical. But I realised, as I played and re-played ‘I Would Die 4 U,’ that having role models like Prince from a very early age gave me the confidence to be ME, to do the weird, wacky and unconventional. Which is really what Sound City is all about: celebrating and rallying behind those brave enough to follow their ambitions to make art and be artists. The idea that a Prince for this generation could be nurtured and evolve from a festival like Sound City was so exhilarating and just the medicine for my then sad heart.

This year I am leading two discussions and on one panel about mental health at the Sound City Plus conference which takes place the day before the music kicks off. I had the honour of being asked to be on the Sound City Advisors board. We have a lot of BIMM bands who are going to be appearing here in Liverpool over the weekend, picking up that gauntlet that Prince and other brave visionaries paved the path for. I am so proud to be a part of something that keeps music alive and thriving, while creating a community of like-minded dreamers.



Jennifer Otter-Bickerdike