Is there a bigger champion of Australian women in music than Vicki Gordon? Meet Music Love's first panellist for Vivid Ideas: Pathway to Platform event

Vicki Gordon Music Love Vivid Ideas

As the countdown to Music Love's Vivid Ideas event Pathway to Platform continues, we have been interviewing the panellists to give everyone a head start on just how much gold there will be on Saturday 10 June in Sydney. (By the way, did you know The Sydney Morning Herald, Collective Hub, Broadsheet Sydney, Vice and Pedestrian TV have all highlighted our event as one to be at?). So far we have profiled Jacqui Louez Schoorl, Shefali Pryor, KLP, and our performers, Iluka, and Sophie Koh. Today we bring you Vicki Gordon.

Vicki Gordon is a great champion of Australian women in music and has been for many decades. Vicki has worked behind the scenes to make advances for women in music in Australia for a very long time and is not stopping anytime soon. She has worked as a musician, a festival and music director, a producer, an artistic director, a mentor, and received a Human Rights Commendation Award, Gold and Platinum ARIA Awards, and many, many more awards. Vicki was the executive director for a record label called Transistor Music (responsible for five times platinum sales for Vanessa Amorosi's debut album The Power), and was the first woman in fifty years to be elected to the board of ARIA - and since she resigned, there hasn't been another woman appointed. Vicki is a fierce advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island women in contemporary music - indeed this is her greatest joy. Managing incredible artists Ursula Yovich and Emma Donovan, Vicki also produced Emma's ground breaking video tribute to the Stolen Generations entitled Ngarraanga.  In 1988 Vicki established Australian Women’s Contemporary Music (AWCM) through which she created and produced the first Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women's contemporary music festival, the first all girl rock festival, and the first training program for female DJs in Australia. 

In 2012 Vicki created the group Barefoot Divas featuring indigenous women from the Pacific - namely, Ursula Yovich (Burarra/Serbian), Emma Donovan (Gumbaynggirr NSW), Whirimako Black (Maori), Maisey Rika (Maori), Merenia (Maori/Roma/Gypsy) and Ngaiire (Papua New Guinea)  - touring the group to the US, Canada, and selling out the Hong Kong Concert Hall in 2015. She is the President of Cicada International  which champions and empowers Indigenous, marginalised and disadvantaged women and girls, and also aims to assist the development of new partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and managers, industry service providers and development organisations. But there's more. Vicki is the Director of the inaugural Australian Women in Music Awards & Conference (coming soon), as well as working for change on the Women in Music Equity Committee, and she is the Associate Producer for the new Indigenous musical Barbara and the Camp Dogs at Belvoir St Theatre in December 2017. 

Vicki is a panelist for our Vivid Ideas: Pathway to Platform event and at Music Love, we wanted to introduce her to our readers before the event. She kindly took the time our of her busy schedule to answer some questions with some powerfully wise words. Make sure you don't miss her in person at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on June 10, 2017 at 9am.

Gratitude is the best attitude. 
— Vicki Gordon. President Cicada International, Artist manager, Producer, Musician, Mentor, Record Label Director, Former ARIA Board Member, Creator of Barefoot Divas
Vicki Gordon with the Barefoot Divas, image via  backstage at the Zellerbach Auditorium Oakland California, 2014

Vicki Gordon with the Barefoot Divas, image via backstage at the Zellerbach Auditorium Oakland California, 2014

What does music mean to you?

Music is my driving force, it is my healer, my inspiration, my connection to community and culture, my compass. It is one of the precious things in life that makes sense in this crazy world. 

It is the decision makers who determine the culture and future of the industry. It is the decision makers who shape the face of the industry and are responsible for how it is projected and perceived by the mainstream, and far too few, scandalously few, are women.
— Vicki Gordon, in an address given at a Music Australia conference, 2016

What has been your favourite career moment in the music industry?

I have many but my work with Indigenous and First Nations artists is always the most gratifying and humbling.  


What has been your most frustrating?

The ongoing fight for inclusivity & equity.  

When did you decide a career in music was for you?

I didn't. Music chose me. 


What is your number one piece of advice would you give to people who want to work in the Australian music industry?

Gratitude is the best attitude. 

Vicki Gordon managed Ursula Yovich. Image supplied

Vicki Gordon managed Ursula Yovich. Image supplied

What is your favorite genre of music?

Roots, Soul & R&B.


What is your favourite place in Australia?

Arnhem Land and Booderee National Park in Jervis Bay NSW

For 30 years people have told us to be understanding, to be patient and to be quiet. The issue of gender continues to divide us. Women and men who speak out are afraid of being labelled troublemakers. But today I think I am among troublemakers, people I like to call visionaries, our agitators and activists … We are the ones who want change, who believe that when you mix it up, culturally and gender-wise, it will be more vibrant, more interesting, and yes, a more creative and profitable industry.
— Vicki Gordon, in an address given to a Music Australia Conference in 2016

Cicada International's goals

  • To create opportunities which empower Indigenous, marginalised and disadvantaged singer/songwriters, musicians and artists to sustain their holistic wellbeing through self expression, self determination and creativity. 
  • To consciously privilege the empowerment of Indigenous, marginalised and disadvantaged young women and girls to address social and cultural barriers preventing them from making a living and a social contribution.
  • To strengthen Indigenous Artists understanding of the music industry through positive engagement and professional development opportunities tied directly to creative experiences.
  • To raise the profile of Indigenous artists on a local, regional and national level through the creation of marketing materials and performance opportunities.
  • To empower Indigenous artists to achieve their career objectives through greater exposure to players in the mainstream music and media industries.
  • To create opportunities for established Indigenous artists to mentor emerging Indigenous artists.
  • To assist in the development of new industry partnerships between Indigenous and non Indigenous service providers and development agencies.
  • To foster connections in which mutual respect and cultural learning is a genuine two way commitment and process.

If you would like tickets to the Vivid Ideas Pathway to Platform event, the cost is $25 plus booking fee, and you can buy them for you and your friends here. If you subscribe to our newsletter, you will receive 25% off the ticket price!

Also! If you subscribe and review our Music Love podcast, you will be in the running to win a free ticket to the event! So get listening and reviewing in iTunes now! Winner announced Wednesday 1 June, 2017. Come and be inspired by Australian women in music and meet other Australian women in music.