If Holly Rankin was an athlete, she’d play every position. It’s early days but her resume already covers off singer, songwriter, producer and festival owner. And she’s about to add “public speaker” to her list of accomplishments. When the Australian music industry gathers March 27 for the inaugural The Industry Observer Awards, Rankin will deliver the opening address.
TIO caught up with the young artist and entrepreneur this week for a chat about what’s on her mind.
It’s something of a career-year for Rankin, whose debut Jack River album will get a release later this year through I Oh You. She’ll lap the country in March for a run of live shows, the first of many this year. But more on that later.
Rankin is in the zone after punching a mountain of work-hours over the past two years. “Anyone starting a business, you have to put in those hours. Last year was the time to do that, and it was pretty crazy. I was waking at 6am, doing a class, then working to 6pm, having dinner and working to midnight. I did 8 months of that. It’s my album year. And really, it’s just the beginning.”
Watch Jack River’s clip for new single ‘Ballroom’:
One of these days, Rankin might even, you know, take a break for a holiday. It’s not happening this year.
The worlds of music and business collide for Rankin’s music festival Electric Lady, which aspires to “amplify the strength of women in music, politics, science, sport” and beyond. “I’ve come to love the process and be far less focused on the day itself. The beauty is in the process for me, for sure.”
Admittedly, Rankin hasn’t written her address for the TIO Awards. Not yet. It’s a process. Expect more than a shoutout to the MeToo movement and the ongoing push for equality in all corridors of showbiz. Rankin points to the recent announcement of 45 international music festivals pledging to hit 50/50 gender balance across their events by 2022. It’s a good start, she says.
“It should be now. It shouldn’t take that long to find equality. It’s extremely important to focus on (the gender gap) playlist-wise, festival-wise, magazine cover-wise. It’s probably unfair to demand change instantly. Because to create those top-tier artists taked 10 years. We need to put in that effort at the soil level right now. That’s why we created Electric Lady.”
Running a festival is a team sport. A music career needs, you guessed it, a support base. On the big night at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Rankin will shine a light on all those hard grafters who don’t get all the glory. And “all the amazing women nominated,” she says with a smile from a café in Redfern, below her office.
“It would be great to see more females at the top, in executive positions.” When asked to name one hero from the Australian industry, she mentions Chugg Entertainment’s managing director Susan Heymann as “quite inspiring.”
And with that, it’s back to work. Juggling music and business, an prepping for game day at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Speaking to an industry crowd “puts you on the spot, it’s similar to performing in that sense. You can’t rely on anything else. I did a lot of debating, which I get to do as a festival owner. So I’m ready. I can’t wait.”
The TIO Awards is an all-new event taking place at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.
JACK RIVER TOUR DATES
Friday 16 March
Mojos | Fremantle, WA
18+ | SOLD OUT!
Saturday 17 March
Rocket Bar | Adelaide, SA
Thursday 22 March
Howler | Melbourne, VIC
18+ | SOLD OUT!
Friday 23 March
Oxford Art Factory | Sydney, NSW
18+ | SOLD OUT!
Saturday 24 March
Woolly Mammoth | Brisbane, QLD