Women At The Top Awards: Meet Emily Rawson, The Musical Mastermind

We've scoured the UK to find the most inspirational innovators for Marie Claire's Women At The Top Awards, in association with Windows 10 and Freixenet. Meet Emily Rawson, one of the ten game-changers who have shaped 2015.

As the founder of new all-female DJ collective, Rock The Belles, Emily Rawson, 33, has played for both Kim and Kanye, launched a weekly club night (Supa Dupa Fly)and personallymentors women who want to make it big on the music scene. Now, with brands including Chanel, Nikeand Kopparberg flooding her inbox, her mission to feminise the industry is working – even if she does have to fight off sexist emails along the way.

‘I founded Rock The Belles to celebrate women in music. The industry is still sexist, so I found four women who I thought were doing amazing things behind the decks, and went from there. Our first show sold out and it’s stayed that way. When I started out, there were hardly any female DJs around, and guys would try to intimidate you. They’d come over and fiddle with the knobs and stuff, to try and make it seem like you didn’t know what you were doing.

It’s amazing seeing how the women I’ve worked with have progressed. I can’t ever be sad when sopmebody leaves RTB, because it means they’ve gone on to do amazing things – just look at Julie Adenuga, who used to be my partner in crime. She has just been signed to front Apple Music’s new radio station.

The change that we’ve made happen is amazing.
And the money isn’t bad, either – running events is a lucrative business, far more so than DJing. But nothing tops the thrill you get when you’re playing to a massive crowd. My biggest gig was to 10,000 people – that was for a Nike event – but I consider Lovebox festival as another career highlight.

My most difficult challenge was leaving my previous job.
I’d wanted to leave for about two years before I did. The guy I worked for told me I wouldn’t be able to make it on my own, so I proved him wrong. I’d say to anyone in a similar position: don’t be scared. Take the leap, work your arse off and make it happen.

The best bit is getting to be my own boss.
The club and events scenes are male-dominated industries, so it hasn’t been easy – I still get emails from men telling me I don’t know what I’m doing. My mum used to say, “get a normal job” whenever I struggled with it. But I’ve been DJing since I was 17. Plus, it makes the success all the more worth it.’

mixcloud.com/djemilyrawson

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