“If there was an out and open lesbian artist when I was younger, I’ve would’ve realised that it’s okay to be gay”
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE VIA RONNIE-MARTINE HALL ON INSTAGRAM
Working alongside her long-term girlfriend and producer Stephanie Collingwood, LGBTQI musician Ronnie-Martine is evoking real change. The Founder of Real Music Events, Ronnie-Martine is working towards creating safe spaces for LGBTQI women and non-binary people. Her new single, Break Up. Make Up, is out now.
When did you start performing music? What inspired you to begin?
I always had a passion for singing and I absolutely loved Girls Aloud (probably because I low-key fancied Cheryl Cole). I started gigging and writing my own songs at 14, and I was always inspired to sing as my mum had an amazing voice.
You performed on the DIVA Pride stage in 2018. What was this experience like for you?
Performing at Pride has always been a goal of mine so to be invited to perform on the Women’s Stage in front of such a welcoming crowd was very heart-warming. Performing on the same stage as Sinitta was an incredible experience.
Who are your main musical influences?
As well as my mum being a strong influence, I was always inspired by Amy Winehouse and Tina Turner. I absolutely loved Amy’s unique sound and Tina’s energy. Nowadays, I also love Ariana Grande and Kehlani.
Does your music explore explicitly LGBTQI themes? How do you channel your identity into your work?
I try not to use pronouns in my music as I like it to relate to everyone despite sexuality or gender. That said, I do also like to sing about women being in love with women – not enough artists are doing this, and there definitely aren’t enough LGBTQI artists using pronouns that they relate to.
What does LGBTQI visibility in music mean to you?
LGBTQI visibility in music means a lot to me. Coming out at 14 was hard and knowing who I was way before then made it even harder, but music got me through a lot of these times and inspired me to start writing songs. If there was an out and open lesbian artist when I was younger, I think I’ve would’ve realised that it’s okay to be gay.
Your girlfriend is also your producer. This is a lovely story! How did you meet? What has it been like working together?
We met through social media – she had been following me for a while and I connected with her as I found out she could produce. We worked together as friends for a while, and we bonded on a personal level as we were both going through our own struggles. It became apparent that we had something more than a friendship. Stephanie is very talented and her production is very versatile. She can make anything and everything! Working with a partner has its challenges but I wouldn’t change her or what we have for the world. We’ve been going strong for three years now.
Alongside your musical endeavours, you also host LGBTQI artist nights in and around London. Could you tell me a little bit about it?
There need to be more safe spaces for LGBTQI artists in and around London. Many LGBTQI artists don’t feel comfortable enough to gig in venues that aren’t LGBTQI-friendly, especially when singing about personal stories. I decided to create RM Events (Real Music Events) to allow LGBTQI artists a safe space to perform. The events have already had a massive impact on the community – every event of ours has been sold out.
If you’d want fans to take one message from your music, what would it be and why?
It’s okay to be yourself and to love who you want to love. It takes a while to be comfortable with your sexuality – some people take longer than others to come out and that’s okay.
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