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Andi Hopgood and Nate Holder: Why The Musicians’ Census Gives us a Better Chance to Create Change

This week we’re exploring why musicians and change-makers Andi and Nate are supporting the 2023 Musicians Census.

Published: 14 February 2023 | 2:49 PM Updated: 20 February 2023 | 5:53 PM
Portrait of Andi Hopgood, smiling to camera against a white brick wall.
"Having a better picture of our work force helps us make a more robust case". Image credit: The MU ©

Musicians are heading into 2023 facing a perfect storm of challenges, from the barriers to touring brought about by Brexit, to the ongoing difficulties in reconnecting with audiences post-pandemic, to the cost of living and cost of working crisis.

"Government need facts and figures"

“The census helps us to help you better. Whenever we respond to consultations or meet with government they need facts and figures. Having a better picture of our work force helps us make a more robust case” says musician and MU Executive Committe Vice Chair, Andi Hopgood.

Of course it isn’t just financial challenges alone that our members and the industry are facing at the moment - Andi has previously shared her own experiences of the importance of having specialist mental health resources. In her blog for the MU last year she wrote: “We do need specialist support as musicians, we need support from people who understand how we operate and what we do.

“We don’t have employment packages, HR or councillors in our workplaces to help us; we must seek it ourselves and then see it through. Like everything else as a freelancer, it’s on us”.

She has also chaired a panel on mental and the music industry at our 2022 Members’ Conference, and during the pandemic wrote about the creativity and resilience of musicians, stating if anyone can get through life’s challenges, musicians can.

As Andi says: “The census information will put us in a stronger position to lobby and give us a better chance to really make the changes you want to see.”

“Not only survive, but thrive”

Nate Holder, musician, author and international speaker is our next ambassador in this week’s spotlight. He has achieved a BA in Music at Anglia Ruskin University and went on to obtain an MMus at Kingston University, while winning the MMus prize for outstanding achievement.

During his playing career, Nate has performed with artists such as Ed Sheeran, KOKOROKO, The Arkells and recorded with Ghetts and Julianna Townsend, as well as regularly performing with DJ's and bands at events around the world.

Portrait of Nate Holder
"Taking part in this Census will help to ensure your music-making activities are supported..." Image credit: Nathan Holder ©

Nate has also put together four playlists and sets of notes on tracks by Black British musicians for the MU, explaining how they can be incorporated into comprehensive lesson plans - helping to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion are part of music teaching.

In relation, he also hosted a webinar on music education and colonialism during last year’s Black History Month and is author of the 'Why' book series, which encourage kids to ask questions, learning about music alongside diverse characters and a diverse range of musical styles.

Nate says: “Whether you teach young children or play in sold-out arenas, taking part in this Census will help to ensure your music-making activities are supported by organisations who are seeking to create the best possible environments for you and your music to not only survive, but thrive.”

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