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Norfolk record label fights sexist attitudes to female artists

PUBLISHED: 15:05 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:07 29 March 2019

Steve Jefroy, aka DJ BCee, started out his successful career as a drum and bass artist in Diss. Picture: Sophie Smith

Steve Jefroy, aka DJ BCee, started out his successful career as a drum and bass artist in Diss. Picture: Sophie Smith

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A Norfolk record label boss has slammed sexist attitudes in the music industry and pledged to invest more in developing female artists.

BCee, or Steve Jefroy, a drum and bass DJ says sexist attitudes persist in clubs. Picture: Spearhead RecordsBCee, or Steve Jefroy, a drum and bass DJ says sexist attitudes persist in clubs. Picture: Spearhead Records

Steve Jefroy, better known by his DJ alias BCee, may not be a household name but he is one of the biggest music success stories from Norfolk have found global fan base with his own drum and bass label Spearhead which he set up in 2005.

The Thetford-born father-of-two, who began DJing while still working on a farm in Bressingham, now has hundreds of thousands of listeners on Spotify and YouTube, and has just released his fifth album, Shouting About Nothing.

Now stung by criticism that his label artists and the music events he promotes are predominantly male he has pledged to help develop more female musicians.

He said: “I’ve had several female acts criticise me in the last couple of years for not including enough women on Spearhead line-ups, which I have always felt was unfair. I have always replied to that saying I want to book female acts but you tell me who those acts are and I will book them.

BCee, or Steve Jefroy, has pledge to develop more female artists on his Spearhead record label based at Palgrave near Diss. Picture: RossumediaBCee, or Steve Jefroy, has pledge to develop more female artists on his Spearhead record label based at Palgrave near Diss. Picture: Rossumedia

“But then I thought more about it and that’s not pro-active enough because if we always have that attitude there never will be anyone to book.”

The 42-year-old, who has now settled in Palgrave, where he runs the Spearhead, said he believed outdated sexist attitudes were partly behind the lack of female artists.

He said: “I hate to say it, but I think it’s probably because for most of the 25 years that I’ve been going to clubs, women have been treated purely as something nice to look at and that if they are in a club they must be ‘up for it’.

“Thankfully this is changing in most of the venues I play, but there are plenty of more commercial clubs where that remains the same.”

The 10th birthday party of Spearhead Records, founded by Steve Jefroy in Palgrave. He wants to see more women signed to the label. Picture: Ben DonoghueThe 10th birthday party of Spearhead Records, founded by Steve Jefroy in Palgrave. He wants to see more women signed to the label. Picture: Ben Donoghue

Having previously worked at Diss Youth Centre and helped develop young musicians by signing the likes of fellow drum and bass acts Hybrid Minds and Dexcell, his pledged to develop more women has drawn a big reaction.

“I now have an inbox full of every woman who has never thought that they might do a DJ set. That shows that there is the potential talent out there,” he said. “I am not going to book them just based on their sex. I wouldn’t book a man with no background either. However when it comes to who I am investing in, I want to put as much of my time with female artist as male artists.

“I would love it if in a couple of years I could say here are two female artists who are playing at all the Spearhead shows, not because they are women but because of all the great music that we have worked with them on and built up something.”

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