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Beverly Keel at 2019 Source Hall of Fame Awards: 'Support Other Women'

Billboard logo Billboard 2019-08-28 Annie Reuter

The 17th Annual Source Hall of Fame Awards were held at Nashville’s Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum on Tuesday (Aug. 27). The evening inducted seven female music industry professionals into its 2019 class. Each honoree has spent several decades working behind the scenes in the industry in jobs that range from management, publicity and journalism to professions in radio, at record labels and venues surrounding Nashville and abroad.

The 2019 class inductees includes Sarah Brosmer, Lytle Management day-to-day manager; Gayle Hill, founder of G Hill & Company; Beverly Keel, Middle Tennessee State University’s Recording Industry Management (RIM) program chair; Grace Reinbold, co-founder What A Trip! Inc.; Judi Turner, founder Turner & Co.; Trisha Walker-Cunningham, Trisha Walker International; and Erika Wollam-Nichols, Bluebird Cafe COO/GM.  

Brenda Lee and Jeannie Seely served as affable hosts throughout the night. Ahead of the ceremony, several artists provided video messages for the honorees including Jamey Johnson, Rodney Crowell, Lori McKenna, and Ronan Keating. An inspiring evening of memorable speeches, Keel delivered a call to action to the 400 people in the room on how to succeed in the music business. After thanking her family, friends, mentors and the women who came before her, she shifted her attention specifically to the young women in the audience.

“First of all, none of us know what we're doing and that includes the men in charge. We’re making it up as we go,” she told the room of industry professionals, friends and family. “Don't wait to start trying to change things until you know more, until you get older, until you gain weight, or you lose weight, or get better at anything. You have never been better. You have never known more than right now. Here's another secret: None of us are all that we're cracked up to be. We’re all so insecure or worried about what we do or say that we're not even paying any attention to what you're doing. Alright? Life is short. If you're in a bad relationship or a bad job, get out. Do not allow anybody to treat you badly. Be your own best friend first.”

Also a co-founder of Change the Conversation, which aims to fix the gender imbalance within the music industry, Keel stressed the importance of banding together and uplifting women.

“If I can leave you with one thought today, it’s support other women. Find the beauty and inspiration in them. Don’t be threatened by them because their success is our success,” she added. “Buy their music. See their shows. Like their posts. Support their causes. Most importantly, have their backs … Keep in mind, women are the main consumers of country music, so who knows better than you what will appeal to them? Don't doubt yourself and don't apologize. So what if you get it wrong sometimes? There have been times where I have failed every day and I'm still here. So the point is, do whatever works for you. Don't worry about the naysayers.”

The Source Awards launched in 2003 as a way to recognize women who have “made a lasting imprint in Music City,” Source president Alicia Jones said at the start of the ceremony. The Hall of Fame class is voted on by the Source Awards Committee. Source is a non-profit and invitation-only organization for female professionals who work throughout Nashville’s entertainment industry. The current membership includes over 180 women decision makers in the industry.

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